Belgrade Travel Information
Local time is GMT +2 (March to September); GMT +1 (October to February).
Electrical current is 220/230 volts, 50Hz. Two-prong round pin attachment plugs as well as Schuko plugs are in use.
Serbian is the official language.
Recommended vaccinations for visitors to Serbia are Hepatitis A and typhoid (except for very short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels). A reciprocal health care agreement entitles British nationals to free emergency treatment in Serbia, but comprehensive travel health insurance is strongly recommended for all visitors because of the very basic level of medical facilities. Cases of rabid foxes and dogs have been reported in parks and the outskirts of major cities. Tap water and unbottled beverages should not be consumed, and food should be well prepared and well cooked. In the countryside precautions should be taken against tick infestation.
Tipping is not obligatory in Serbian restaurants, but if you are satisfied with the service then leave a 10 to 15% tip. At bars and with taxis leave a tip by rounding off the amount.
Political tensions in Serbia have risen sharply since July 2011, meaning unrest in areas like Kosovo and Belgrade is likely. Travellers are advised to keep informed of current events and avoid large gatherings. Those travelling to the south and UN-administered Kosovo are advised to check the local situation before departing. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, a move that has been recognised by almost 40 countries including the US and most of the EU, but has been opposed by Serbia as an 'illegal act'. Street crime is common in the larger cities so it is wise to take sensible precautions with valuables.
It is inadvisable to take photographs of any military or police buildings or operations in Serbia or Kosovo. Homosexuality is tolerated but open displays of affection between same-sex couples are frowned upon. Visitors should carry their passports at all times for identification purposes.
Serbian business people and entrepreneurs are westernised in their approach and dealings with visitors. Keep in mind that operations can go slowly due to cumbersome bureaucracy. Most Serbian businessmen speak English so it is not always necessary to hire a translator or translate business card. July and August are summer holidays and it is difficult to reach senior management during this period. Business hours are 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
The international direct dialling code for Serbia is +381. The international code for dialling out of Serbia is 00 followed by the relevant country code (0044 for the United Kingdom). There are local area codes in use e.g. (0)11 for Belgrade. There are GSM 900/1800 mobile networks available with good coverage in the cities, weaker in the southern areas of the country. Internet cafes are available in the main cities and towns.
Visitors entering Serbia may bring the following goods without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; 1 litre of alcohol; a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use; two still cameras, one movie camera and one video camera; sporting, camping and electronic equipment for personal use (one item of each); and personal clothing and jewellery.
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