Though not the most conventional expat destination, those who take the time to explore Serbia will find that it's one of Europe's best-kept secrets. From deep blue lakes and rivers to soaring mountains, the natural beauty of the country is something to behold.
Most of the small expat community in Serbia can be found in the capital, Belgrade, and is made up of diplomatic personnel or those working for international organisations and NGOs. Given the high level of unemployment in Serbia, it's generally best to secure employment ahead of moving. Expats who already have a remote online job that allows them to work anywhere will have a much easier time relocating to the country, thanks to their secure source of income.
English is widely spoken as a second language, but Serbian is the country’s official language. Many expats living in Serbia hire an interpreter to assist them in the workplace. Learning Serbian and having a basic understanding of the Cyrillic alphabet can be immensely useful in helping expats navigate everyday activities. Making an effort to communicate in Serbian is also a sure way to bond with locals.
The standard of healthcare in Serbia is not as good as in other Western European or North American countries. Expats should be cautious when selecting hospitals and doctors. While Serbian doctors are well-trained and generally speak good English, medical supplies are limited and some hospitals may not have the necessary equipment to carry out more complex procedures. In many cases, foreigners travel to another country for specialist care.
There are a number of international schools in Belgrade offering foreign curricula such as that of the US, the UK and Germany. But places are limited and waiting lists are long, so many parents choose to send their children to boarding schools elsewhere in Europe instead.
While Serbia's limited infrastructure can be frustrating for new arrivals, patience will reveal a charming country off the beaten path. Friendly locals, fascinating history and breathtaking natural features all make Serbia well worth living in.
Population: About 8.7 million
Capital city: Belgrade
Neighbouring countries: Serbia is bordered by Hungary to the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, North Macedonia to the south, Montenegro to the southwest, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Croatia to the northwest.
Geography: The southern half of Serbia is mostly mountainous, while the north of the country is characterised by fertile plains.
Political system: Unitary dominant-party parliamentary constitutional republic
Major religions: Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Main languages: Serbian
Money: The country's currency is the Serbian dinar (RSD). ATMs are easily found in large cities but may be harder to come by in more rural areas. Expats should be able to open a Serbian bank account with relative ease.
Tipping: Tip ten percent in a restaurant or round up for smaller amounts
Time: GMT+1 (GMT +2 from late March to late October)
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz. Plugs have two round pins.
Internet domain: .rs
International dialling code: +381
Emergency contacts: 192 (police), 193 (fire), 194 (ambulance)
Driving and transport: Belgrade is the public transport hub of the country, with buses, tramways, trolleys and trains. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Are you an expat living in Serbia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Serbia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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