Travelling to and in Serbia

See also: Flying to Serbia

It’s no good my talking up how wonderful Serbia is and then not telling you how to get here! In these pages, which I will slowly be expanding, I will try to give you some useful information on Serbia, how to get here, what to expect, what to avoid and how you can get the most out of a trip to this relatively unknown European country. This is not just for if you are a mountain-biker coming to Serbia, but anyone thinking about a trip here. So read on for, hopefully, all the info you need. And if it’s not here, drop me a line and let me know and I will see if I can help.

Serbia in brief

Just to give you a very brief low-down – a semblance of normality has been restored in this former Yugoslav republic, after 10-15 years of dictatorship, war, sanctions and social and economic crisis. During the mid-90’s and early “noughties”, you did indeed have to have a pretty good reason to come to Serbia, like familial or, more rarely, business ties. There was a minefield of visas and bureaucracy to be negotiated, Belgrade airport was not operating during the darkest period of sanctions and the thought of the war close by in Bosnia and Croatia was enough to put anyone off a trip here.

Let me try to emphasise one thing, first of all, about the effects of the former Yugoslav civil war in Serbia. There is a common misconception that Serbia is a former war-zone, and people come here expecting to see a devastated country. Serbia at no time saw any fighting related to the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. All the fighting happened over Bosnia and Croatia, and Serbia never actually saw any action, save perhaps a few shells landing in border regions. So do not expect to see wide-spread devastation when you come here! The only destruction caused in Serbia was localised bombing of individual facilities during the NATO bombing of the country in 1999, and you may see some of these on a trip to Serbia.

Serbia is now a much easier and more friendly place to travel to, the visa regime is now a formality, the economic situation has stabilised, transport links are much better, and although there is still a certain sense of adventure involved in coming to Serbia, it is perfectly safe to do so, and you might just have a very memorable trip!

For starters, see: Flying to Serbia

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8 Responses to Travelling to and in Serbia

  1. Barry says:

    We are travelling to the Exit festival this year and as we had a bit of time decided to turn this in to a bit of a road trip driving over 10 days across europe. Are there any restricitons driving into Serbia. Seems to be very mixed views on this on various websites ?

  2. markowe says:


    Sounds good!

    As far as I know, there are NO particular restrictions. I will quote you the info from a site my company translated recently for the Belgrade Tourist Board – they still don’t seem to have uploaded it, or else I would point you there:

    “Foreign drivers in Serbia need to carry a driving licence, registration document and insurance policy [basically they mean the Green Card – it can be a LITTLE tricky to extract a Green Card from your insurer nowadays because EU countries don’t require them any more, that may be a stumbling block…].

    The Green Card is an international document certifying the issue of automobile insurance for damage caused to third parties abroad.

    Green cards are issued for the following countries in accordance with agreements signed with national bureaux: Andorra, Greece, Spain, Austria, Iceland, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Germany, Portugal, Tunisia, Hungary, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway, Latvia, Slovakia, Turkey, Estonia, Moldavia, Denmark and Ukraine. A green card pertaining to a vehicle bearing registration plates from these countries is valid in Serbia only if the symbol for Serbia is not crossed out.

    Travellers entering the country in motor vehicles with foreign number plates who do not have a green card must purchase insurance from a local insurance company at the border when they enter Serbia.”

    You don’t really want to have to pay this insurance, it’s quite steep, something 150 EUR for the first month, so try to get a green card somehow!

    Will add further info here if I find any.

  3. markowe says:

    Additional comment (thanks to Rob for the info):

    “Check that your Green Card covers Serbia. Insurance at the border is E120! Best to choose a small crossing if you have time. The Autoputs are jammed with gastarbeiteri and other travellers. Bring clean (no scribbling etc) pounds sterling or Euros.”

    I echo that, there can be a 2 hour-plus wait in summer. Also the money, yes, they can be fussy about “damaged” or defaced banknotes. In the UK we draw all over them, but they are picky here.

  4. Jeremy says:

    cool site! i’m looking for somewhere to work (hostel type work) with some decent xc riding this summer in ex-yu, anywhere you’d suggest in particular?

  5. Mark says:

    Hi Jeremy, hmmm, Serbia is not really famous for its hostel/backpacker scene still. I guess Novi Sad would be a good bet since it has a few hostels and you can go XC riding too nearby. The other alternative would be somewhere like the Tara National Park, or possibly Durmitor in Montenegro.

    Problem is, work is very thin on the ground in Serbia for locals, and getting work as a foreigner has some legal implications. But hey, why not look up one of the Novi Sad hostels: and see if they can help.

    And if you end up in Novi Sad, look me up 🙂

  6. MJS says:

    As from 1 January 2012 you do not need to buy extra insurance at the border if you have UK insurance which normally covers Europe.

    The Border police still asks for Green Card and makes you buy insurance.

    Go to the following web page of Serbian Automobile association and print out the page. The information is very clear and this has worked in some cases.

    Good Luck

  7. markowe says:

    Thanks for the update on that! As I am now to all intents and purposes a native here, I miss some of this stuff :). Yeah, you really shouldn’t have to buy any additional insurance. Sounds like a little scam to me.

  8. Muky says:

    From 1 January 2012 UK local insurance covers Serbia. YOU DO NOT REQUIRE GREEN CARD. Only problem is that they are still asking for it at the borders. The insurance companies are making money so they are quiet. Check out this page on the website of Serbian Automobile Association. You have to insist on the border.

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