Vrnjacka Banja hosted many famous persons: writers, actors, scientists, politicians, many of whom came back more than once.
Dobrica Ćosić finished here his first book, Desanka Maksimovic, Mika Antić and Milorad Pavić participated in literature evenings, Ivo Andrić and Maxim Gorky werer riding in carriages around the park, many remembered Branislav Nusic, Bata Stojković and Dragan Nikolić visits and some of the country's rulers came here as well, from kings Aleksandar Obrenović and Aleksandar Karađorđević to president of socialist YugoslaviaJosip Broz Tito. During II World War Geca Kon and Sloboda Trajković were taken by Nazis from Vrnjačka Banja to their execution places...
Many artists, Serbian surrealists, visited Vrnjacka Banja. After Paris and Belgrade, Banja was their third spiritual destination.
Their leader, Dušan Matić, came to Banja after I World War to "heal his soul" and his colleagues followed: Aleksandar Vučo, Oskar Davičo, Koča Popović, Đorđe Krstić.
During 60s and 70s great Serbian writers came for poetry meetings: Desanka Maksimović, Milivoj Živanović, Mika Antić, Milorad Pavić...
Two great Serbian writers had connections to this region in more than one way, but due to circumstances, the first meeting that the fate planned for them in 1941 had not happened.
Dobrica Ćosić and Antonije Isakovic were supposed to meet at Popina. Ćosicćwas sent there as commissioner of Vrnjačko-trstenički squad. Isaković was already there as a soldier. However, Battle at Popina had started that very morning, while Ćosić was crossing the river on a drift. He never made it for the battle.
Born in Velika Drenova in 1921, not far away from Vrnjačka Banja, Ćosić came to Banja as a kid, to sell fruits and vegetables at market place. After II World War he was member of Parliament for that region and Banja had important role in his literary career.
He wrote last part of his debut novel "Daleko je Sunce", at vila Živadinović, first and second parts of "Deobe" trilogy at "Kopaonik". In 1968 he wrote famous letter to Tito while staying in villa Dalibor, in which he opposed to Tito’s policy; from then on he became dissident. Ćosić was president of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1992-1993, until he publicly opposed Slobodan Milošević.
Aforementioned Antonije Isaković also came to Vrnjačka Banja during 60s, to write.
The Battle at Popina brought another big name of Serbian art scene to Vrnjačka Banja - architect Bogdan Bogdanović. He designed a memorial Popina 1978-1980.
Bogdanović was very active member of Banja's cultural life. Together with Dobrica Ćosić, Miodrag B. Protić, Lazar Trifunovic and Stojan Ćelić he established a form of cultural activism in Vrnjačka Banja that were undertaken by younger artists. They founded first Sculpture Symposium in Serbia. They've imagined it not only as regular exhibition but as new perspective of a space, cultivation of certain surroundings and ambient. Their idea was that one doesn't come there just to observe sculptures but to enjoy the atmosphere of connection between art and nature. As part of that initiative all over Vrnjačka Banja park you can now see works by Olga Jančić, Momčilo Krković, Milija Glišić, Alina Szapocznikow and Ernst Neizvestny.
In 1941 a book publisher and editor Geca Kon found refuge in Vrnjačka Banja with his family. Unfortunately, Nazis took them to Belgrade , then to Mathausen concentration camp and executed them there.
Vrnjačka Banja was also birth place of Sloboda Trajkovic, fiancee of Ivo Lola Ribar, one of the closest collaborators of Josip Broz Tito and later People's Hero of Yugoslavia. After Nazi bombing of Belgrade in April 1941. Sloboda escaped to one of her family villas in Vrnjačka Banja. When Germans intersected her letter to Ivo, Sloboda was arrested. Germans insisted that she entraps Ivo into coming to meet her, but she refused. In 1942 she was sent to concentration camp Banjica in Belgrade and killed there in gas chamber with her family. She was 23. Ivo got killed a year later.
Painter, art critic, art historian and founder of Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Miodrag B. Protić, was born in 1922 in Vrnjacka Banja. He believed that very location of his parents' house affected his experience of perspective and the symbols he draw, such as a lamp he used for reading at night.
One of the most famous guests of Vrnjačka Banja was Russian and Soviet writer Maxim Gorky (1868–1936).
In the summer of 1924 he wrote to his friend from Vrnjačka Banja:
"This is our country. So similar to Russia. People are warm and welcoming. It seems to me that Serbs are as much Russians as we are - everything inside us is so similar that I am not able to find a difference. They are as wide as we, as great as we...
I like mountain Goč and peace it gives me”.
Gorky was in Vrnjacka Banja in the second part of July and the first part of August in 1924. He spent 25 days in total, two years before he died at the age of 68.
By all accounts his stay in Serbia was secret because, being a fierce supporter of communism, Gorky probably couldn't reveal his true identity in Kingdom of Yugoslavia. However, Yugoslav authorities found out about his stay and expelled him.