TRAVEL: A delicious slice of Serbia
| 12th September 2019
When you think about destinations that are within 3 hours flight of the UK, Morocco, Majorca, Sardinia, Portugal or The Greek Islands might come to mind. But I’m going to let you in on a secret. Serbia is a ‘go to’ country with many wonderful attractions for those who love to travel and experience new and different places. As I have always said, ‘if you can afford it, see as much of this earth as possible’ and this particular piece of earth is special.
Located in south eastern Europe, Serbia is rich in history dating back 40,000 years BC. Its largest river, the Danube, flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world and it separates the northern plains from the rest of the country.
Like many countries, Serbia has had its fair share of wars and conflicts over the centuries but as of 2006, it became an independent country again and is striving to be recognised as a place to visit for its long history and cultural attributes. Enormous efforts are being made to promote Serbia’s tourism with its stunning scenery and climate, making it an all year-round destination.
Belgrade the capital, with its red trams is a thriving city economically and culturally (think of Marina Abramovi? the world famous Serbian performance artist, writer, and art filmmaker, shortly to have a show at the RA in London). If it’s the cultural scene and the nightlife that’s of interest, both Belgrade and Novi Sad, a large city to the north, have them in abundance. For those wanting to venture further afield, there are the rivers Danube and Sava to explore. The countryside framed by the rugged Golija mountains in the south and with monasteries such as Hopova and fortresses like Kalemegdan overlooking the Danube and Sava rivers, are dotted across the region and will delight those who like to be away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Being on vacation means not only relaxing but eating and drinking the best that the country can offer and certainly you will find that the food and wine, together with their craft beers are second to none. With such rich soil, Serbia produces some of the best fruit internationally. Apples from Atos Fructum’s orchards and the very best raspberries, blueberries and blackberries produced by the growers AgroBel find their way to the top restaurants in the country. The tastiest confitures and jams from Flora are also amazing when tucking into your breakfast.
If you love your wine, a tour of the wine regions is a must as Serbia has some of the finest award winning whites, reds and sparkling wines you’ll ever taste. Visit Kovacevic winery in the Fruška Gora wine region, where you’ll sample some of the best standout dry white sparkling wine. Tour the Aleksandrovic winery in Topola, where they produce wonderful white, red and rose wines that would not be out of place in a top Michelin star restaurant.
I flew Air Serbia to Belgrade and took a short car ride to the city centre for my stay at Hotel Saint Ten a luxurious Boutique hotel just walking distance from shops and restaurants. Hotel Saint Ten is the perfect small comfortable hotel with friendly and efficient staff, a great bar and each morning they serve a good breakfast selection.
Cafe society is thriving in Serbia where Serbians as I was told several times, love their coffee. There are many great cafes on the streets around Belgrade such as ‘Kafeterija’ part of a popular chain offering 10 types of international coffee as well as snacks and light lunches.
For foodies Belgrade is a gem when it comes to restaurants and further afield in the country. Stara Carinarnica close to the river Danube serving traditional Serbian food is a good starting point with tasty locally caught ‘Smudj’ fish from the Danube. Ambar, a modern international chain of Balkan cuisine is another great place to try. It sits overlooking the picturesque river and is a must for evening dining. For those a little more adventurous ‘Ivanji?ki Konaci’ about 180 kms from Belgrade is a great place to relax and watch the sun go down across the Golija mountains while tucking into traditional local food and wine.
An early lunch at Zadruga’s in Belgrade before my flight home was the order of the day. Zadruga, run by lovely people, is a restaurant, cafe, bakery and market all in one. Serving only fresh local seasonal and organic produce this was a great find and one not to be missed in the future. A really healthy end to my trip to Serbia.
On my short stay in the country, I genuinely felt that Serbia is working hard to be successful in the tourism, wine and food supply industries and are doing a tremendous job with what they offer. They are definitely not afraid of using the best technology to do just that and are working hard to make it happen. One such company if you like your juices is ‘Cold Pressok’ who are using a unique way to produce their very delicious juices and speciality drinks. Keep an eye out for them in Manchester and London .. I have a feeling you will be savouring their products soon.
For those who are into skiing and snow boarding, may also be interested to know that there are many good slopes that are deep in powder but easy on the pocket. I hope to have the opportunity in the near future to try them out.
Serbia is also a popular destination for music festivals such as the Belgrade Music Festival and ‘Exit Festival’ held in an ancient Petrodovian fortress in Novi Sad north of Belgrade. This year saw the likes of The Cure, Carl Cox, Skepta and Chase and Status at Exit. Other important events taking place in Belgrade in the summer and I’m assured are definitely not to be missed are the Belgrade Summer Festival, the Belgrade Beer Festival and in August, Nis becomes the capital of Jazz in Europe.
I have only scratched the surface of what’s on offer in Serbia so I urge you to checkout the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia’s website for much more on all aspects of this friendly and lovely country. (details below)
National Tourism Organisation of Serbia http://www.serbia.travel/home.779.html
Kovacevic Winery https://vinarijakovacevic.com/en/
Aleksandrovic Winery https://vinarijaaleksandrovic.rs/
Stara carinarnica Restaurant http://www.staracarinarnica.com/indexENG.html
Ambar Restaurant https://www.ambarrestaurant.com/home-page-belgrade/
Ivanjicki Konaci Restaurant and Apartments http://ivanjickikonaci.rs/en/
Hotel Saint Ten https://saintten.com
Atos Fructum http://www.atos-fructum.com
Cold Pressok http://coldpressok.com/
Air Serbia https://www.airserbia.com/en_GB/