EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Serbia

RyanAir Nis to Berlin Flight Experience

If you are looking to visit Serbia and flying on a budget and vice versa (going to Germany) you might consider Ryan Air’s line between the two cities. This was…

If you are looking to visit Serbia and flying on a budget and vice versa (going to Germany) you might consider Ryan Air’s line between the two cities.

This was also my first RyanAir experience as they’ve started their operation in Serbia just recently. I was really curious about this flight as the customer reviews about RyanAir are really low and I wanted to compare them to WizzAir.

I’ve booked the ticket two months earlier and got it for 30 EUR both way. Bargain! 🙂 But I’ve heard people paid even less than this. All you have to do is play with the dates.

Hopefully you’ll find my Ryanair Nis experience useful when planning your trip.

Check In Process

First of all, make sure you print and bring your boarding pass with you! If you forget it you’ll pay 15 EUR for the reissue. If you forget to check in online, the airport check in fee is 45 EUR.

During the check in process you’ll be asked if you want to pick a seat or have it randomly selected for you. The standard seat selection costs 8 EUR per flight. I’ve let RyanAir pick a seat for me randomly and I got one in fourth row. Seats from the 2nd to 5th row are actually priority seats and they cost 13 EUR per flight if you decide to reserve one. This isn’t that bad as it will allow you to leave the plane quicker.

If you buy the seat you can check in 30 days prior to departure. If you want it automatically assigned you can check in from 7 days to 2 hours before departure.

Before finalizing the check in process make sure that no extra things were added that you’d be charged for.

How To Get from Belgrade to Nis

There are a couple of ways to get to Nis.

First of all I advise you to check the website of the Belgrade Bus station and their timetable. This will help during the planning process and while matching the right bus. I’ve used Nis Express many times on this route and while they’re not the most comfortable option they get the job done. The tickets are cheap and they have the biggest number of departures (23 daily), which was the key reason to choosing them.

Another option I know of is a shuttle bus company offering transfer between two cities. I’ve never used them but they are listed on the website of Nis Airport. I’m listing them as an alternative but if you have any experiences with this company feel free to leave a comment describing your impressions. The price of one way ticket for the date I picked was 2460 RSD. In comparison return ticket with Nis Express is 1400 RSD.

From the bus station you can go the airport with a bus 34B or get a taxi which is very cheap.

Nis Constantine the Great Airport

This is a very small airport with just one terminal building. Check-in counters are located here. If you have a printed boarding pass and a carry on luggage you don’t need to go to the bag drop counter. I use Cabin Max Metz backpack when flying with low-cost carriers. You can check my full review of the bag here.

Now, I want to emphasize something when it comes to passport control to which many people don’t pay attention to. I advise you to get travel insurance. They’ve almost didn’t let a girl board a flight because she didn’t have it. I’ve been asked about this in a small number of occasions but you never know when it might happen. It’s not mandatory but officials of any country can ask for other supporting documents.

The boarding gate is small and crammed with many people. There’s a small duty free shop here.

If you arrive to the airport early you can waste time at the airport’s restaurant  which is the only option you have here. The airport’s restaurant is very cheap so I’d suggest having a snack before boarding the plane – because there are no meals included at RyanAir’s flight. It’s located before security. There are no other shops at the airport and nothing fun to do around.

Service

The flight departed around 1 hour later but this is typical for low-cost carriers. Note that if you experience a two-hour delay you can apply for a refund or change your delayed flight for free.

The seats are not the most comfortable ones but they are okay for a 2 or a 3-hour flight.

You’ll see advertisements everywhere. Their inflight magazine doesn’t have any interesting articles, it’s all ads! Besides food and beverage, flight attendants will try to sell you perfumes, watches and other merchandise.

The food on board is not free so be ready to pay as I previously mentioned or get something at the airport.

Summary

RyanAir does the job of taking you where you want to go for a very cheap price. This reflects the service, the number of ads, punctuality etc. Considering that you’d be using RyanAir for short flights this should be easy to deal with. Just pay special attention to all the extra fees.

Other Flights

At the moment the only two airlines flying from Nis airport are WizzAir and RyanAir. You can check destinations and their timetable here.

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How to Travel from Belgrade to Sofia

This guide will show you how to travel from Belgrade to Sofia. The distance between two cities is 393 km so it is easily manageable by bus or a car….

This guide will show you how to travel from Belgrade to Sofia. The distance between two cities is 393 km so it is easily manageable by bus or a car. However, here are all the options.

By Car

If you are traveling by car and perhaps touring the Balkan countries, this is one of the quickest ways to access Sofia. If it’s summer the waiting time on the border could be prolonged as many people are going to a holiday to the Bulgarian Coast or Turkey. The journey lasts around 4 hours and 30 minutes.

By Plane

Air Serbia operates a flight between the two cities, however this is mostly a business line and the tickets are expensive for the budget savvy travelers. Check out Air Serbia’s website for more detailed info.



By Bus

If you are looking on how to travel from Belgrade to Sofia by bus I’ll list 3 companies who operate on this route.This is one of the cheapest and quickest options and most travelers opt for this transportation method.

Nis Express

They have daily service, two times a day. The bus departures Belgrade at 00:45 and 12:30. The price of the return ticket is 40 EUR and if you are a student 32 EUR. You need to show a student card.  This is like 150 EUR (sometimes even more) cheaper than a plane.

The only downside is that you need to change a bus in Nis. Once you arrive there you have to proceed to the info counter and show your passport and ticket for the next bus that goes to Sofia.

Florentia

This bus leaves once a day at 03:30. It’s a direct line with no stops in between. You can check the prices online and even book the ticket.

Lasta + Karat S

This line runs only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the departure at 14:30 from Belgrade.

By train

Trains in Serbia and the Balkans in general can be unreliable and very slow. The one way ticket from Belgrade to Sofia is 20 EUR and the journey lasts 9 hours and 40 minutes. However, the train is often late. If you travel with a company you could get a sleeper car but I don’t recommend traveling alone on a night train if you are a solo female traveler. You can check the timetable here.

You can check out the official websites and see which option is the best for you!

 

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Belgrade to Budapest by train with Budapest Special

Serbian Railways offers ‘Budapest special’ promo tickets for journey between Belgrade and Budapest for only 26 EUR. One way ticket is 15 EUR. It’s not possible to buy tickets online…

Serbian Railways offers ‘Budapest special’ promo tickets for journey between Belgrade and Budapest for only 26 EUR. One way ticket is 15 EUR. It’s not possible to buy tickets online via Serbian Railways website. MAV which is a Hungarian State Railway offers booking via internet but you need to collect your ticket at any of the ticket collection points at the railway station. Home printing is not possible so if you arrive without a collected ticket you’ll need to buy a new one.

However, you can buy tickets directly at the station, even before the start of the journey as usually there are no shortage of tickets. Making a reservation is a good idea if you want to travel during holidays such as New Year’s Eve or during the time of some festivals. These promo tickets are valid for 2nd class only.

There are three daily departures from Belgrade to Budapest, at 07:36, 11:35 and 21:50. The departures from Budapest are following: at 08:05, 12,05 and 22:25. The full timetable can be seen here. You need to type BEOGRAD instead of Belgrade.

Belgrade to Budapest by train

I departed from Belgrade at 7:20 in the morning. The passenger car was part of MAV – Hungarian State Railway. The seats were okay considering this is 2nd class. There were many empty seats, just around 10 people in my passenger car. The train has a restaurant and two power outlets per car. You can’t use it for a laptop but it’s good for charging your phone. Power outlets are at the beginning and the end of the car if you wanna catch those seats 😉

Belgrade to Budapest by train - MAV passenger car

MAV passenger car

Belgrade to Budapest by train - MAV car

Almost broken power outlet

Belgrade to Budapest by train

The train has WiFi but it only works on the Hungarian territory. Actually it barely works on it too as the signal disappears often. And it only works up to 4 hours.

Arrival to Subotica is around 11:20am and the first passport check is here. The journey continues at 12:50.  It takes two hours for passport check at the both sides. Hungarians are really strict especially because of the current situation with immigrants.

Budapest to Belgrade by train

Ivo Andric train leaves Budapest at 08:05. This passenger car is owned by Serbian Railways. The carriages are old but the seats are more comfortable. Again the car was almost empty but a lot of people entered in Novi Sad. This car has power outlets by every window. No WiFi  and restaurant here. If you are traveling from Budapest to Belgrade ‘Avala Train’ which leaves at 12:05 could be a better solution. This one is operated by MAV.

Budapest to Belgrade by train

Yes, that’s someone’s foot in the back 😀

Safety

Stay alert if you are traveling alone and keep an eye on your valuables. People get on and off on this train quite often so being alert is more than recommended, as the cases of small theft used to happen quite often.

Any questions or comments, feel free to write below.

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How to buy a Sim Card in Serbia

Whether you’re planning a city break to Belgrade, a visit to Exit Festival or vacation at the mountains or spas having a SIM card is always useful. If you’d like…

Whether you’re planning a city break to Belgrade, a visit to Exit Festival or vacation at the mountains or spas having a SIM card is always useful.

If you’d like to buy a SIM card in Serbia here are a few things you need to know.

Companies

There are 3 most popular mobile network operators in Serbia. These are MTS, Telenor and VIP.

When it comes to the signal, all 3 brands cover more than 90% of Serbia’s territory and they offer 4G mobile network.

In my opinion, Telenor has the most interesting packages, while VIP offers more convenient packages for new users. Note that this applies if you’d like to sign up for a contract. If you’re buying a SIM card that you will use for only a couple of days the difference is not huge at all, which you can read more about below.

How

Buying a SIM card is easy. They can be bought at any kiosk, store or at the official stores of the mentioned brands. I recommend you buy it at the official store because the kiosks sell regular sized SIM card which won’t work with most new phones. You’d need to trim the card to make it micro. Of course this can be a hassle hence I recommend the official store. Offical stores have Multi SIM card which means you get standard, micro and nano card in one package. If you need the card immediately after you land you can buy one easily at any store at the airport. You don’t need a passport or an ID in order to buy a prepaid SIM card.

Costs

These are the prices;

MTS: 300 RSD; initial credit 25 RSD

MTS now also has a special offer for tourists. These are Super Tourist and Tourist SIM card. With Super Tourist SIM card you get 10 GB of internet, 30 minutes for international calls and 120 minutes of mts mobile network calls. The price of this package is 1,800 RSD (15$). Tourist SIM card gives you 3x24h of 4G mobile internet. The price of this package is 600 RSD (5$). Note that some of these options expire after 7 days. You can learn more about this offer by clicking here. WiFi is widespread in Belgrade’s coffee shops and restaurants so if you don’t plan to do a lot of instagramming or to make calls you’ll probably be okay with just a regular sim card too.

Telenor: 200 RSD; initial credit 25 RSD

VIP: 200 RSD; free calls in VIP mobile network for 7 days; 2 GB of internet for 7 days

That’s a pretty sweet deal. But VIP also offers a Visitor SIM which is a great option if you’ll be using internet a lot. For 990 RSD you will get 5GB of Internet and unlimited internet data for Viber. This deal lasts 14 days. You can also make calls with this card but you’ll need to refill it separately for that matter.

I hope this will help you in your selection 😉

Topping up

This is easy. You can top the card from any kiosk or store. You just need to state how much money you’d like to add and give the phone number. Note that this will only be possible if you have a regular sim card. The minimum amount you can add is 200 RSD. If you will get any of the special offers mentioned above or if you’d like to buy extra internet etc. head to the offical store.

You can also top the card with your credit/debit card through their online shops.

Coverage and data speeds

All three brands have a very good coverage and you won’t have any problems unless you are somewhere very close to the border and the signal might be a little bit messy. Using the online shop you can buy internet data and other extra options. Overall, getting a sim card in Serbia is good value for the money.

I hope this post will help you buy a sim card in Serbia. Do you have any questions I could answer? Feel free to comment below.

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Explore #MySerbia

This month I was invited by the National Tourism Board of Serbia to take part in a press trip which aims to promote the campaign called #MySerbia. I’ll also be…

This month I was invited by the National Tourism Board of Serbia to take part in a press trip which aims to promote the campaign called #MySerbia. I’ll also be joined by several other domestic and foreign bloggers. They are: Rob Lloyd of Stop Having a Boring Life, Melvin Bocher of Travel Dudes, Becki Enright of Borders of Adventure, Kash Bhattacharya of Budget Traveller, Milos Petrovic (Milos Blog), Uros Nedeljkovic (Neblog),  Thiago Ferreira (Bem-vindo a Serbia). You can find more info on the official website of the campaign.

Bloggers will be divided into two groups and my group will visit attractions in Eastern Serbia, Vojvodina, as well as major cities such as Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis.

The main theme of this trip will be devoted to an active holiday in nature and through the hashtag #MySerbia we’ll try to promote the beauty of the country through many photos.

Activities will include hiking, paragliding, kayaking but also tasting wine and learning more about the cultural offer of Serbia.

I invite you to take active part in the campaign by using the hashtag #MySerbia and sharing your favorite photos of Serbia along with your recommendations. Bloggers will pick four interesting suggestions and the National Tourism Board of Serbia will sponsor a weekend trip for two for a destination of your choice.

Lonely Planet has placed Serbia among their top 10 countries to visit in 2015 and this campaign is just one in a series that aims to promote the country.

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Hiking Serbia’s Dry Mountain

Serbia has some great mountains but one in particular seems to be very underrated. Suva Planina (meaning the Dry Mountain) is especially beautiful but still not enough known among travelers….

Serbia has some great mountains but one in particular seems to be very underrated. Suva Planina (meaning the Dry Mountain) is especially beautiful but still not enough known among travelers.

One of the reasons why this place hasn’t grown into a famous tourist attraction is poor infrastructure, so you’ll need to arm yourself with a lot of patience if you decide to explore it. However, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views and solitude.

This area is a popular excursion destination for the citizens of Nis, Serbia’s third largest city. But for people who love hiking Dry mountain offers well-marked trails to the peaks.

The highest peak is Trem (meaning porch) at 1,810 m. Other peaks that also deserve attention are Mosor (this one is especially popular among climbers) and Sokolov kamen.

One thing I suggest you do during your planning process is check the weather forecast for the mountain. Great website for that is Mountain Forecast.

Suva planina Serbia, Dry mountain Serbia

Suva planina Serbia

Suva planina Serbia 2, Dry mountain

Suva planina Serbia 3, Dry mountain

Suva planina Serbia 5, Dry mountain

How to get there

There’s a daily service from Nis to Gornja Studena which is a village at the bottom of the mountain. Unfortunately, from there to the mountain hut “Bojanine vode” you’ll need to walk 5 km as the bus doesn’t go all the way up. You can easily hitch a ride though and some people will probably offer to take you there which will save you a lot of time. I had a bumpy ride on a tractor from the village to the hut! 🙂 The trails to the peaks basically start from here and you can opt between three or four great ones.

Suva planina Serbia 4, Dry mountain

On the way to Trem

Where to stay

You can stay in Nis which is 17 km away from the mountain or Niska Banja which is a little bit closer. Niska Banja is basically a spa of Nis and it’s a famous health center in the country. It’s popular among athletes and it has a new modern wellness center. The nearby area also offers great opportunities for active holidays. You can read more in this travel guide to Nis.

 

 

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