Prague and Belgrade travel advice needed
March 9, 2014 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Hi everyone, my partner and I are heading to Belgrade for Resonate in a few weeks, and have a few days in Prague beforehand and a few extra days in Belgrade following the festival. We're looking for food/drink/art/fun recommendations, as well as some recommendations for accommodations in Prague.

It's my partner's third time in Belgrade and my second (we were both there for Resonate last year, but didn't have as much time to explore the city as we will this time). Meanwhile, he was last in Prague in 1998, and I've never been. We like good food & drink, art & design, and interesting city walks. As well, we're looking for a good place to stay in Prague, with the caveat that we won't be able to book it until the day we arrive – my paycheque will be deposited into my account while we're on the plane, and will only be able to handle my banking when we land and await our connecting flight. We were thinking of doing a one-night hotel stay then AirBnB something beginning the following day, but would love to hear your recommendations for any well-located but not-super-expensive accommodations in the city. Our accomodations for Belgrade are already booked. Thanks MeFi!
posted by avocet to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We stayed at The Golden Deer last year and found it very reasonable, clean and friendly.
posted by Chairboy at 10:44 AM on March 9, 2014

For Belgrade:

First, the food. There are a couple of types of food experience you can have in Belgrade, and all of them are good. You can go to Skadarlija which is a little pedestrian cobblestone street and have a more traditional meal while a singer and a band entertain a smoke filled room. That would be someplace like Ima Danas, or Tri Šešira or Dva Jelena. We went to Ima Danas and it was lovely. That's the sort of place where you'd run into trubači. Like this. (That's actually on Knez Mihaila, not on Skadarlia - it's a long pedestrian shopping street, totally worth checking out. We ran into a pop-up Russian flea market there, and there were some pretty fantastic crafts there. But we fell in love with some etchings by a Serbian artist at the Belgrade University of Arts. But I digress.)

Where was I? The FOOD! Right. So you could be having a more traditional meal at a place on Skadarlija, but that's a little touristy, so if you want something a little more out of the way there are two places that you Must Try, for various reasons. The first is Kafanica, because they have chickens roaming between the tables and because the food is so fantastic. The other is Restoran Stara Koliba. The floating restaurant at the confluence (ušće) of the Danube and Sava, specializes in seafood. It also looks out across the Sava toward Kalemegdan Fortress. So you can take in the beautiful lights of the old fortress at night while you eat your dinner.

But if you are done having a kafana, I would say my second priority would be to have a fantastic modern meal. The quality is so good there, and the prices are so low that while some of us may never get to dine at Alinea, we can still have a really fantastic meal in Belgrade and end up with enough change left in our pockets to stop for palačinke afterward. Check out Homa and/or Communale. Okay, so first, Homa is a little hard to find and it is sort of tucked in next to an industrial park in a neighborhood nearby and it is on a dead end. But the tasting menu was generous and delicious and there wasn't a course that people didn't like. They also have a kind of hilarious mint chocolate mousse dessert served in a little terracotta flowerpot. Don't miss that, even if you're stopping for palačinke afterward. (You do know what palačinke are, right? You should eat them every time you see the word. They're slightly thicker and spongier than crêpes, but just as delicious. Mmm. For that matter, the same can be said of burek, which is a stuffed fried bread, but you'll have a hard time finding that after noon or so because the bakery (pekara) will have closed or run out.) On to Communale, which is in a new development on the Sava riverfront. I don't know what the name of the development is there, but I've asked a friend who lives there to remind me. Once it comes through, I'll let you know.

Beyond The Food: There are a list of things that I wanted to do but that I couldn't do while I was there because of time constraints and because I was hanging out with locals. No local in any city wants to go do touristy things there. So I'd check out the House of Flowers (Tito's Mausoleum and Museum), the Tesla Museum, Gardoš Tower in Zemun, and I'd poke my head into the St. Sava Cathedral, which is unfinished and about the only time you'll be able to see a cathedral which appears completed from the outside but is completely empty inside.

You might also consider checking out the Hotel Yugoslavia over in Novi Beograd because there are some redevelopment plans afoot. It was bombed, but survived. It's still a pretty interesting piece of mid-century architecture, but it's days may be numbered. If you like walks, there is a lengthy promenade out behind it (it's on the Danube) and there are a number of floating bars and party boats along the river which you could stop into for a drink or a snack while you make your way toward Zemun and Gardoš.

Also, a friend's sister owns a nightclub there called Re Sava right in downtown Belgrade. So that's fun, and highly recommended. The night we went it was all American music, which was fun and funny.
posted by jph at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've heard good things about Hotel U Tří Bubnů in Prague (I haven't stayed there myself). The location is excellent for sight-seeing.
posted by neushoorn at 1:54 PM on March 9, 2014

I stayed at the Hotel Sax in Prague, which has both a great location and funky design. I also recommend checking out the Grand Cafe Orient.
posted by chrisulonic at 4:39 PM on March 9, 2014

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