Cost of Living in Serbia: A Practical Guide

If you’re moving to Serbia, visiting Serbia, or thinking about doing either of those two things, you’ll be wanting to know about the cost of living in Serbia.

So in this guide, I’ve brought you all the details you need to know, covering food, drink, groceries, rent, AirBnBs, gyms, nightlife, fun, and loads more. Most of the numbers come from experience, but I also dipped into Numbeo (really useful for finding prices, though they often overestimate) for some help. Thanks Numbeo, you handsome guys!

Obviously, this is mainly going to center on cities, cos most of my time in Serbia has been spent in cities. I’ve lived in Belgrade, and visited Novi Sad, Uzice, Zemun and a few other places.

Quick note: I’ve given all prices in US dollars, cos most people understand that.

Is Serbia Cheap?

Yeah, overall, it really is.

Me holding some money. The cost of living in Serbia is low.
Me, holding some Serbian money

Eastern Europe is cheaper than western Europe, but more expensive than most of eastern Asia. So, for example, Serbia is cheaper than France, but more expensive than Vietnam. It’s cheaper than England, but it’s more expensive than Cambodia. You get the idea.

Compared to other Balkan countries, the prices are pretty average. Serbia’s prices are similar to Romania and Bulgaria, cheaper then Montenegro and Croatia, and more expensive than Bosnia and Albania.

Cost of Living in Serbia: Food and Drink

Restaurants, cafes and bars are cheap. Typical prices are around:

  • Meal in a cheap restaurant or canteen or whatever: $3-$5
  • Meal in a mid-range restaurant: $8-10
  • Beer in a bar or a restaurant: $2-$3
  • Glass of wine in a bar or a restaurant: $3
  • Good coffee in a nice cafe: $2-$3
  • Bad coffee in a cafe: $1
  • Can of beer from a supermarket: $0.50
  • Sandwich from a bakery: $2
  • Pastry from a bakery: $1
  • Fast food (hotdog, pizza slice, similar snack) from a hole in the wall: $1-$3
Tasty but food on a plate - demonstrating the low cost of living in Serbia
This section is about food, so there’s some food. This probably cost around $5-$6 each

Cost of Living in Serbia: Groceries

Groceries are surprisingly expensive. Well, they’re not really expensive, but they’re on-par with places like Germany and Poland, rather than being on-par with places like Bosnia and Albania.

Prices are around:

  • 1 liter of milk: $1
  • 1kg of chicken breast: $3-$4
  • 1kg of chicken legs: $2.50-$3
  • 15 eggs: $1.50
  • 1kg of local vegetables: $0.30-$1
  • 1kg of imported vegetables: $1-$10, depending on what it is (always buy seasonal and local if you can)
  • 1kg of bananas: $1
  • 1kg of blueberries: $7
  • Loaf of bread: $0.50
  • Beer from a supermarket: $0.50
  • Bottle of wine from a supermarket: $3
  • 20 cigarettes: $2.50

Here’s my top tip for getting cheap groceries in Serbia: as is always the case, local market stalls have lower prices than supermarkets. But the price gap is bigger in Serbia than it is in most other countries I’ve been to. A kilo of bell peppers, for example, is like $0.30 from a local market, but around $1 from a supermarket.

Cost of Living in Serbia: Rent and Accommodation

I didn’t rent locally – I only rented on AirBnB.

I stayed in two different AirBnBs in Belgrade. The first one, I had to book last-minute, because I was waiting for PCR test results, so it was around $800 for a month, which is really expensive and I wanted to cry. But Covid rules like making things complicated and that’s the world we live in now so whatever.

The second place was around $600 per month, but it was really central, and a lovely space to work in (cos I work remotely and all that). Around $500-$600 per month is average for a nice, central, private AirBnB.

Here’s the second place I stayed, in case you’re interested. I 100% recommend it – affordable, homely, welcoming, lovely host, and ridiculously central.

The bedroom of the AirBnB I loved. Cute

If you rent locally, you’ll probably pay half the price (so around $250-$300 per month). But unless you’re staying for at least 6 months, I think renting locally is a waste of time. If you rent locally, you’ll spend a while making contacts and finding a nice place, you’ll have to pay a deposit, you’ll have to organize bills, and you’ll need to do loads of bureaucratic stuff (and no-one can be arsed for bureaucratic stuff, especially when you’ve just arrived in a new country).

If you’re only visiting for a short while and you don’t want a monthly place, a short-term AirBnB is around $25 a night. A private room in a hostel is around $25 a night. A shared room in a hostel is around $10 or less per night, and a hotel room can be anything between $20 and $100 per night, depending on where you stay.

If you’re looking for accommodation recommendations, here are a few:

  • HostelChe: I stayed in this hostel for a few nights, and I liked it. The staff are really friendly, it’s super central, it’s cheap, and it’s next door to ‘?,’ a famous kafana where you can get really nice Serbian food (yeah, it is actually called ‘?’, that’s not a typo).
  • White Owl Hostel: Slightly pricier than HostelChe, but right in the middle of Skardalija, the most famous street in the city. I’ve heard loads of good things about this place.
  • Again, the AirBnB I stayed in for a couple of months. The best AirBnB I’ve ever stayed in. I won’t keep banging on about it, but if it’s available, you should book up.
  • Hotel Moskva: This place is really famous. I haven’t stayed there, but it’s got a really good reputation, and it’s massively famous. It’s relatively cheap for an upscale place, and its old-school exteriors are a famous tourist attraction.
  • Mark Hotel: A good option for budget travelers who don’t like staying in hostels.
See, Hotel Moskva is fancy

Cost of Living in Serbia: Gyms, Sports and other Fun

Also cheap.

I was going to the most famous, popular (and best) gym in the city (Ahilej Dorcol), and I was only paying around $27 per month for my membership (no contract, unlimited entry).

Renting a bicycle for the day, from a cheap place, is around $5 a day (but expect the bike to be absolutely crap). From a better place, you’ll pay around $8 a day.

Tennis is around $10 for an hour (including racket hire).

Nightlife is really cheap. I’ve already given you the cost of drinks, but entry to a club or dancey-style bar is around $2-4.

See You Later!

Thanks for reading you lovely little people.

If you’re interested in anything else about Belgrade, have a read of what I’ve written about the best foods, whether or not the nation is safe, and what it’s like to live in Belgrade. And if you’re not interested, don’t bother. See you next time!

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