Serbia

For the last decade, the tourists’ flow to Serbia has grown significantly, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lifting of the iron curtain and political stability settling in the country after the years of the state of war. Serbia has been at the crossroads of Europe for many centuries, and as such, it is a mix of religions, cultures, and ethnicities. Many Roman emperors were born in the territory that today forms Serbia. Serbia is hidden gem, even for many Europeans.

SAFETY INDEX

See cities in this country

Serb’s hospitality has no borders, they are very warm people, particularly towards foreigners, therefore Serbia is attractive to tourists and a safe country. Serbia is a safe country for tourists and for recent years the worst that happened with a foreigner is that his phone been stolen. Nevertheless, some areas hide certain risk, however, if follow basic safety precautions and avoid unpleasant areas your voyage will be absolutely smooth. SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip in Serbia and be aware of all potential dangers. Serbia is the 31st safest country in the world, based on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking.

Is Serbia a Safe or Dangerous Country?

The most common concern for newcomers is pickpockets. Any other issues are not likely to happen. However, the crime rate is high. First of all, it is so, due to the high activity of organized crime groups, which are in a constant fight for control over territories and areas of influence which results in many acts of violence. So, there is a potential risk of collateral damage of these attacks. Serbia is widely known for its vibrant nightlife. Many bars, clubs and so-called “splav” (floating discos) are controlled and owned by the Balkan criminal organizations. These are the names of those places that have been marked off-limits to U.S. Embassy personnel: Mr. Stefan Braun, Splav Slep, Plastic. In those kind of places, confrontation usually ends-up in violent assaults. SafeAround advises to avoid visiting these places. When attending sporting events particularly football, one should be especially cautious. Fans often referred as “hooligans”, are often widely connected to criminal groups and ultra-nationalist organizations. In the past few years, there have been cases of foreign fans being assaulted.  Tourists should be cautious while attending soccer matches, in the proximity of the stadiums and football bars at the time of the games. Particularly between the local rivals: “Red Star”, Rad and Partizan. The most common type of street crime is pickpocketing. All tourist areas in Belgrade are widely affected, especially: “Knez Mihailova” – main pedestrian street in Belgrade, as well as the public transport system. Distraction is usually used in order to commit a crime. Don’t be an unsuspecting victim, pay attention to your surroundings and try to keep a part of your valuables at the hotel in a safe deposit box.

Other areas of concern:

  • Vehicle theft is a problem. When renting a car, try to avoid renting the cars of the following car manufacturers which are the most theft prone: Volkswagen, Opel. They are the most targeted cars throughout Serbia. Never leave any valuables in plain sight in the vehicle.
  • Due to high transit flow of refugees through Belgrade, altercations between migrants can happen, cases of stabbing are known. If possible, try to stay away from any suspicious activity.
  • Unexploded mines from the 1990s Balkan conflict may be an issue. Stay on established grounds in the areas that were part of the conflict.
  • A high rate of corruption. Bribery is common in the healthcare system and in the political system. Generally, tourists are not likely to encounter this dark part of Serbia.
Tip: When looking for directions, you are better off asking a younger person for help, as they are more likely to speak English.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : LOW

Serbia is a very safe country. It is ranked 35th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

Pickpocketing and bag snatching are the main crimes in Belgrade, especially in tourist areas in the capital and big transportation hubs.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Abductions have declined significantly in recent years; kidnapping of family members for failure to repay debts does occur, as does kidnapping by rival criminal organizations. Mugging is rare but still, exists.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

The most common scams are ripping off in the bars and drink spiking in the strip clubs.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Overall, transportation in Serbia is safe. There are known reports on overcharging in taxi persons who are not familiar with the vicinity.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

Severe floodings can happen. Belgrade stands in the seismically active area. (Level 2a)

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorist attacks have happened in London, Paris, St. Petersburg. The threat of terrorist attacks exists but is relatively low. Be vigilant to possible threats.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Serbia is very safe for women travelers. Assaults are rare and almost don’t exist, though always best to stay aware of your surroundings.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

At summer time tourists may enjoy the sunny Belgrade or visit numerous outstanding National Parks scattered throughout the country. During winter the variety of activities increases. All newcomers are welcomed at mountain and spa resorts, where the level of service is as high as in any other main ski destination in Europe, though prices are significantly lower.

Useful Information

Visas are not usually required for stays under 90 days. Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to the country you’re visiting. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
Serbian dinar (RSD) is a currency of Hungary. SafeAround doesn’t recommend exchange money in street money changers.  The best exchange rate can be found in the official banks, for instance at the National Bank of Serbia. Withdrawing RSD in the local ATM’s using your credit/debit card may also be a good option.
The climate in Serbia is mild, with very hot summers (up to 34°C) and very cold winters (-1-0°C). It can be classified as a warm-humid continental climate.
Busiest airports by passenger traffic are in Belgrade. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar.
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page.