Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia and its history is long and turbulent. The city lays at the junction of the rivers Danube and Sava and is one of the oldest cities on the continent of Europe.
Every year the city attracts visitors from all around the world with its lively spirit and amazing architecture. The meaning of the modern name is ‘White city’, which derived from its ancient name Singidunum meaning ‘White fort’.
Belgrade is a city of survivors. Because of its location, it was often a target of many invaders. It has a long and compelling history of battles, wars, kingdoms, and empires but modern-day Belgrade in its entirety is a perfect blend of high society and traditional values, mixed with colorful culture and strong spirit of its people. The city is dynamic and the people are outgoing and hospitable. If you know what you want and if you are well-informed, you definitely won’t get bored in Belgrade.
Places to visit
The number one attraction in Belgrade, not just by tourists, but by locals as well. It consists of the old Citadel and Kalemegdan Park and is located on the confluence of the river Sava and Danube, providing an amazing view. It is the core and the oldest section of the urban area of Belgrade, but throughout history, it used to contain the whole city within its walls.
There you can find many galleries, monuments, the Military Museum, as well as the Roman well.
The greatest monument at the fortress is Pobednik (The Victor), built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empire. It is the city’s most recognizable landmark and the most popular visual symbol of Belgrade.
Skadarlija is one of the most famous streets in Belgrade. It’s special for its vintage vibe in an urban neighborhood and is known as the main bohemian quarter of the city.
It is a pedestrian street paved with cobblestones and is full of restaurants, bars, and cafes. Historic wise, it was a place for musicians, singers, poets and artists where they performed and worked. Today, in Skadarlija, you can always find traditional Serbian food and music. It is visited by couples and families but has an amazing nightlife as well.
Church of St Sava
One of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, the Church of Saint Sava is a religious monument and one of the greatest symbols of Belgrade. It’s built from white granite and marble walls with a copper dome and sits high on the Vračar plateau. The temple is built on the site where the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha burned St Sava’s relics during a Serbian uprising in 1594. Even though the Church is fairly new, with construction starting in 1935, it is a huge symbol of pride to Serbian people.
Knez Mihailova Street
The main street of Belgrade, Knez Mihailova represents the focal point of social life in the Capital. People of all ages meet in this street for long walks, drinks or shopping. It’s a pedestrian street that never sleeps and is protected by law as one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks of the city. There are many notable buildings and hotels in this 1km long street. One of them is The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Located at the end of Knez Mihailova, Republic Square consists of some of the most important landmarks like the National Museum and the Serbian National Theatre. Recently, the Republic Square got renovated, but the Prince Mihailo Monument still stands proud and is one place of choice in Belgrade where people often meet.
Nikola Tesla Museum
This museum presents the life and work of the great physicist, inventor and electrical engineer and Serbian national hero, Nikola Tesla. The museum displays a great number of inventions along with many of his personal items.
It is located on the outskirts of the city on top of Mount Avala, and it is the tallest structure in the Balkans. This communications tower is another symbol for Belgrade with a tough past. It was razed during the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999. but was reconstructed, and today it has an observation deck and a panoramic cafe.
Zemun is usually depicted as a ‘town within a city’ because of its fierce independence. There is a different atmosphere in Zemun when compared to the city’s centre. You can take a long walk throughout Zemun Quay along the river Danube. The usual attractions are the swans that you can feed or take pictures. You can try some seafood along the quay or visit the famous Gardoš Tower also known as Millenium Tower which is a part of the Zemun Fortress.
Jevremovac Botanical Gardens
This is a peaceful oasis in the hectic city. You can take a stroll among nature and enjoy Victorian-style greenhouse and the Japanese garden. It spreads over the area of five hectares and there are over 250 species of trees and bushes.
On the riverbanks of Sava, Ada Ciganlija is a place for any sports activity. Running, rowing, cycling, playing tennis, swimming, bungee jumping and many more. Throughout the summer months, a lot of people come to Ada to relax, take walks or swim. There are usually bands playing live and restaurants and cafes are always packed with people. One of the bridges near Ada Ciganlija has an amazing architectural design and is one of the symbols of Belgrade.
Food in Belgrade
Belgrade is a city where it’s impossible to stay hungry with so many bakeries, restaurants and street food. Most restaurants serve traditional Serbian food like ‘ćevapi’, ‘kajmak’, ‘sarma’ and more. Besides savoury food, you can easily find desserts. For example, Pastry shop ‘Pelivan’ was opened in 1851. but still to this day hundreds of visitors come to their shop every day to try delicious oriental cakes and desserts.
Belgrade has a reputation for a vibrant nightlife. Clubs are usually open until dawn, and the most famous ones are spread around the banks of the rivers Sava and Danube as barges or ‘splavovi’. Belgrade nightlife always has really positive and friendly energy. One of the most interesting places are Mladost, Ludost, Radost and Gadost. These places are separate but together create a whole unit. Each of these places offers different music and feeling, but they are interconnected, so visitors can change the place according to their mood and in one night have fun in different ways.
There is so much more in Belgrade. Everyone can find beauty in this city, and some attraction that fits their needs. So Belgrade definitely should be a number one place to visit on your list.