Serbia has the dinar as its national currency. There are several versions of the dinar around the world and this one is released into circulation by the National Bank of Serbia. It is known as the Serbian dinar and is not used anywhere else.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
In theory the dinar is subdivided into 100 para but the reality is very different. There are no para coins anymore thanks to inflation, so you will only ever see the dinar coins and notes now.
There are three commonly used coins in Serbia – these are the 1, 2 and 5 dinar coins. There are also the 10 and 20 dinar coins in circulation but they are not often seen anymore. There are far more banknotes that can be used, ranging from the smallest 10 dinar note to the largest one in common use, which is the 1,000 dinar note. In between you will see the 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 dinar notes. In theory you can also use the 2,000 and 5,000 dinar notes but you will be lucky to find them used today.
From past to present – the history of the Serbian dinar
This has to be one of the oldest currencies around. The dinar was first used in Serbia in medieval times. It has changed since then of course, and the first modern version of the currency came into being in 1868. This only lasted until 1920. There was a gap before the second modern version came about, which happened in 1941. This one only lasted for three years.
Finally today we have version three, which was first seen in 2003. This is still going strong today and looks set to remain in place for the foreseeable future. There is always a chance, since Serbia is in Europe, that it could one day adopt the euro. This has yet to happen though, so we have the dinar for now.
How to get hold of the Serbian dinar
It is not a good idea to take traveller’s cheques with you to Serbia as you probably won’t find it easy to cash them. It is usually better to take a couple of credit cards instead, although of course you should be careful about using them. They should never be out of your sight when paying for goods or services. Mastercard and Visa should both be fine to use, but American Express can be more problematic.
You can take British pounds, US dollars and euros into the country to exchange if you like, as and when you need to. It is easier to exchange pounds and euros because additional ID is required for dollars, so bear this in mind. Look for reputable currency exchange services and banks to exchange in.
Finally make sure you have some dinars on you in cash, just in case you need to buy small items that are relatively cheap. This is the easiest way to pay for them.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Serbian dinar
All you have to do is to visit the website that features your favourite currency exchange tool. Look for one that updates relatively frequently as you’ll know the exchange rate you are given is pretty accurate.
Remember this is not the same as the rate you will be charged to convert your own currency to Serbian dinars though. The bureaux de change and other banks will charge a commission, even if it is hidden in the exchange rate itself.
London has the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, and it has lots of information for those who need it. You don’t need to go into the city to visit though – you can go to the website at http://www.london.mfa.gov.rs/ to find out more about visiting the country.
Travelling safely with the Serbian dinar
Most people who go to Serbia for a holiday have no problems while they are there. As is the case in most parts of the world the busier areas – namely the cities – are the most problematic to visit with regard to pickpocketing and other forms of petty crime. However you can minimise the dangers to yourself by focusing on making yourself less attractive as a potential target. Be careful whenever you use cash machines and don’t withdraw more than you really need. Put the cash away swiftly and be alert to the people around you as well.
The other advice worth thinking about is really all down to common sense. You shouldn’t wear jewellery that is clearly worth a lot of money, and don’t be casual about where you leave your bags or jackets. Make sure you keep an eye on your belongings – otherwise someone else will do it for you.
Where to spend your dinars in Serbia – and what to spend them on
Serbia is a country in southern Europe. It is bordered by many others. These start with Hungary to the north, and then moving in a clockwise direction it borders Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Kosovo is a disputed part of this area of Europe, and appears at the south-western part of Serbia. The next country along is Montenegro, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and finally Croatia.
The capital of the country is Belgrade, which is a northern and central position in the country. It has a long history within Europe since people have lived here for many hundreds of years. There are plenty of charming buildings here, not to mention a whole slew of museums you can visit. The National Museum is generally regarded as one of the best. There are hundreds of thousands of exhibits so you will need a whole day to do it even a little bit of justice! If you love the works of Van Gogh and Picasso among other famous artists, this is the place to be.
The city is a fascinating place because while it has buildings that date back some considerable time, it also has modern ones that are equally attractive in their own way. You could do nothing more than wander around the city and you would still have a good time there.
Serbia is not just about its capital though. If you want to enjoy more of the country you could head for a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Gamzigrad. This dates from 298AD and if you head for the city of Zajecar you will find it nearby. There are many relics from ancient times here, including ruins of gates, temples and even palaces. It is not something you would expect to find and yet it offers a gateway into the past – especially for those who can imagine what life might have been like then.
Elsewhere in Serbia (and actually back in Belgrade) you have the Belgrade Fortress. This is a massive place to go to because it consists of a citadel which is actually the upper and lower parts of the town. In addition you also have Kalemegdan Park. If you want some peace and quiet while visiting the city, this is the place to go to.
For another day out suggestion how about Belgrade Zoo? This is called the Good Hope Garden and it dates back to 1936. There are all kinds of animals here including tigers, alligators and kangaroos among others! As you can see there is a really diverse mix and it provides a good day out especially if you have kids with you.
Perhaps a more unusual place to go is the Buzludzha Monument in the Balkan Mountains. This is a fascinating place as the monument is built on a peak, 1441 metres above sea level. You cannot go into the building any more since it is falling into disrepair, but it still provides a fascinating place to go if you want some good views of the surrounding area.
As you can see Serbia has its fair share of attractive places to go in terms of the countryside as well as the cities. There is much more to discover here as well, especially if you have several days to spend in your chosen spot. It is usually best to avoid the area near the border with Kosovo but there are many other safe places to visit in the country.
Serbia may not yet be one of the highlights of Europe insofar as travellers are concerned. However it does have many highlights of its own. Many travellers seem to be keeping these highlights a secret rather than sharing them among other people. With other places to go including Belogradchik Rocks, Sofia Zoo and Beklemeto Pass, you can be sure of having a great time if you do eventually get to go to Serbia for a few days.
Just be sure you are prepared and you have some dinars jangling around in your pocket. It’s great to be ready for anything and for making a few odd purchases here and there, to make sure your time in Serbia is a good one.