Travel with Children

Serbs go gaga for babies and kids; prepare for your little ones to be smooched senseless and squeezed like fruit at a market. Children are welcome pretty much everywhere, though it's up to you if you really want them sitting around in a smoky kafana.

Serbia isn't kid-proofed like many other countries are; pools are unenclosed, there's a dire lack of fences and public playgrounds are usually in concrete lots. Keep an eye on your scallywags (as eagle-eyed bake – grandmothers – will no doubt also be doing) and they'll be fine. Many local children (as young as three!) speak rudimentary English, and may end up following you and your offspring around, showing off their skills and wanting to play. In the cities and larger towns, you'll find private playgrounds (igraonica) and by-the-hour child-minding centres (dnevni boravak) with attached cafes; these can be a lifesaver for parents simply wishing to have a cup of coffee in peace. In summer, funfairs (luna parkovi) pop up anywhere crowds gather.

Broken footpaths, cobbled streets and a noticable lack of lifts can make pram-pushing a chore; a baby carrier or sling takes up less luggage space and makes exploring easier.

Baby change rooms are few and far between, but nobody will look askance at a swift al fresco nappy change. Big brand-name disposable nappies are easy to come by at supermarkets and pharmacies (apoteka), as is infant formula. It’s a good idea to bring a few days’ supply with you just in case. The main brands are Bebelac, Nestle and Aptamil.

Better hotels may have cots available, but it’s best to check in advance. The same goes for car seats at rental-car agencies or taxi companies. Car seats aren’t legally required, but you should consider bringing your own or buying one; all the big cities and towns have children's stores.

It's unlikely you'll find children’s menus (or highchairs) at restaurants, but local staples like ćevapčići (skinless sausage) or pljeskavica (hamburger) should keep kids happy; if not, pizza, pasta and hot chips are everywhere. Bakeries are also a good choice for mini-pizzas, sweets and savoury burek. If you're self-catering, the produce from local green markets is invariably fresh and often organic.

Breastfeeding in public isn't often done, but as 'breast is best' is the prevailing notion here, it's unlikely anyone will bat an eye.

Serbian medical care is generally very good, though in smaller centres you may face language barriers. Every town has a public medical centre (dom zdravlja); private clinics can be found in the cities.