To experience Niš in all its authenticity, you must visit one of the city bars. The eclectic and, in a way, magical bars not only serve the best coffee but embody the modus vivendi of locals living next to the Nišava River. The alternative capital of Serbia lives and breathes a unique rhythm of the South, encapsulated in the word “merak”. The word has no equivalent in English and embodies how Niš locals live. ChatGPT has no clue what merak is and probably never will. The word means the desire and satisfaction when enjoying little things, such as meeting friends, having a morning coffee, visiting the local market, talking to local suppliers and everything we may have forgotten about during the corona crisis. Merak is simply the love for life, and the people of Niš undoubtedly love life, music, rakija and gastronomy. That is one of the numerous reasons you will feel great in the city.
Niš is also home to a university, a faculty, an opera house, a theatre and several festivals. It represents the heart of Southern Serbia and has the potential to become a global centre. We recommend listening to the music of Šaban Bajramović, a Niš local, who captured the emotions of the city. Šaban’s songs, including Djelem, Djelem, are the key to understanding merak.
NEED TO KNOW IN 2023
The hotel scene in Niš is immensely dynamic and offers accommodations for every taste and style. Lately, three iconic hotels were revived and reopened in the city centre. In the past, they marked the history of the city next to the Nišava River. After years of renovation, Hotel Ambassador opened in the city centre in 2019. Set next to an imposing skyscraper alongside King Milan Square, the five-star hotel only has 58 rooms. However, every room is spacious and inviting, while the hotel boasts an alluring smaller conference centre. Not long ago, the four-star New City Hotel underwent a thorough renovation. It focuses on business guests and has become a favourite among the organisers of boutique events. The former Hotel Park will open this year and operate under Radisson’s brand. The hotel features a splendid location right next to the City Hall and a lush park. Its modernist architecture has already been turning heads. Alongside a superb hotel offer, the Radisson Hotel will include a smaller conference centre for 300 attendees.
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
Wine, poetry and guitars
You likely did not know Niš was among the most lauded wine regions in Former Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, the region was recognised mostly for mass wine production. Nonetheless, things have been changing lately. Exploring the wine culture is an extraordinary incentive experience that will tell you all about the region’s history, culture, cuisine and a bit about luck. We warmly recommend that you start discovering the wine culture at the premier regional winery named Malča. The winery is the best in the region for a reason, having won numerous accolades for its wines. The 110-year-old wine cellar was revived by Bora Jović and his wife, Jelena Đošić Jović after it went bankrupt. Bora is known as a pioneer of modern winemaking in the region. Visiting the Malča Winery is a journey through the history of winemaking, culminating in a visit to the centuries-old Grusian amphoras, where they store orange wines. All products can be tasted in the winery’s pleasant restaurant. Pairing cuisine with wine results in a memorable experience, and guests can taste the history, tradition and love for nature in a single glass of superb wine or rakija. As Jovana said, they aim to sell happiness in a glass of exceptional wine, rakija or vinegar. We can confirm Jovana and Bora excel in their job.
BEST KEPT SECRETS
The village of Sićevo is located on the legendary Via Militaris route, which once led travellers from Constantinople towards the West. In its immediate vicinity, visitors will find the canyon of the Nišava River named Sićevo Gorge. Today, the gorge is visited by fewer travellers, as a new motorway leads to Dimitrovgrad. At an altitude of 500 metres, the area is home to some of the best vineyards in Serbia. In addition, the destination is renowned among paragliders as one of the best European spots. The village is slowly decaying but continues to offer authentic experiences, serving stunning panoramic views. Sičevo is also home to a literary academy founded by Nadežda Petrović. The village serves as a starting point for jeep trails, rafting or descending into the Karst caves of Cerje and Velika and Mala Balanica. We suggest you put Sičevo on your incentive list to experience spectacular views and a thrilling paragliding tandem flight.
TOP EVENTS IN 2023
Among numerous events and festivals that take place in Niš, the following five are the most prominent:
International Tourism Fair Niš (29 March – 31 March 2023)
10th Annual Spring Scientific Symposium in Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (21 April – 23 April 2023)
Balkan Open Paragliding Championship (20 July – 23 July 2023)
Nišville Jazz Festival (10 August – 13 August 2023)
Telsiks 2023 (25 October – 27 October 2023)
The cuisine in Niš is undoubtedly among the city’s tourist gems, as gastronomy is diverse and rich and hides much more than the famed grill specialities. Still, grilling in Niš is a matter of family tradition and pride. The cuisine in Niš does not only revolve only around top-tier meat. The first recorded writings about burek in Niš date to 1498. Almost every hotel you come across will serve incredible burek. The vegetarian offer is equally enticing. Nišlija Nebojša Stamenović, known as Neša Travka, is a local explorer, herbologist and advocate of a healthy diet. He has mastered the art of preparing food in symbiosis with nature. We believe stories that inspire and amaze viewers of Kitchen TV are just as intriguing for event organisers and represent a unique incentive experience. The taste of vegetables will rekindle memories of long-forgotten flavours from childhood. Umami.
NIŠ IN A FEW WORDS
The third largest Serbian city is overlooked as a MICE destination. You can find everything Belgrade offers in Niš but in a more authentic, hospitable and kind package. Niš is a metaphor for Southern Serbia, a city you will fondly remember. Niš will become fierce competition for Novi Sad and other regional destinations once accessibility improves and the construction of a new terminal at the airport concludes. The city’s geostrategic position between East and West played an integral role in developing the city. Still today, that is one of its greatest assets. In order to become a recognised destination in the meetings industry, the city must improve its marketing and connect its offer within the framework of the Niš Convention Bureau. Niš is a promising destination that must use its potential to the maximum.
DESTINATION FINAL GRADE
|NIŠ INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2022|
|Natural and cultural factors||4.57|
|General and transport infrastructure||4.58|
|ICCA index - worldwide ranking||1.25|
|Numbeo Quality of life Index||2.99|
|Numbeo Safety Index||3.84|
|ACI Airport Connectivity Index||2.06|
|Nomad List Overall Score||3.53|
NOTE: The MTLG Destination Update is not a paid advertisement. The Niš MTLG Destination Update was prepared based on a personal visit of Kongres Magazine’s assessor in April 2023. Based on the evaluation, Niš will be evaluated according to the Meeting Experience Index methodology. The MTLG evaluation will be prepared at the end of July 2023.