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Festivals of Serbia

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

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.

Highlights

· Visit the Guca trumpet festival
· Overnight in Studenica monastery

· Marvel at the bizarre terrain of Devil`s Town

· Discover the ghoulish Nis Skull Tower

· Live it up at Belgrade`s Beer Fest

· Explore Kopaonik National Park

Intro

· 09-Aug-2014 - 16-Aug-2014

· 08-Aug-2015 - 15-Aug-2015

For alternate dates or private trips please contact us

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Other tours Accommodation

This tour uses a selection of hand picked accommodation ranging from confortable, historic three star hotels to really unique accommodation such as the Studenica Monastery.

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Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive into Belgrade airport. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Belgrade. Meal plan: n/a

Day 2

Visit Guca trumpet festival. Overnight in Guca. Meal plan: B, D

Day 3

Visit Sopocani monastery, Novi Pazar and Studenica monastery. Overnight in Studenica. Meal plan: B, D

Day 4

Visit Kopaonik. Continue to Prolom Banja for overnight. Meal plan: B

Day 5

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


For full itinerary, click on one of the links below

Itinerary

Day 1

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

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: B, D

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

After breakfast we will take a scenic route through the mountains to visit Sopocani 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: B, D

Sopoćani monastery is one of the most treasured sacred buildings of the Nemanjić era in Serbia. It is an endowment of King Uros of the 13th century, and its mural paintings rank among the most magnificent and beautiful in European medieval art. The monumentality of Sopoćani 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.

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.

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.

Day 4

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: B

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.

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

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

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”, a stone that can weigh over 100kg in some instances. Pyramids are continuously formed and destroyed, leading locals to believe that this was 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) - content of some minerals is a thousand times as high as in ordinary drinking water. Davolja Varos is a true wonder of nature.

Nis is the second largest town in Serbia. This city is most famous as the birthplace of Constantine the Great. It is situated in the Nisava valley, near the spot where it joins the Juzna Morava River, one of the most important Balkan and European traffic lines along which peoples, 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. Nis is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans, and has from ancient times been considered a gateway between the East and the West. There is abundant archaeological evidence that Nis was inhabited even in prehistoric times. The city was named after the Nisava 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 Nis, or German Nissa.

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.

At the beginning of the 19th century it was crucial that the Serbian state liberate Nis from the Turks. In 1809, the strong Serbian insurrection army of 16,000 soldiers, created six trenches for defense near Niš. The Turks attacked the main trench on Cegar Hill. The battle lasted the whole day. As one witness stated, "the Turks attacked five times, and the Serbs managed to repulse them five times. Each time their losses were great. Some of the Turks attacked, and some of them went ahead, and thus when they attacked for the sixth time they filled the trenches with their dead so that the living could proceed over their dead bodies and they began to fight against the Serbs with their rifles, cutting their enemies with their sabres and knives”. The Turks eventually overran the main trench on Cegar Hill after this fierce fighting. The Serbian General, Steven Sindelic, realising he was on the point of defeat blew himself up, alongside three thousand Serbian soldiers and about six thousand 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 fifty eight 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 from the first decades of the 18th century. It is known as one of the most significant and best preserved monuments of this kind in the Balkans.

Day 6

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: B

Topola sits in the heart of central Serbia, the hilly Sumadija region, 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. A short drive away 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.

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

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: B

Belgrade has been the capital of Serbia since 1403, when Despot Stefan, son of Tsar Lazar, moved his palace here. The elegant Republic Square boasts architectonic monuments such as the National Theatre and the National Museum. Knez Mihajlova Street is the main shopping and meeting place, and contains a few other masterpieces of Belgrade's architecture such as the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and nearby in a 19th century quarter you will find the 'Question mark sign' Inn, Princess Ljubica's Residence (now housing a permanent exhibition of original furniture), the Patriarchy and the Orthodox Cathedral.

Kalemegdan Fortress is situated City tour of Belgrade including Republic Square, Knez Mihajlova Street, Kalemegdan Fortress and more. Optional visit to the Beerfast. Overnight in hotel Belgrade. Meal plan: B Belgrade has been the capital of Serbia since 1403, when Despot Stefan, son of Tsar Lazar, moved his palace here. The elegant Republic Square boasts architectonic monuments such as the National Theatre and the National Museum. Knez Mihajlova Street is the main shopping and meeting place, and contains a few other masterpieces of Belgrade's architecture such as the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and nearby in a 19th century quarter you will find the 'Question mark sign' Inn, Princess Ljubica's Residence (now housing a permanent exhibition of original furniture), the Patriarchy and the Orthodox Cathedral. Kalemegdan Fortress is situated at the confluence of the mighty Danube and Sava rivers. The Upper fortress area includes well-preserved artillery structures dating from the mid-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 older, ancient Roman remains also lie in this area. In this section of the fortification complex we will see the elegant 18th century Baroque Clock Tower and the Roman Well. The Eastern Ward includes 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

After breakfast transfer to Belgrade airport for your return flight. Meal plan: B

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive into Belgrade airport. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Belgrade. Meal plan: n/a

Day 2

Visit Guca trumpet festival. Overnight in Guca. Meal plan: B, D

Day 3

Visit Sopocani monastery, Novi Pazar and Studenica monastery. Overnight in Studenica. Meal plan: B, D

Day 4

Visit Kopaonik. Continue to Prolom Banja for overnight. Meal plan: B

Day 5

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

Day 6

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. Meal plan: B

Day 7

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

Day 8

Transfer to Belgrade airport for return flight. Meal plan: B

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
  • Climate Care contribution
  • accommodation_img

    This tour uses a selection of hand picked accommodation ranging from confortable, historic three star hotels to really unique accommodation such as the Studenica Monastery.

    Places Visited
    • Belgrade
    • Guca
    • Zlatibor
    • Studenica
    • Prolom Banja
    • Nis
    • Devils Town
    • Topola
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