Escape to Belgrade 2021

Belgrade Serbia – Forbes GETTY

After a long lapse in my travels, finally I’m escaping the US abyss. I’ll arrive in Belgrade May 3rd, grateful to explore foreign soil again – BIG smile! I visited Belgrade in 2019 and enjoyed time spent in the vibrant European city. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Belgrade has seriously impressive history. Its location at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers, places it at the “intersection of Western and Oriental Europe“. Belgrade is said to have been “settled between 50 to 20 thousand years ago, fought over in 115 wars, and razed to the ground 44 times”!

Map Central Balkans
Sava River Belgrade Serbia – Britannica
Arts and Splavs

I’ll be in Belgrade for a month, exploring places missed during the previous visit and enjoying Belgrade’s museums, galleries, festivals, and magnificent performing arts venues. Warm spring weather means prime splav (splavovi) time. I’m looking forward to hiking in outlying areas and hopping on boats moored along the Sava and Danube riverbank.

Belgrade Café – Pinterest
Cafés and Markets

In true Mediterranean fashion, Belgrade street cafés are abundant. Serbians take their coffee as seriously as Bosnians and Italians. An eclectic variety of neighborhood green markets offer a combination of crafts and fresh produce. I speak zero Serbo-Croat (Cyrillic), but am practicing a few key words and phrases, hoping they will get me by with minimal catastrophes…

Zeleni Venac Market – reportingbalkans Photo Paul Rochford
Food and Kafanas

Serbian food is dominated by meat, sauces, and flavors inspired by Turkish, Greek, and Austrian cuisine. The fertile soil is known for producing quality fruit and vegetables. During the last visit, I enjoyed delicious meals served in entertaining kafanas.

Belgrade Kafana – Culture Trip
Belgrade Splavovis – Travel Guides and Blogs

I frequented less-touristy kafanas, and eventually was accepted as a solo woman traveler. Sometimes uncomfortable, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as parts of Italy, where women traveling alone are often seated at the very back of a restaurant. I learned to object to that.

Belgrade Riverside – The Urban List
Hagia Sophia Mosque Istanbul Turkey – Steppes Travel
Turkey in June

Although I plan to play this trip mostly by ear, I obtained a Turkish eVisa, and Istanbul, followed by Turkish coastal regions along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, are on the June agenda. Istanbul is another exciting, exotic city I’ve visited several times before.

Galata Tower Beyoğlu Sidestreet Istanbul – Shutterstock
Castle of St. Peter Bodrum Turkey – Flickr

Feeling alive again! Regarding the dreaded “C” word, Serbia and Belgrade are doing extremely well disseminating the covid vaccine. In fact, “thousands of vaccine-seekers from countries neighboring Serbia have flocked to Belgrade, after Serbian authorities offered foreigners free coronavirus jabs, if they showed up”.

Bodrum Turkey Sidestreet – Travel Atelier

More later!


  1. Garrulous Gwendoline

    Teach Yourself Serbo-Croat by Javarek and Sudjek is a great book to get you started on the language and it is freely digitised.
    As you know, you will be working in the Cyrillic Alphabet in Belgrade but the pronunciation is the same as explained using the Latin alphabet once you take account of the local dialect. I learnt with the – ije – (eeyah) dialect but that is used in the north-western part of what is now Croatia.
    In Latin alphabet Serbo-Croat is srpsko-hrvatska. You need to be able to roll the ‘r’ fit the rest of the letters in. One of my favourite words with no vowels is prst (finger).
    I’ll be following your travels with interest. Hard to imagine the city life will be as vibrant as usual. I have connections with people in Sabac, about an hour away, and they have been doing it pretty tough I understand, so I’m very interested to hear what you find.
    Good luck with your travels.

    1. suemtravels

      Thanks for the link Gwen – learning Serbian Cyrillic seems daunting :o( and many other things to do to prepare. My favorite word – DA! This trip will be interesting, and I’m ready and looking forward to the challenge and a well-needed change of scene. Will stay in the same studio as last time – a busy area near everything called Palilula (Cyrillic Палилула) pronounced pǎlilula. I understand Serbia is well ahead of EU countries in terms of vaccines. Praying they don’t have a relapse… They have a choice of as many as six, and the process is proceeding quickly. The National Theatre is reopening! It will be warmer than my last visit in March 2019, so hoping the splavs will be running on the rivers as well. Thanks for your comment! Sue

  2. Monica Singh

    Belgrade feels like a classic town.. has a vintage charm. I simply love Rivershore and seaside townships. They look absolutely gorgeous from a cruise. The perspective is enamoring.

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