Belgrade: the bohemian, proud, white city

Our last stop in Serbia was the capital city of Belgrade. This is one of my favourite  European cities and I was so excited to see it again. I love Belgrade because it’s modern yet old, the parks are beautiful and clean, the people are lovely, the shopping is good and the food is exceptional. Since we did most of the tourist stuff last time, this visit we got to see a few places we hadn’t been before. We only really had one full day, but I would have loved to stay longer.

Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has been known by main names. It was called Belgrade meaning the white city, by the Slavs. This is because the cities fortress looked white from the river. It is also known as the city that never sleeps due to its vibrant nightlife. It is also a very walkable city that is bursting with culture and history.

We took a bus from Marco’s hometown of Aleksinac to Belgrade, which took about 3 hours. So by the time we arrived it was afternoon. We were lucky enough to have accommodation in the inner city with some of Marco’s relatives. After a family dinner, we left Octavia with my father-in-law and Marco and I headed out for a walk.

We were staying near the Slavija Square, which is home to the controversial musical Fountain. From there we went through the Manjež Park and made our way onto Terazij road. We got some delicious jam palačinka from Njegoševa palačinka. We had to turn back at that point since we weren’t sure how Octavia would fair being without us.

 

The next day I woke up early with a craving for Serbian pastries. Marco’s cousin recommended the bakery,  Pekara Trpkovic. I went searching for the bakery and it certainly outdid my expectations. When I arrived there were two lines out the door and when I finally got close to the window I could see why it was so popular. there was so much variety of sweet and savoury pastries in the window and so many different types of bureks and cakes inside. I could have ordered one of everything, but because I was alone I didn’t know what I was ordering or how much it was going to cost in Dinas. I ended up buying this danish filled with vegetables and a ham and cheese burek. The pastry in the danish was so soft and buttery and so different to French pastries but delicious in its own right. The burek was hearty, oily and oh so delicious. This bakery is definitely one you need to stop into if you’re in Belgrade!

 

Since we have visited just about all the tourist sites, Marco’s cousin took us to some of the places we hadn’t visited last time. First stop was St. Sava Temple (Hram Svetog Save). This church is still under construction and is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world. It has been in the planning since 1895, but it didn’t begin until 1985. It’s quite stunning from the outside and I’m sure the inside will be too once completed. 

 

Next, we walked to the city centre, Knez Mihailova Street. The strip is adorned with old buildings and mansions, which house many international stores.  It has actually been named one of the most beautiful pedestrian zones in South East Europe. This is probably one of my favourite strips for shopping in Europe. It has all my favourite stores and isn’t too busy. Unfortunately, with a toddler, I didn’t get to go shopping crazy.

 

For lunch, we headed to the vintage neighbourhood of Skadarlija. This bohemian strip is a popular tourist spot where you can find restaurants, hotels, art galleries, antique and souvenir shops. Most restaurants offer Serbian cuisine and groups often perform Serbian brass or traditional urban music. On this day it was actually not very busy, so we enjoyed walking up and down and taking photos.

 

For lunch, we chose the popular restaurant Tri Sesira (Three Hats). We sat outside, but I did have a little look inside and it had a lot of old world charm.

For lunch, we ordered a selection of dishes to share. I was actually looking for a break from meat. I really enjoyed the National Soup (broth with dumpling), baked beans and Serbian salad. All the food was quite pleasant and fresh.

 

After lunch, we took the bus to Ada Ciganlija, which is a  is a river island that has artificially been turned into a peninsula. This is where Belgradians come to play a variety of sports, sunbake, swim and have drinks. It was so hot, so we just needed to get out of the sun and have a nice cold drink. Octavia was just exhausted by then and passed out.

We ordered a couple of fruit berries frappes and Marco had some Chocolate Cream drink. There was a bit of confusion with the ‘choice of sweetener’ to go in the frappes. The waitress didn’t know what that meant we were a bit lost in translation. Anyhow this is a lovely place to catch up with friends and people watch.

 

Later that evening we had our last meal and probably one of my favourites, at Zavicaj Restaurant. They have a large menu of traditional dishes, which are quite affordable and the restaurant is also very charming.

Since it was our last night eating hearty Serbian food, we order a variety of dishes. My craving for Sarma (cabbage rolls) was finally met. They were made perfectly. As was the Beef goulash and Ajvar. Everything was really nice and I would love to visit this restaurant again next time.

 

Have you visited Belgrade? What was your favourite place to visit or eat?

As I mentioned I have already visited Belgrade. In a future post, I will share you some more of the sites from this beautiful city. Next stop on our Europe Trip is Sweden.

15 thoughts on “Belgrade: the bohemian, proud, white city

      1. Yes, I’m third-gen Italian from Australia. You are American? I decided to start this blog because I wanted to write about other things I was interested in rather than food. After having my daughter I didn’t want to stick to a strict vegan diet, so I didn’t really feel connected with my blog anymore, which I had taken a long break from. I still enjoy making plant-based foods and we try to stick to eating that way for the majority of the time. What about you Lane, how long have you been blogging?

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      2. I am American, but spent most of my childhood in Europe. I began blogging only this year. Tomorrow is actually my 8 month Blogiversary! Inspired by stories of expats and digital nomads and believing that travel, when done right, has the power to connect people and build cross-cultural understanding, I began blogging primarily to inspire others to travel with an open mind. Since then, though, my blog has morphed into a lifestyle blog that reflects this transition stage of life I am currently trying to navigate. This involves mindfulness, living simply, yoga and vegetarianism… which started at the same time I started blogging. Fun stuff! It’s a journey!

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      3. Congratulations on your blogiversary! It sounds great. I love the ideal of cross-cultural understanding. Some of the best experiences I’ve had is when I have been able to hang out with locals and see their point of view on life, food and politics. Do you find vegetarianism difficult when travelling?

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      4. I’m not a strict vegetarian. My diet is about 95% vegetarian, so I try not to stress too much about it when I am traveling. I am generally an easy-going person. I think food is an important element of a culture, so, like you said, being able to experience the local cuisine is an integral window into the culture. I try to stay open to experiencing that… even if that means having some jamon iberico in espana or meat and potatoes when in the interior of the Balkans. 😉

        How do you handle vegetarianism when you travel? How often do you get back to Serbia? I imagine your husband still has lots of family there.

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      5. I’m the same way. I want to experience the traditional foods of each city I visit. I found that many places the local dishes are made from high quality local ingredients. I do try to avoid cows milk though because of intolerance. So I may taste but not order a full dish. 4 years ago I was very strict with dairy and getting dairy free or vegan alternatives were very hard but now it’s amazing. I couldn’t believe how many places offer vegan gelato and soy cappuccino now. Other then that I do try to limit meat to once a day at the most when travelling.
        We have only been to Serbia twice together. We always want to go back but it’s very far and my partner doesn’t take much holidays. Yes he has all his family there because his partners brought him here. I have more family in Italy and here. We have larger families

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  1. I have been to Eastern Europe, but only recently. My girlfriend and I spent 3 weeks in Croatia and Slovenia a few months ago. We loved it, even though I haven’t written much about it on my blog. That’s another story entirely. We enjoy independent, budget, slow travel. We did AirBnB’s and mostly used train, ferries and public buses to get around. We stayed in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Rovinj, Plitvice, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik and visited many other cities besides like Hum, Motovun, Porec, the island of Lopud and even spent an amazing day in Mostar. We are planning to go back to coastal Croatia (maybe Zadar) for 3 months next year. By chance, do you know anyone who is looking for a house-sitter or volunteers in exchange for room and board at maybe a small organic farm, or a yoga retreat, or just someone needing help around the hourse or any other barter? Croatia would be nice, but we might be open to anywhere in the Balkans as long as our lack of language skills would not be too much of a barrier.

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