It does not take long for foreign visitors to Serbia to discover the hospitality, kindness, openness and warmth of the country’s residents.
Shaking hands, done using the right hand, is customary when being introduced or meeting somebody of either gender. Kissing is not a necessity when meeting somebody for the first time, but every time you meet from then on, if you have developed affection for the person in question, kissing three times on the cheeks is the order of the day in Serbia. Of course, nobody will object if you only kiss once or twice while giving a long and sincere hug.
In Serbia, toasts are usually made with traditional rakija (brandy), often home-distilled. Toasts are made by clinking glasses, making direct eye contact and loudly proclaiming “Živeli!” A speech is usually only made on formal occasions, normally by the host, but a guest may give one, too.
Serbs enjoy rich and flavoursome food and normally have three meals a day, with lunch being the largest.
Paying the bill in restaurants is a big part of the Serbian mentality. The host will almost never allow a guest to pay for lunch, dinner or drinks because it is customary for the host to take care of all expenses while a guest is staying with him or her.
In contrast to the rest of Europe, there is no single day of the week in Serbia when you cannot have a night out and that holds true for all generations, for all lifestyles and musical tastes and for all available budgets. After a wild night out, somewhere around three or four o’clock in the morning, people continue onward in search of grilled meat or burek.