Sleeping At The Airport

Three Great Reasons to Choose the Three Black Catz Hostel, Belgrade

Cika Ljubina 7

Black Catz Hostel

Nearing the end of my last eastern European backpacking challenge, it would be fair to say I was pretty sick of hostels. I was particularly sick of hostels trying to snatch whatever little money I had left away from me. You know what I mean – the hostels that charge you for linen (even when you have your own sleeping bag), internet, showers, lockers, books… you name it, I’ve been charged for it.

Arriving at the Hostel

What a refreshing change to arrive in the middle of the night at a slightly random hostel that was as welcoming as it was weird. True, the Three Black Catz Hostel in Belgrade isn’t the most modern (think 1970s time warp) and certainly not the most aesthetically pleasing (think dirty old council estate in Peckham). But there are plenty of excellent reasons to choose the Three Black Catz Hostel in Belgrade, and I’ll gladly give you three of them…

Reason One – Free Stuff at the Three Black Catz Hostel, Belgrade

You may have been in the same situation as I was – down to a budget of about €8 a day, with the moment I would have to message home for a cheeky Western Union request fast approaching. The last thing you want is to arrive at your prebooked hostel and have extra charges heaped on you. That’ll not happen at the Black Catz Hostel – there’s free internet (which, quite frankly, should be a given at all hostels), free linen and, most amazingly, free washing machines! Wonderful! Clean clothes at last.

There’s even free towel hire (bonus, since I had to leave mine back in Bosnia after accidentally drenching them in red wine) and luggage storage. It’s bliss for the broke backpacker. On top of these little freebies there’s one of the most welcoming hosts I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting during my many trips. You may find Mladen in the cramped common room handing out free beers or free advice and adding to the general feeling of home. In fact, if you’re as broke as I was then you can just stay in and party in the hostel!

Reason Two – Location, Location, Location

Belgrade Stall

Isn’t it a real pain when you’ve landed what you thought was a great hostel deal but in reality it’s excessively cheap because it’s excessively far from ANYTHING of note? Not so at the Black Catz Hostel. It’s literally a two-minute walk to the main area, which is full of bars and clubs as well as cafés and shops. The pedestrianised shopping area is right around the corner, and of course, it was very important to us that we could walk easily to the zoo (we like to visit the zoo in every country – I don’t know why).

In short, there’s no transport costs, no trekking for miles and miles in a bid to visit attractions, and certainly no spending lots of money on senseless taxi rides. Since I paid only €9 for the night I think that’s a pretty good deal!

Reason Three – Get Down with the Great Hostel Atmosphere

Lost Belgrade Tourist

I’m sorry. I’ve misled you. The Black Catz Hostel isn’t really a hostel. It’s more of a student flat, with 2 rooms packed with beds and a tiny common room around which the owner and his mates like to gather. It’s up quite a few flights of dodgy stairs, with an even dodgier balcony looking over a communal courtyard. In fact, it’s pretty random.

That’s why I love it. I mean, it’s a little run down, and you get the impression the owner is simply letting out a few beds for a little extra cash, but that’s part of the charm. The owner can be often found lounging around the common room chatting to everyone, and generally being a good sport.

One day, we came back (probably from the zoo) and there he was, waving a DVD in our faces, screaming, “let’s watch this.” So we sat through 2.5 hours of ‘The Cube’ (potentially the worst movie ever, in Serbian) and drank a crate of local beer, before going on a mission to buy some shoes. Who needs to fork our €20 here and there for random sightseeing trips when the best experiences happen right under your nose?!

Three Black Catz, Three Great Reasons, One Excellent Hostel

All in all, I had a great time at the Three Black Catz. Be prepared, it’s pretty basic and you might want to turn around and leave when you walk along the grey communist external corridor to the apartment door, but persevere! You’ll have some great craic, meet some random tourists as well as locals, and be right in the heart of where you want to be in Belgrade.

Bear in mind, it’s cheap, slightly dirty, completely random (there was an apple and an orange in the bathroom for a week when we were there, not to mention a cat litter tray), and a little bit cramped, but for the location and banter alone the Three Black Catz Hostel in Belgrade should definitely be on your hostel list when backpacking in Serbia.