Dubbed as Serbia’s most popular tourist attraction, the Sargan 8 Train ride was constructed after World War 1 and features as a UNESCO World Heritage Train Ride. This magnificent train journey (on 75 cm wide track) passes through 22 tunnels, spans 15 kms on an eight-shaped track and takes four stops. Duration of the train ride is between 2.5 to 3 hrs which offers panoramic views of insta- worthy sights like fountains, lush-green meadows and cute villages. Starting and stopping at the same place in the hills of Mokra Gora, the train has preserved the original coaches (as much as 100 years old) giving it an old-world charm and hence the name ‘Nostalgia’. I am a big fan of quirky train rides that encompass history and great natural views and this rail excursion fits the bill brilliantly- the only difference being that earlier it used to be a steam locomotive but now it runs on diesel. Journey on this train feels like being part of an old European movie and it was one of the most epic rides in my travel life.
Saint Sava Temple is the world’s biggest Orthodox church currently in use and is also Belgrade’s most monumental structure and chief landmark. Occupying a pride of place on Belgrade tourist itinerary, it’s astonishing gold-ceilinged crypt, its stunning ornate chandeliers, Murano glass mosaics and vibrant frescoes leave the visitors entranced. While the interiors are mesmerising, the ravishing white exterior featuring pleasing green domes and brown doors and windows is a sight to behold.
A geographical wonder by itself, Uwac river is a compound of unreal meanders that nature has carved in a miraculous way with the crystal- clear waters of Uvac Lake. These naturally spectacular twists and turns are caused due to years of the river punching through the limestone rocks. The meanders of the river Uvac resemble a maze, and in many places turns at an angle of 270 degrees. This sight of Uvac river seems magical and mystifying when seen from the cliff above (called the Uwac River Viewpoint). The Uvac River area is also a haven for bird watchers as it houses variety of rare species of birds especially eagles, vultures and hawks which can be seen flying back and forth over the river continuously.
It is the longest panoramic lift in the world at a length of nine kilometers taking around 25 minutes to reach the mountain top. The gondola ride gives picturesque views of lakes, mountains, meadows and cattle grazing in the grassfields. The lush green views from the mountain top are worth dying for. During the winter season, this spot transforms into a major skiing destination.
Stopića Caves are limestone cave with a huge entrance which is approximately 40 meters wide and 18 meters high with river Trnavski flowing through it. Though Stopica caves don’t boast of tremendous cave jewellery, but they do have the miraculously- formed limestone tubs and unique rock formations formed over millions of years, making it a natural wonder of sorts. Stopica Caves have several tiny openings in the ceiling and also feature a natural waterfall. Geologists estimate that it takes around hundred years to create one cm of cave jewellery and a single touch can erase ten years of mother nature’s cave work.
The original appearance of the Bohemian Street (also called Skadarlija) has been well- preserved till date with its cobble-stoned pathway and myriad restaurants called the ‘Kafanas’. It is characteristic of several restored historic buildings in the form of art galleries, antique shops and even hotels along the street. One can find musicians merrily playing traditional Serbian songs and people wandering around. Located very close to the Belgrade City centre, it is generally compared to Montmartre in Paris. Interestingly, the Bohemian Street which is also called Belgrade’s vintage street, is a car-free zone and a remarkable tourist attraction.
Belgrade fortress stands as a beacon of Serbian history that invites visitors to unravel the numerous legends and to discover the surreal views from the Belgrade fortress. Standing as a sentinel of Belgrade’s war-ravaged past on a white ridge, the Belgrade fortress is the perfect viewpoint for the confluence of two major rivers- Sava and the Danube. It also houses the victory monument and an open- air military museum.
When it comes to nightlife, Serbia gives tough competition to major European capitals like Paris, Rome, even London and hence referred to as the Ibiza of Europe. Clubbing seems to be a national hobby in Belgrade so much so that citizens here are referred to as ‘Disco Dynamos’. The city is a thriving metropolis of nightclubs, which can be found anywhere- in old fortresses and on boats, in underground caverns and cocktail bars. Every night of the week, there are countless clubs with different styles and with different kinds of music where you can dance the night away. We gathered that mostly all clubs have the capacity of 300 to 500 people and are almost full every night of the week.
The busiest area of Belgrade is the downtown or the City Centre which is flooded with restaurants, malls, bars, cafes, pubs, souvenir kiosks, etc. It is the most pulsating hub of Belgrade flanked by brand outlets. One can even see the artsy display of painted canvases by several eager artists. Crowded during both day and night, one gets the feel that the entire city lives on this street.
There are several ways to discover the Sava river- You can visit banks of Sava river on foot, on a bike or by a cruise ship. Abundant floating clubs abound on the banks of Sava which form the centre point of Belgrade’s exciting nightlife. Along the Sava big cruise ships from Europe stop for several hours or 1-2 days depending on the cruise schedule, so tourists can discover Belgrade. Also, a countless number of bars and restaurants can be found on the shore.
The Parliament Palace building looks spectacular especially when lit up in the night. Located in central district of Belgrade, this building boasts of phenomenal façade and interiors both. For architecture lovers, this is a must visit.
Located within the precincts of Mokra Gora Railway Station, the Wooden Village is a movie set created by the famous Serbian director Emir Kusturica (Winner of several awards at Cannes and Venice film festival) for the movie ‘Life is a Miracle’. The set was so gorgeously built that it was preserved and converted into a tourist hotspot. This enchanting, ethnic village is built entirely out of wood and feels like a piece of art. It comprises of theatre, restaurants, courts, marketplace, wooden cabins, swimming pool, church and an art gallery.
Located in Northern Serbia, the town of Subotica can be referred to as an open-air museum owing to its marvellous treasure trove of candy -coloured art nouveau buildings, with Austro -Hungarian influences. Subotica is also well-known for its multi-cultural vibes, relaxed atmosphere, good food, quality wines and year-long festivals.
Novisaad lies in the northern Serbian region which is famous as the wine region of Serbia. Novisaad is the gateway to the national parks and wineries of Vojvodina, cute towns such as Sremski Karlovci, and further afield, the Art Nouveau outpost of Subotica. With its grandiose architecture, vibrant art and music scene and welcoming locals, it’s a no-brainer to make Novisaad an essential part of Serbian itinerary.