Date: 17th/18th/19th/20th of August 2016
So the whole reason for going to Serbia was to attend the Beer Festival. We flew with Air Serbia from Split to Belgrade. Once in Belgrade we caught a bus into the centre, a friendly local at the airport showed us which bus we needed, and were a bit worried about getting off at the correct stop. So we asked the driver and he was very helpful and said he would tell us when to get off! We had the nod from the driver and off we got!
Where We Stayed: We stayed at an Airbnb called ‘Downtown Nina-Center’ hosted by Kaca. This was a lovely flat and had everything we needed. It had WiFi, kitchen and private bathroom and was in a perfect locations. Best of all I think it cost us £19 a night, what a bargain!
Must See and Do:
Belgrade Beer Festival
This is held every August. We can’t remember how we came across this, as it isn’t really aimed at tourists. I think we were researching beer festivals in the Summer as we are unable to have time off work during Oktoberfest. We came across their web page and read that it is one of the biggest and best beer festivals in Europe and that was that, we were going to Belgrade! We decided to visit the festival on Thursday and Friday as we didn’t know what to expect and decided to go the quieter nights. We’d read that the weekends can get a bit rowdy!
We walked from our Airbnb across a long bridge and through the park to arrive at the front gates of the festival. There was a lot of police and private security at the front. They were a scary looking bunch and you could feel their presence throughout the festival, you would not want to mess around with these guys! Everybody gets searched on the way in, and I mean properly searched, a full pat down!
The atmosphere was great all night long. We were very surprised how many families were at the festival enjoying the entertainment on both stages. We couldn’t believe how chilled the atmosphere was, because if you had this in the UK there would be a lot of drunk people laying around the place! Here though everyone was enjoying. The food and beers were nice and for a great price. There were lots of deals where if you drank 6 beers in one of the tents then you got a free t-shirt. We liked sitting on the long benches and watching people play the number of games around us. On the Friday we saw Rudimental open the festival which was amazing.
So for the time we were at the festival we spent £30 between us which got us 3 T-shirts, 2 Frisbees and 24 pints of beer. We will be seeing Belgrade Beer Festival again.
The Belgrade Fortress
We decided to explore the Fortress after coming across it on TripAdvisor. The Fortress has a rich history that is very interesting. We walked up to the fortress and through a park to a lookout point. The views were amazing and you could see the Sava and Danube rivers. It is a beautiful walk with the best views of Belgrade. Bring suitable footwear though as some parts of the walk are very uneven. It was a lovely day and very hot.
Walk around the city
We didn’t know a lot about Belgrade and didn’t research very well what to do. We decided to just walk around the city. This is a must. On the way into Belgrade we were looking out of the bus window and …to be honest…wondering “what we have done”. The route into the city from the airport doesn’t look that inviting from the outskirts and at first we didn’t feel that comfortable. However once we started walking around the city and going to markets and stopping for coffee and drinks we soon realised how wrong we were. The buildings are beautiful, even with the marks of the cities sad history, and the people are so helpful and caring. We walked down many streets and got lost around the city, we have never had our mind changed so quickly by a city but we are so thankful that we gave this city a chance.
Food and Drink:
Ambar WOW! This place turned out to be our favourite restaurant from our 2 week Adventure. It was easy to find along the river and had amazing views. We sat on the patio for our food and drinks as it was warm outside. We looked at the huge menu but already knew what we wanted after reading on Trip Advisor. We went for the Ambar Train which is an unlimited amount of small plates sent by the chef. When we ordered this the server, Alex, asked some basic questions such as did we like fish and would we want the Serbian experience or things from Europe. Of course we went for the Serbian experience!
The experience started with breads and spreads which were amazing. We couldn’t get enough of one of the spreads but have forgotten what it was called. The breads were freshly made and fantastic. These are the courses we remember:
- PORK ROULADE with arugula, horseradish dressing and caramelized apples. This was delicious and didn’t want it to finish.
- CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI with oregano, sour cream and baked pepper. These were to die for we could not stop eating these. I think they were one of my favourite.
- GRILLED SAUSAGES grilled to perfection and served with Ambar’s house- mustard.
- FRIED CALAMARI served with tartar sauce.
Above are the courses we remember, we did have many more. We were getting really full and told the server that we were nearly done. He was very insistent that we needed to have “one more course” as the next was delicious and was only “small”. Well… when it came to the table it was definitely not small but was really tasty. Then we had pudding and bought a cocktail each to finish. We were stuffed and could not fit anything else in. The walk back to our airbnb was well needed.
We highly recommend visiting Ambar for the experience. The food is amazing and fresh and we liked every course they brought to us. It is unlike anywhere I have ever been. I love trying lots of different foods and this really did tick the box. The servers are also really good and help with choosing off the menu and are chatty and want to get to know you. The price was so good for the quality and quantity of food. I think we payed around £80 for the food, wine and a cocktail. We will be back!
Manufaktura was a little café/restaurant we visited. We had to visit here as I was hangry and needed refuelling. It was hot and my feet hurt from all the walking and so we didn’t have much choice as we needed food and drinks quickly. We were so glad we stumbled upon this café as it was in a lovely location and had a great menu. We loved the umbrellas hanging over the outside area. We decided on Aperol Spritz, coffees and to try the bread and salad. Everything was lovely. TOP TIP when ordering anything in Belgrde the menu is literal . When I ordered a cucumber and feta salad I thought I would be getting a salad with lettuce etc. but no the bowl was literally just cucumber and feta. It was lovely but really made us laugh.
We had read online that clubs and bars on barges along the river were very popular in Belgrade. We heard on a tour that because of the history of the country that people live everyday as if it is their last and party hard. We wanted to check one of these out and decided to visit Splav Viva in the day. The setting is gorgeous with the river all around you and the seating was really comfy. We shared a cheese board and ice cream and had a few cocktails and beers. It was very hot outside and loved sitting here watching the world go by.