Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe, built on the confluence of two rivers, the Danube and the Sava. It is the capital of the Republic of Serbia and one of the most populated cities in South-Eastern Europe. It is a vibrant city that never sleeps. Its Roman name wasSingidunum.
Belgrade is a rich mixture of historical sites and modern buildings. Although it is not easy to make a selection,there are several must-see sights.
BELGRADE FORTRESS & KALEMEGNDAN PARK
The symbol of Belgrade,Belgrade Fortress,dating back to the beginning of the first millennium, changed its mastersin the course of history several times - Celts, Romans, Byzantium Empire, Serbs, Austro-Hungarians, Turks. The white limestones walls from Tasmajdan (today a city park) stand out above the confluence of the two rivers.
On your way to the fortress, you will walk through Kalemegdan Park, the largestand most important Belgrade park. The two of them, the fortress and the park together represent a monument of special importance. Generations of Belgraders and visitors come to various cultural and sports events that take place here.
Here you can also visit Ružica Church and the statue of Pobednik, one of Belgrade symbols.
THE OLD HISTORIC HEART OF THE CITY
From there, you can walk along the KnezMihailovaStreet, the shopping area. You can turn right to visit Belgrade Konakof Princess Ljubica, an exceptional palace, and St. Michael's Cathedral, a Serbian Orthodox Church Cathedral.
Further on, still in the oldest part of the city, you can walk to Savamala, a district on the right side of the Sava River, and back to the north to Dorcol, an authentic old Belgrade district with Bajrakli Mosque.
You can continue to Skadarlija, the bohemian street with old restaurants famous for Serbian artists, scientists and otherimportant people who used to spend their time there.
KnezMihailova Street can also take you to a different direction, to the Republic Square where you can visit the National Museumor the National Theatre.
Further on, you will come to the Nikola Pasic Square and the NationalAssembly Building, Tasmaidan Park and St. Mark’s Church.
You can end your walk in Jevremovac, the Botanical Garden.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES IN BELGRADE
Art lovers will be able to visit different museums and galleriestheMuseum of Contemporary Art,the Museum of Jovan Cvijic, the Nikola Tesla Museum, the House of Flowers, Belgrade Aeronautical Museum, Ethnographic Museum, theMuseum of Illusions.
Before you leave the city through the Western City Gate in Novi Beograd, you should visit BeliDvor (the royal palace), the Topcider forest and the Avala Tower.
And wherever you are, you will see the glittering dome of Saint Sava’s Church, Serbian Orthodox church located on the Vracar plateau. It is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches and one of the largest church buildings in the world.
Visitors can choose among numerous hotels, vacation rentals and hostels. There are hotels for everyone: the luxury onesor the more affordable ones. Most tourist attractions are in the city centre, but it is still fine to find accommodation in Novi Beograd on the left bank of the Sava river because you can easily get to the Old Town by trams or buses.
LUXURY HOTELS IN BELGRADE
If you prefer luxury and an excellent location, your choice could be Square Nine Hotel Belgrade in Belgrade centre, 50 m from KnezMihailova pedestrian and shopping street and 100 m from the Kalemegdan Fortress. This spa and wellness centre has modernly furnished rooms, with comfortable beds, quality linen and antique and designer furniture pieces. You can dine in the fine hotel’s restaurant that serves modern European cuisine or in the Japanese restaurant on the rooftop. It is a great choice for travellers interested in nightlife, food and cafes.
However, if you want to experience the spirit of the Belgrade past, you could choose the Hotel Moskvaat Terazije, the very heart of the city. The hotel is a Proud Member of Historic Hotels Worldwide. It is built in the Russian Secession style and it was opened in 1906.
Budget travellers might enjoy the unique experience of a houseboat accommodation in San Art Floating Hostel Belgrade (or many other hostels). It ison the River Danube near the centre of the city. You can enjoy your breakfast whenever you wake up in the tranquil atmosphere of the confluence of the Sava and the Danube rivers with the fantastic view of the Kalemegdan Fortress, Great War Island and the historical town of Zemun. Novi Beograd is a great choice for travellers interested in shopping, restaurant, cycling or walking.
For visitors who want to be sure what to expect, there are chain hotels like Crowne Plaza Belgrade, Hyatt Regency Belgrade, Hilton Belgrade, Courtyard by Marriott Belgrade and City Center Holiday Inn Belgrade.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN BELGRADE
Generally, Serbian people enjoy cooking and you can experience this in numerous restaurants. Serbian traditional food is various and rich due to the influence of different cultures (Mediterranean, Hungarian, Turkish and Austrian cuisines). There is a lot of meat, vegetables and sweets. You can find food almost everywhere – small pastry shops and kiosks are all over the city.
If you want to eat cheap, buy burek or pita (Serbian national pastry products with fruit, vegetable or meat filling)in the numerous kiosks on the street.
TRADITIONAL & SPECIAL
There are a lot of kafanas (Serbian word for tavern), restaurants, bars, coffee and sweet shops.
If you want to experience the atmosphere of the traditional Serbian kafana, have dinner at Tri Sesira in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija. If you want something special, enjoy the concert and dinner at the same time at Little Bay.
Besides the national food restaurants, there are many of them specialised in international cuisines (Chinese, Italian, Japanese, French, Greek, Mexican) as well as some vegetarian-friendly and vegan options.
WHAT TO DRINK
In Serbia, people drink rakija, a kind of very strong brandy often made of plums (slivovica) or many other kinds of fruit. Serbia can boast of tasty local vines as there are several regions where grapes are grown. Many people prefer some of the national beer brands, but there are a lot of international ones too.
HOW TO GET THERE
You can geta plane from most European and many other cities to the Nikola Tesla Airport, the international airport 18 km west of downtown Belgrade. You can also take a coach from almost every European city.
BY BUS & TRAIN
If you decide to go by car, the two main international roads,the E-70 and the E-75, go through Belgrade.
TIME TO VISIT
The most popular time to visit the city is from April to October. The weather is sunny, the trees are in blossom, outdoor cafes are full of people. Summers can be hot, but with the two rivers, there is a lot of refreshment.
Ada Ciganlija is a river island in the Sava River turned into a peninsula. It is a popular place for enjoyment, rest, recreation and entertainment for the locals and foreign visitors. Great War Island is an island at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube river, a beautiful green oasis to find shelter from hot summer days.
Avala is a mountain near the city with a great panoramic view, but also a favourite place for a picnic in the woods.
Winters can be rather cold with a lot of snow, but with interesting things that take place in the city then staying in the cold pays off.
Do come to Belgrade at New Year and Christmas time. The city is decorated with thousands of lights. At New Year’s Eve, there are always massive concerts at the main city squares. Stay in the city for the Christmas festivities and you will attend to some of the interesting and unique local customs. Orthodox Christmas is on the 7th of January.
Visit Belgrade Farmers Markets, there are several – they are colourful, rich, with friendly people always ready to begin a conversation.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Belgrade festivals. Depending on the time of the year, you can visit
Beerfest (the largest and most massive beer and rock music festival)
Belgrade Summer Festival (theatre, visual arts and music)
Belgrade Music Festival (classical music)
Belgrade International Theatre Festival
FEST (International Film Festival)
Joy Of Europe (international children’s creativity)
Belgrade Jazz Festival,International Tourism Fair
The Night Of Museums
October Salon (visual arts)
International Book Fair
Open Heart Street (actors, singers, street performers).
UNIQUE THINGS TO DO
Learn to read and write the genuine Cyrillic letters, a unique alphabet with each sound corresponding to just one letter; what you see is what you read.
If you want to fully enjoy what the city has to offer, you can use a concierge agency’s services.These people are the locals who really know the best places in the city and can help you experience it like a native.
In case of emergency, you will probably find the embassy of your country among numerous embassies in Belgrade.
You can use the city public transportation to get around the town. It can be GSP Belgrade (buses, trolleybuses and trams) or bus services run by private companies. Tickets can be purchased at the vehicles, at kiosks or at GSP points-of-sale. You can also get a taxi at an affordable price, but make sure that they carry a blue city taxi sign on the roof.
If you come by car, be aware that Belgrade has the same car parking problem as other European cities. In the central city area, you can park your car for one hour (red zone), two hours (yellow zone)or three hours (green zone). Tickets are available at the kiosks, ticket machines or you can pay for your ticket by sending an SMS.