Still a kingdom at heart
Once known as the Kingdom of Serbia, then the capital of Yugoslavia, Serbia has played an important role in the Adriatic region for centuries. While its status in the world may have diminished in recent decades, it still remains the heart and soul of the Balkans. Being a landlocked country it cannot boast the sprawling coastlines of its neighbours, but inside its heart you will find unparalleled beauty. While it may no longer officially be a kingdom, it’s still a kingdom at heart. The only problem is to decide what to do and where to go. That’s the beauty of using a DMC. Serbia is so vast that it takes expert knowledge to help plan an incentive here. And our knowledge of this region is second to none.
Rich, historic towns and cities, a modern, thriving business district sitting beside an ancient core in the capital city of Belgrade are just two examples of Serbia’s diversity. Five national parks, five natural parks and a plethora of stunning landscapes scattered with lakes and rivers which have carved their way through this mountainous interior over billions of years, along with a network of underground caves are just some of the amazing sights that your local DMC is just aching to show you.
Belgrade is an amazing location on a mountainside, and a place where the world truly meets. Here the Balkan Peninsula meets the sprawling Pannonian plain. The mighty River Danube meets the equally grand Sava River. Ancient remnants of the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires meet remnants of Yugoslavia’s socialist era. And to top it all off, all this is now intertwined with Belgrade’s precipitation into the modern-world as it rapidly evolves into a world-class MICE destination. Belgrade is a lively metropolis, encompassing everything you’d expect to find in a modern capital. Its hotels and gastronomy are unsurpassed, its nightlife world-class, and its history fascinating. And that’s just the world above. Head underground and you’ll find a network of ancient Roman tunnels to explore.
As a perfect example of its diversity, in 2019 the city of Novi Sad won the title of European Youth Capital, and in 2021 will be the first non-EU city to hold the coveted title of European Capital of Culture. Dubbed the “Athens of Serbia”, Novi Sad is a quaint place sitting on the banks of the River Danube and overshadowed by the Fruska Gora Mountain (539m), it’s also the perfect base for trips into the Fruska Gora National Park. Everything you need is within walking distance, including the Petrovaradin fortress, whose elevated location provides outstanding views across Novi Sad and surrounding landscape. It’s also the location for the EXIT Festival, one of the largest summer music festivals in the region, and officially dubbed “best major European festival” at the EU festival awards in 2014 & 2018.
The countryside is just one step away
The forested hilltop of the Fruska Gora National Park contains the largest group of linden trees in Europe where you can explore and study the 700 species of medicinal herbs. Ancient vineyards cover the lower valleys, and secreted away in this thick terrain are 16 orthodox monasteries remaining from the original 35. Lovers of history and architecture will be fascinated by the diversity of these structures. Our DMC Serbia knows all the hidden gems.
The King’s heart
Head a little further southward and amid the many wonders of central Serbia, you’ll find the true heart of the old kingdom. For it was here that the great King Petar Karađorđević I was born. Known as the last king of Serbia and first king of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, King Peter I was instrumental in the Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire. In the town of Oplenac, King Peter’s House is a small building originally built for the workers to sleep while they built the nearby Saint George’s Church, and where the king himself lived while he supervised the construction of the church. Today it houses an art gallery and museum dedicated to the first Serbian uprising. After his death in 1921, the church of Saint George was completed under the supervision of his heir, King Alexander I. The crypt beneath the church is now a mausoleum to the Karadjordjevic Family.
In the footsteps of the kings
As the heart of the Serbian uprising, it’s natural that this region is fiercely proud of its heritage, and stories abound of great battles, great kings, and Serbian heroes. And many of these stories are told over music, dance or simply gathered around in circles on chilly evenings with a mug of local Sumadija Tea (Serbian mulled brandy).
So much to see
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. With a surface area of 77,474 km2, excluding Kosovo, and 88,361 km2, including Kosovo, it’s safe to say that this land is vast and packed with opportunities for the most adventurous incentives. For us at Liberty Adriatic DMC, Serbia affords a huge range of MICE activities to offer.