It’s mid-summer and you still haven’t planned your getaway? Get yourself to Serbia from August 10th to 14th for the largest trumpet festival in the world! Another great excuse to explore the Balkans from Sarajevo to the Adriatic Coast.
It’s called the Guča Festival and takes place in a small village up in the hills of central Serbia. Like most festivals it had humble beginnings only to grow into the biggest gathering of musicians (particularly trumpet players) and visitors from every corner of ex-Yugoslavia and the rest of the world.
Imagine several hundred thousand people come every year to Guča to experience the sounds of the Balkan brass bands… of course they come for the Slivovice too, the local brandy made from plums.
It sure is noisy!
This festival certainly isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful and relaxing holiday. This is not it. However, if you like Kusturica’s films for their unpredictability and you’re looking for a really great party while discovering a unique culture, then book a flight to Belgrade!Flights to Belgrade
If you want to really get a hold on Serbian culture, book yourself a room at a traditional guesthouse. These are not always easy to find, especially at festival time. Somehow word got around to the locals that festival time is a profitable time and prices tend to rise… drastically.
Don’t worry if you haven’t managed to arrange everything before you go. If you’re not scared of jumping into the unexpected then you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as many festival-goers are who arrive in Guča, banking on finding a last-minute solution.
How to get there
Unless you’re lucky enough to have an old van to drive across Europe this summer, the easiest way to get there is from Belgrade. Guča is about a two hour drive from the Serbian capital. You can either hire a car in Belgrade or put your trust in public transportation. You can hitchhike as well, but remember our 10 tips on how to hitchhike safely and effectively.
Find more info here: guca.rs
It would be a shame not to take time to discover the rest of the region while you are at it. Here are some ideas to make your trip to Serbia and the Balkans complete.
Take a chill pill after this rambunctious festival and relax on the beaches, licked by the waters from the Adriatic. Montenegro is the perfect place. If you’ve never been, imagine the beaches of Croatia just with fewer tourists. It’s easy to find a home-stay or a small bed & breakfast near the beach. Start at the Bay of Kotor, a must, and head down towards Dubrovnik in Croatia.
The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo is famous for the time it hosted the Olympic Games as well as the 1992-1995 war. It’s only 200km from Guča but you should bank on it taking you at least 3.5 hours to get there. The city is worth the trip! Along the way, stop at Kustendorf (Drvengrad) the hometown of Sarajevo’s most famous filmmaker, Émir Kusturica, then Višegrad to see the bridge that inspired Ivo Andric, the Nobel Prize winning laureate.
The Balkans… have you had the chance to discover this region yet?