Slavs are members of the most numerous ethnic and linguistic bodies of peoples in Europe, residing mostly in eastern and southeastern Europe but extending also across northern Asia to the Pacific Ocean. Slavic languages belong to the Indo-European family. Slavs are subdivided into East Slavs ( Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians), West Slavs ( Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and Wends, or Sorbs), and South Slavs ( Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Slovenes, Macedonians, and Montenegrins). Bulgarians, though of mixed origin like the Hungarians, speak a Slavic language and are often designated as South Slavs. From the early 6th century they spread to inhabit the majority of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Also, today there is a large Slavic diaspora throughout North America, particularly in the United States and Canada as a result of immigration. Every group of Slavs, even we all do have similarities, is one of a kind. That apply for Serbians as well. Serbian language is among hardest ones in group of Slavic languages, as well as one of the toughest in the world (if you don’t count Mandarin of course). And we wont even start with the culture, to be precise, the mix of today’s culture. Many foreign are amazed, when they meet Slavs, or they have some Slavic friend, especially from Belgrade. They will always say that to anybody they meet, with a smile on their face, especially if they visit our capital for the first time. And that wont be a last time, for sure. For all of those who are visiting Belgrade for the first time, this will be a quick guide how to meet the locals and their way of living.
Locals are great in hospitality
We are not talking just professionally, we are talking about hospitality of every Belgrader. We like bohemian type of lifestyle, and because of that, we pretty much love to hang out with our friends in local pubs, tavernas restaurants and bars. And we love to invite our friends to our homes for relaxing evenings. If you are lucky enough to meet some locals and get the invitation, there are few things to know:
- Never refuse Rakija – Local strong beverage, the pride of Serbians, and normally, some member of the family is producing it (probably the uncle). It is normally served as appetizer, and welcome drink of every household. Ask for a glass of water to be by your side, as we mention earlier, it is really strong beverage.
- Dinners are pretty heavy – Our dishes are really strong (as our rakija), and we suggest not eating anything for 3 days before visiting some local friends, just a joke (J ). Be sure that among food on the table, you will probably find some of the top 10 Serbian foods as well. You wont be disappointed ( If you are not vegan )
- Having a drink during the dinner – we love to have beer or wine during our meals (wine can be homemade as well ).
How to meet the locals?
That is quite simple. Most of us are friendly, we love to help tourists, and become friends with them in no time! And where to meet locals? At the main pedestrian zone, better known as Knez Mihailova street, or in some bars, restaurants, and of course in some of the popular clubs in Belgrade! They are approachable, easygoing and you can easily make a conversation.
Most popular Serbian phrases
When you are starting the conversation, you can impress local person, and the most easiest way to impress Belgraders is to say something on Serbian:
- Dobar Dan – Hello/good day
- Dobro Vece – Good evening
- Dovidjenja – Goodbye
- Zdravo – Hi
- Kako si? – How are you?
- Ziveli! – Cheers!
- Hvala – Thank you
- Kako se zoves? – What’s your name?
- Da – Yes
- No – Ne
What are yours experiences with meeting some locals? What did you liked the most? What is the most important thing to know?