Van Life #8 – Visiting Kosovo & mechanical drama in Serbia

We left Bulgaria after brunch at Edgy Veggy then headed off to a wild camping spot in southern Serbia next to a river near Nis town, another new country! When we arrived, the sun was just setting and it felt really peaceful. However at 21:00 whilst we’re chilling out watching a film, some joyboys turned up and played the LOUDEST trance music ever for about an hour a long with shouting and drinking. Thank goodness they didn’t stay all night as I really wouldn’t have been able to sleep and without mobile data, it was hard to know where to move on to. In the morning, we were finally graced with some blue sky which was a welcome change from the overcast days we’d been having.

We decided to drive to Kosovo via Devil’s Town which was a fail as we didn’t have any Serbian money so instead we made some lunch and continued along the worst road ever to the Kosovo border or the “Integrated Administrative Line” at Mutivode. If you’re in Serbia and want to enter Kosovo you must enter and exit through Serbia. For example if you travel from North Macedonia or Albania, you then cannot exit via Serbia. Crossing the border was easy into Kosovo but we did have to pay €132 for van insurance. This also seemed outrageously expensive but like Bulgaria, we were treated like we had a commercial vehicle, it’s a campervan guys!! The border guards in Kosovo were so welcoming and friendly that they encourages us to visit their country and we were easily persuaded!

We headed straight to the Four Paws Bear rescue sanctuary outside Prishtina via the city which was crazy busy with traffic. A visit to Four Paws makes you horrified at how some humans have treated the animals as you read heartbreaking stories from the bears’ past, but at least they are in a much happier place now. The cafe at the sanctuary has vegan and vegetarian food available and we had the daily menu of soup, chilli sin carne and a cup of tea; all for €5. It was delicious and freshly made!

We had to wait over an hour to leave Serbia at the border then we returned along the same awful road (avoid the E-80 highway!) out of Kosovo. We were heading towards Sokobanja thermal town but disaster struck! There were so many potholes on the road and as we bounced over one the suspension springs snapped. Even though we were in the middle of nowhere, we managed to find a petrol garage where the staff luckily spoke English and he kindly organised for a mechanic to come out to us in pouring rain and pitch black at 6pm. He helped us out so much and let us stay on his drive way in Kuršumlija, use his bathroom and his wife made us lots of cups of tea to warm us up. Luckily he could order the parts Big Blue needed and after a boring 24 hours sat around in his garage and a €350 bill, we were off again with fresh new suspension.

We stayed in the car park of SokoTerme Wellness Centre in Sokobanja which was very quiet, then we spent the next morning in the thermal pools which supposedly have healing properties but we just love a cheap option for a wash and being warm. The autumnal weather had kicked in and the nights were starting to noticeably get colder in the van. From Sokobanja, we took the inexpensive toll roads to Belgrade where we navigated the crazy roads to get to a camper stop. We were near the Bohemian district and enjoyed a meal out at Pizzagram. Two large pizzas and a beer came to only £10, Serbia is very cheap. Vegan food in rural areas is hard to find, like in Albania, but Belgrade has a lot more restaurants with vegan options and vegan only restaurants. We sadly ran out of gas in Belgrade which sucked as we didn’t have the adapters to refill our gas canister so cold food and no brews were on the cards for the next couple of weeks. 

Park4Night camping spots:

Vegan food tips:

  • Smoki crisps in Serbia are soo cheap!
  • Pizzagram has great vegan pizzas in Belgrade