Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Belgrade Hostels

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
During last April I was unemployed, so I've decided to take a few days for a little research. Since Belgrade started to be more and more popular as a tourist destination, I wanted to check the accommodation. I've prepared myself for the task by choosing two areas around center of Belgrade and to check out budget hotels and hostels.

The result of my research was quite surprising for me, because I've found hostels cleaner and nicer than 3 stars hotels. To be honest, if I would come to visit Belgrade as a tourist, I would choose hostel over a 3 stars hotel. Even though I'm very picky about cleanliness, especially when it comes to bathroom (I hate common bathrooms!), I would still choose hostel. All hostels cost between 10 and 12 € per person, but during major events (like it was last year's Eurovision Song Contest, or this year's Universiade), prices go up, but I don't think that they ever exceed 20 € per person. Comparing to 4 stars hotels, which are 4 to 6 times more expensive, and also raise their prices during major events, it is worth considering this option. Some hostels have private rooms or apartments where you can stay alone, and sometimes have your private bathroom, for a price which is still much lower than in a 3 stars hotel.

Most of hostels are actually redecorated apartments in residential buildings, but some of them are actually in separate buildings. None of them can be easily accessed by disabled people, except for those with regular elevators if they are big enough to carry the wheelchair. All of these hostels are located in areas with parking zones, so if you're coming by car, you'll have to find the nearest public garage, which basically is not a problem (plus, your car will be safer) as there are enough garages.

In some hostels they were very uncooperative, so they're not listed here, but most of hostels in my itinerary had very friendly staff and here are the results, sorted by alphabetical order (not by preference). So, if you are planning to travel to Belgrade, you might like to check out these hostels.

Hostel Central Station is located across the Main Bus Station and Main Train Station. The entrance is through one larger building, which is connected to one smaller, where the hostel is. It is actually one huge apartment, modified to serve the purpose. This hostel even has a cute terrace, overlooking backyard, protected from noise coming from main street. Rooms are nice and clean, they are mixed (meaning both sexes) and smoking is not allowed. Kitchen is surprisingly small and it's the biggest minus of this hostel, but as a contrast, (ladies) bathroom is huge with multiple showers and clean. There is one PC with complimentary internet connection, but it is in the narrow corridor, so it's a little bit uncomfortable. There is no common room, so if you want to watch TV or hang with someone, you have to do it on the terrace or somewhere else. This hostel has a small reception room, but too small to fit more than 3 persons. The interesting thing is that receptionist said that children are allowed (like they are some sort of pets). More details can also be found here.

Entrance from the main street.

Nice terrace with sitting area


PC corner


Ladies bathroom

Chillton Hostel has a cool name, and the hostel itself is pretty cool. It is located in area around Slaviya Square (the wider range of city center) in a charming old building, near St. Sava Cathedral. This is also an adaptated apartment, but it is spacious, with a large common room and a connecting big kitchen, where you can also do your loundry. There is only one bathroom, but it is very clean. Some more detailes can be found here.

Reception "hall"

Common room


City Center is located across the Main Train Station. This is the only hostel which is occupying the complete building and even has additional small building in the back yard, with cheaper beds. Hostel is huge, with large rooms, so it is convenient for large groups. When I was visiting it, in April 2008, they were doing some adaptations and renovations, so today it might look better than it did at that time. The owner said that thy will add some sort of elevating device for wheelchairs, so you should chek the situation directly with them. There was also a restaurant, which was closed for renovation, and next to it was a small casino. Most of rooms are very big, with so meny beds, that it was very surprising for me. All the furniture is very basic, and rooms and corridors have no decoration at all (once again, it could be different now). What impressed me the most was a beautiful view from a balcony in one of the rooms.

Bathrooms are very old, but seems to me also that there are not enough bathrooms comparing to all those beds - but, this problem also might be solved by now. On the toppest floor, there are few appartments, consisted of bedroom, living room and bathroom - thay are nice and decent, but also very simple. More info can be found here.

Hostel's outer building


Apartment: Bedroom, living room and bathroom

Empty hallway

Men's bathroom

Different types of rooms

The best part: view from the terrace from the first floor room. It's overlooking the building of the Main Train Station.

Green Studio was the hostel that I liked the most. It's because of its atmosphere which is so positive that it gets you from the first moment you step inside. Unfortunately, this hostel does not have the official web site, so I'll give you the list of hostel booking links, instead:, iwb, and hostelworld. The owner is a foreigner (meaning not Serbian), but he is very proud to say that this hostel is offering free rakija (rakiya is very strong national liquor) along with free coffee and tea. Hostel has lockers, large common area with TV and computers, which is connected to dining area with average sized kitchen. Using laundry machine is free of charge. Hostel is clean and nice, so this would definitely be my choice. It's across the Main Bus Station, which is literally next to the Main Train Station. There is no elevator in this building, so you'll have to use the stairs. The hotel is on the last floor, so it has roof windows, which is very charming. Every room is bright and with lot of natural light.

Entrance to Green Room Hostel


Kitchen, photographed from dinig area/common room

Computers in common room


Happy Hostel is the most lovely designed hostel of all. It is located very near Slavija Square and you can actually see the part of the square from the terrace. It is also made from an apartment located in the building, but the elevator seems big enough to carry the wheelchair. Every single detail is carefuly chosen and nicely designed: from lazy bags in the common room, through cover of the kitchen door, to toilet seats. There are two toilettes, one is separate and the other is within the bathroom, where you can also find laundry machine. The only thing I did not like about this hostel is the fact that one room is in the middle of the appartment and it's on the way to other rooms, so I cannot imagine how can anywone sleep in that room, since there is no curfew. It is near St. Sava Cathedral More info.

Dining room (in the common room) - the kitchen is on the left


Toilette :o)

View from the terrace - the yellow and blue ball that you can see in the right corner was placed in the middle of Slavija Square at that moment

Common room

Hostel Belgrade is located opposite to Beogradjanka building, in the city center. From the outside you can see a large building, but actually, when you go through the doors you can see on the photo below, after a short corridor, you enter to the large backyard (the size is almost like a small park) wiyh a house surounded by buildings. Hostel is located in that house. Both rooms and bathrooms are clean, and there are small lockers for yor precious possesions (but only for small-sized ones). There is also a reception, with the computer you can use, and a dining area, which was closed at the moment for painting (so I did not see it). More info.

Hostel's building (what you can see down, in a half-basement, is a private appartment, probably the owner's home)


If you would like to stay in the quiet neighborhood, but still to be in the city center and very very close to one of the main attractions in Belgrade, the so-called Silicon Valley (street wit the most cafes in one place), Hostel California is your choice. It was still unfinished when I came to see it, but most part it was finished and funstioning. It occupies a small house, and has three levels. Everything inside is new, so it is pleasant and clean. Common room was not finished at the momet, so I could not see it. This hostel is the closest (from these ones) to Kalemegdan, the most popular attraction in Belgrade. Also, it is just few minutes walk away from other famous attraction, bohemian street Skadarlija. More info about hostel can be found here.

Hostel In Old Shoes, located in the center of the city, 5 minutes walking distance from Main Train Station and 3 minutes form pedestrian zone Knez Mihailova Street, which is surrounded by other tourist attractions.. Rooms are clean and nice, and this is the special private room, overlooking the backyard (quiet area). Other rooms have several beds and they are on the side of the very busy street. Hostel is actually an apartment in a large building. This hostel has pleasant atmosphere and its clean. There are two private rooms, one of them is shown below. More info.

My mission :o)

What I would like to do here is to present Belgrade to people that haven't been here. Most of my posts will be dedicated to places in my hometown, and I hope you'll like it.

I'll try to show Belgrade as it is - beautiful and fun.

Hope you'll like it. All comments are more than welcome.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

House of Flowers - House of Controversy

Sunday, May 24, 2009
Entrance to Kuća cveća

Fountain in front of the tomb


Kuća cveća, or the House of Flowers, is the place where controversial Yugoslav president lies. From his death, 04th May 1980, over 17 millions people visited his grave. In first few years long waiting lines were everyday picture in front of the House of Flowers, but now days the number of visitors is about 15.000 people a year, but with tendency to increase. At first, it was the part of the Memorial Center Josip Broz Tito, which included his residence area (consisted of residence, the Residence, The Pool House, The Hunting Lodge, The Old Museum and, later the Memorial Collection) and museum "25th May". Many valuable exhibits, including gifts from foreign sovereigns and presidents to Tito were displayed as part of the permanent exhibition, but during 1990's, former Serbian president Milošević decided to move in the residential area (fortunately, he's not there any more) and a large part of exhibition became unavailable for public.

The House of Flowers was built in 1974, when Tito was alive, as a closed glass winter garden, which he used for work and leisure. He was buried in House of Flowers, by his own wish.

Every 4th May, there is something interesting going on in this place - on 25th anniversary of Tito's death 340 pilgrims came by foot all the way from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to honor his grave. There is also one regular annual pilgrim, which started several years ago - a large group of bikers, members of motorcycling club "Orel" from Slovenia, come to visit the House of Flowers and put flowers on the grave, on 25th May, the date which was celebrated as Tito's birthday and the Youth Day. If you happen to come on one of those dates, you can witness many interesting accidents and scenes - from really devastated people, crying for him and "good old days", to angry people putting thorns instead of flowers and asking "the vampire" to "leave us alone".

It is easy to reach the House of Flowers, but it is hard to find parking space nearby, because it is surrounded by residences, museum and park. It is about 5 km from the center, so the best is to go there by public transport - trolley buses from the center are very frequent (take No. 40 and 41). The entrance is free on two dates: May 4th, Tito's death anniversary, and May 25th, Tito's birthday (fake one, made up during his Partisan's days, but this one was celebrated) celebrated as the Youth Day. Ticket is about 2,5 € and it's valid for two surrounding museums as well (25. maj and the Old museum).

The House of Flowers has lost its old luxury, but still keeps its charisma.

People that came to pay respect to late president Tito

1980's Baton - the year when Tito died and my school (and me) took part in Slet event

Chinese room

Tito's working room