- Belgrade is the capital of Serbia and its largest city, with ~1.2 million people.
- Located at the confluence of two rivers (the Danube and Sava).
- Has a rich and turbulent history – was the capital of the former republic of Yugoslavia.
- Nicknames: the White City (from its original name, Beograd).
- Currency: Dinar (RSD)
- Spoken languages: primarily Serbian (Cyrillic alphabet)
- Best time to visit: from March to October (Belgrade has a mild continental climate)
- Arriving via airport (18 km from city): taking the bus will take about 40 minutes (80 dinars, about 1 Euro). Taxi will cost 1,000 dinars (about 10 Euros).
WHERE TO STAY
Relative to other major cities in Europe, accommodation is very affordable in Belgrade. Areas with convenient access to attractions are: around the Karadordeva, Nemanjina, Kralja Milana, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra and Bulevar Despota Stefana.
- If you are primarily interested in the main tourist attractions, it will be easy to see most of them on foot in the city’s centre. The wide streets and boulevards make navigation easy.
- Public transportation within the city includes bus, tram and trolleybus lines (run by GSP Beograd). The tickets can be bought from kiosks or directly from the driver (more expensive). The tickets must be punched when entering vehicle. There are cards with transportation (BusPlus) and discounts within the city.
- The Belgrade City Pass is recommended: it is valid for 72 hours and gives you plenty of discounts.
- A note on taxis: taxis within the city are quite affordable, but make sure you settle on a price before getting. Stick to the bigger (known) taxi companies.
- Drinking age is 18, no official last call (some clubs are open all night).
- Belgrade is a top European nightlife destination – 40% of the population is young.
- Good clubs and discos can be found on the river banks.
- Active scene: the bars/clubs on Ada Ciganlija island and Strahinjića Bana Street.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- The Kalemegdan Fortress (Belgrade Fortress) has great historical significance for the city, having stood watch over the city for hundreds of years. The fortress has since been turned into a beautiful park with a military display and museums.
- Do not miss Skadarlija area, the old bohemian quarter of Belgrade, with old inns, craftsman shops, artist stands and a special romantic charm. Contrast it with the Knez Mihailova Street, the city’s main commercial street, with plenty of shops and cafes.
- The Saint Sava Cathedral, one of the major Orthodox sights in the world. Other churches worth a visit include: the Church of St. Mark, the Rose Church, Church of the Virgin Mother, and the Synagogue.
- Don’t miss the city’s iconic monuments and statues. The Victor, which erected in Kalemegdan Park, is a symbol of the city.
- Walk along the banks of the Danube river, replete with active fisheries.
- Take a long walk through the Kalemegdan Park. Try going in the morning or evening, when it will be least crowded.
- Head over to Zemun. An old city that was added to Belgrade, Zemun is where you will find a more traditional and rustic setting.
- If you are into shopping or street art, walk along the Knez Mihailova, the main commercial street.
- Try to visit Belgrade during one of the summer festivals. The Beer Festival is a big party – you will find many concerts and a huge area filled with beer tents.
- You might encounter people offering euros for exchange on street corners – don’t fall for this. Only trade money at exchange offices.
- Where to find good cheap eats: just like alcohol, food is very affordable in Belgrade. Try the delicious local food, including the meat and fish recipes in local restaurants. Do not forget to taste the local rakija (a strong alcoholic drink), as well as the local beers.
- Dangerous areas: the area around the train station, and the river banks (at night).
RECOMMENDED BELGRADE GUIDE BOOKS
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days