This is a reworked article – you are not going crazy I promise if you have followed my blog for over 18 months. It is now more of a travel guide than a diary entry!
Today I am going to share with you a little gem we found! We had enjoyed 3 full days in Timisoara and decided that we should have one big adventure before chilling at the weekend there. So on the Friday of our adventure, we decided to visit Vrsac, Serbia.
How to get to Vrsac
I had researched trains to Belgrade but it took over 4 hours so we would need the leave as soon as we arrived.
Instead, I decided we would go to Vrsac, explore somewhere new and attempt to understand yet another language!
It looked very complicated but after finding some useful blogs we decided to visit Timisoara Nord station the afternoon before to save us rushing and me panicking in the queue the next day.
Our return tickets were valid for 72 hours and cost 36.88 lei each (just over £7 April 2017 exchange rate). The queuing system was a mess at the international counter and the member of staff disappeared for ages – however, we knew the times for the trains and finally got our tickets.
Trains to Vrsac run twice daily, one at 7.49 which we got and one at 16.35. The return trains are at 10.25am and 18.35 back to Timisoara.
To note the return times are in Serbian time (-1 hour from Romania).
The train journey to Vrsac
So bright eyed and bushy tailed – or sleepy-eyed and half asleep as the reality was! We climbed aboard the pleasant looking train at platform 1 for the 2 hour trip to Serbia. This was after I decided I really needed the toilet for the 3rd time in about an hour and ran off in search of a wc. I found one and had to reluctantly pay which I regretted after I got on the train to see a free toilet!
The train stopped in 7 places on the Romanian side before stopping at the Romanian border control and then the Serbian control (at Vrsac station).
The Romanian border control took an hour on the way there (making us 45 minutes late in) and took 35 minutes on the way back despite there only being 8 passengers on the train! I wrote a whole post on this border crossing experience here.
We were also entertained by the train information screen informing us it was 08/08/1997 – a date which would have made me a few days old!
After getting our passports stamped and finally returned we headed off into this little town.
Things to do in Vrsac
I will be honest, after the first half hour of walking towards the centre, I think my boyfriend was sure I’d lost the plot. In fact, I know for certain he was convinced we’d spend the whole day in the kid’s playpark we passed.
We were then stopped by the local police to settle a bet between the two men about where we were from! Which was really scary when they asked for our passports!
My main aim was to find the centre and exchange some pounds to Serbian dinar. Eventually, the second money exchange place we found accepted them but only the £20 note. We didn’t know how much to change so had planned to just change £10 to start.
We suddenly became very rich.
Tourist Information centre
Vrsac is a baroque town, with a population of 35,000 and is popular due to the grape harvest in the region.
We then headed into the tourist information and judging by the helpfulness of the staff – I don’t think they get tourists often, especially not English ones!
They suggested the walk to the tower of Vrsac which would take 1-2 hours. It is one of the best things to do in Vrsac!
Before the hike, we stopped in a cafe for coffee and juice before realising that like Romania, not all cafes serve food!
So we walked around the square and found a lovely pasta restaurant (we have a standing joke about Italian food being everywhere). The food was lovely and cost us 800 dinar which was about £6 between us. We then embarked on the walk up the hill.
Vrsac Church of St Gerard – One of the top things to do in Vrsac?
I was pleased I got to see the church which features two spires and is stunning both inside and out.
We then continued up the hill, vaguely remembering the directions of the lovely lady in the tourist information.
Due to it being midday and the baking hot sun dehydrated us faster than we knew – I started to struggle after the steps. There are 400 steps up to the two beautiful churches on the hill of Vrsac.
After that, there is a footpath to the tower which we ended up losing and coming to the road – however on the way back we decided it was the only obvious path up.
The views from the top were amazing and I would 100% recommend this best thing to do in Vrsac.
The medieval castle is steeped in history but so differently treated than those of western Europe. This castle had no information available to display, no safety measures – it was just there to admire!
Serbian Dinner time
After heading back down, restocking on water and refuelling with ice cream we headed back to the square to eat after seeing only pizzerias on our route. In the square, we had drinks in another cafe and decided to eat at this Serbian restaurant.
Taking our guess at the letters on the menu we ordered two meat platters. These were pork in 3 different ways and we probably could have shared but for £9 ish all together we were happy.
It also meant we didn’t have to try and convert any leftover currency in Romania.
We walked back to the station which didn’t take as long and bought a few snacks at the supermarket opposite.
Then the train arrived and the passengers from Romania waited to have their passports stamped before the majority changed to the Belgrade train. By the time we got back, it was 10 pm.
Vrsac – final thoughts
I feel we discovered a beautiful town, experienced another culture and language and climbed/walked about 18km in one day.
For anyone interested we spent around £17 each for the day there and were overfed! I also believe if you’re in Romania then 100% go and visit Vrsac! Well worth it the adventure!
Until next time,
The Great Ambini
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