EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Author: Ana

Traditional Greek Desserts You Have To Try

If you had to choose the factors that make a place interesting to travel to, what would you pick? Let us guess: rich culture, beautiful landscapes, great food and a…

If you had to choose the factors that make a place interesting to travel to, what would you pick? Let us guess: rich culture, beautiful landscapes, great food and a couple more. If we guessed right, listen to our advice and put Greece on your travel destination list.

This Mediterranean gem has everything you could possibly want from a travel experience. One of those things is the food, which manages to be healthy and incredibly tasty at the same time.

Once you try the entrees and main courses, make sure you leave room for dessert. Whatever you choose, you won’t go wrong. Greek desserts are famous for being so tasty, you’ll come back to Greece just to have some more!

Here’s a list of some of the most delicious ones you should try. The unique specialties vary from street food classics to restaurant delicacies. If you’re hungry, proceed with caution!

Traditional Greek Desserts You Have To Try

Greek Kataifi

At first glance, this might remind you of thin ramen noodles. But, we promise, kataifi is so much better than that and it won’t disappoint you!

This unique dessert is made with a specific shredded dough and then topped with an aromatic syrup. You will recognize lemony notes and cinnamon in the syrup and the fresh butter on top of the dough.

The center is filled with finely chopped nuts – either almonds and walnuts or pistachios. It’s perfect if you’re in the mood for something crunchy and sweet!

Greek Kataifi is a perfect representation of typical Greek desserts. It is rich and very sweet, but, most of all, unlike anything you’ve ever tried before!

Bougatsa

If you ask any Greek man or woman what’s the best breakfast food, they will recommend bougatsa. This flaky pastry is a real Greek treasure and it can be found pretty much everywhere you go!

Whether you like a sweet or savory breakfast, bougatsa is a perfect option. But the sweet one is more famous and, in our opinion, much more flavorful. Have in mind that you don’t have to eat it for breakfast only, but as a dessert as well!

It is made of thin phyllo dough which is filled with rich, creamy custard. The heavenly aroma also comes from the cinnamon, which is traditionally sprinkled on top. Make sure you have it fresh and hot, so you could taste the butteriness!

Bougatsa is guaranteed to top your list of best sweet pastries and, possibly, best Greek desserts. Just think of it this way: being able to have dessert for breakfast is what life is all about!

Baklava

On some days, there’s just nothing better than an old-fashioned baklava. It exudes a certain warm and homey feeling, especially if it’s authentic. If you’d like to try one made from someone’s grandma’s recipe, you should definitely try it in Greece!

The basic version of this well-known dessert is made with layers of thin phyllo and filled with ground walnuts. It is then drenched in sugar syrup, which gets completely absorbed.

There are many different variations of it that you should try. Some include raisins along with walnuts, while others are made with ground pistachios. If you’re a lover of all nuts, you could try one with a combination of a few of them. Also, don’t miss the baklava with rose water!

In Greece, baklava is usually made for special occasions and events. But, isn’t being in Greece special enough? Tuck in!

Halva

Not to be confused with the Turkish sweet with the same name, Greek halva is a type of pudding. It’s traditionally made with semolina flour and only a couple more ingredients. If you’re vegan, you’ll be happy to know you can eat as much of this dessert as you wish!

If you’d like to try to make a Greek dessert at home, this is the one to start with. It is delicious, but also very simple to create.

Halva contains one of the best Greek products – olive oil. It is incredibly tasty but also rather healthy at the same time.

Sometimes, beauty really lies in simplicity. With only a few ingredients, halva is without a doubt one of the best traditional Greek desserts!

Melomakarona

Just like everywhere else in the world, the Greeks love celebrating holidays with traditional treats. That’s why every year for Christmas, Greek families make melomakarona – Greek Christmas cookies!

These wonderful, crunchy cookies are very refreshing and rich. Besides the usual Christmas ingredients like cinnamon or nutmeg, they also contain cognac and orange zest. Yum!

Even if you’re not in Greece during the holidays, you must try melomakarona. They’re a perfect treat alongside a cup of coffee or tea!

Loukoumades

Loukoumades are another street food classic. Everyone who grew up in Greece has memories of eating these during their childhood. If you’re a lover of doughnuts and fried food in general, don’t look any further!

You must try these little balls of dough, deep fried and dipped in honey or chocolate sauce. You can ask for some cinnamon or walnuts on top, for an extra bit of flavor!

Although nowadays these are commonly served on festivals and markets, they have been around long before those came to existence. Believe it or not, even ancient Greek writers mentioned them in their work!

While you’re in Greece, make sure you eat them as often as possible. You can find them on every corner, so try and find your favorite ones! Why not spoil yourself a bit?

Portokalopita (Orange cake)

If you’re looking for a perfect summer dessert, this is it. Portokalopita combines two things Greece is known for – Greek yogurt and fresh oranges.

Originally, this Greek dessert comes from the island of Crete, and only one bite will transport you there. This moist cake is, like many Greek desserts, finished with a soaking syrup and a bit of cinnamon.

When you bite into it, you’ll be overwhelmed with the creaminess of the yogurt and the crisp orange taste. The ingredients are combined flawlessly and are even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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Michelangelo Paintings And Where To Find Them In Europe

As you may know, Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of humanity’s greatest sculptors and painters. Everyone who knows a bit about art has heard of David or the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling….

As you may know, Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of humanity’s greatest sculptors and painters. Everyone who knows a bit about art has heard of David or the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

The Italian’s immense influence on other artists and the world in general is something yet to be seen again. Even though he spent his life in his homeland, Italy, Michelangelo’s works are now part of exhibitions around the world.

Thousands of tourists and art enthusiasts form queues in front of museums just to take a peek at his creations. His legacy is so powerful that witnessing his art is looking into the eyes of history and revolution. Just knowing that you’re looking at something he once stared at is exciting to say the least.

Although he may be more famous for his sculptures, Michelangelo’s paintings are something extraordinary as well.

Here’s a list of some of them you can (and should!) find in museums across Europe!

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Vatican

When it comes to Michelangelo paintings, this group of frescoes is by far the most grandiose one. They cover the entire ceiling of Vatican’s most important chapel and have a legendary status in the art world.

Michelangelo was the type of person who wouldn’t settle for less when it came to his work. The Sistine Chapel is the perfect example. When the pope asked him to depict the 12 Apostles on the ceiling, he ended up painting over 300 figures. What was supposed to be a simple frescoe became one of the most complex paintings in history.

The centerpiece is The Creation of Adam, an iconic scene from the Book of Genesis. Wherever you’re from, you must have seen it at least once in your lifetime. God and Adam almost touching fingers is not only familiar to art historians, but important for pop culture as well!

You will need a moment just to take it all in. All the faces, the shadows and details. It’s hard to imagine someone standing in the same position for years until they’ve created perfection in their own eyes. But that’s what truly makes a genius stick out from everyone else!

The Vatican is famous for having one of the most stunning art collections in the entire world. It is the only state whose cultural property is completely protected in case of war. Among many world class artists, Michelangelo’s paintings and sculptures have a prestigious position.

They say all roads lead to Rome. If you find yourself there, make sure the road leads you to the Vatican as well. The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are must see!

Doni Tondo, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

This Michelangelo painting is a perfect representation of his signature techniques and colors. Even though the painting hasn’t been signed, there is no doubt that this is his work of art.

It is unique since this is the only saved panel painting by Michelangelo that has been completely finished. The theme is once again Biblical. It portrays the Holy Family – Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

This Michelangelo painting is so authentic and obviously his that experts have noted it even has many characteristics of sculptures. Buonarroti, primarily a sculptor, had successfully transferred his famous skills and style from marble to wood.

The name Doni comes from its owner, Agnolo Doni, who had it made to celebrate his marriage. Tondo refers to the circular form of the panel, which was very popular during the Renaissance.

The Doni Tondo can be found in the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy. The Uffizi has a rich collection of paintings and sculptures, especially works of famous Italian artists. Have in mind that there’s an entire room on the 2nd floor dedicated to Michelangelo only. Grab a slice of pizza and stop by the Gallery later to enjoy some food for the soul! Get your timed entrance ticket here

The Manchester Madonna, National Gallery, London

This unfinished painting was attributed to Michelangelo long after his death. This is a panel, an art form so rare with Buonarotti, that there are only a couple left.

Originally called The Virgin and Child with Saint John and Angels, it shows Virgin Mary in a heartbreaking scene. She’s holding an open book in her hand and trying to keep it away from Jesus. Many have interpreted this as her trying to save him from reading about his pain and suffering in the future.

The name Manchester Madonna comes from the fact it caused a real frenzy when it first came to Manchester in 1857. The people were beyond excited about it and over a million of them saw it in only a few months.

Today, it can be seen in the UK capital’s National Gallery. This magnificent art museum has an impressive collection of some of the most famous art ever. You can book a walking tour of the National Gallery and the British Museum here. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Venus and Mars by Botticelli are only a couple you must see with your own eyes. Michelangelo is high up on that list as well!

The Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel, Vatican

We’ve come full circle and returned to the Vatican. Il Giudizio Universale covers the entire wall behind the altar and it took Buonarroti 9 years to finish!

Many believe that this Michelangelo painting is his greatest masterpiece ever. It was heavily inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and it was just as revolutionary.

Traditionally, the Earth, heaven and hell were always shown as horizontal layers, completely different in characteristics. However, Michelangelo distanced himself from the usual depiction. In his painting, all three form a single large space and neither section is entirely spared from chaos.

The figure of Jesus Christ takes the very central position. He is looking down and, just by waving his hand, deciding the fate of the whole human race. Compared to him, everyone looks powerless.

Many believe Michelangelo incorporated his self-portrait in the frescoe. A morbid detail of St. Bartholomew holding his own skin in his hands might distract you from it. But, if you look closely, the face he’s holding is very similar to Michelangelo’s.

If you only had to see one Michelangelo painting, it might as well be this one!

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The Best Scottish Food: 7 Must-Try Dishes

Since it has a reputation of being very peculiar, Scottish food is severely underrated. The common misconception is that the traditional dishes are hard to get used to if you’re…

Since it has a reputation of being very peculiar, Scottish food is severely underrated. The common misconception is that the traditional dishes are hard to get used to if you’re a foreigner.

In reality, people in Scotland have created an authentic and exciting cuisine that should be experienced by every foodie. They have combined old traditional dishes with some more modern influences and it resulted in incredibly tasty food.

With a variety of different flavors, coming both from meat and vegan ingredients, it is suitable for absolutely everyone. Don’t forget about the desserts either!

Here’s a list of some of our top picks when it comes to Scottish food. The unique dishes made from fresh, local produce are a gastronomical adventure you must have in your lifetime!

The Best Scottish Food – 7 Must-Try Dishes

Haggis

This dish always tops the lists of Scottish specialties. The one and only, unmissable haggis is synonymous with Scottish food and tradition.

This well-known delicacy is described as a meat pudding or a crumbly sausage. Even though it doesn’t look very appealing, the rich texture and flavor of haggis are its main traits.

It is made with minced sheep’s pluck, onions, oatmeal and spices as basic ingredients. Everyone adds a personal touch or a secret spice that makes it different, but it usually has a peppery taste. That mixture is then traditionally prepared inside the sheep’s stomach.

To paint the picture of how much Scots love haggis, take the example of their national poet Robert Burns. He loved haggis so much, that he wrote a poem dedicated to it called Address to a Haggis. Now, every year, Scots celebrate him and their national dish in one event called the Burns dinner.

This is something you must try if you want to feel like a true Scot for a moment. Also, if a dish inspired poetry, it must be something special!

Scotch Pie

If you’re a fan of pies, especially pot pies, this specialty is something you must try. The Scots make one of the world’s most delicious pies, made with mutton meat, nutmeg and gravy.

Scotch pie is typical Scottish fast food. Don’t be surprised if you hear people calling it football pie, since it’s often eaten during half-times of football matches. They are served alongside a drink called bovril – a beef extract diluted with hot water.

If you’d like to try the absolute best Scotch pies, visit The Piemaker in Edinburgh. They even have something called the Scotch Haggis pie!

The Scots take their food pretty seriously, so, naturally, there are competitions involved. Each year, the Scotch Pie Club hosts something called the World Scotch Pie Championship. Keep an eye on the list of winners and try some of the best ones!

Cranachan

Here’s a little something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Cranachan is Scotland’s traditional dessert, which contains one of everyone’s favorite Scottish exports – whiskey!

The word pudding in Scotland could have a different meaning than what you’re usually used to. However, in this case, we’re talking about a real, sweet, creamy pudding, but made special by authentic ingredients.

Even though it’s rather easy to make, Scots argue that you just can’t make real cranachan in another country. The raspberries aren’t as fresh, the quality of oats is incomparable and Scottish heather honey is far from regular honey.

Pretty much any restaurant serving traditional Scottish food also has good cranachan. So, if you’re in the mood for something simple, but tasty and refreshing, you know what to order!

Salmon

Even though the Scots didn’t invent salmon, this fish is Scotland’s biggest food export. You can be sure that the salmon you eat in Scotland is not imported, but fresh and local.

Scottish Wild Salmon has been designated Protected Geographical Indication. That means that the EU picked it as an extraordinary product and is making sure it’s produced in a certain way.

Luckily for all fish lovers, Scotland is full of amazing seafood restaurants. If you’d like to take some home, supermarkets in Scotland have amazing smoked salmon, which is just as good!

Cullen Skink

This dish is perfect for those cold winter months, since it’s essentially a creamy soup. It is bound to brighten up any glum chilly day and remind you of a nice home cooked meal. 

Cullen skink is made with smoked haddock, potatoes and milk and seasoned with a unique blend of spices. It has an unforgettable smoky flavor while the potatoes add some softness to the dish. If you’ve ever tried clam chowder and loved it, this will win you over as well.

Like we mentioned before, the Scots are famous for their amazing fish. This dish will satisfy all your senses and give you that nostalgic feeling of grandma’s home!

Shortbread

This buttery biscuit is an ideal snack alongside a hot cup of tea. It is a classic when it comes to Scottish food and it has been the most popular biscuit for centuries. It is associated with Christmas and Hogmanay (day before the New Year), but it can be enjoyed all year round!

Even though it’s very easy to find nowadays, shortbread used to be a luxury. They were only given as Christmas presents or, if you’re a new bride, they would break one over your head!

This Scottish dessert is easy to make, so if you’re into baking, you’re in luck. The crumbly  biscuits were once described as “the jewel in the crown of Scottish baking”. Even though the basic ones are only made with butter, sugar and flour, they’re mouth-watering!

Those who aren’t bakers can get these at souvenir shops and supermarkets. If you’d like to try the best there is, go for the Walkers Shortbread!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

It tastes just as good as it sounds! Once again, this isn’t what most people would recognize as a pudding, but Scottish cuisine has its own rules.

This delicious dessert consists of a moist sponge cake, dates and toffee sauce. It is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which only brings out the toffee more.

The pudding can be found in most pubs and restaurants, since it’s a staple comfort dish. There’s a reason why this dessert is loved by everyone who tries it, so give it a taste!

 

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All The Best Things To Do In Belgrade, Serbia

A good problem to have is coming to a city and not being able to decide what to do first. Even though you’re excited about the abundance of choices, you…

A good problem to have is coming to a city and not being able to decide what to do first. Even though you’re excited about the abundance of choices, you can’t seem to narrow them down.

In those situations, it’s best to have a local accompany you and show you around. If that’s not an option, a close second is having a really good guide with a list of things you should do. So, if you ever find yourself in Belgrade, Serbia, we made sure you have a detailed list of places to be and things to try. Try to check off as many as possible!

The Absolute Best Things To Do In Belgrade, Serbia

Attractions 

Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress

best things to do in belgrade, serbia - a view from kalemegdan park

Kalemegdan is Belgrade’s largest park and most important historical monument at the same time. That’s why it is the most popular destination among tourists year after year, with around 2 million visitors annually.

The base of the fortress was built in 279 BC and it has since been destroyed and rebuilt many times. However, it’s impressive that certain original parts still exist to this day. That’s why it’s protected by the Republic of Serbia.

Another attraction is the Serbian Military Museum, located inside the fortress. When exploring Kalemegdan, it’s important to look around, so you don’t miss all of the outer exhibitions!

The Fortress is home to one of Belgrade’s most famous symbols, the Victor (Pobednik). The area around the monument probably has the most stunning view in the city. You’ll be able to see the actual confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, as well as the panorama of Belgrade.

Kalemegdan has many hidden gems and if you would like to discover some of them start with these;

  • The Victor Monument 
  • Ruzica church (Famous for the chandeliers which are made of weapons) 
  • Military Museum
  • Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavilion (the center of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts)
  • The Roman Well

Ada Ciganlija

Ada Ciganlija is commonly referred to as Belgrade’s Sea. This lake with a huge green area around is a haven for thousands of visitors during the hot summer days. It’s basically an oasis in the middle of a busy, crowded city.

If you’re interested in more than swimming and relaxing on the beach, there’s a lot of activities available as well. You can play some sports (tennis, basketball, volleyball etc.) in the courts placed in the forest. Also, consider renting out a bike and going for a spin around the water.

Whatever you choose, spend a relaxing day here and you’ll start feeling like a real born and raised Belgrader!

The Nikola Tesla Museum

best things to do in Belgrade, Serbia - Nikola Tesla museum

You probably know Nikola Tesla as one of the greatest minds of all time. His inventions and patents changed the world dramatically. Therefore, that makes him one of the people Serbs are most proud of.

If you find yourself in Belgrade, the Museum is a great way to get to know his work through interactive exhibitions. Visitors will get the chance to actually see in action the things they’ve only read about in theory. Cool, right?

You can search through his drawings, letters, and photographs and get a different approach to this genius’ mind. What’s guaranteed is that you’ll leave the Museum with a much better picture of who he was. Remember the address, Krunska 51!

Skadarlija

This bohemian quarter is often referred to as Belgrade’s Montmartre. When it first started to exist, it was a meeting point for the city’s finest writers, actors, musicians and artists in general. It has to this day managed to preserve that spirit of old, crème de la crème Belgrade.

Today, this cobblestone street is lined with restaurants and kafanas. Kafanas are Serbian taverns, where people come to eat, drink and listen to traditional music. Every tourist should at least take a walk through the street, but if you can, sit down for a meal.

It will be a special experience. Besides eating some amazing food, you’ll be able to enjoy the Serbian bands playing what is commonly called “old city music”. The romantic atmosphere will make this a night you will remember!

Museum of Yugoslav History 

National museums are often the best way to get to know a country in only one afternoon. Even though Yugoslavia ceased to exist in the 90s, this is still one of the most visited museums in Belgrade.

If you choose to visit, you should know that it consists of three buildings. The most popular one is the House of Flowers because Josip Broz Tito’s mausoleum is located there. An interesting phenomenon is the fact that people from all over Yugoslavia still come to Belgrade for his birthday as a sign of respect.

An interesting collection is one of the gifts Tito had received from various world leaders. The Museum also houses around 200,000 photographs, documents, artworks and many other things associated with the history of Yugoslavia. It is an overall great way to get a better feeling of what this great country was like.

The Museum is not too far away from the city center and the tickets are fairly inexpensive, so try to stop by!

Zemun

best things to do in belgrade, serbia - a view from gardos zemun

Even though it’s a part of Belgrade, if you go to Zemun, you’ll feel like you’ve gone to another country. Starting from the architecture, everything seems different. This is due to the fact that it used to be a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. However, Zemun is full of landmarks you should consider visiting!

  • Gardos Tower

Reaching this will require a bit of walking and climbing, but it will be worth it. Also called Millenium Tower, it was raised by the Hungarians, to mark the 1000th anniversary of their reign in Pannonia.

Since it was used as a viewing tower, make sure you climb to the top to see the amazing view which is one of the best in Belgrade.

  • The Great War Island

This river island is the city’s very own piece of untouched wilderness. From far away, it looks like a big, lush floating forest. Also, it is an area recognized as being a globally important habitat for many rare birds.

best things to do in belgrade, serbia - the great war island

Just like Ada Ciganlija, the island has a beach called Lido, which is very popular in the summertime. Some people have even built holiday homes here, in which they spend the warmer months of the year.

It is perfect for picnics, enjoying the nature or just pretending you’ve left town and went on vacation!

St. Sava Temple

Temple of St. Sava

Saint Sava Temple is the most important sacral object in the city. It’s located on the Vracar plateau in Belgrade, and it is known as one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.

The church can receive up to 10,000 people at once and the choir gallery seats 800 singers.

The basement is home to an impressive crypt and the treasury of Saint Sava.

The crypt is open to visitors, but the inside works in the church are still not completed.

The Museum of Contemporary Art

best things to do in belgrade, serbia - the museum of contemporary art

If you’re an art geek or if you’re interested in seeing the best examples of Yugoslav architecture, this Museum is something you must visit. Even though it was closed for 10 years, it has now become one of the most interesting cultural institutions in Serbia.

Even the way it looks on the outside is an art form. Due to its geometrical shape and the fact that it’s located across from Kalemegdan, it is called “the crystal at the confluence”. It is one of the greatest Yugoslav architectural pieces, and its creators have even received awards for it.

Today, the Museum’s fund consists of around 8,000 works. Therefore, this is the best collection of art from the Yugoslav art space. It is modernized so that your experience here would be just as enjoyable as in any big museum in the world.

Two other galleries in separate locations are also part of the Museum. Those are the Petar Dobrovic Gallery and the Colakovic Legacy. Both are worth the visit!

Princess Ljubica’s Residence

This is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Belgrade, dating back to the 1800s. If you’d like a glimpse into the Serbian royal family’s life, this is where you should go!

This house was built for Princess Ljubica, wife of the first Prince of Serbia, Milos Obrenovic. Even though stories say she was a very humble woman, her husband still wanted the residence to demonstrate power and strength.

The interior perfectly shows the transition from Ottoman to European styles. In fact, the residence has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the interior of 19th-century homes in Belgrade.

The Princess was one of the most interesting, headstrong women of that era. If you’d like an authentic, close look at her life, the Coffee at Princess Ljubica’s tour is just for you.

You’ll sit down for a cup of traditional Turkish coffee and listen to what life was like through her eyes. She’ll tell you her intimate stories you won’t find in history books.

Don’t be surprised if you leave the residence feeling like you’ve actually got to know her as a person. P.S. Remember to ask for the tour in English since there’s a Serbian version too!

Bajrakli Mosque

Bajrakli mosque, Belgrade

This is the only mosque in Belgrade, Serbia. Also, it might be the oldest standing building in Belgrade, since it was built in the 16th century. Just like the entire city, it went through a series of drastic changes to get to where it is today.

During the Austrian occupation, the mosque was actually turned into a Roman Catholic church. When the Turks returned, it became a mosque once again. Now, it serves as the main Islamic cultural center in Belgrade.

It is worth the visit, at least only for the historical endurance it has sustained over the centuries. If you’re lucky you’ll be in Belgrade in time for their traditional annual feast. They celebrate Eid al-Fitr, an important religious holiday, by preparing and giving out lots of delicious food!

 

Food & Drink 

Serbian Cuisine

Just like Serbia was influenced by many different cultures and nations, the food is an interesting concoction as well. Serbia is heaven for foodies, especially those who love meat and well-seasoned dishes.

While you’re in Belgrade, try to eat like a local. Even though fast food is popular here like everywhere else, people in Serbia will never give up their traditional, homemade dishes. Preparing food is more than mixing ingredients. It’s a way to gather the family.

There’s a couple of local specialties you must try while you’re here. Everyone’s favorite is sarma (cabbage filled with minced meat) and prebranac (baked beans). Serbians eat a lot of grilled meat, so try cevapi or pljeskavica.

Ideally, you should get the full experience of someone cooking it for you in their home. If that’s not a possibility, here are some of the best traditional restaurants:

  • Prolece
  • Orasac
  • Skadarlija street (all of Skadarlija’s restaurants are incredible, so you won’t make a mistake wherever you decide to go)
  • Brankovina
  • Sokoj

Serbian Markets

 

One of the things Serbia is most famous for is the amazing traditional food. Besides wanting their food to taste good, Serbians are passionate about it being organic and locally grown. That’s why they usually get their groceries at local markets.

If you still haven’t experienced a Serbian market (called pijaca), you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s not just a place to go and get some fruit or vegetables and go home. In fact, it is a much more personal experience.

When you walk in, you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of fresh, affordable produce. Then, you’ll realize that people in Belgrade are very friendly with their vendors. If you know some Serbian, you’ll recognize they’re asking each other about their families and friends. 

It’s truly something you must see for yourself. Also, prepare to taste the most delicious fruit of your life. They’ll tell you the secret to it is only nature and good care.

A bonus tip: ask around and find out if there’s a Night Market any time soon. It’s a manifestation designed to bring the markets to life after the sun sets. The difference is that, besides groceries, you’ll be able to buy a much greater variety of products.

Belgrade Night Market

You’ll see everyone from young designers, winemakers, and artists, to small family workshops among the exhibitors. All of that is accompanied by either a performance by a band or a DJ.

Here’s a list of markets to visit during the day and the night as well:

  • Kalenic pijaca
  • Zeleni venac pijaca 
  • Bajloni pijaca
  • Djeram pijaca
  • Zemunska pijaca
  • Blok 44
  • Night Market (various locations across town). Check FB events!

Eat Ice Cream

ice cream

In the past couple of years, many independent ice cream shops have started working and have reached popularity quickly. People in Belgrade love that they can now enjoy high-quality treats made from fresh ingredients at any time of year. Also, everyone seems to be happy to see local businesses grow and expand. That’s why it’s not strange to see huge lines of people in front of these shops.

With vegan and sugar-free options, as well as some never-before-seen flavors, they are suitable for every type of visitor. We guarantee you’ll be able to taste the care and love put into each scoop!

Here’s a list of our favorite ice-cream shops in Belgrade:

  • Crna ovca
  • Moritz Eis
  • Gelato Freddo

Sweet Shops

Continuing in the same spirit, we have a couple more dessert recommendations. Belgrade is becoming richer in unique cake and pastry shops. There are more and more small, one-product oriented places that have already become everyone’s favorites.

You should definitely consider trying a Serbian specialty called knedle (a potato-based dough filled with plums or other sweet filings). It’s something everyone from Serbia has eaten at their grandma’s house at least once in their lifetime. Luckily, you can now try them on the streets of Belgrade.

If you’re a donut lover, there’s a couple of shops that specialize in them only. They offer everything from basic flavors to some more exotic ones. Either way, you can be sure they’ll be perfect with a cup of coffee.

Last but not least, a stop on your way should be a candy shop called “Bombondzija Bosiljcic” which was founded in the 1930s. Still at the same exact place, with the same quality, this shop’s products are all handmade. They’re mostly known for their Turkish delight, but check out the lollipops and candy as well!

Here’s a list of our favourite sweet shops in Belgrade, Serbia;

  • Ferdinand knedle
  • Slatkoteka
  • Glazura
  • Bombondzija Bosiljcic
  • Al Pachinka (try the bubble waffles!)

Street Food in Belgrade 

best things to do in belgrade, serbia

Just like everywhere else in the world, life in Belgrade can get hectic and fast. One of the upsides of that is the growing variety of street food. Even if you can’t use lack of time as an excuse, make sure you stop by some of them.

One of the typically Serbian “traditions” is grabbing a bite in a bakery right after a night out. Whatever the time of day may be, make sure you don’t leave Belgrade without trying burek. Burek is a flaky filled pastry, usually made with meat or cheese.

Also, don’t be surprised if you end up trying the best burger of your life in Belgrade. Some street restaurants have gained a reputation for being as good as those in the USA, or even much better.

You can find pretty much every type of cuisine on Belgrade’s street and fast food places. Just so you don’t get overwhelmed, here’s a list of a couple of the best:

  • Trpkovic Bakery
  • Aurelio Bakery
  • Burger House
  • Burrito Madre
  • Bucko
  • Tel Aviv Hummus House
  • Walter Sarajevski Cevap

Coffee Culture

the best things to do in belgrade, serbia

The ritual of having conversations over a cup of coffee is something specific for this part of the world. Unlike some other places, where people drink coffee on the run, this is something completely different.

People in Belgrade can drink one cup of coffee for hours. The day can turn into night and you’ll still see the same group of friends chatting, without a break. It’s, essentially, a way to bond and spend quality time together.

Even though the coffee part seems like a completely insignificant factor, it’s important that your cup of joe is perfect. The content look on people’s faces after the first sip makes for a smooth start to a conversation.

If you’d like to experience the Serbian coffee culture, here’s a couple of places you should visit.

  • Meduza
  • Kafeterija
  • Apropo
  • Ljubicica
  • Leila Records
  • Dvoristance

Let’s face it, the ambiance is just as important as everything else!

Nightlife

Everyone who has been to Belgrade will tell you that the nightlife here is something incomparable. The city literally never sleeps, especially during the summer. Depending on what you like, there’s definitely a place for you somewhere.

A night out usually starts in a bar. People meet up for drinks at their favorite spot and perhaps listen to some live music. If you don’t have other plans, that can also be the end of it.

However, if you’re in the mood, transfer to a nightclub or a splav. Splavs are located on Belgrade’s most prominent features – its rivers, and they’re most popular when the weather is warm.

Since the selection is abundant, we’ve prepared a list of places to choose from. We’ll start from the bars and end with the nightclubs:

  • Cetinjska street (Zaokret, Polet, Elektropionir etc.)
  • Blaznavac
  • Sinnerman Jazz Bar
  • Samo Pivo
  • Rakia Bar
  • Miners Pub
  • KC Grad (stop by during the day as well, there are often many interesting events to check out!)
  • 20/44
  • Shlep
  • Povetarac
  • Drugstore
  • KST
  • Ben Akiba

We hope you liked this extensive guide on best things to do in Belgrade, Serbia. If you need help to plan your Belgrade trip check our consulting services.

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Living In a Cave – Europe’s Unusual Homes You Can Still Visit

If you thought that the era of living in caves is in the past, you’re in for a surprise. The truth is that, nowadays, many people choose caves as their…

If you thought that the era of living in caves is in the past, you’re in for a surprise. The truth is that, nowadays, many people choose caves as their living space and customize them according to their needs.

When you ask the inhabitants what drew them to this way of living, you will usually get similar responses. They will tell you this is the perfect way to connect with nature, but still be a part of the civilized world. Also, when you think about it, there’s something special about actually living in the Earth, instead of on top of it.

Even if you wouldn’t consider becoming a cave dweller yourself, you’re probably curious about this lifestyle choice. You might want to see the interior design and the layout of these unique houses.

We’ve prepared a list of certain cave homes in Europe that you can actually visit and experience in person!

Living In a Cave – Europe’s Unusual Homes

Matera, Italy

living in a cave

This 9,000-year-old city is a truly remarkable spot. The UNESCO World Heritage site was once swallowed by poverty and disease, but it managed to rise from the ashes. Today, it is a growingly popular tourist destination and is even set to be the European Capital of Culture in 2019!

From afar, the town almost looks haunting. But when you get closer, you’ll be able to see the spectacular caves transformed into private homes, hotels, restaurants or even art museums.

What once was known as the “shame of Italy” is a stunning location that attracts movie directors alongside the curious visitors.

If you’ve ever seen Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew or The Passion of the Christ directed by Mel Gibson, this is where they were filmed!

living in a cave

Almost everyone agrees that the best way to get to know Matera is to simply allow yourself to get lost in it. Wander through its little alleys and discover all the hidden gems it has to offer. If you’ll feel more comfortable with a guide, you can sign up for one of the walking or cycling tours.

To really get in touch with the town’s cave culture, pay a visit to some of its churches. Our recommendations are the Chiesa di Madonna delle Virtù and Chiesa di San Nicola dei Greci churches. Also, don’t miss the Cripta del Peccato Originale (Crypt of Original Sin), often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of cave churches.

If you’d like to enjoy the well-known spirit of southern Italy with a twist, Matera is the place to be. The charming town leaves no one indifferent!

Guadix, Spain

living in a cave

Even though this might look like many other Spanish towns at first, wait until you visit the Barrio de las Cuevas neighborhood. Today, with around 2,000 inhabited caves, this is the largest cave complex in Europe.

The people who live in these caves are very friendly and will often let you into their homes. They understand that the visitors are curious and sometimes they’ll invite you in even if you didn’t ask. It’s fascinating to see how they actually live and function on a daily basis.

Don’t be surprised if some of the homes look quite luxurious compared to their outside appearance. It’s not uncommon for them to have marble floors, microwaves or a stable internet connection. The people have turned the caves into modern, 21st-century houses, although it might not seem like it at first.

You can choose to stay in a “normal” hotel inside the city, or you can rent a cave and experience the interesting lifestyle firsthand. Whatever you choose, you’ll definitely feel like a local, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.

Loire Valley, France

The picturesque countryside is the epicenter of the troglodyte lifestyle in France, with around 45,000 cave homes in total. What’s interesting is how it all even came to be.

The local stone, known as tufa, was used to build the chateaus and churches across the Loire Valley in the 11th century. So, the people decided to use the full potential of the circumstances. They would sell the stone and create homes in what remained after the mining.

Many caves were completely abandoned by the 20th century but then revamped in the recent years. Other than serving as private homes, caves are now being turned into hotels, wineries and even underground mushroom farms.

One of the most visited cave homes of the region is the Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte. Believe it or not, the cave near the town of Amboise was bought by a young couple for only 1€!

After a long process of renovating, the house is now completely modernized, but it still has a rustic vibe. You can rent a room and the couple, who also lives there, will make sure your experience is unforgettable.

The entire Loire Valley is lined with B&B’s and cave homes available for rent. The traditional French charm may even persuade you to stay here for good!

Santorini, Greece

living in a cave

One of the most prestigious summer destinations is the Greek island of Santorini. Its white, blue-domed houses and churches are recognizable everywhere around the world. However, it is less known that Santorini offers an abundance of cave houses, known as yposkafa or iposkafa.

Even though they aren’t considered to be naturally-made caves, they are carved into cliffs, which makes them essentially the same. Just like in the Loire Valley, they were built by poorer residents.

The yposkafa all have similar characteristics: narrow façades, great depth, and no side windows. What makes them less claustrophobic is the fact that the walls are usually white, which visually enlarges the space.

Something you’ll notice as soon as you step in is that the temperature inside the house is always pleasant, even if it’s hot outside. So, sleeping in an yposkafa on a scorching summer day is an unmissable experience.

Today, most of these houses are available for rent, since Santorini’s main income comes from tourism. You will mainly find them in Oia, Vothonas, Karterados, and Pyrgos.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, treat yourself by renting out an yposkafa with a jacuzzi and enjoy!

 

 

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5 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens In Europe

If you’re someone with a dynamic imagination and a curious mind, planning a vacation can be tricky. The concrete streets and important landmarks of big cities have a lot of…

If you’re someone with a dynamic imagination and a curious mind, planning a vacation can be tricky.

The concrete streets and important landmarks of big cities have a lot of unique charm as well as nature.

Finding a perfect combination of everything you want to experience can be challenging, to say the least.

We have a suggestion.

Spend the day enveloped in the wilderness, and have a drink in your favorite cafe a few hours later.

Sounds weird?

Well, this seemingly impossible combination is yours if you choose to visit some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe. 

Here’s a couple of the absolute best ones! 

Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Europe

Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, Germany

This one is, without a doubt, absolutely unmissable.

The complex covers an area of 43 hectares and it consists of 16 greenhouses.

With around 22,000 plant species, you will be able to explore the entire world in a single (although enormous) garden.

Believe it or not, it evolved from just a kitchen garden, used for growing vegetables and herbs.

Today, it’s almost impossible to see everything it has to offer in a day. It’s also very significant for scientific purposes, since it’s part of the Free University of Berlin.

Make sure you check out the giant water lilies and insectivorous plants, as well as the Fragrance and Touch Garden. It was built so that visually disabled people could enjoy the diversity of plants. Therefore, the plants are grown in large groups on raised beds.

Many outdoor installations make it possible for visitors to sit down, relax and soak in the nature.

If you want to wind down and enjoy yourself, this oasis in the middle of the lively capital is perfect for you!

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England

most beautiful botanical gardens in europe

This extensive property is home to one of the largest gardens in the whole world.

It includes around 30,000 plant species and over 30 buildings.

Make sure you sign up for a guided tour, so that you could make the best of your time there.

Some of the attractions are also architecturally impressive.

The examples are the Palm House, the Great Pagoda, but also the Hive and the Treetop Walkway.

The Hive is something you’ve certainly never seen before.

It’s a unique, multi-sensory simulation of what it would feel like to live as a bee. So, every sound you hear is triggered by bee activity in an actual beehive in the complex. Impressive, right?

The Walkway, on the other hand, allows you to walk through the branches of Kew’s forest. It’s 18m above the ground and it lets you into a part of the forest that would usually be off limits to you. A change of perspective will definitely be interesting!

The botanical garden’s collection of plants and documents even brought it to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. As if you needed another reason to visit.

If you plan on going any time soon, keep in mind that it’s only 30 minutes away from the center of London!

Orto Botanico di Padova, Padua, Italy

To see how the world of botanical gardens even got started, visit Padua.

It is home to the oldest surviving university botanical garden, functioning since 1545.

This garden aided the development of botanical sciences in general, as well as medicine and pharmaceuticals.

It was the inspiration and example for all the botanical gardens in the world.

What’s interesting is that the layout you see today is pretty much the same as it was in the 16th century.

The main building is circle-shaped, which represents the world, and it’s surrounded by a ring of water.

Some of the interesting collections are its poisonous and carnivorous plants, as well as the rare plants first introduced to Italy by the Garden itself!

It may not be the richest in species, but they are all carefully selected.

However, one of the most impressive things about it is its document collection.

The library contains more than 50,000 manuscripts that are of immense value for the botanical world. That, among other historical and scientific significance, puts it on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as well.

If you’re a bit of a history geek and if you happen to be in Padua, you have to stop by the first ever botanical garden!

Copenhagen Botanical Garden, Denmark

most beautiful botanical gardens in europe

Considering the fact that Northern Europe is very expensive in general, this is a perfect way to spend quality time without splurging.

The entrance to the Copenhagen Botanical Garden is free!

It’s famous for its 27 spectacular glasshouses from the 1800s, which contain around 13,000 species in total.

The most impressive one is the glass and cast-iron Palm House.

Make sure you climb up the spiral stairs to get a nice view from the top!

This is the perfect place for a peaceful day in the nature.

You can visit the herbarium, the museum or perhaps buy some plants or seeds in one of the shops. Also, the whole of the Garden is accessible to wheelchair users!

Botanical Garden of Brussels

The Brussels Botanical Garden is a botanical garden with a spin.

It’s more of an urban park than it is a classical greenhouse complex.

Until 1939, it was actually only dedicated to botanical studies, like the majority of botanical gardens. Now, its main building, Le Botanique, has stolen the spotlight, but for different reasons.

Le Botanique is a cultural complex and a music venue which hosts more than 280 concerts each year.

This previous orangery has become one of the most visited cultural centers in all of Belgium.

Le Botanique is famous for its annual Les Nuits Botanique (‘Botanique nights’) festival, held during the spring, which attracts a lot of performers and visitors.

You can still enjoy the 6 hectare property and the stunning glasshouses, but if you’re interested in seeing more variety and wildlife, visit Meise. That’s where the National Botanical Garden of Belgium is located, with its 16,000 plant species.

Even the great writer Victor Hugo spoke about the Botanique.

He said: “Brussels possesses two unique wonders of the world, its Grand-Place and the panorama of the Jardin Botanique”.

Why wouldn’t you come and see for yourself? Check our top travel resources, that will help you plan your next trip. 

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