Belgrade, the vibrant capital city of Serbia, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored by travelers seeking a unique and authentic European experience. With a rich history and diverse culture, Belgrade offers something for everyone, from stunning architecture and world-renowned museums to lively nightlife and delicious cuisine. Whether you're strolling through the ancient fortress of Kalemegdan, enjoying live music in the bohemian district of Skadarlija, or soaking up the sun at the man-made lake of Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade is a city that never fails to delight and surprise.
Living in Montenegro, we had to visit Belgrade often for visas and/or residency applications. Our first visit was in the height of winter (December). Temperatures were bone chilling as large mounds of dirty snow slush melted slowly. “Long John’s” and a good down jacket were a must. The temperature has however never stopped us from exploring. Unfortunately due to the time of the year (winter and Christmas celebrations) all tourist services and excursions were closed. We commented how lovely Belgrade must be in spring and that we should return…the streets were lined with barren tree’s and seeing them in full bloom in spring would be magical. But true to Murphey, when we returned in spring for a quick two day visit there was a freak cold front and everything was covered in snow again. The day we flew home the weather was perfect and snow had completely disappeared.
Top tourist attractions in Belgrade.
- Kalemegdan Fortress: This ancient fortress is located in the heart of Belgrade, overlooking the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Visitors can enjoy breath taking views of the city, stroll through the park, visit the military museum, and explore the many historical monuments and buildings.
- Sava Temple: One of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, the St. Sava Temple is an impressive sight with its white marble and gilded domes. The interior is decorated with frescoes and mosaics, and the crypt contains the remains of Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
- Skadarlija: This bohemian street is lined with traditional restaurants and cafes, and is a popular spot for dining and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy live music, sample local cuisine, and soak up the lively atmosphere.
- Ada Ciganlija: This man-made lake and park is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and outdoor activities. Visitors can rent bicycles, rollerblades, or kayaks, or simply relax on the sandy beach.
- Nikola Tesla Museum: Dedicated to the life and work of the famous inventor, this museum displays his original inventions and scientific papers, as well as interactive exhibits and demonstrations.
- Belgrade Fortress: Another fortress in Belgrade, this one is located on the hill above the Sava river, and offers visitors a panoramic view of the city. The fortress has a long history and has been used by various armies throughout the centuries.
- National Museum of Serbia: This museum contains a vast collection of Serbian art, artefacts, and historical objects, including works by famous artists such as Paja Jovanović and Nadežda Petrović.
- Republic Square: This central square is surrounded by historical buildings, including the National Museum and the National Theatre. It is a popular spot for people-watching, shopping, and dining. We opted to stay just on the square due to its proximity to everything. It can be noisy over the festive season though.
- Zemun: A historic town located on the banks of the Danube, Zemun is known for its charming architecture, cobbled streets, and lively cafes and bars.
- Tašmajdan Park: A large park in the center of Belgrade, Tašmajdan is a popular spot for jogging, picnicking, and relaxing. It is also home to the Tašmajdan Sports Center, which hosts various sporting events and competitions.
- Sunset Cruise: See Belgrade under the orange hue of the sunset cruising along the Sava & Danube river while enjoying a complimentary drink.
Getting Around Belgrade.
The best way of getting around Belgrade depends on your preferences and destination.
If you’re traveling short distances within the city centre, walking is a great option, as many of the top tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other. For longer distances or if you’re traveling to the suburbs, taking a bus, tram or trolleybus is usually the most convenient option.
We found it difficult trying to find a ticket seller, going from pillar to post we eventually gave up.
Taxis are also a good option if you need to get somewhere quickly or if you have heavy luggage. We found them a bit expensive. One short journey of a few kilometers costing us almost the same as from the airport to Republic Square.
Our advice – prearrange your airport pickup because you will most likely arrive not having Wi-Fi or an eSim, treat yourself to VIP service with “Belgrade Limo” the driver will be waiting for you with your name on a board and drop you at your accommodation. This way you also avoid the circling sharks outside who will overcharge you anyway. We paid €30 from the airport to city center, which was very comparatively priced, and have used them on a few occasions. Pre-arrange via Whatsapp with Alexsander on +381 69 233 2023. From there on we used an App called GoCar (when we had Wi-fi) it works the same as UBER (which is not available in Serbia). Preload the App as you will have to confirm certain things and load a debit card.
For Wifi on the go while in Serbia we recommend a virtual eSim.
Belgrade’s food scene is a rich and diverse blend of traditional Serbian cuisine and international influences. Traditional Serbian cuisine is characterized by its hearty, meat-based dishes, such as cevapi (grilled meat rolls), pljeskavica (Serbian burger), and sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls). Other popular Serbian dishes include ajvar (roasted red pepper spread), kajmak (a creamy dairy spread), and rakija (a strong fruit brandy). We found this quaint little bar called “Rakia Bar” which has a tasting menu for a set fee.
In addition to traditional Serbian cuisine, Belgrade offers a variety of international cuisines, including Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican.
Visitors can enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza at the popular pizzeria “Gallo Nero,” fresh sushi at “Sakura,” or Mexican tacos at “Tako je suđeno.”
Belgrade also has a thriving café culture, with many cafes offering a range of pastries, cakes, and coffee drinks.
If you’re looking for fine dining experiences, Belgrade offers a number of top restaurants to choose from.
“Franš,” located in the trendy Dorćol neighborhood, offers contemporary Serbian cuisine with a modern twist.
“Ambar,” with several locations across the city, serves traditional Serbian dishes in a modern and stylish atmosphere.
For a more romantic setting, “Homa” offers French-inspired cuisine in a cozy candlelit atmosphere.
For a casual dining experience, “Manufaktura,” located in the heart of Skadarlija, offers traditional Serbian cuisine in a rustic and charming setting.
“Question Mark” is a popular kafana (traditional Serbian restaurant) in the city center, known for its lively atmosphere and traditional Serbian dishes.
Skadarlija is a great place to head to if you looking for traditional restaurants to fully experience Serbian cuisine. Most tourist sites will refer you to “dva Jelena”, but we found the hostess very rude (as most reviews confirmed), so we left and ate at a traditional restaurant next door. We also enjoyed the dinner theatre experience at “Little Bay”, but really…there are so many excellent restaurants to choose from you will be spoiled for choice!
If you’re planning a trip to the Balkans, Belgrade should definitely be on your itinerary. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and thriving food and nightlife scenes, Belgrade offers visitors a truly unique and unforgettable experience. From exploring the ancient fortress of Kalemegdan to strolling through the charming streets of Skadarlija, Belgrade has something for everyone. And with its central location in the Balkans, it’s easy to use Belgrade as a base for exploring other nearby destinations such as Sarajevo, Croatia, Montenegro or Budapest. So why not pack your bags and come discover the magic of Belgrade for yourself? With its welcoming locals, affordable prices, and endless charm, it’s a destination you won’t want to miss.
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