While Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is known for its lively nightlife, it also has more than enough attractions to keep you occupied for a couple days there. Once you’ve seen what Belgrade has to offer though, it’s time to start looking at the many other enjoyable destinations across the country. Many of the best places to visit in Serbia can be visited on a day trip from the capital, plus there are some great places beyond Serbia’s borders as well. So, add a few extra days to your Belgrade trip and decide which of the best day trips from Belgrade would be fun to include in your itinerary.
1. Novi Sad
Serbia’s second largest city, Novi Sad, is the focus of the most popular day tours from Belgrade. Compared with Belgrade, Novi Sad feels far more relaxed and uncomplicated, making it a pleasure to explore at your own pace. Start out in the main square of Trg Slobode where you’ll find some elegant architecture on display including the City Hall and the Name of Mary Church. Stroll between endless cafes on Zmaj Jovina Street and make your way to the stunning Bishop’s Palace. Elsewhere in the city you’ll find the Novi Sad Synagogue which is not to be missed due to its size and architecture. Last but not least, cross the river to the Petrovaradin Fortress which offers an exceptional view across the Danube to the city.
Getting there: One of the few easy train trips from Belgrade, Novi Sad takes just 2 hour 15 minutes to reach. However, buses are more frequent and only take 1 hour 40 minutes. To combine Novi Sad with other attractions in the region, visit with a guided tour.
2. Sremski Karlovci
Despite its small size, there’s a lot for travelers to get out of a day trip to Sremski Karlovci. This small town downstream from Novi Sad is a living tribute to the grandeur of Serbia in the 18th century. Begin your visit in the town’s main square where many attractions can be spotted. From there you can see the Town Hall, Patriarch’s Palace, the Four Lion Fountain, and other Baroque buildings. Just down the street sits the beautiful Karlovci Gymnasium, Serbia’s first secondary school. Among the town’s many churches, the Lady of Peace Chapel, truly stands apart. That’s because it was there that Austria and Turkey signed the peace treaty ending the Great Turkish War in 1699.
Getting there: While there aren’t a huge number of daily departures, there are buses and trains that take around 2 hours to reach Sremski Karlovci from Belgrade. An easier option that will also show you Novi Sad is to visit with an organized tour.
A former film set in Serbia, called Drvengrad, is one of the more popular Belgrade day trips out there. This recreated Serbian village was built for the film Life Is a Miracle directed by Emir Kusturica in 2002. Since then Kustendorf, as it’s also known, has become a popular ethno village, showcasing the region’s traditional architecture. But the village also upholds the director’s love of film thanks to the Stanley Kubrick Cinema, in which Kusturica’s films are shown. The streets of Drvengrad are lined with vintage cars and named after famous people both Serbian and international, including Nikola Tesla, Novak Djokovic and Diego Maradona.
Getting there: Drvengrad is too far to reach by public transport from Belgrade. That means going with an organized tour is the best way to experience this unlikely attraction.
4. Golubac Fortress
Easily one of the best places to visit from Belgrade, Golubac Fortress makes an immediate impression when you first see it. Resting on the banks of the Danube River at the entrance to the Đerdap Gorge, this 14th century fortress has the benefit of some impressive surroundings. But this complex and its ten towers would look like it belongs in a fairytale no matter what its surroundings were. Golubac fortress was strategically vital for centuries thanks to its riverside position, today visitors can enjoy those same views of the river from the towers in the fortress. Inside, travelers can see exhibits that detail the history of the fortress through stories of failed conquests and recently unearthed artifacts.
Getting there: There are several buses each day that make the 2 ½ hour journey from Belgrade to Golubac. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of bus schedules, it’s best to visit as part of a guided tour.
5. Đerdap National Park
When it comes to things to see in Serbia outside of Belgrade, Đerdap National Park deserves to be high on most traveler’s lists. This immense national park follows the Danube River through the Đerdap Gorge, also known as the impressive Iron Gate. For almost 100km, this gorge carves its way across Europe, providing the border between Serbia and Romania. At times, the steep cliffs that line the gorge are as high as 500m from the river, creating quite an imposing atmosphere. The terrain around the national park varies from mountains to ravine and lakes, that means you don’t need to go far to find an excellent panoramic viewpoint.
Getting there: It’s possible to see parts of Đerdap National Park on a guided tour of the region. For a more thorough visit though, you’ll need to either drive yourself or book a special cruise along the Danube.
6. Fruška Gora National Park
For a day out in the picturesque countryside of Serbia, it’s hard to beat Fruska Gora National Park. Not only is the national park home to gorgeous rolling hills covered in forest and orchards, but it’s also home to 16 Orthodox monasteries scattered throughout. Located just south of Novi Sad, the monasteries are found on both sides of the hills, with Novo Hopovo, Jazak and Vrdnik-Ravanica Monasteries being some of the standouts. Besides the monasteries, Fruska Gora is popular for its villages, wineries, and hiking trails. For a great panoramic view of the region, be sure to find your way to the Vidikovac Zmajevac viewpoint.
Getting there: While there are some guided tours that stop in for a little while at Fruska Gora enroute to Novi Sad, it’s really only a glimpse at what the park has to offer. With no public transport going in, you’ll need a car if you want to spend the day there.
7. Viminacium & Lepenski Vir
For a trip through Serbia’s ancient history, there’s no better combination of destinations than Lepenski Vir and Viminacium. Lepenski Vir in the Đerdap Gorge is an archaeological site where the remains of Europe’s oldest prehistoric cultures can be found. Inside the futuristic museum and visitor center, or Lepenski Vir, there are the remains of buildings, sculptures, and skeletons from people who existed around 6000 BC. Your second stop, the Viminacium archaeological site, focuses on the considerably later Roman city of Viminacium. There are ruins of temples, streets, palaces, and amphitheatres from this ancient Roman city, that can be seen within this impressive archaeological park.
Getting there: Public transport options from Belgrade to both archaeological sites are either non-existent or don’t get you close enough. That’s why the best option for seeing these historic places is by taking a guided Danube cruise that covers both.
Suggesting the modest town of Topola as a day trip destination may seem strange. Hidden away in central Serbia, Topola is unassuming. The story here begins with the historic relationship between Topola and the Karađorđevic dynasty, once the Royal Family of Serbia and Yugoslavia. The founder of the dynasty was a man known as Karađorđe, a leader during the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottomans. His and the remains of many other members of the dynasty can be seen in the Mausoleum of the St. George Church in town. The other side to Topola worth knowing is that it’s home to some of Serbia’s best winemakers. With wine cellars scattered through town, and vineyards abounding, you won’t have to go far in Topola to sample some local varieties.
Getting there: You best bet is going on a guided tour on which you don’t have to worry about public transport hassles.
To get off the beaten track a little, head to the small city of Vršac. This humble city in eastern Serbia is a great showcase of the elegant architecture that can be found across the country. Start in front of the unconventional City Hall with its eye-catching brown and white exterior. Wandering past an old-fashioned pharmacy down the quiet city streets you’ll come to the looming twin spires of the Vrsac Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is well worth a look inside. The most important historic buildings in town is the grand old Bishop’s Court from the 18th century. Even older though is the hilltop symbol of the city, which has a great view, Vršac Castle.
Getting there: Frequent buses make the 1 hour 40 minute trip from Belgrade to Vrsac, making it one of the best side trips from Belgrade.
10. Resava and Ravanica
If you’d like a nice mix of nature and history on your day away, consider the intriguing pairing of Resava Cave and Ravanica Monastery. Found in eastern Serbia, Resava Cave is one of the oldest and largest caves in the country. Taking a trip down into the cave you’ll be treated to a staggering display of halls filled with flowstone waterfalls, stalactites, and stalagmites. As you go, you’ll be shown named formations like the Organ, the Bell, and the Hung Sheep. Not too far away is your second stop, Ravanica Monastery. Built in 1377 for Prince Lazar of Serbia who was later buried there, this Serbian Orthodox Monastery has several layers of importance. The interior is lined with medieval frescoes that show just how well-preserved the monastery is.
Getting there: Both sites are quite a distance from the nearest towns and not accessible by public transport. That means your best option for visiting both in a single day is to go with a guided tour.
Those who are fans of history will find the industrial city of Kragujevac right up their alley. Found at the center of the country, Kragujevac was actually the first capital of modern Serbia. Today the city is a mix of noble heritage and it’s more recent industrial history. Looking at buildings like the Old Church, Assembly, and the First Kragujevac Gymnasium gives you a sense of the city’s former status. Then there are places like the Old Foundry Museum which highlights the city’s transition to industrial hub. Don’t miss the October in Kragujevac Memorial Park and Museum, a monument to the mass execution of 2,778 Serb men and boys by the Nazis in WWII.
Getting there: While there are buses that make the 2 hour journey to Kragujevac from Belgrade, their timing may make a day trip challenging. An easier option is to hire a car and drive yourself there.
Just a short trip from Belgrade, Smederevo was also once the capital of Serbia. That history is intimately tied to the city’s main attraction, Smederevo fortress. Before the Ottoman occupation, Smederevo Fortress was the capital of Serbia for a few decades in the 15th century. Be sure to stroll along the fortress walls and visit the last remnants of the medieval court, windows that once featured glass all the way from Murano, Venice. To learn more about the city, head over to the City Museum of Smederevo, where there are several floors of medieval architectural fragments and Roman artefacts. Over on Republic Square in the city center you’ll find the curved facade of the City Hall and other old-fashioned architecture.
Getting there: Regular buses travel from Belgrade to Smederevo, taking 1 hour 15 minutes to get there. Alternatively, you can make a stop here on a guided tour of various sights in the country’s east.
13. Studenica Monastery
The Serbian Orthodox religion is a major part of the country’s culture and history and one of its holiest landmarks is the Studenica Monastery. Built in 1196, this monastery would go on to be closely associated with two of Serbia’s most beloved saints. Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja who would later become a saint had the monastery built, while his son would go on to become the highly important St. Sava. Inside the monastery visitors can see two churches, one of which contains the tomb of Stefan Nemanja. No wonder then that this well-preserved monastery was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage landmark. Around 6km away from the monastery there is a hermitage for monks that was built into a cliff. While quite a hike, and accessed only by a narrow bridge, it’s worth the trip for the views alone.
Getting there: With little in the way of public transport or tours, the only realistic option for reaching the Studenica Monastery from Belgrade is to drive yourself there.
14. Timișoara, Romania
Romania really isn’t far from Belgrade, so why not take the opportunity to visit one of the country’s most colorful cities, Timișoara. The city in the far west of Romania is best known for two things: protests in 1989 that would result in the Romanian Revolution, and its incredible architecture. Begin your visit outside the iconic sight that is the city’s Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. From the cathedral, take a walk through the pretty Piaţa Victoriei and admire the noble buildings like Dauerbach Palace which enclose it. The best display of Timisoara’s secessionist architecture is found on Piata Unirii square. There you’ll find brightly painted buildings like the Brück House and Episcopal Palace that both make it clear why the city was often nicknamed “Little Vienna”. If you have time, duck over to the Museum of the Romanian Revolution from 1989 and learn more about this pivotal point in Romania’s recent history.
Getting there: The only downside to a day trip to Timisoara is that driving there is your only viable option, with public transport simply taking too long.
15. Obedska Bara
Of the different nature destinations on this list, probably the least well-known is Obedska Bara nature reserve. A vast area of swamp and wetlands, Obedska Bara was created by changes in the course of the Sava River that flows nearby. Established as a nature reserve in 1874, it’s one of the world’s oldest nature reserves and just two years younger than Yellowstone National Park. What draws most visitors to explore these peaceful wetlands is the reserve’s diversity of flora and fauna. Obedska Bara is particularly known for its birdlife, with roughly 220 different species of bird calling this swamp home. The other side of the park’s beauty is its plantlife, that includes several types of water lilies and orchids among its wealth of aquatic flora.
Getting there: It’s possible to take a 1 ½ hour bus ride from Belgrade to the village of Obrež, just on the edge of Obedska Bara nature reserve.
Those are many of the places within reach of Belgrade that make for great day trips. Now it’s just a matter of deciding which of these destinations will best suit you and your trip.