Solo Travel Experience to Belgrade, Serbia – How it Went Down
If you’ve never had a solo travel experience, this is your sign to go for it!
Before this year, I too never had the balls to solo travel. Not because I didn’t think it was possible, but because; why get out of my comfort zone when I can tag along with my husband and have him fix everything for me. (Marriage perks)
But fast forward to 2022 after I got an approved 6 months UK Visitors Visa, which presented the opportunity for me as a Nigerian to visit over 33 countries in the world – without applying for a visa. I decided to take advantage of this blessing and travel solo to another country for the first time.
Considering I live in the Balkans (Podgorica to be precise) I decided to go to the closest place where Raphy (my husband) could swoop in and save me if shit went wrong. So what better choice than to pick Belgrade, Serbia.
Usually, I would take a 50min flight to make my life easier but, in a bid to try something different, I chose to take the night train which was 13-14hours per direction (WTF! I know) I booked a sleeper cell which made things a bit easier but all in all it worked out.
Bottomline, I ended up spending 2 days travelling and 2 days in Belgrade, Serbia and it was…wait for it…LEGENDARY! (cue Barney) Seriously it was an eye opening, fun, solo travel experience in Belgrade. The trip gave me perspective and made me realize a lot of things about myself.
My opinion of Belgrade
Coming from a small city of Podgorica, the city of Belgrade felt huge – everything was bigger and wider. There were tons of people everywhere, bars, restaurants, shops, tourists – there was just more of everything.
With a population of over 1.7 million people, I found the people in Belgrade to be ‘colder’ than people in Montenegro, even though they speak the same language. The currency is Dinar not Euro, the weather was blistering hot (May) and I struggled to walk around during the day.
However the entertainment scene in Belgrade is allegedly one of the best in Europe. You’ve got tons of options of places to go to like jazz bars, theatre, techno bars, you name it.
In my humble opinion, for daily life I prefer Podgorica, but for partying and having crazy fun, Belgrade is so my vibe it’s insane.
During my solo trip, I had an itinerary planned which I tried to stick to but I ended up:
Table of Contents
Train from Podgorica, Montenegro to Belgrade, Serbia
Recap of the experience:
- Visited the Belgrade zoo – I saw wolves for the first time and watched a snake get fed a dead mouse (yikes)
- Explored the Kalemegdan park by train (typical tourist), passing through the dinosaur park, museums, fortress.
- I visited the educational museum of Belgrade (not as boring as it sounds)
- Hopped around bars and clubs – including a bar where everything white glowed in the dark (super cool)
- Took the bus and walked a lot – apparently people don’t pay for the bus in Belgrade (shocking!)
- Stayed at a boatel. If you have no clue what the hell a boatel is; it’s a boat + hotel = boatel get it? My room was literarily on the water and it was breathtaking.
- Made new friends
My entire solo travel trip was so much fun, that I made a spicy YouTube Video about the whole shebang. I did my best to keep my expenses low and I tracked how much I spent roughly.
Cost breakdown (in euros):
Return train ticket + sleeper cell = €68
Food & Drink = €40
Taxi = €18 (Buses were free)
Accomodation (2 nights) = €80
Entertainment = €15
Total: €221 (chi ching)
The best part of my solo travel experience in Belgrade were all the things I learned about myself.
Working from my boatel on the Danube River in Belgrade, Serbia
The 4 things I learned about myself and life
It’s one thing to know you can handle whatever life throws at you and it’s another thing to see yourself in action! Before the trip I had all sorts of anxiety, I was literally freaking out and catastrophizing aka assuming the worst like;
“What if immigration doesn’t let me off the train because I’m African”
“What if I get robbed, or kidnapped or worse, I lose my passport”
But I had to calm myself down. Most importantly, Raphy encouraging me to travel solo, gave me the confidence to know that everything would be okay.
If you’ve never been on a solo trip, I want you to know that you’re more capable than you think and you should totally go for it. My advice for you is to start small and scale up. Basically, you can start locally and graduate to international.
Underground walkway and shops in Belgrade, Serbia
Keep an open mind if you want to make new friends
During my trip, I had to take the bus but I had no clue what I was doing. So, I asked someone on the bus for help. We got talking on the bus, I realized we had things in common and ba da bing ba da boom, I made a friend in the process.
I know with social media and everyone being busy AF, it can be hard to make new friends. But I realized that sometimes all it takes to make new friends is to keep an open mind and make a bit of effort to put yourself out there – which I did by asking a complete stranger for help.
Everything is a choice
With my UK visa I could have travelled to London, come back and that’s it. But I made the choice to do some research to see what other opportunities having a UK visa presented me (as a Nigerian with a super limited passport) and I took it.
Now I have this amazing memory, another country off my bucket list and a fresh perspective on the world. Basically, everything in life is a choice! You can choose!
There are many ways to achieve a goal
A return ticket to Belgrade from Podgorica cost over €150, but a return train ticket cost €40 (without a sleeper cell). I wanted to keep costs as low as possible on my trip and I found a way to do that. Basically there are many ways to achieve a goal and you have to find the way that works for you.
Some tips for solo travellers
- Travel light, you don’t need to drag around 2 luggages which can become a challenge.
- Inform your family or friends about where you’re going. Share your itinerary with them, your addresses and give them an emergency number which could belong to the airbnb host or a friend in the place you’re going to visit.
- To make the most out of your trip without breaking the bank, choose an accommodation that is in the centre of fun things to do. This way you can walk around exploring without spending money on taxi’s or the bus.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid and staying out late in shady areas. If you can, travel with your pepper spray.
- To keep costs low, opt for free or cheaper ways to have fun like visiting a museum, zoo, search for free events for your dates online.
- When out partying, hold your drink at all times and avoid getting stupid drunk.
- Have a copy of your passport with you wherever you go. But leave your actual passport in a safe place in your hotel/airbnb.
- Always have some cash on you incase you have no way to use your debit card or encounter issues.
- Don’t go to the home or hotel room of someone you just met, it could be dangerous.
- Never accept rides from strangers.
- Carry a back pack or a cross-body bag, to avoid your bag being snatched.
Bar in Belgrade where anything white glows in the dark (cool right?)
Fear is a crazy thing that can cause us to assume the worst and not take action. With solo travel. it’s easy to give in to fear or stick to your comfort zone – which can rob you of a life changing experience. But choose to just go got it! Solo travel will give you perspective, help you realise things about yourself and you’ll make amazing memories that would last a life time.
I feel so empowered after my first solo travel experience in Belgrade Serbia and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat.
Have you had a solo trip before? I’d love to hear about your experience. Or if you’ve got solo travel tips, feel free to share in the comments below!
[To kickstart your remote work career, the blog post How to work remotely; a beginner’s guide will help you!]