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Belgrade - anyone been?

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    I'm going to Belgrade in April for 3 nights at the end of a 2 week rail trip across Eastern Europe going from Warsaw - Krakow - Prague - Bratislava - Budapest and then to Belgrade.

    Just wondering whether anybody has been? I hear the nightlife is really good, but are there many sights worth seeing? Any day trips? What are the people like also? I've heard some horror stories about people getting beatedn up in Serbia, so is it a safe place?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by EssexDan86)
    I'm going to Belgrade in April for 3 nights at the end of a 2 week rail trip across Eastern Europe going from Warsaw - Krakow - Prague - Bratislava - Budapest and then to Belgrade.

    Just wondering whether anybody has been? I hear the nightlife is really good, but are there many sights worth seeing? Any day trips? What are the people like also? I've heard some horror stories about people getting beatedn up in Serbia, so is it a safe place?

    Thanks
    yes I went just over a year ago, it was awesome, one of the best places I've visited.

    Its not very tourist friendly and hence a little scary at first. The man on immigration made us give him £50 to let us in, and we thought our taxi driver from the airport was trying to kill us - he actually invented his own lane at one point. Make sure you learn to read cyrillic script before you go, because otherwise a map is next to useless as you can't read the road signs.

    Take some Euros with you, or else just use your bankcard to get money out of an ATM.

    The people were very friendly although they didn't speak much English, the architecture was amazing, the nightlife was fantastic although very smoky, and there was lots of stuff to do and places to visit.


    The one standout thing was that food and drink and entertainment and accommodation are so cheap that you feel like Roman Abramovich. We ate at the best restaurants for £10 each and got the best seats in the Royal Ballet for £8. They also sell these incredible fried meat and pastry slices for about 50p at the side of every road.
    Our hotel was impeccably modern and luxurious and came with breakfast and dinner included for something like £50 a room per night.


    Conversely, you're also on the same train I used to get from Prague to Budapest by the sounds of it. Now THAT was scary, Prague station at midnight was like a scene from Requiem for a Dream.
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    I went there for 2 days about a month ago. The city centre and the old fortifications are nice. I personally didn't feel particularly unsafe. And yes, the drawn lanes on the motorway are useless because people don't care about them and invent their own lanes. It's quite common to see 4 cars driving next to each other on a 2 lane motorway. Everything is really cheap, especially hotels, food, drinks and taxis.

    By the way, are you sure you don't want to go to Vienna instead of Bratislava? There's not much to do in Bratislava and you will get bored after about 3 hours.
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    (Original post by Vindobona)
    By the way, are you sure you don't want to go to Vienna instead of Bratislava? There's not much to do in Bratislava and you will get bored after about 3 hours.
    I think we'll take a day trip to Vienna to see the sights, as the two cities are so close. We're only in Bratislava for two nights though - I hear the Old Town there is nice and I'm sure there are a few places to have a drink. It's so much cheaper than Vienna though that it's probably the better option for us!
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    (Original post by py0alb)
    yes I went just over a year ago, it was awesome, one of the best places I've visited.

    Its not very tourist friendly and hence a little scary at first. The man on immigration made us give him £50 to let us in, and we thought our taxi driver from the airport was trying to kill us - he actually invented his own lane at one point. Make sure you learn to read cyrillic script before you go, because otherwise a map is next to useless as you can't read the road signs.

    Take some Euros with you, or else just use your bankcard to get money out of an ATM.

    The people were very friendly although they didn't speak much English, the architecture was amazing, the nightlife was fantastic although very smoky, and there was lots of stuff to do and places to visit.


    The one standout thing was that food and drink and entertainment and accommodation are so cheap that you feel like Roman Abramovich. We ate at the best restaurants for £10 each and got the best seats in the Royal Ballet for £8. They also sell these incredible fried meat and pastry slices for about 50p at the side of every road.
    Our hotel was impeccably modern and luxurious and came with breakfast and dinner included for something like £50 a room per night.


    Conversely, you're also on the same train I used to get from Prague to Budapest by the sounds of it. Now THAT was scary, Prague station at midnight was like a scene from Requiem for a Dream.
    I'm very surprised they bribed you at the airport , ive been to Serbia twice and i had no troubles at the borders . I crossed the montenegro/serbia border nr Kosovo and no problems. I loved Belgrade as has a lot of energy.
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    (Original post by EssexDan86)
    I think we'll take a day trip to Vienna to see the sights, as the two cities are so close. We're only in Bratislava for two nights though - I hear the Old Town there is nice and I'm sure there are a few places to have a drink. It's so much cheaper than Vienna though that it's probably the better option for us!
    Isn't Bratislava where Hostel was set?
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    (Original post by Samus2)
    Isn't Bratislava where Hostel was set?
    No, it wasn't.
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    (Original post by Samus2)
    Isn't Bratislava where Hostel was set?
    (Original post by rockrunride)
    No, it wasn't.
    Yes the plot is set in Bratislava, but the movie was actually shot in the Czech Republic.
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    (Original post by Vindobona)
    Yes the plot is set in Bratislava, but the movie was actually shot in the Czech Republic.
    I thought the name sounded familiar!
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    (Original post by Vindobona)
    Yes the plot is set in Bratislava, but the movie was actually shot in the Czech Republic.
    The "hostel" is in a village, isn't it?
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    (Original post by rockrunride)
    The "hostel" is in a village, isn't it?
    All the village scenes were filmed in Cesky Krumlov (incredibly touristy, but nice village in South Bohemia, Czech Republic) and the torture scenes in a studio in Prague.

    Was quite annoying that they set it in Slovakia because all the signage was in Czech and the 'locals' were clearly speaking Czech to eachother and not Slovak....although obviously most English-speakers wouldn't tell the difference, it was slightly irritating they didn't make any effort to localise it. I'm probably just being a pedant though.

    The final scene in the first film at 'Vienna' train station was actually filmed in Prague as well- but here they did make more of an effort to make it look like Austria (German signs etc).


    OP- Please update how your trip goes. I've heard very mixed reports on Belgrade, people generally seem to prefer Sarajevo (which is more picturesque). I'm thinking of possibly combining Belgrade and Skopje on a short trip so would be interested in your feedback.
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    (Original post by standreams)
    OP- Please update how your trip goes. I've heard very mixed reports on Belgrade, people generally seem to prefer Sarajevo (which is more picturesque). I'm thinking of possibly combining Belgrade and Skopje on a short trip so would be interested in your feedback.
    Will do - my brother went to Belgrade 3 years ago and gave a glowing review of it. Particularly interesting, he said, was the Military Museum, which gave a ridiculously Serb-biased history of the country, and made absolutely no mention of the Bosnia War in the early 90s!

    He also said the floating bars/clubs lining the Danube/Sava are great fun. Quite looking forward to the place!
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    I went in summer 2010 - it was really good. A nice mixture of museums/history/things to do during the day and places to go out in the evening too. We stayed in a nice little hostel - manga hostel although we met a lot of backpackers who were there too and said that there were good ones closer to the city centre. Also, check when you're going that stuff's open - we found that a few of their museums were closed on random days and we couldn't go to them which was a bit of a pity. The restaurants are nice - we got super meals for about £10 including drinks etc.. Their fortress thing is quite fun, they've got a bunch of old tanks which you can climb on (although they've got bees nests in them so be careful!) and have a look around. I think they're quite heavy on their censoring still as quite a lot of the history in that area which makes them look bad was just not displayed in museums. Also, if you can find an English museum guide that would be good as most of the writing isn't in English like other museums across the world (not that it should be, it's just fairly common to). Also, familiarise yourself with the Cyrillic alphabet so you can transliterate things into English - it's handy (even if you don't understand what it means) because you can match some of the writing which is in Roman to the Cyrillic around. Ooh, one other thing is to check out the 'party barges' on the river - they are good fun and it's quite novel to party on a boat! Enjoy!
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    (Original post by standreams)
    All the village scenes were filmed in Cesky Krumlov (incredibly touristy, but nice village in South Bohemia, Czech Republic) and the torture scenes in a studio in Prague.

    Was quite annoying that they set it in Slovakia because all the signage was in Czech and the 'locals' were clearly speaking Czech to eachother and not Slovak....although obviously most English-speakers wouldn't tell the difference, it was slightly irritating they didn't make any effort to localise it. I'm probably just being a pedant though.

    The final scene in the first film at 'Vienna' train station was actually filmed in Prague as well- but here they did make more of an effort to make it look like Austria (German signs etc).


    OP- Please update how your trip goes. I've heard very mixed reports on Belgrade, people generally seem to prefer Sarajevo (which is more picturesque). I'm thinking of possibly combining Belgrade and Skopje on a short trip so would be interested in your feedback.
    Yes Sarajevo is in a stunning location in the valley but is a bit smaller . I wasent too impressed with Skopje though. Belgrade has a lot of energy and more edgy.
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    Speaking of the Balkans, I'd love to take 2 weeks once and go south along the coast starting in Northern Croatia. It must be so beautiful. Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, and then Montenegro. The landscape is supposed to be amazing there. The Kotor area is a UNESCO world heritage site, for example. And then a short stay in Skopje, Pristina, or Tirana.
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    (Original post by Vindobona)
    Speaking of the Balkans, I'd love to take 2 weeks once and go south along the coast starting in Northern Croatia. It must be so beautiful. Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, and then Montenegro. The landscape is supposed to be amazing there. The Kotor area is a UNESCO world heritage site, for example. And then a short stay in Skopje, Pristina, or Tirana.
    I've been to Rijeka (2006) and Zadar (last year) - both well worth a visit. Zadar has a very pretty walled old town, a bit like a smaller scale Dubrovnik (but less touristy). There's some great little restaurants and bars as well, but be sure to go in the summer months... we went in October and it was a bit out of season so not everything was open, got very cold at night too!
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    (Original post by Vindobona)
    Speaking of the Balkans, I'd love to take 2 weeks once and go south along the coast starting in Northern Croatia. It must be so beautiful. Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, and then Montenegro. The landscape is supposed to be amazing there. The Kotor area is a UNESCO world heritage site, for example. And then a short stay in Skopje, Pristina, or Tirana.

    Yes i went Split and it is a very nice walled city . I went in August and it was scorching.The coast is stunning and is amazing in Montenegro . You can get a bus fairly easy into Montenegro but i heard theres very little public transport into Albania.
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    (Original post by EssexDan86)
    I'm going to Belgrade in April for 3 nights at the end of a 2 week rail trip across Eastern Europe going from Warsaw - Krakow - Prague - Bratislava - Budapest and then to Belgrade.

    Just wondering whether anybody has been? I hear the nightlife is really good, but are there many sights worth seeing? Any day trips? What are the people like also? I've heard some horror stories about people getting beatedn up in Serbia, so is it a safe place?

    Thanks
    Dude, I just spent 30 minutes writing an indepth post about the war and how you should tackle it but I just clicked it shut and cant be bothered to retype it. basically just be careful when mentioning the war (your other post). Serbia proper actually had very little to do with the Bosnian conflict apart from its initial show of force in a vain attempt to prevent the breakup of Yugoslavia. When asking about the Kosovan conflict be open minded. Obviously you will hear a very one sided view point but that doesnt mean you should instantly dismiss it. Many younger serbs are not as nationalistic as their older compatriots and dislike the politicians of the 90s. Nonetheless, they still feel aggrieved about how the west treated them in 99 and not without cause. The mass genocidal policies of Milosevic have since been debunked as nonsense. "100s of thousands" of people as often quoted in our media did not die and the official death toll from the conflict stands at roughly 10,000 (a sizeable proportion of which includes Serbs). You may also hear that the kosovan insurgency was committed by islamic extremists. Many of the leading members of the KLA were secular and driven by either nationalist aspirations, liberation or unfortunately sometimes self interest.

    You may also come across a lot of anti-albanian sentiment which is a shame because if you ever visit Albania or Kosovo, you will find that they, along with the Serbs, are two of the friendliest people this continent has to offer. Therefore take such generalisations about Albanians with a pinch of salt.

    I recommend as a hostel 'Green Studios' which is near the main train station. the serbs that run that place are even more awesome then serbian people in general. dont listen to scare stories about corruption as nowadays this is largely baloney. Street violence is supposed to be a problem (ie small groups of nationalist hooligans) but it is unlikely that you should.

    Anyway, have a blast over there man.
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    Whenever someone mentions Bratislava I'm always reminded of the film Eurotrip.
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    (Original post by scott125)
    Yes i went Split and it is a very nice walled city . I went in August and it was scorching.The coast is stunning and is amazing in Montenegro . You can get a bus fairly easy into Montenegro but i heard theres very little public transport into Albania.
    From Podgorica or Bar, you can get a coach to Ulcinj which is near the border with Albania. You can then either get a taxi from Ulcinj to Skoder in Albania, or a taxi to the border and then another taxi to Skoder.

    From Skoder there are furgons and also coaches to Tirana. From Tirana you can get coaches to Elbasan, Sarande, Vlore, Durres, Podgradec and even Bajram Curri and Kosovo. It is longer then the train but the travel in Albania is so cheap. The journey from Montenegro's capital to Tirana should take no more than 35 euros altogether but it is well worth spending a night in Ulcinj anyway as it is stunning. As long as you plan your journey, travel in Albania is relatively easy. The hardest bit is travelling from tirana as there is no central bus station but your hostel owner will know where you will need to get the bus from.

    Dont get the trains in Albania, they have had very little investment, smell like **** and take hours to make simple journeys. I heard one story of the train to Durres from Tirana and the train stopped half way and made everyone get off lol.

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