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Leave the bustling city behind and head to a Serbian village for fresh air, comfort, rest and fine food.
The countryside has a range of accommodation for visitors, from the modern to the traditional. While the details vary by region, you can usually guarantee that the roosters will crow in the morning, the water will be freezing cold, and there will be fresh milk on the breakfast table.
A popular village for tourists, Sirogojno is about 200 kilometres from Belgrade on the slopes of Zlatibor mountain.
Its traditionally furnished wooden houses, equipped with historic implements, attempt to show what life was like in a 19th century Serbian village.
The village has been a museum since 1980, and looks as if it is stuck in a time warp. But given that it attracts some 100,000 visitors every year, it’s probably not the best place for some peace and quiet.
Drinska kuca (Drina’s house)
While Sirogojno offers a window into the rural past, Drinkska kuca is ideal for those who want to escape the city but can’t quite let go of the present.
The modernised village house is about 175 kilometres from Belgrade, near Bajina Basta. It is luxuriously kitted out with a sauna and jacuzzi and has four bedrooms that can host up to eight people.
And if you prefer to have earned your rest beside the beautiful fireplace, then the great outdoors of Lake Perucac and the Drina canyon are only a few kilometres away.
Near the town of Mionica about 90 kilometres west of Belgrade, the farmhouse at Gostoljublje village produces healthy, organic food and welcomes guests who are willing to get their hands dirty.
Visitors are free to help out on the farm or cook its produce. Of course, this is not obligatory and those who simply wish to put their feet up are also welcomed.
Accommodation is provided in the main house and in six “vajat” buildings – traditional wooden houses from the 19th century.
The decor is suitably old fashioned, with rugs and antique details. But modern comforts have not been neglected – each vajat has its TV and DVD player.
Perkov salas (Perko’s salas)
The salas is the name of the traditional Vojvodina farmstead. Some are more than 100 years old. If their owners have been careful, they function as unofficial museums.
Perkov salas – in Fruska Gora, about 90 kilometres north of Belgrade – is just such a place. Its owners, Uncle Nikola and Aunt Milica, have built a collection of antiques, from old photographs and furniture to tools such as the ox-cart and plough.
While the food is generally excellent in most villages that are accustomed to tourists, Perkov salas is particularly popular for its traditional Vojvodina cuisine and the hospitality of its owners.
Salas 137 is on the outskirts of Novi Sad, about an hour’s drive from Belgrade. The household offers 13 bedrooms decorated in the simple, old German style, without the fussy detail and bright colours of most village homes.
The main attraction is a stable, run by the owners. Guests are invited to take the horses for a trot or sign up for riding lessons. Instruction is also provided in golf and the use of a bow and arrow. The premises have football, volleyball and badminton courts.
Make sure you reserve your place before travelling to the restaurant, as it is popular among fans of Vojvodina’s traditional food and music.
This “village” was purpose-built for tourism in 2007, at a manmade lake near the Velika Plana, some 90 kilometres south of Belgrade.
Accommodation is provided in old, abandoned houses from all over Serbia that have been reassembled and restored at the site.
Most of the cottages are fully equipped for the needs of the modern tourist. However, one of them has been preserved as a typical 19th century rural home.
The banks of the artificial lake has restaurants offering traditional cuisine, where guests are served by waitresses dressed in historic Serbian costume.
The man-made islands on the lake have shops that offer homemade cakes and freshly ground and roasted coffee.
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