The former capital of Yugoslavia and the current capital of Serbia – Belgrade. They say it is the New York of Europe, but it has that mix of a different culture. In Belgrade you will experience great brunches (that may last 3 to 4 hours), drink rakija in great dozes and get to experience the great atmosphere found nowhere in the Balkan Peninsula.
When in Belgrade you can notice parts of different times. You may see old communist buildings, go to the Austro-Hungarian part of the city and see neo-renaissance, or the uprising Millennial culture and great graffiti everywhere.
Serbia did have a turbulent history, especially in the 90s. However, in the last couple of years, they’ve grown. Nothing is still as it is in other regions in Europe – you can see smoking in restaurants, gipsy bands everywhere entertaining locals and tourists and a nightlife that tops every other country in the Balkans.
Nextravel thinks that now is the time to visit Belgrade because it offers an excellent experience, affordable prices and great culinary experience.
I’ve been two times in Belgrade. First time I stayed in Hotel Serbia and the second time in Hotel Square Nine. I recommend the second one because hotel Serbia staff were rude, unhelpful and ordered me a cab that was illegal – had to pay 50 euros just to get to the centre (where the usual price on new year’s eve is just 10 euros). Hotel Square Nine it has a Scandinavian feel, rooms with minimalistic styles and the staff are really friendly.
When visiting Belgrade we recommend to get up at 9 o’clock and start exploring the streets. If you travel from afar, you might want to sleep a bit more, because you’ll get rid off the jet lag, and have more energy for parting at night.
First thing you need to do is just to take a walk between Kosnacicev Venac and Skadarlija in the old part of Belgrade. There is a square there and sit so you can experience the beauty of the city. After that, you can visit Mandarina Cake Shop if you want to eat Balkan pastry. As you know Burek is very popular in the Balkans and Serbians make it really really good.
Remember you are visiting the most modern part of the city, where you can find great looking and strange items. You can find the Dechkotzar a local shop where you can pick up great graphic t-shirts.
You are just a couple of streets from the Design district in Belgrade. It is a market that is full of creative stores selling everything you need for your home. Of course, you are there to enjoy your time, but trust me you might find something unique that will fit in your home.
If you want to have a great lunch, then head over to Manufaktura. It is a popular restaurant that offers great service and modern food. If you want to really have a good time, then you should go to the outside area. There even at lunchtime, you can hear local bands play until the late hours.
After that, we recommend going over for a walk on the Knez Mihailova street – the main pedestrian street in Belgrade. It is also one of the oldest parts of the city, where you can truly experience the evolution of the city of Belgrade over the years. If you want a good desert then head over to Moritz Eis a local ice cream shop that produces ice-cream considered even better than the Italian gelato. Even my wife confirms it.
Landmarks To Visit in Belgrade
The most famous location in Belgrade is the Kalamegdan Fortress! Once it was the most terrible place in Belgrade, where wars were fought. Today it is a place where people relax and take a walk. It is surrounded by a huge park and gives the visitor a great view of the city. If you want to learn something about Serbia and Belgrade it hosts the Military Museum. Also, you can find there a great number of galleries and great monuments. Nextravel highly recommends a visit.
Church of Saint Sava
It is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world. It is one of the tallest structures in Belgrade up to 79 meters of height. It is built on the same location that the Ottomans burned the remains of Saint Sava 5 centuries ago and it took nearly 4 centuries to complete. Even now the interior part of the church is under construction, but it is nearly completed.
Skadarlija and Knez Milos
We already spoke about these places, so you know all the info. Still, they are locations that you must visit!
Zemun is a must visit attraction in Belgrade because it is a city inside of a city. Once it was a city on its own, but in the 1930s it became part of Belgrade because of the expansion back then. It was part of the Austrian Empire and a border city between Austro-Hungary and Yugoslavia. One of the most alluring parts of Zemun is the Kej, a unique walkway of the city. Also, Gardos Hill and Millennium Tower are part of Zemun and worth visiting.
Food and Drink
Serbia has one of the best barbeques in the world. If you want to taste the best one in Belgrade then when you visit Skadarlija you will find the two best restaurants that offer traditional Serbian dishes. One of the most famous ones is “Dva Sesiri”. We highly recommend visiting it. Drinking is quite common in Serbia. Traditional alcoholic drinks are rakija and pelinkovac. If you want to taste something different, strong and tasty then we recommended it highly! Also, try cevapcici and Leskvovacka! Simply a taste of heaven!
Belgrade has cold winters and mild summers. Best time to visit is in autumn and spring. Summers are great also, but the heat from the concrete around makes it not a pleasant stay. Winters are also great if you can adapt to the cold. Always bring warm clothes in winter!
Belgrade is the centre of nightlife in the Balkans. Even though Sofia and Athens don’t fall behind, in Serbia, all the celebrity from Ex-Yu hang out and usually make concerts. Partying is best in summer, especially near the Danube river. However, be careful they can be quite expensive compared to clubs located in the centre of the city.
Local transpiration consists of buses and tram. They are cheap and usually on time. However, the taxi service is quite the trouble. Legal taxi is great and all, but the illegal taxi can be a bother. Like I said before, I overpaid for a taxi and no authority did nothing.