Things to do in: Belgrade

Things to do in: Belgrade

Still relatively off the radar but too cool to care, Belgrade is the city you want to get to know. No, need to get to know. Few visit, but when they do, they love it. The capital of Serbia has a thriving music scene, an active nightlife, and plenty of fascinating history, from its socialist roots to its scientific contributions (we’re looking at you, Tesla). For a full taste of Serbian life, from food to culture to architecture, you can hop on our Belgrade Mash-up tour; otherwise, we recommend adding these things to your Belgrade to-do list.

Enjoy the bohemian vibe of Skadarlija

Skadarlija Street is Belgrade’s old bohemian quarter, located right in the city centre and just downhill from the Main Square. It’s a cobblestone street filled with restaurants and bars — most of which serve traditional food and offer live music. It’s at its best during spring and summer evenings, when the gardens are open and filled with people. If you head to Skadarlija, be sure to check out some of our favourite places: Tri Sesira (Three Hats) and Dva Jelena (Two Deer) for food and music, and Red Bar for cocktails.

Explore the fortress at Kalemegdan Park

This fortress-turned-park is located in the old city centre, overlooking the Sava and Danube rivers and with great views of New Belgrade. While you’re there, be sure to take photos from the viewpoint under the Victor statue, and grab lunch at one of the two restaurants in the park: Mali Kalemegdan (for traditional food and barbecue) or Kalemegdanska Terasa (a fancy restaurant with international cuisine). You could also just relax with drinks in the Boho bar.

Go for drinks on Cetinjska Street

Located just around the corner from above-mentioned Skadarlija Street, Cetinjska is an old industrial zone that had been abandoned for years, until it was recently revived into an entertainment zone. Take your pick from dozens of bars, cafés and nighclubs, and indulge in cocktails or local beers to the sounds of electronic, hip-hop or alternative music. Cetinjska a large area around an open parking lot, and the crowd usually starts to build around 9pm — reaching its peak from 10pm to midnight. Note that it closes at 1am, as it is next to residential buildings.

Get cultured at a museum

There are plenty of museums in Belgrade for getting your culture on. For history, visit Konak Kneginje Ljubice (Princess Ljubica’s Residence), which is a residential house from the early 19th century, built by Prince Milos Obrenovic for his wife, or the Historical Museum of Serbia, which features regularly changing exhibits on Serbian history. Also worth checking out are the Ethnographic Museum, where you can view a collection of items from everyday life in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and, of course, the Nikola Tesla Museum, dedicated to protecting and presenting the legacy of one of the world’s greatest scientists, Nikola Tesla.

Step back into the past in Zemun

Zemun is a part of town that, through most of its history, was under the rule of Austro-Hungarian Empire — and today it still has houses reminiscent of Central European architecture. Located on the right bank of the Danube River, Zemun boasts a fortress, Gardos, as well as numerous cafés and fish restaurants on the promenade by the river. We recommend Saran, Sent Andrea and Stara Kapetanija.

Get active on Ada Ciganlija

Ada Ciganlija is an island and manmade peninusla in the Sava River, and the best place for an adrenaline-packed day. Go water-skiing, kite surfing, or take the plunge by going bungee jumping. If that’s too much for you, just take a walk through an oasis of tranquility as you enjoy a bit of nature in the city. The path around the lake is roughly 8 kilometres long, and is lined with restaurants, bars and cafés. During the summer months, the lake’s beach is packed with locals enjoying the outdoors.

Grab a beer (or four) at Samo Pivo

No surprise, Samo Pivo (“Just Beer” in English) serves… just beer. And lots of it! It’s one of the hottest bars in Belgrade, located on Balkanska Street in the city centre. If you have a hard time making a decision, this place may overwhelm you as the choices for beer are seemingly endless. There’s a variety of small local brews available, as well as imported beers from all over the world — we’re talking roughly 300 beer brands to choose from.

See the iconic St. Sava Church

St. Sava Church is one of the largest Serbian orthodox churches in the world, and the largest in the Balkans. Construction started in 1935 but was interrupted numerous times, first during World War II, then during the 40-year communist rule of Yugoslavia under Tito. It then resumed in the 1980s and the church was completed in 1989, however the interior is still being painted.

Ride a bike along the rivers

Both the Danube and Sava rivers in New Belgrade boast kilometres of bike paths. You can reach both New Belgrade and Zemun by bicycle — take a cruise and see how the architecture differs, from the socialist blocks of New Belgrade to the Central European architectural style of Zemun.

Taste the best burek in town

Locals line up in the streets to get their burek from Trpkovic Bakery. Burek is a type of pie typical of the Balkan countries; in Serbia, it usually comes with cheese or minced meat, although there are other options as well. The one with cheese is a must-try (don’t forget the yogurt on the side). The best time to go is early morning, for breakfast, although obviously burek is a fine choice for a quick lunch too.

Have lunch on the Sava River Promenade

An old port storage building (Beton Hala), located in the official Port of Belgrade on the Sava River, is now home to numerous restaurants and bars, all with a vibrant atmosphere and overlooking the river and New Belgrade across the water. There are many quality restaurants on the promenade, but our favourite is Ambar, a modern restaurant with a Balkan fusion concept, offering traditional Serbian food prepared in a modern way. Roasted lamb and pork are a particular highlight.

Lounge about on a river barge

Splavovi are floating lounges, restaurants and nightclubs, all along both the Sava and Danube rivers in New Belgrade. They’re popular places for either a coffee break or lunch, or a full-on night out. The nightclubs are great and varied, ranging from Serbian turbofolk music to hip-hop, electronic, rock’n’roll, alternative music and even Balkan gypsy bands.

Belgrade Mash-up

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