Zaječar (Serbian Cyrillic: Зајечар, pronounced [zâjɛtʃar]) is a city in the eastern part of Serbia, close to Bulgarian border, mostly known for its rock festival Gitarijada which exists for almost 50 years. The city is small, has a laid back atmosphere, and locals are friendly, especially towards foreigners (as there are not so many).
Zajecar has rich history, as three Roman emperors were born here. The rich heritage from the Roman Empire can be found not far from the city, in a small village named Gamzigrad.
The main bus station is located in Zoran Đinđić street. The city is well connected with Belgrade and Niš as well as with other smaller cities in the country.
However, the bus station is in poor condition, so be sure to always ask for any information at the ticket desk. Unfortunately, there is no direct connection with Bulgaria and Romania despite the close distance.
Zaječar is currently only connected to Niš and some other places in the eastern region. Be aware that there are no trains from Belgrade.
Trains aren't recommended because they are very unreliable. It is common in some days that all the trains from/to Niš are cancelled.
Be sure to ask for the timetables at the ticket desk and always check if the train will arrive.
Zaječar isn't a big city and you can easily get around on foot.
You can rent a bike at the tourist organisation center in Svetozara Markovića street.
There is a bus transport network but it is generally used by the local residents to reach the outer suburban parts of the city, villages or industrial areas.
There are plenty of taxis and they are cheap for european standards. Many people rely on them since there is no public transport during the evening and night.
Be aware that taxis in Zaječar very rarely stop if you try to pick them up on the street. The best way to order one is by phone or from one of the many taxi stands in the city.
Gamzigrad is an archaeological site, spa resort and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Serbia, located 10km west from the city. Be sure to visit the ancient Roman complex of palaces and temples Felix Romuliana built by Roman emperor Galerius in 298AD. The site got its name by the Emperor's mother Romula. The ancient complex is surrounded by large fortification, hiding remainings of an ancient culture.
Only 11 km from Zajecar, and not far from Felix Romuliana, this is a quiet place surrounded by beautiful nature, and a large spa. If you prefer nature than cities, it's worth spending a night here.
The city museum is located at Liberty square (Trg Oslobođenja) and has a permanent exibition from Felix Romulijana.
An old oriental house located in the Ljuba Nešić street. There is a permanent exibition on the first floor.
Kraljevica park forest is a must see. Be sure to visit the memorial park monuments. Ljuba Didić monument is located at the top of Timočka Buna street right at the entrance to the park. Vešala (gallows) monument is located at the 1st peak of the Kraljevica hill. You can also view a great panorama of the city from the ski slopes in the eastern Kraljevica. If you're lucky, you can find the east and the west forts but those are better to visit with a local because they're far into the forest and not easy reachable.
Unlike in the winter, Zaječar is a very vibrant city during the summer with plenty of large and small festivals. The urban culture is very developed in the city and is the only place in eastern Serbia to have a larger number of youth-oriented festivals.
Gitarijada is one of the oldest rock festivals in Europe and one of most known in Serbia and ex-Yugoslavia. It is held every year during the summer and lasts for 4 days. The main program of the festival is held at the "Rock stage" in the Kraljevica park forest and there are usually a couple of smaller stages around the city center (most notably "World music stage") and two camps (rock camp and bike camp). The festival is most notably for demo bands competition, so there's a good opportunity to hear something new.
ZALET is a festival of alternative culture and is held every summer since 2005. During the festival there are plenty of exhibitions, concerts, poetic evenings etc. during the whole day around the city. The accent is put on innovative and progressive artistic expressions: performances, comics, low-fi videos, video art, conceptual art, as well as a union of traditional fine art and conceptual art.
Every autumn "Dani Zorana Radmilovića" festival is held in the "Zoran Radmilović" theater.
Every summer there are other smaller festivals like "Višnjarijada" that is held in the suburban area of Višnjar and "Eastfort" that is held in the eastern fortress in Kraljevica park forest. Both festivals are more urban oriented and mostly feature live performances of rock, rap and techno music.
The ski slope is located at the eastern part of Kraljevica. It's well equipped with one ski-lift, snow cannons and other machines. Tickets go around 1€ for the night and it's usually open from 6 o' clock until midnight.
Ljuba Nešić street is the main shopping disctrict in the city. There are no big shopping malls in or near the city.
Buy souvenirs at the tourist organisation center in Svetozara Markovića street or at the Romuliana location site.
Zaječar is famous for its brewery "7. Septembar" and Zaječarsko beer.
Most of the budget clubs and caffes serve Zaječarsko beer in 0.5l bottles (famously known as "Zidarac") and in most alternative clubs it's 100 dinnars (0.8€) while in more expensive clubs they only serve 0.3l bottles which are bit expensive around 1€. Every local resident will recommend you to taste the "Zidarac" because it is widely considered as the "real deal".
All night clubs are open until 4am. Some of the bars that work during the day are open until 1am.