An insiders guide to historic Belgrade, Serbia
Author: Alison Delaney | Last Updated: 20 Jul 2019
Belgrade is a wonderful city in Eastern Europe, once the capital of Yugoslavia, it is rich with history that is still unfolding. With a fortress built in 279 BC, it was home to the Celts, and the Romans; part of the Byzantine empire, the Ottoman Empire; as well as subject to Hapsburg rule and others at different times..this is a city with a thousand stories. Now home to 1.7 million people and the largest city in modern Serbia, it sits at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The buildings, the landscape and the of course the people all have something to share with you. History in spades, music, art and seriously bustling nightlife, the city has something for everyone to enjoy.
Best time to go
With winter temperatures dropping to 5 degrees during the day and freezing overnight, and Summer temperatures soaring up to 30 degrees, this city is arguably best seen in Autumn or Spring. April/May and September/October are the mildest months and with daytime temperatures on average around 18-23 degrees it is perfect for walking and exploring this great city. However, if you don’t mind the heat, the summer months are home to the famous Belgrade Beer Fest and the city is bustling with life making it a great time to visit also.
Get walking – do a walking tour
With free walking tours available and others if you are interested in something specific, this is a really great way to explore the city. You will hit the key landmarks and soak in some history on the way. You might even get a free shot of the local favourite – Rakija. Drink up, and enjoy the day! And if you are interested in history, the communist tour is well worth a look.. Get an insiders view of this incredible part of 20th century history.
Visit the Fortress
Built in 279 BC, this is a seriously old fortress. Set atop a cliff and with spectacular views across the city and the Sava and Danube rivers, this place is spectacular and steeped in centuries of history. With acres of parkland surrounding the fortress now, and dotted with museums historical statues, this is the pride and joy of Belgrade. In summer, there are even raves in the fortress walls, where you can dance all night and then climb to the top for the sunrise. But if that isn’t your style, then make your way there for sunset and appreciate the beauty and the history of this great city.
One of the most popular dishes in Serbia, you absolutely have to try this while you are in Belgrade. Essentially like sausages, cavapi is ubiquitous in Belgrade, but make sure you try it with the ajvar. This pepper and eggplant dip is so much more delicious than you think it should be and is the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Paired with some fresh baked bread and wash it down with a Jelen beer and you’ve had yourself a good meal.
Enjoy some local music in Skadarlija
This is Belgrade’s Bohemian quarter. Cobblestone streets lined with well regarded restaurants and live music this place is picture perfect. Loaded with history, this romantic corner of Belgrade was a settlement of Gypsies in the early 1800s, and has maintained that lively air ever since and it has been a favourite of famous writers, musicians and artists for decades. Retaining all of it’s old charm, this little part of town remains a lively hub with murals on the walls and a real sense of joy. You will find delicious local food, more than your fair share of Rakija shots, and the heart and soul of the city.
Cycle along the Danube River
With kilometers of bicycle paths along the river, this is a great way to explore parts of the city that are a little far to walk. Along the banks of the river and much of it beside parkland you will be spoiled with river views and fresh air. Stop in at the Great War island or visit one of the countless floating bars. You can even join hundreds of locals and other tourists enjoying a refreshing dip in the artificial lake Ada Ciganlija. On a hot day, this place comes alive with people sunbaking, swimming and doing extreme water sports. If you’re here in Summer, make sure you stop by the Belgrade Beer Fest. An annual event held for five days in August, this brings thousands to the city to enjoy a staggering assortment of both local and imported beers, complete with live music every night.
Visit the Tesla museum
Celebrating the life and inventions of local hero Nikola Tesla, this is a must for any science buffs. Credited with designing the first AC electric motor, the famed Tesla coil, the radio and much more, Nikola Tesla was a truly brilliant scientist. The museum explores the work that he did, the inventions he is famous for and also those that never got made such as the earthquake machine. It is designed to be interactive, so you can get involved lighting up light sabers or even volunteer to receive an electric shock if you want, making this is a great way to learn about this man’s work and have fun while you do.
Get shopping in Knez Mikhailova
This is one of the main walking street in downtown Belgrade, full of shops, cafes and restaurants. Whether you are looking for souvenirs, new technology, designer threads or homewares you are bound to find what you are looking for here. And if you prefer to keep your wallet in tact, then simply walk the mall, appreciate the architecture, do some people watching in Republic square and then stop for a beer and soak up the atmosphere.
Categories: Travel Guides