<map lat='43.35865692013493' lng='21.93244384765625' zoom='11' view='0' float='right' height='300' width='400'/> Niš is a city in southern Serbia with a population of 250,000. It is located on the motorway (autoput) between Belgrade and Skopje, as well as the highway between Belgrade and Sofia.
Hitching in and around
Bus lines around the city
To help you to navigate around the city and to take necessary buses to your hitchhiking spot, here is the map of the bus lines (September 2021) https://www.jgpnis.rs/linije/gradske-linije/
There are 3 toll gates around the city: Niš South - https://goo.gl/maps/HutQubncm5K1MLJQA | Niš North - https://goo.gl/maps/kU4kYyKBpThLBtaQ6 | Niš East - https://goo.gl/maps/fADyXt17D34D3ZqCA | Additionally there is one more toll gate around 10 km from the city called Niš Malča - https://goo.gl/maps/QoJByKXJLMCvxQFb7
Option 1 (highway): You need to get to the toll gate called "Niš istok" which is located here https://goo.gl/maps/4WTEMmG5PphHWGjc8
To get there, take a bus number 2 from the city center. Bus ticket costs 60 dinars or 0.5 euros and a ride will take around 10-15 minutes (9-10 stops). Follow GPS on your phone and get off the bus just before intersection of "Knjaževačka street" and "Matejevački put". Walk 300 meters more until intersection and turn left to "Matejevački put" street (btw. you can also come to the same intersection by taking a bus number 4 from the city center). Keep walking in the same direction for 1.5 km. If you feel like not walking so much, you can try to hitchhike until the toll gate right after you cross intersection of "Matejevački put" and "Somborska street" (when 6 lanes boulevard becomes 2 lane street). Most of the cars go to the villages along the road and some to the highway (same direction). You may get lucky and save your legs of 1 km walking. If not, just keep walking to the toll gate. At the toll gate make sure with the driver that he goes direction of Bulgaria or Pirot at least. Car should go over the bridge to join the highway. Don't make a mistake and take road to the right side before crossing the overpass. You will get lost in the highway intersections and it will be difficult to come back. If you don't find anyone going directly to the border, you can accept rides going to Pirot. From there the border is much closer and you will have better chances.
You can also take a bus number 5 from the city center. Get off at the last stop at "Somborska street". From the last stop walk 2 km to the hitchhiking spot explained above. Note this: "Somborska street" has changed name in January 2020, but on Google maps it still has the old name. If the new name ever gets updated on Google maps, don't get confused if you don't find "Somborska street" but instead you find "Bulevar svetog Pantelejmona".
Another option is to take a taxi. Taxi in Niš is really not expensive. According to Google maps it's 5.5 km from the city center to the hitchhiking spot. Start costs 110 dinars and every km is 40 dinars. That's around 330 dinars total which is less than 3 euros. If you take taxi from different location which is closer to the hitchhiking spot it can be even cheaper. You can also take a bus (explained in previous steps) and from there take a taxi to hitchhiking spot. For 2 km it would cost no more than 200 dinars or 1.6 euros. We don't really have those taxis that rip of tourists because we don't have many tourists so they are not used to it. There are few scammers around main bus station, but not at the outskirts of the city. Legal taxi in Serbia always have TX as last two letters on car plates. To order a taxi you have to make a call. Waiting time is usually 3-4 minutes. If you don't have local sim card, ask someone to call taxi for you and to explain where taxi should pick you up from. Most popular taxi companies are: Prvi, City, Cool, Eko, Bros, TDI,...
Option 2 (local road): This option used to be the best one before the highway was completed in November 2019. Now mostly local traffic goes there and international traffic uses the highway, trucks especially because they are not allowed to use local road anymore. This route is not advisable as there are few examples of hitchhikers coming back to the city after unsuccessful day of hitchhiking at this spot.
Take a city bus number 1 from the central square to Niška Banja. One-way ticket costs 80 RSD, which is about 0.70€. After about a 15 minutes journey, get off the bus on the second-to-last stop, just before roundabout (before bus crosses over the railroad tracks). There is a roundabout and you can thumb after the roundabout. Here, you may catch some traffic driving out of the city to your direction. After the highway was completed, most of the people use highway and this road is mostly used for local traffic to the nearby villages and maybe even city of Pirot, which is on the way to the border. The road is free and in good condition, so some people choose this road instead of paying for the highway.
North towards Belgrade
You need to get to the toll gate called "Niš north" which is located here https://goo.gl/maps/22qEprCexNWg9KHp8
Take a bus number 3 from the city center. The bus ticket is 60 dinars or 0.5 euros. Bus ride will take around 10 minutes or less. Get off at the last stop. You will see a small roundabout after the bus stop. Keep walking further for 900 meters until you reach toll gate. This info is just for your orientation - you have to pass under the highway overpass on your way to the toll gate. From there you can easily hitchhike to Belgrade. You may even catch some traffic going to Bulgaria or south to Macedonia. Probably not direct rides to those countries, but for sure some cars go to nearby cities. All traffic on this toll gate will be from the city.
Taxi in Niš is not expensive. According to Google maps it's 4.5 km from the city center to the hitchhiking spot. Start costs 110 dinars and every km is 40 dinars. That's around 300 dinars in total which is around 2.5 euros. We don't really have those taxis that rip of tourists (because we don't have many tourists so they are not used to it). There are few scammers around main bus station. Legal taxi in Serbia always have TX as last two letters on car plates. It's very difficult to get a taxi by waving with a hand like in movies. Most of taxis are not moving unless they have a ride. To order a taxi you have to call them by phone. If you don't have local sim card, ask someone to call taxi for you and to explain where taxi should pick you up from. Waiting time is usually 3-4 minutes. Most popular taxi companies are: Prvi, City, Cool, Eko, Bros, TDI,...
- If you are going straight to Belgrade accept only direct rides, since many cars are going there.
- It's not advisable, but if in some almost to impossible situation you don't find a direct ride to Belgrade, you may accept a ride to "Pojate toll gate" or "Batocina toll gate". Those two are on the intersection with the road coming from western and central part of Serbia and you have higher chances to get a ride than if you go to any other city on the way. People want to help hitchhikers, but please don't accept rides which will make you stuck on some small toll gate without any traffic.
- You may only accept rides to "Požarevac toll gate" because from there it's super easy to find a ride to Belgrade. Note that Požarevac city is another 17 km further from the toll gate. You don't want to go to the city, only to the toll gate which is located 100 meters from the highway. Traffic using this toll gate is not only from that city itself, but also from some bigger portion of eastern part of Serbia.
- Try not to accept a ride to Smederevo because it's a dead end since most drivers will use the south toll gate "Kolari" to enter the city, but people going to Belgrade will never use it because they use southwest toll gate called "Vodanj". One hitchhiker stuck in "Kolari toll gate" once and had to hitchhike back to "Požarevac toll gate" to get a ride to Belgrade form there. If your driver is going to Smederevo, you can kindly ask him if he is willing to take you to "Vodanj" toll gate. It will be 7 km more for him, but will save you from being stuck in a wrong toll gate.
South/Southwest towards Skopje (North Macedonia), Prishtina (Kosovo)
You need to get to the South toll gate called "Niš jug" which is located here https://goo.gl/maps/KEQJefmYByfgjnZC9
Take a bus number 10 from the city center. Bus ticket costs 80 dinars which is around 0.70 euros. There will be many roundabouts on your way and after 5th one I think, you need to get off after the last roundabout which is located here https://goo.gl/maps/xaHZMjieMgQHLYuf8 Walk back 10 meters. Local road going South will take you to Leskovac. If you want to go further, better take the highway. Walk direction North for another 1.5 km (or you can try to hitchhike even there instead of walking). There will be another roundabout on your way. Go left there and you will see the toll gate. Note that local road will probably not take you far, but highway could take you even to the border with Macedonia.
If you are going to Kosovo get off at the last bus stop (same bus number 10 as described above) and then hitch/walk about 6 kilometers further as this road merges with the actual road leading to Kosovo and you can get more traffic coming from the highway. Road to Kosovo is fairly easy to hitch on because it's a local road. You can use sign Prokuplje as it's the first city on your way or Kuršumlija which is the last town before border with Kosovo. Don't go to Kuršumlija center. Get off the vehicle before the road goes towards the city. You will see it on GPS.
After passing town of Prokuplje, number of vehicles is getting somewhat lower. You better get a lift from vehicles registered to a foreign plates, as not many Serbian registered vehicles cross into Kosovo at all. A considerable number of trucks going into Kosovo also pass here. If you use signs for hitchhiking, after Kuršumlija write Merdare. that's the name of the border crossing with Kosovo.
What is important to notice here is the traffic structure on this particular road. Serbian vehicles are in most cases heading not further than town of Kuršumlija and nearby villages. Those that pass Kuršumlija in most cases head to Prolom Banja (mineral springs health resort site) or Đavolja Varoš/Devil's Town, natural rock formations site that is a tourist hot-spot nowadays. Both of these are pretty much off the main road. These vehicles going to the border with Kosovo (Merdare village) and further, are very low in numbers.
Therefore, have in mind that if you catch a ride that heads to some of these previously mentioned sites, you may easily get stuck on the road for those last 10 or 15 kilometers before Merdare/Kosovo checkpoint, without much traffic at all.
Depending where your location is, you need to catch bus number 2 (also labeled as "Bubanj - Donja Vrežina"), towards Donja Vrežina neighborhood. The bus costs 60 RSD. Get off at the last bus stop. You will easily recognize it by suburban atmosphere. Once you are there, you can start hitchhiking, as visibility is very good at that point. Have in mind that international and transit traffic, and good percent of locals use highway rather than this road. However, some general experiences are that about 50% of the locals going into your way are passing here. For the other half of a local traffic, you would have to hitch on the motorway, and it's not too easy to get on the city/motorway intersection for this route by public transport.
Once you hitch a ride, don't worry if the driver doesn't go all the way. All you need is to get a ride for next 6 km to the intersection near the village of Malča where highway and local road merges together. Vehicles must pass there, and there's no other intersection road, so you can't miss the place. Once you get there, thumb. There is a good hitchhiking spot right at the crossroads. From the intersection you will see the "toll gate Malča" located here https://goo.gl/maps/utSoEu6QkfcH92Bf9 and you can even hitchhike there if you prefer to ask drivers face to face instead of just waiting on the road. On this spot you are catching almost 100% of traffic going towards Zaječar and further.
Another option to get to Malča village or even further instead of hitchhiking is to take a suburban bus number 16 or 17. Bus number 16 is going to village Vrelo and you can ride that bus until the last stop and hitchhike from there. If you take a bus number 17, make sure to get off the bus before it goes to the village which is off the main road. Check on Google maps where those villages are located and see what is the best option for you.
Route to Istanbul
There is a lot of space, trees and empty little buildings in the area of Nis Fortress.