I know what you’re thinking, “Where’s Serbia?” If you just thought of Russia, you’re wrong but it was a good try. Serbia, once a part of the Former Yugoslavia, is in central/southern Europe and basically, divides West from East.
Now, if you know anything about history, you’ll know that they went through their fair share of crap, but now, Serbia is becoming the place to visit in Europe. I know when people are traveling, all they are looking for is to eat classic local food and to have a good time. I don’t blame you, and in Belgrade, you won’t run out of options.
With some of the world’s best landscapes and openhearted, welcoming people, Belgrade, Serbia has everything that you’d never expect. Belgrade is the capital of Serbia. Called the ‘white city’, it’s probably where you’ll end up staying in – which is a good choice. Though, don’t expect something pristine and clean. The city is dirty – they’re gypsies, stray dogs but there’s life on the streets. If you go to Vienna, you could lick the ground it’s so clean, but not here, at least, I wouldn’t recommend it. The city’s history flows through the streets and can be seen in the architecture of the deteriorating buildings or on the faces of the people walking by. The city is full of cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants – Serbs love to socialize.
The city is constantly going, I live in Belgrade and I always have something to do if I find myself becoming bored. What’s great about Belgrade is that the best places are hidden in alleys or tucked behind the main strip. But don’t think that you need to be a local to find these places, Serbs are more than willing to let you have a peak in the underground scene which flows heavily through the city. Also, the people are gorgeous and extremely tall, so even just roaming the streets will give you your daily dose of eye candy.
Okay, regarding food, it´s not the best place if you’re vegan, you won’t starve, but, this country prides themselves on their ability to grill meat and wash it down with cheese and bread – see, there are some vegetarian/vegan options. All the food in central Europe is essentially the same, however, they all have their own variations of it. Their food isn’t heavy in spices, so they rely on fat, salt, and oil to bring out the flavors, and it works like a charm. You can have some of the more traditional dishes like Prebranac, which is a baked bean dish or cevapcici which are mixed meat casing-less sausages – you eat that with kajmak, unripened cheese, and raw onions.
Some of the best places to eat are in Old Town, where you can find restaurants like Homa. Here you can eat an unusual mix of local Serbian, South American and Thai cuisine. Home to one of the most well known chefs from Belgrade, Filip Ćirić.
Another great spot is you appreciate architecture and history is Salon 1905, also located in Old Town, in the historic Geozavod building. From its impressive high ceiling, to the Baroque and Art Nouveaux blends of marble, brass and gold, this restaurant mixes a vive of Parisian or Viennese building with classic Serbia.
Finally, Mala Fabrika Ukusa, no place has greater respect for Serbia’s culinary traditions when it comes to breakfast. So if a traditional breakfast is what you are looking for, this restaurant is your spot of choice.
When you’re visiting a city, it’s true colors always come out at night. So, you’ll be surprised at how wild Belgrade is. We have river boats called Splavs, where some of the craziest parties happen. Mind you, they’re only open during the summer. In the city, there are areas like Sava Mala and Cetinska which are full of bars and clubs.
However, what’s great about Belgrade is that bars and clubs aren’t in a specific location but rather scattered out throughout the city. You may be walking by a shopping center and find a bar behind it or when you’re trying to find your way home, you come across a tiny bar down a dark street. That’s what makes Belgrade’s nightlife so exciting, is that when you make a plan to go somewhere, you almost never end up going there – you find a place along the way or run into someone on the street and end up on the opposite side of the city. Plus, you’re allowed to drink in public, so many of the public parks are filled with young people. So, if you want a more relaxed night, just pick up a beer from the corner store and sit on a park bench.
Fashion and Design
Belgrade also offers quality shopping opportunities, similarly to other European capitals. Shopping opportunities are many and varied. Large and luxurious Western-style shopping malls and supermarkets are gaining in Belgrade and Serbia. Belgrade’s main street, Knez Mihailova and its surrounding area, is decked out with all the usual shops, where you can find all the well-known Serbian and global brand. Belgrade even has a Fashion Week, which is ongoing, from the 26th OCTOBER to 8th NOVEMBER 2016, so if you are interested in fashion and design keep this destiny in mind.
If you’re looking for a city with a little mystery and that’ll surprise you when you least expect it, check out Belgrade, Serbia.
Article by Natasha Ivanovic