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Festivals of Serbia

Eat, drink and be merry in Europe's forgotten gem

    • Price £ 1,495 I
    • Please contact us for flights from your nearest airport
    • Single sup. £ 320 I
    • Duration : 8 days
  • Book now

INTRO

Discover Serbia’s premier festivals - the Trumpet Festival of Guca, and Belgrade’s Beer Fest, as well as the cultural delights of Central Serbia. Spend a night at the beautiful Orthodox monastery and UNESCO heritage site of Studenica, wander the surreal landscape of Devil's Town and explore the eerie Skull Tower of Nis. Inhale the crisp mountain air of Kopaonik National Park and experience the warm welcome of the Serbian people.

DATES

  • 07 Aug 2017 to 14 Aug 2017

If these dates do not suit you but you are interested in this tour, please contact us for alternative dates.

HIGHLIGHTS

Visit the Guca trumpet festival

Overnight in Studenica monastery

Explore Kopaonik National Park

Bizarre landscapes of Devil’s Town

Discover the ghoulish Niš Skull Tower

Ghoulish Skull Tower

Live it up at Belgrade's Beer Fest

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Airport pick-up & drop-off
Ground transport
Accommodation
Entrance fees to sites
Breakfasts and some meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
Drivers and guides

PLACES VISITED

Belgrade - Guca - Studenica monastery - The Monastery of Sopocani - Novi Pazar - Prolom Banja - Niš - Devil’s Town - Mediana - Topola
Belgrade
Guca
Studenica monastery
The Monastery of Sopocani
Novi Pazar
Prolom Banja
Niš
Devil’s Town
Mediana
Topola

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ACCOMMODATION



Contact us for a full accommodation list.

ITINERARY

Day 1 : Belgrade
Arrive into Belgrade airport. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Belgrade.

Day 2 : Guca
Visit Guca trumpet festival. Overnight in Guca.

Day 3 : Sopocani - Novi Pazar - Studenica
Visit Sopocani monastery, Novi Pazar and Studenica monastery. Overnight in Studenica.

Day 4 : Kopaonik - Prolom Banja
Visit Kopaonik. Continue to Prolom Banja for overnight.

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ITINERARY

Short | Detailed | PDF

Day 1 : Belgrade

Arrive into Belgrade airport. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Belgrade.

Arrive into Belgrade airport, where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Belgrade.

Meal plan : n/a


Day 2 : Guca

Visit Guca trumpet festival. Overnight in Guca.

After breakfast we leave Belgrade to drive south-west to the small village of Guca (pronounced "Gucha") where we will visit the most famous folk festival in Serbia. At 3pm we will attend a concert of the winner of the Festival of Trumpeters in front of the House of Culture. Overnight in Guca.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


The village of Guca in the Dragacevo district, a peaceful and colourful part of western Serbia, has gained world fame owing to its Assembly of Trumpet Players, the largest trumpet event on the planet. The love of the people of Dragacevo for music, especially for the trumpet, began under the rule of Prince Milos Obrenovic, who ordered the formation of the first military band in 1831. From then until now the trumpet has reigned here uninterrupted while woodwind instruments, in keeping with the customs, warm the soul of its population. The sound of the trumpet traditionally accompanies every major event in Serbia's rural and small-town life: births, baptisms, weddings, family patron saint days, farewell parties for those joining military service, state and church festivals, harvesting, reaping, and also departing this world. Appropriate music is played on each occasion, thus preserving the spirit of the existing tradition. The music is very diverse: from indigenous melodies and kolo (a quick-rhythm chain dance), marches and characteristic southern Serbia cocek dances, to more contemporary songs, but always taking care to honour old harmonies. This music has won over the hearts of not only the local population, but also visitors to the area. 

Day 3 : Sopocani - Novi Pazar - Studenica

Visit Sopocani monastery, Novi Pazar and Studenica monastery. Overnight in Studenica.

After breakfast we will take a scenic route through the mountains to visit Sopoćani monastery. We continue and stop for coffee and a short walk through Novi Pazar. We continue to Studenica monastery for a visit and overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Studenica monastery, a UNESCO Heritage site, was founded by Stefan Nemanja, the Grand Prince of Serbia from 1166 to 1196, and one of the most famous and beloved figures in Serbian history. It is considered to be the crowning achievement of medieval culture and art in Serbia. The monastic complex consists of the fascinating Church of the Virgin (1183 - 1196), the Church of SS Joachim and Anne (also known as the King's Church) and the Church of St. Nicholas, a simple single-nave building. The monastery circle contains monuments constructed over a period of 130 years, and several Serbian rulers had a hand in their construction. At the start of this period, the young Serbian feudal state under Stefan Nemanja was consolidating its independence, and by King Milutin's reign it had reached the height of its political, cultural and economic power. The strengthening of the medieval state and of its ruler's might is naturally reflected in these monuments.

The Monastery of Sopocani was built in 1260 by King Uros I as the resting place for the ashes of his parents and his own tomb is now in its vault too. Its mural paintings rank among the most magnificent and beautiful in European medieval art. The monumentality of Sopocani frescos, the harmony of colours, and the refinement of expression were all responsible for it being granted a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The unique quality of these compositions, mostly from the 13th century, testifies to the vitality of Byzantine art at a time when Constantinople was in the hands of the Crusaders. 

Novi Pazar is one of the few Muslim-dominated towns in Serbia today. Minarets puncture the skyline and the call to prayer bellows from a multitude of directions five times a day. Groups of men huddle in the numerous coffee shops that line the town's streets, and women are conspicuous by their relative absence. The town itself boasts a 15th Century Turkish fortress, a beautiful 16th Century mosque and 15th Century Turkish baths as well as the bizarre communist-era architecture of Hotel Vrbak, which has to be seen to be believed. 

Day 4 : Kopaonik - Prolom Banja

Visit Kopaonik. Continue to Prolom Banja for overnight.

After breakfast, we will drive along the scenic valley of the river Ibar and then we will ascend to the top of Mount Kopaonik. We will have some free time at the top before coming down on the other side of the mountain to Prolom Banja. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Prolom Banja.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Among Serbian mountains, Mount Kopaonik is unrivalled in its natural beauty and mineral wealth. It is also a National Park extremely rich in its variety of rare species of flora and fauna including wolf, deer, foxes, and hares. Its birds include rock partridge, scops owl, red-backed shrike, wood lark, horned owl, falcon, partridge, eagle, and red crossbill. Deciduous forests and native coniferous woodland make up most of the forested land in the park. 

The Prolom Banja (meaning "spa") is located in the south of Serbia, on the wooded slopes of Radan Mountain. It is primarily known for its natural Prolom water, one of a rare group of waters with a high balneological value. Prolom spa has several springs of thermal mineral water, with temperatures ranging from 26 to 31.5 degrees Celsius. Prolom water has a pleasant taste and no smell, so it is also recommended to healthy people as drinking water of an exceptional quality. It is believed to help treatment of kidney and urinary tract diseases, digestive tract diseases, skin diseases, peripheral blood vessels diseases and extra-articular rheumatism. 

Day 5 : Devil's Town - Nis

Visit Devil's Town, then continue to Nis to visit Mediana, the Fortress and Skull tower. Overnight in Nis.

After breakfast we drive to Devil's Town for a visit. We continue to Nis to visit Mediana, Nis fortress and the famous Skull Tower. Overnight in Nis.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Niš is the second largest town in Serbia and is most famous as the birthplace of Constantine the Great. It is situated in the Nišava valley, near the spot where it joins the Južna Morava River. This is one of the most important Balkan and European traffic lines along which people, goods and armies moved. Known as the 'Via Militaris' in Roman and Byzantine periods and the 'Constantinople road' in the Middle Ages and the period of Turkish rule, these roads still represent major European traffic arteries. Niš is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans, and has been considered a gateway between the East and the West since ancient times. There is abundant archaeological evidence that Niš was inhabited even in prehistoric times. The city was named after the Nišava River, which was called Navissos by the Celtic inhabitants of the town. Each new conqueror gave the town a new name: Roman Naissus, Byzantine Nysos, Slovene Niš, or German Nissa.

Devil’s Town ('Davolja Varos' in Serbian) is a unique geographical phenomenon. Nominated as a UNESCO natural heritage site, the area consists of bizarre rock formations where water erosion has left cone-like pyramid structures of reddish rock, capped with a mysterious 'black hat' stone that can weigh over 100kg in some instances. Pyramids are continuously formed and destroyed, leading locals to believe that this is the result of devils fighting each other for power. Local legend has us believe that the eerie sound of the wind whistling between the pyramids is that of the devils trying to communicate. Devil's Town also boasts two springs of extremely acidic water (pH 1.5) with a very high mineral content (15 g/l). The content of some minerals is a thousand times as high as in ordinary drinking water. Davolja Varos is a true wonder of nature.  
 


Mediana is a royal property with a luxurious residence in the suburb of old Niš, known as Naissus. Constantine the Great (280 - 337 AD) was born and raised in Naissus. He ruled the Eastern Roman Empire from 306 to 337 and he consolidated the frontiers of the Empire by imposing a firm organization on the army and the civil administration. As a powerful emperor, Constantine did not forget his birthplace. He erected a majestic residence in one of the luxurious suburbs of ancient Niš in Mediana, where he often resided and attended to state affairs. Historical records testify it was in Naissus that he passed several laws in the years 315 through 334.

The history of the Skull Tower of Niš: At the beginning of the 19th century, during the Second Serbian Uprising, it was crucial that the Serbian state liberate Nis from the Turks. The battle lasted the whole day and the Turks eventually overran the main trench on Čegar Hill after this fierce fighting. The Serbian General, Steven Sindelic, realising he was on the point of defeat, blew himself up alongside 3,000 Serbian soldiers and about 6,000 Turkish soldiers. The Turks built the grisly Skull Tower ("Cele Kula" in Serbian) with four walls - each containing eleven rows of seven Serbian skulls - as a warning against further Serbian resistance. Many of the skulls were removed - at great danger - by Serbian families and buried, but many remain there to this day. In 1892, a chapel was built over the skulls, which now protects the 58 remaining skulls.

Niš Fortress is a complex and very important cultural and historical monument that dominates the urban nucleus of the city. The existing fortification is of Turkish origin, dating back from the first decades of the 18th century. It is known as one of the most significant and best preserved monuments of its kind in the Balkans. 

Day 6 : Topola - Oplenac - Belgrade

Drive to Topola for a visit of the town and the royal tombs of Oplenac. Continue to Belgrade. Spend the evening at the famous Beer Fest. Overnight in Belgrade.

After breakfast we drive to Topola to visit the town and the Royal tombs at Oplenac. Later we return to Belgrade to visit the beerfest. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Belgrade.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Topola sits in  the hilly Šumadija region,  the heart of central Serbia known as the cradle of Serbian uprisings against Ottoman rule in the 19th century. It boasts the Residence of Karadjordje (now a museum dedicated to the leader of the First Serbian Uprising); the Church of Our Lady, built by Karadjordje (1811-1813); and two stone towers which are left from what was once a mighty fortification. Nearby is St. George Church, built after WWI by the King of Serbia, Petar I, on top of Oplenac. This church is unique among all the monuments in Serbia, with columns made of marble, an iconostasis of local marble and stunning mosaics covering almost 3,500 sq. meters, which include 725 scenes and 1,500 human figures that chart the history and the extent of Orthodox Christianity in Serbia. 

Belgrade Beer Fest is an annual festival of beer in Belgrade, Serbia. Started in 2003, the festival is held annually over 4 to 5 days as a showcase event for various beer producers. In addition to domestic and foreign brews, the festival features live music performances each evening. It has quickly grown in size and popularity: in 2004, it attracted over 75,000 foreign visitors to Belgrade and in 2005 it was the second most visited festival in Serbia with 300,000 visitors. In 2010 the festival attracted about 900,000 visitors. 

Day 7 : Belgrade

City tour of Belgrade including Republic Square, Knez Mihajlova Street, Kalemegdan Fortress and more. Optional visit to the Beerfast. Overnight in hotel Belgrade.

City tour of Belgrade including Republic Square, Knez Mihajlova Street, Kalemegdan Fortress and more. Optional visit to the Beerfast. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Belgrade.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Belgrade has been the capital of Serbia since 1403, when Despot Stefan, son of Prince Lazar, moved his palace here. Walk through the elegant Republic Square and pay attention to its architectural monuments, such as the National Theatre and the National Museum. Stroll along Knez Mihajlova Street, the main shopping street and meeting place, to see a few other masterpieces of Belgrade architecture. 

The Fortress of Kalemegdan, which is the symbol of Belgrade, is where the River Sava flows into the Danube. The Upper fortress area includes well-preserved artillery structures dating from the 18th century, as well as a medieval fortification - an acropolis with original or partly reconstructed ramparts, gateways, towers and the excavated ruins of a 15th century castle. A few Turkish monuments and some ancient Roman remains also lie in this area. In this section of the fortification complex you’ll see the elegant 18th century Baroque Clock Tower and the Roman Well. The Eastern Ward features the Rose Church of Our Lady, along with a panoramic view of the Lower fortress and its monuments - the Nebojsa Tower, the Baroque Gate of Karl VI and the remains of the medieval metropolitan palace.

Day 8 : Belgrade - Departure

Transfer to Belgrade airport for return flight.

After breakfast transfer to Belgrade airport for your return flight.

Meal plan : Breakfast


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