Splavovi Floating River Clubs
What are Splavovi? The word splav (singular) in English means the raft or float. Italian word would be, zattera! There are various rafts today, from the usual timber barrels to exclusive and hyper-modern waterfront constructions.
When I say rafts, I mean restaurants, cafes, discos or floating structures designed for fun. In recent years, some of floating rafts has been transformed in very comfortable hostels.
The nightlife in Serbia’s capital has been described as the best in the Balkans thanks to floating rafts that make every night like a Friday. Rafts have become a subject of interest for every younger tourist who comes to Belgrade.
Splavovi Historical background
Through history, there was a period when there were no rafts on the banks of the Sava and Danube rivers. It was time when you could walk on both sides of Sava and Danube rivers that nothing blocked the view of the water or on Kalemegdan fortress.
In the last decade and a half, rafts have occupied entire both rivers shores and there is no longer any area where the river is accessible. This caused that many various groups of citizens and non-governmental organizations were born.
They have been fighting for unobstructed access to the river and free approach to river shores. But, the result was poor. The only exception has been made on the coast near a new complex in constriction, known as ‘Belgrade on the Water‘. It’s a line between the ‘Branko’s bridge‘ and Gazela (Gazelle) bridge. Actually, some quite popular rafts were completely removed.
Although being criticized and contested, ‘splavs’ have become the symbol of great fun. Loud music, crowd and endless parties. Attractive folk singers and go-go dancers will stir up the atmosphere until morning!
A guide to Belgrade Splavovi
Belgrade raft clubs are divided into winter and summer. Winter clubs are indoors, while summer ones are more open space. The view of the river and the sky gives a sense of freedom, and contributes to the frantic summer atmosphere.
Summer clubs open from May to October. They are called rafts or river clubs . The rafts are located on the Sava River and extend all the way to the Ada Bridge and beyond. The most famous ones are around Branko and Sava Bridge. The most popular are those near Beton Hala area.
Belgrade rafts are a symbol of the capital during the summer. They are the great tourist attraction. Everyone who has been to Belgrade once has had to experience some fun on one of the rafts. There are a large number of visitors from abroad who come here. They all want to experience the nightlife offered by Belgrade rafts .
How do rafts look like?
Summer rafts stand out in the open space (some are completely open). From there you can enjoy a beautiful view of the rivers and Belgrade by night in full splendor.
The interior of the Belgrade’s splavovi are modernly decorated. You can chose place in booths, on high chairs or at a bar table. To be near the bar, is always the best option, but wherever you are, don’t worry, the waiter will serve you.
Music on Belgrade rafts
When it comes to music, this factor is most important that decides which raft is claimed to be the best in Belgrade. On Belgrade’s raft you can find all music genres. But according to the interests of the audience and visitors, some may be more popular than others.
Each splav tries to have a distinctive character. And kind of music is one of the important features. There are some fashion splavs with deafening international pop music. Here, usually come people to see and be seen. And, drink prices are higher there.
There are casual splavs that play Serbian folk music. But, there are also hipster splavs with underground music for cool alternative folks. In fact, there’s something for everyone.
Splavovi - how to make a reservation
With over 500 venues available for the perfect nightlife in Belgrade , it’s difficult to select the right place. All depends on the type of music and ambience you like.
In any case, no matter what music you like, you have to make reservation in advance. All you need to do is choose a place to go and book your place in one of the following ways:
Drinks prices list
Almost all Belgrade rafts offer the same drink prices. On rafts, the prices of drinks are standard. A beer costs from 300-500 dinars (2,5 € to 4,50 €).
A bottle of spirits is up to 20 000. (170 €) When booking rafts, or the person making the reservation, will inform you if there is any condition or minimum amount that should be paid for a specific place.
The most popular river clubs
- SHAKE `N` SHAKE
- LETO (SUMMER)
- THE MONEY
- HOT MESS
- NA VODI
Splavs (Rafts) are internationally recognized cultural phenomenon and one of the most desired destinations of visitors in Belgrade.
To have an idea what others say about this floating rafts here are some articles from some authoritative sources:
- BBC Belgrade’s floating clubs, written by Kristin Vukovic.
- KondeNast Traveler – A guide to ‘Splavovi’ Belgrade’s Booming Nightlife scene by Paul Rubio.