Serbia has a climate similar to the rest of southeast Europe, although it rarely gets as hot as Greece during the summer months or as cold as Romania in winter. Unless a skiing vacation is planned, winter is not a good time to visit: it will be cold and wet, perhaps snowing, and many of Serbia’s less expensive hotels have inadequate heating. The summer months are rarely oppressively hot, although it can become quite sticky in Belgrade during the dog days of August.
The average air temperature in Belgrade is 11.9°C. Autumn is longer than spring, often with extended periods of warm, sunny, anti-cyclonic weather; in contrast, spring is often short and rainy. Winter is not especially harsh by eastern European standards, with only an average of 21 days annually below 0°C. The average temperature in January is 0.4°C making it the coldest month of the year. Summers generally begin abruptly, with July and August being the hottest months overall, having average temperatures of 21.7°C and 21.3°C respectively. Like many other countries, however, Serbia has experienced greater extremes of temperature in recent years, with summer often exceeding 33–38°C for several days and winter temperatures sometimes as low as –12°C or even colder.
Festivals and public holidays
Depending on personal interests, it is a good idea to try and make your visit coincide with particular events that are taking place throughout the country, ie: for music fans this might be during the EXIT Festival (pop and rock) that is held in Novi Sad during July, the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival (Gypsy brass bands) that takes place at Guča in western Serbia every August, or the Belgrade Music Festival BEMUS (classical) that is hosted by the capital in October.
Alternatively, you may wish to time your visit to coincide with religious and cultural celebrations like Orthodox Easter, which can be an enjoyable time to visit. Overall, May, June and September are probably the most perfect months, although May and June are also marginally the wettest. In the countryside, early to mid-October can be a delight, still reasonably warm but with golden autumn colours, and this is a superb time for energetic outdoor activities like walking or cycling.
Hotel accommodation and public transport can be at a premium at certain times of year like Easter, New Year or during the EXIT festival in Novi Sad in July or the Belgrade Book Fair in October, but as a rule this presents few problems. The one thing that you can be certain of, for the time being at least, is that wherever you go and whenever you choose to visit Serbia, it is unlikely to be overrun with tourists. Enjoy this while it lasts.