Jacqui Agate | Contributing Writer | Saturday, 30 January 2016

How To Go To Belgrade For Cheap

How To Go To Belgrade For Cheap

The Debrief: Because everything *can* be done for cheap

With relentless nightlife, a gritty history and enough slivovitz (fruit brandy) to sate an army (or at least a thirsty troop of girls), Belgrade is the Eastern European destination that all the travel buffs are talking about.

The formerly underrated Serbian capital is on the up, and with its unrivalled summer festival season and boho old-meets-new vibe, it’s easy to see why it’s getting noticed.

Move over Budapest; step down Berlin – this year is all about Belgrade. Here are five reasons to book a trip.

Getting there is pretty easy (and fairly cheap)

By far the cheapest airline to fly with is Wizz Air – an affordable Hungarian company that offers flights from as little as £60.

Air Serbia is the other value option, and though it’s not as reasonable as the former, decent promos do pop up on a regular basis.

Once you land, hop on the airport shuttlebus; it runs on the hour from 7:00AM to 10:00PM daily, costs less than £2, and takes you right into Slavija Square, the very centre of Belgrade. Sorted.

Finding somewhere to get your head down will be no problem

Belgrade is packed with cheap (and not too shabby) hostels – Hostelbookers.com is a great site to start with.

If you can see past the ridiculous name, brightly-coloured, art-deco Hostel Bongo, centrally located, is one of the best – and with rates from as little as £8 per night you can’t go wrong.

Another good option is Yolostel, with an an equally mortifying name, and an equally great location. It’s situated near the up-and-coming Savamala district and is a stone’s throw from all the main sights. Again you can pay as little as £8 for a dorm, or splash a little extra cash if you fancy a private room.

Belgrade is one of Europe’s best party cities

Belgrade has by far the biggest party scene in the Balkans.

From the city’s riverside strip, to the myriad streets which pulse through the night, you’ll be at no shortage of places to go 'out out.'

Stranhinjica bana, or 'Silicon Valley' is lined with all manner of party places, from deep house joints to those which thrive on cheesy 90s classics. Starting prices for cocktails are around £2.50, and the clubs are generally sans entrance fees.

If you fancy yourself a little more civilised, head to Skadarlija Street; the area is packed with traditional taverns and vintage bars, and there are plenty of places to gorge on Serbian fare before you start drinking.

Belgrade’s unique nightlife attraction is the 'floating clubs' (splaviova) on its river banks, of which the city boasts more than 200. If you’re visiting in summer this is an absolute must.

The food is better than it once was

Belgrade is not often dubbed a foodie destination, but new restaurants are rearing their heads all the time.

The old town and, again, Skadarlija, both have loads of classic Serbian restaurants, where you can feast on local delicacies such as ćevapčići, a kind of grilled mince-meat sausage.

If you’re a vegetarian you’ll be hard pressed to find something decent, so best pack some mug shots.

Doing stuff in the day won’t break the bank

Away from the hedonism there are some real cultural treats to be had.

The sprawling hilltop Kalemegdan Fortress is a nod to the city’s war-torn past and is a must for history nerds.

There’s a fee for all the fancy bits (the clock tower, the roman well etc), but walking around the complex itself is completely free of charge – and so is taking in the pretty view across the confluence of the rivers Danube and Sava.

There’s also an endless amount of streets to amble around, again at no cost. Republic Square is the city’s main plaza, dominated by a huge statue of a guy on a horse (the former prince of Serbia, Mihailo Obrenović).

If you’re a wannabee/ actual hipster, and you enjoy complaining to your mates about gentrification, somewhere more boho might be your scene.

Savamala is the most up-and-coming area, all graffiti, alternative cafes and restaurants in converted warehouses; its highlight is KC Grad, an edgy culture centre that puts on loads of (usually cheap) events, and is definitely worth a visit.

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Follow Jacqui on Twitter @JacquelineAgate

Tags: Travel