Etiquette

  • Greetings Usually consist of a three-kiss hello and cheerful gesticulations.
  • Visiting Take off your shoes when entering a home. Serbs are obsessed with draughts and cold extremities; they'll have slippers for you. Bring a small gift, like wine, chocolate or a bag of coffee.
  • Conversation Tread carefully around politics, religion, history and ethnicity; just don't expect the Serbs to do the same. This is not a quiet country, so don't be alarmed if everyone is yelling; they're probably just talking about the weather.
  • Religion Walk backwards out of a shrine and dress conservatively at monasteries.
  • Drinking Make eye contact during toasts. Splitting bills when you have drinks with someone is not done; the host (or person who initiated it) will always insist on paying.
  • Smoking Don't even think about asking someone to put out their cigarette; if smoke is bothering you, you'll have to move elsewhere.
  • Manners Serbs are polite, but the Western habit of saying 'thank you' for every small deed or exchange is deemed strange and excessive. Thanking someone for rakija is especially not done. Likewise, don't ask a Serb 'How are you?' unless you're actually interested to hear how they're feeling.