We booked flights to Belgrade almost randomly and we didn’t bond with the idea of going till the very last minute, but it was surely worth it.
After a smooth trip from an extremely gloomy Netherlands we arrived at the airport of the capital of Serbia (and former capital of former Yugoslavia). Passing through a feeling of Greece, Iran, Lithania, Bulgaria and more, we are figuring out that Belgrade is a mix of many but holds a very specific and unique soul.
We dropped our stuff at our hotel, Bohemian Rooms, oriented ourselves and decided to pick the closest restaurant for dinner.
We walked for a couple of minutes and realized that the address leaded to a parking lot. That same parking lot turned out to be a pocket square filled with bars and happy people.
We saw the sign of the place where we wanted to go and still got lost finding the entrance. From a narrow door and two flats of stairs up in a dodgy building we arrived at Foodporn. We ordered two burgers, checked some porn magazines from the 80s and sipped craft beer.
Stuffed, we decided to move to a cocktail bar we saw on the way. 4 cocktails after (for less than 15euros) it was time to call it a day.
Our hotel room is right on top of the main street of the bohemian neighborhood and we got some peace only around 2 last night.
We had already decided to take it easy, so we woke up with a pure mission: breakfast. We walked direction north and arrived at Red Bread, a very highly rated coffee place where, beside coffee, they serve everything else as well; something that I don’t particularly like and that I will realize later is very common in Belgrade.
We ordered two juices, pancakes, a cinnabon and muesli with yogurt; nothing special, but a very nice place where to start understanding the logic of things in Serbia.
In an extremely quiet area with a residential feeling this bar is surrounded by plenty of other places doing the same thing. It seems like here it is still very normal to have the same category of shops lining up all in the same street. Choosing is of course challenging at times.
Because Sourena was still recovering from a cold, we stopped at a pharmacy for drugs and headed back for a nap. It was the perfect time to make a plan (plus a plan B) for the day, rest and enjoy the jazz music playing downstairs.
Around 12 we decided to go for a coffee at Blaznavac, a cute place with a colorful courtyard and very positive vibe. Since coffee calls for cake, we checked the menu and the only English we found turned out to be related to a bakery two blocks away, so we ordered a cherry roll that took 25 minutes to arrive and is now laying half uneaten in the fridge.
After coffee, I convinced Sourena to go to the Zepter Museum, a small art museum in a beautiful building from the beginning of 1900 with only art from Serbian artists.
The museum is located in the center of the pedestrian area and this gave us the opportunity to walk in the crowd, direction lunch. The nice thing of walking in the center is that you get to do a lot of people watching, bad thing is that you most probably will end up buying something at one of the shops. Belgrade Window, at the ground floor of Belgrade Cultural Center, got some of our money.
Properly hungry, we arrived at the To Je To, a Serbian diner with good food for low prices, simple décor and greasy meat. More than full we took tramva 41 to reach the Yugoslavian History Museum. Here like in Sofia museums are outside the city center, stadium style.
The tramva stopped right in front of the beautiful steps leading to the museum and Tito’s grave.
We walked through a retrospective of Tito’s campaign in Africa, visited his memorial and grave and the general history of Yugoslavia: a lot of material to study, beautiful buildings and an interesting attention to the details. We both really enjoyed it, probably for different reasons.
We hopped back on the tramva and reached the neighborhood where we are staying, Skadarlija.
We really liked the atmosphere around the parking lot that we discovered yesterday, so we decided to go back. We started from Yugovinyl, a nice cocktail bar and vinyl’s store, with music playing on request.
After a kind of disappointing cocktails we moved to 20/44, the bar keeping us awake at night. Other disappointing cocktails made us come quickly to a conclusion: every bar, café or restaurant serves cocktails, very cheap ones. It sounds amazing, but it seems that in most of the cases they are served by people who don’t really know what they are doing.
With this realization and after a slice of pizza at Pizzagram, we headed to the last bar of the night and ordered tonic water and a beer at Lamuk, a fancy modern bar with questionable live music.
Music is an extremely interesting subject in this country. First of all, there is loud music everywhere and, more fascinating, only covers are playing. That’s a great way to promote local artists and not pay taxes.
If you want to be given a chance as a singer, come to Belgrade! Start applying at Lamuk, you can definitely compete with their current singers.
When we woke up sun was shining outside and jazz music was already playing downstairs.
We slowly walked through the city center toward Supermarket Deli, a trendy café with plenty of fresh ingredients.
We ordered typical ustipci, omelette, French toasts, tea and juice and enjoyed the relaxing Sunday morning vibe till our second destination was opening.
Just around the corner is the Basta Jazz bar. This is truly a gem in the city. In a rough surrounding, this romantic place opens up hidden behind a sudden turn. You can hear the jazz coming from its courtyard and once in it, it is a pure pleasure. The only small disappointment: no cake. The waiter explained to us that Serbians don’t eat cakes in summer time and they will start baking only when autumn comes.
A coffee and a home-made ginger ice tea later, we were ready to walk along the Sava River toward the fortress.
We arrived from the less majestic entrance and walked our way around. Destroyed and rebuilt only partially it is difficult to the look of the original complex, but it is a popular Sunday morning location and it was filled with people, that is more than enough on a sunny day to make it a lovely place.
The fortress is also the where the Danube meets the Sava River, where basketball fields and tennis courts are placed in the ancient moat, a place where contrasts meet and in contrast with the fortress wall is the Boho Bar. We set there to drink something refreshing and enjoy the great weather. After more than one hour on 2 drinks we left for lunch.
I had read of this restaurant with a cute courtyard in the center of the center so we went to check it out and, even though they had a few vegetarian options we fell again in the meat trap.
Even though some places offer vegetarian options, meat is an absolute leader here in Belgrade, to the extent that there is smell of bbq almost everywhere.
After lunch we decided to walk back to the hotel, rest and cool down a bit, then the illumination came: ice-cream, we wanted ice-cream. With a mission this simple, we googled and got to the closest pure ice-cream shop, no fusion, just ice-cream, Crna Ovca. They had good extravagant flavors and we left satisfied toward a random bar in the pedestrian area to enjoy the evening go by.
We only had time for breakfast before heading to the airport and we had decided yesterday to go to 19 grams, a pro coffee place. On the way there we got distracted by pastry and stopped for it instead of coffee (our morning priorities…).
We then rushed back to try to check-in on time (with Wizzair it is compulsory to check in online) and met the driver that the hotel arranged for us to reach the airport.
On the way, more or less 30 minutes, Sourena asked socio-political questions to the driver as he always does and after a set of very well explained answers we discovered that he was actually the owner of the hotel and previously involved in politics.
A nice way to end the trip.