Spectacularly situated on the top of one of the many rolling hills of beautiful forested southern Serbia, close to the border with Bosnia, Mecavnik is made for romance. A cluster of quirky wooden huts, each individualy decorated, straddle the peak, fanning out from the small main square, where there is a restaurant, cafe, contemporary art gallery, swimming pool, sauna, gym, and, as Kusturica himself lives here, of course there is a cinema.
If you go in the winter, there is a ski slope close by.
At £35pppn for a double room with breakfast and dinner included, it's an absolute bargain too!
The famous 'Sargan 8' narrow gauge steam train is a memorable trip through the mountains nearby, which I also recommend.
For a kayaking holiday, the Tour International Danubien is one of the most amazing kayak or canoe trips in the world. It goes from Ingolstadt all the way to the Black Sea, but you can join for short stages if you don't have the three months it takes for the whole trip. Lovely warm water, fantastic people (both fellow paddlers and locals), interesting cultures, nice beaches and a fascinating history of the event itself are all part of the attraction. The difficulty of the kayaking is not great, although you need a fair amount of endurance. And you have to get up pretty early in the morning every day in order to make a start on your journey. All kinds of people do it, including some family groups.
I recommend a private guide named Cathy if you want to see Belgrade through local eyes. She can organize everything from hotels to tickets for the National Theater! Nice,funny, kind and not expensive. Those were the best days!
you can write to her by e-mail: email@example.com She is very busy, so book her in advance.
Overflowing with amazing music, alcohol and lots, lots, lots more... this is a festival unlike any other. Few tourists make this a once in a lifetime kind of festival.
For other festivals - take Dettol soap - you will never feel so clean!
Belgrade has everything to offer on a night out, from hardcore clubbing to intimate bars to chill out and relax in.
The Club of World Travellers is the coolest little place I've ever been. A 'secret' bar, it took us a while to find but it was worth it. Extensive cocktail list, good prices and weird decor all make it a place worth visiting.
For those into their history, how can anyone look past Tito's grave and museum? A definite must and, if you're into football as well, a mere 5-10 minute walk from both Red Star and Partisan Belgrade's ground (and the kindly staff even let you have a look around).
Camp by the Danube, go hot air ballooning by night, party on the beach and listen to the likes of Dave Clarke, Franz Ferdinand, Pet Shop Boys and Suzanne Vega. All for only €66.75.
(Tip originally posted in 2006 - see links below for up to date festival information on a yearly basis)
July 6-9, Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad.
Novi Sad is 80km north-west of Belgrade. You can catch a bus from there, and some companies run regular car services from Belgrade Airport.
If you need a hotel you should choose something in the centre (around the main pedestrian street, Knez Mihailova). Palace Hotel is a good choice, if you want a place with less noise in the early hours. It’s a four star hotel, so the price may be a bit high, but fair.
Hotels such as Moskva and Balkan have a long tradition but are in the noisiest location in the city. Hotel Park and Royal are good, but only if you REALLY want to stay in a cheap hotel, otherwise choose a hostel. Any hostel lining the main pedestrian street is good, in terms of location, but avoid the ones next to the train station as it’s a bad neighbourhood (porn cinemas and sex shops, etc). I found an article in The Independent recommending Star Hostel, so maybe that’s a good place to start. I’ve checked its status and it has an OK rating.
Palace Hotel: Topličin venac 23;
tel: 011 185-585
Hotel Moskva: Balkanska br.1
Royal Hotel: Kralja Petra 56; tel: 011 2634 222
Star Hostel: Cara Urosa 6/2 1st floor; tel: 631 967 961
The general advice from locals in Belgrade on eating out is "if you want to eat a proper meal you will need to pay a decent price." Here are some of my recommendations:
Madera on Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra, just by Tasmajadan Park (and with a beautiful view overlooking it). Recently renovated, it’s a huge place, so most probably always has tables available. National cuisine and international.
If you want a more intimate atmosphere "A Klub" (national cuisine but the emphasis is on internatonal) is very posh, fancy, and romantic. It’s next to the Slavija Square, at 17 Makenzijeva Street.
After crossing a makeshift footbridge, a la Indiana Jones, we entered what I can only describe as floating hedonism. The boat’s interior was decorated as if we were in a Kusturica remake of Pirates of the Caribbean. On deck a gentrified cameo appearance by a random Danube wave caused the tables to bounce about in sync with the dirty electro sounds which had momentarily replaced the dulcet and soulful tones of the local songstress who had accompanied the improvised offerings of the in-house chef.
Savski Kej: Belgrade
This is what every cities should offer, a beach and this beats Paris-Plage. The beach is located on an island on of the two major rivers. The locals who go there to maintain their annual tan have labelled it the Hawaii of Belgrade, the atmosphere is very "spring break", with cocktail bars lined up along the beach, with a random bungee, paintball and trampoline for those who feel twitchy lazing on the beach. Ideal for getting out of the city.
This is a lovely holiday resprt in Belgrade! It is an island on the Sava river. There are many floating houses, rafts, where people have their getaway place, it's very charming and romantic! On the other side of the island, there is a lake with a beautiful pebbled beach, sports playgrounds, cycling and rollerblading paths, a nudist beach, many cafes, restaurants, night clubs, even a bungee jumping site!!! In the middle of the lake there is a geyser fountain going very high up in the sky! Once I saw a rainbow there, reflecting through the water, it was spectacular! It's very worth a visit!
Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade
The hostel to be in Belgrade: great location - walk out of the building and you're in the epicentre of the tourist district, walk down a couple of floors and you venture into Ben Zakiba, what I can only call a glorified lock-in, its exclusive, hedonistic and chilled-out all in one. The clientele are in-the-know Belgraders and ... we only found out this place existed after meeting locals. A good stop-over point before going back to the hostel (I forgot to mention the only downside of the hostel, you need to walk up four floors to get there).
Nusiceva 8, Belgrade: www.hostels.com
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