Most of you will think that Sombor, Serbia is in Russia. Sorry to disappoint. It’s this whole other place, roughly between Greece and Hungary. Vienna, Austria, is 5 hours away by car, and you can reach Budapest in just under 3. The city is a home to 50,000 people, a sits next to Danube river, on the tristate border of Serbia, Hungary, and Croatia.
We are just bootstrapping our community, but from what it seems, you will be working among freelance designers, developers, journalists and architects. So, you probably shouldn’t expect to find funding for your next startup project here, but you should expect skill building events and workshops across various interesting disciplines. Not to mention you will get to interact with local teams doing projects that are shaking up this sleepy town and turning it upside down – they will be using the same coworking space as you!
Ok, so, IF I decide to come live and work in Sombor, how would that look like?
First things first – getting shit done
ISP contract packages in Sombor start at 30Mbps and go up to 150Mbps. All decent cafes and restaurants offer stable WiFi, but if you find yourself needing more, Sombor is covered by HSPA+ (3G) mobile signal, and 1GB of data costs $4 with one of the local operators.
When I’m in town, I do my work at a local bar with very comfy sofas (lap-top). Apart from that, there are few other couch-style bars, and a number of standard cafes with chairs and desks.
Cafe De Sol, canal-side property popular during warm part of the year
Community and vibe
Sitting on a border of Serbia, Hungary and Croatia, and historically being a part of four kingdoms and two republics, diversity is a part of Sombor’s DNA. As it often happens with cosmopolitan places, art and bohemian lifestyle quickly grew roots. Its people long defied hectic tempo of the modern world, taking their time to do everything – even speak. If you ask someone from Belgrade about their experience with Sombor, one of the first things you’ll hear is that Somborians take ages to finish a sentence.
"Here, time isn't treated like a scarce resource, but an honourable gift to the guest and a code of duty for the host. Our experience in the Balkans will forever serves as a counterpoint to the modern city culture of achievement and competitiveness." - Charine Tan, Singapore
Coming to Sombor, you will become a part of community that doesn’t want to spend their days chasing riches, but enjoys simple pleasures of life instead. Intrigued by foreigners, Somborians will quickly draw you into their lifestyle of coffees all day, late evening hangouts, and obligatory breakaways to nearby weekend settlements for all day beer and bbq.
Cost of living
There’s no other way to say it- Sombor is shamelessly cheap. Self-catering 1-bedroom apartment in city center will cost you USD 250 a month, and if you prefer shorter stay, AirBnB listings average at $35 for one night, with longer stay discounts available. According to Numbeo, USD 1500 in Sombor equals $3500 in Berlin, $4000 in Toronto, and $4800 in Philadelphia. Melbourne? Don’t even get us started on that. And guess what - it’s even cheaper than famous Chiang Mai!
Let’s address the elephant in the room first – no, there’s no war in Serbia, and there hasn’t been one for 17 years. The country is now on its path to joining EU and is in debt and ruled by IMF like all other proper democracies out there. UK government says that “most visits to Serbia are trouble-free”, and Numbeo Safety Index says Serbia is roughly as safe as Australia and Sweden. Sombor, being a rather small place, rarely experiences crime other than petty thefts. Common sense does apply however, so, lock your bike and don’t walk through dark streets alone in 2am, and you should be fine.
"The hospitality and kindness from Serbian people is the sort that you heard about fifty years ago. Leave your misconceptions at home and embrace the warmth here." - Matthew Horkey, USA
Daily activities & infrastructure
This is where things get really fun. Despite being a laid-back place, Sombor’s got you covered on your daily chores. Supermarkets are abundant with local and imported goods, daily farmer’s market will fill your need for groceries, and bicycle is the most popular method of getting around. If it starts to rain – a metered taxi will get you to the edge of the city and back for as little as $3. For the sportsy ones out there, there’s a total of three gyms in the city, more than 10 tennis fields and countless street basketball courts. You can decide to do your morning jogging on the city’s own racetrack, or simply stretch at the local yoga studio. Need someone to clean up the place while you’re out? Maids start at $2 an hour.
Unique things to do
Given its unique geo-political location, Sombor area developed its own culture and traditions. We’re talking folklore dances, traditional handcrafts, canal fishing, farm dining and accommodation, local cuisine workshops, biking tours, eating smoked trout on a canalside restaurant while enjoying local lute players. All the stuff is there, it’s what you make of it.
Grandpa-Hornjak farm offers traditional dining just outside of Sombor
Nature and weather
Sombor prides itself in being “the greenest city” in Serbia. The whole place looks like it’s in a middle of a big park. Honestly – click here for an aerial view of the place. But in case you need to get away from roads, cars and people, only 20km away is a big nature reserve called “Upper Danube”, hosting intersecting canals, ponds and forests, and incredible biodiversity reflected in 230 species of birds and 51 species of mammals. The reserve is surrounded by traditional villages, where you can still experience life as it was 100 years ago.
As for weather, Serbia has continental climate, which means four distinct seasons. Things start to blossom in early March, and April and May are buzzing with life. Starting in June, temperatures go above 30 degs, and stay like that until mid September, when Autumn creeps in, in all its golden glory. November is when Serbia’s own digital nomads start migrating to Asia, apart those few fond of rain and cold winds. December usually brings the first snow, which marks the beginning of winter.
Don’t worry, we got you covered. As fellow travellers, we understand what it means to find yourself in a new, exotic place where you can’t tell heads or tails. Whatever you need, be that help with finding a cheap place to stay, a dentist, a new pair of socks, or just someone to talk to after a busy day, we’re here for you. And that's a promise.