Off-the-Beaten Track in Serbia: Kalna Hippie Village

We wanted to escape the high season in the coastal Mediterranean Balkan states and so were asking around for suggestions where to go. Upon this mission, we got into contact with Portuguese Vicente on BeWelcome hospitality exchange, and got interested in the place where he had been staying on and off for some years. The place is Kalna in Stara Planina Mountains that run from Serbia to Bulgaria.

The Balkan Mountains are among those peripheral areas that have become deserted as people move to big cities in search of work. This city-bound migration has offered new opportunities for people who are looking for alternative solutions. The community where we stayed was established eight years ago by a circle of Belgradian friends interested in spirituality. They decided to occupy one of the deserted villages buying and renovating several houses within three kilometres of Kalna village centre. The community now welcomes people from around the world to enjoy the simple life. This summer was particularly busy as there was an international Rainbow gathering nearby. After the camp was over, many Rainbow people stopped by in the village.

We ended up staying in Kalna for one month. We rented a little cabin within the community area, and during that time, we made a Global Nomad interview of Vicente about his travels, ideals, and his life philosophy. We hope that you enjoy this 20-minute video which also offers a glimpse into the life in Kalna hippie village.

After we left Kalna, we toured around in Serbia a bit. We stopped by in Belgrade, Novi Pazar and Novi Sad, and visited a good old friend of ours, Lazar, who is also a world traveller. He is the author of Bantustan, an exhilarating African travelogue, and one of the founders of the Serbian Travel Club that offered a unique opportunity for young Serbians to travel affordably. Now many of the Club members have become middle-aged and don't travel so much anymore. The story is the same as everywhere else in the world: you enter the working life, start a family, and get serious. Fortunately hippies in Kalna show that there are alternatives to this rut. If you don't like travelling, you can make other exciting choices of life!

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