Belgrade has only recently sneaked its way on to the budget airline map - Wizz Air flies there directly from Luton airport. It'll never go down as one of the most beautiful cities in the world but, like other arguably ugly cities (such as Berlin), it more than compensates with a feverish nightlife. If you go for the buzz rather than the sights, Belgrade's riverboat clubs are just the ticket - although there are some more conventional highlights, such as the fortress in Kalemegdan park, to take in, too.
In response to Kyriakossss: The expression of self, of who you are, and what identity and name you wish to go by is not 'stupid and provocative propaganda', it is the basic human right of self determination. I am always confused about this Tito 'creation myth', as if he plucked an ethnicity, culture, and nation from post world war II Balkans. For example The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (a revolutionary national liberation movement whose aim was autonomy for the geographic Macedonian region) was founded in 1893, one year after Tito's birth. The 5 basic principles of this organisation were:
- The revolutionary organization should be established within Macedonia and should act there, so that the Greeks and Serbs couldn't label it as a tool of the Bulgarian government.
- Its founders should be locals and living in Macedonia.
- The political motto of the organization should be the autonomy of Macedonia.
- The organization should be secret and independent, without any links with the governments of the liberated neighbourly states, and
- From the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian society, only moral and material help for the struggle of the Macedonian revolutionaries should be required
Again many apologies for using this forum to address these issues. Respect.
I dont agree that Belgrade is an ugly city, far from it. It may have an eclectic mix of old and modern and there are still some signs of the NATO bombing campaign as a reminder. Its a city of real character.
The views from the Kalemegdan fortress are stunning over the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers.
It is a great place to visit on a short break. The cafe culture & nighlife are brilliant, people are extremely helpful and friendly. Its still reasonably cheap to eat out.
Would thoroughly recommend it.
Hi can vouch for Bled and Belgrade! Fantastic places!
Belgrade is a bit like a cross between New York and Paris, I know that sounds wierd but its very cafe culture but in wide open boulavard roads with cable hung traffic lights. Its open late and quite well lit at night so pretty vibrant. Word of advice though if your a veggie be prepared to eat a fair bit of rubbishy salad as meat is a staple of many of these sorts of country! lol
Bled is awesome in the summer, its full of adventure sports activities and lots of paths for cycling and walking. Its also great for swimming or boating...or if you can't call your skills good enough to be considered boating (like ours weren't) then you can just mess about on the water with some oars ;-) The island is worth a visit and you can row there yourself or take a giant gondola ride and just lie back and trail your hands in the green blue waters. I have seen pics in the winter and as I ski I am considering going back to see it in the flesh with snow and use the ski slopes nearby.
Montenegro is nice too, some decent coast and lovely inlets where the old towns and citadels are just great for relaxing with coffee or beer. We stayed in Kotor old town on one of these inlets and the boats that come in are BIG! Lovely views especially with the old fortress all lit up at night. A nice quiet out of the way spot to just relax, potter about and take in the views for a couple of days and then head off to somewhere brighter and more vibrant
I would also say there are some great places in some of the other countries too. My father lives in Skopje and loves it and Croatia although touristy has some serious coast for yaghting, especially the out of the way island based hidden cove restraunts! Even Kosovo has some lovely hiking in the mountains, although Pristina the capital is not great.
We went to Slovenia this year and visited Lake Bled which is beautiful, also went to Lake Bohinji which is not as well known but just as stunning. We loved the country and the people
are great, friendly and helpful. Would recommend visiting . Also not to be missed are the Postojna caves, truly amazing.
Kwasi - the article is about unsung places in Europe not yet spoiled by the crowds. It's not a political comment on the beliefs of the country. Information is being provided for us to make a choice about whether we may wish to go there and open our eyes to the places not commonly known or on the beaten holiday track. Surely that's what a holiday article is about? There are lots of lovely places in the world where I may not agree with its culture or values, but it's my personal choice therefore to decide whether or not I spend my holiday pound there.
'The Republic Of Macedonia' to give the country its constitutional name, is currently called 'The Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia' by the UN, and is refused entry to NATO and ironically the EU by Greece. This offensive term is forced upon it by its southern neighbour, who would like to monopolize the term and identity 'Macedonia' for itself. Rather than except that a country and people have the basic human right of self determination, and that a history and culture is not just based upon a despot and self proclaimed god from 2000 years ago, the powers that be in The Hellenic Republic choose to ignore the fluid, complicated history, culture and ethnicity that is Macedonia. For example, you very rarely hear them speak of the Macedonian uprisings of the late 19th Century, the partition of Macedonia in 1913, or the ethnic cleansing of Macedonians from Greece during the 1940s. Maybe one shouldn't be surprised by this view from a society that claims ethnic homogeneity.
Anyway, I can't recommend a visit more! I have been many times and am always amazed at the new and exciting experiences and places I've encountered. Hospitality is second to none, the food and drink are fantastic, the prices are cheap. Oh, and make sure you try the Rakia!
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