Belgrade, Serbia capital, is quite an interesting Serbian city. You might ask yourself, is Belgrade worth visiting. We say yes! Certinaly visit Belgrade at least once in your lifetime. Although most people coming to Belgrade seek nightlife during the weekend, the city offers many opportunities for a comprehensive family vacation. Among other activities, you can unwind in its parks, along its riversides, and in the nature that isn’t far off. What about things to do in Belgrade Serbia and around? In this beautiful Serbian capital city, you can walk along a river in the morning and climb a nearby mountain at noon. Early afternoon is ideal for a visit to a museum or two, while late afternoons and evenings are good for going to a cinema and experiencing life with Serbian people.
Where is Belgrade, Serbia Located
Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia and can be found right where the Sava and Danube rivers meet in the north of the country. Belgrade is rather conveniently located at the converging point of three historic routes in Europe. The east-west route from Vienna, Austria to the Black Sea, another route which runs west towards northern Italy and a third which runs south-east to the Aegean Sea. To better understand the location of a Belgrade, here is the map of Serbia showing Belgrade:
What is the Population of Belgrade Serbia
Belgrade’s current population stands at almost 1.4 million in 2020, having tripled from 1950. This figure is expected to continually rise too, showing that Belgrade is undoubtedly one of Eastern Europe’s fastest-growing cities. The total number of residents in Serbia is just under 7 million, so the total number of residents of Belgrade make up approximately 12-13% of the entire population.
What language is Spoken in Belgrade Serbia
In Serbia, the Russian language is spoken, however, English is widely spoke especially in tourist destinations. A lot of Serbians, especially the younger generation speak good English and you won’t have a problem communicating with people especially in Belgrade and surrounding areas. German and French are also spoken since quite a lot of Serbian have worked in countries where both languages are spoken especially Austria and Germany where German is spoken. You may find that most restaurants, hotels and bar staff have a respectable grasp of English as well tourist operators and other people that work in tourism. Of course, it would never hurt to learn any basic Russian phrases – and it will certainly impress the locals whom you meet on your trip especially if you plan to rent a car to explore past Belgrade and the bigger cities.
What Currency is Used in Belgrade?
The official currency of Serbia is the Dinar. Most shops, bars, and restaurants accept international bank cards and you also, shouldn’t have any problems using your card at ATMs. The currency exchanges in Belgrade takes Euros, US Dollars, and Pound Sterling. Most American or British banks won’t exchange dinars after you return home, so you should make sure to exchange your currencies before you leave Serbia. Of course, remember always to transfer money through banks and official exchange offices rather than using street dealers when possible.
What Time is it in Belgrade
Belgrade runs on Central European Time and Central European Summer Time, depending on the time of year. This puts it +1 hour ahead of the UTC and is often written as +01:00. This also puts Belgrade 1 hour ahead of London, 6 hours ahead of New York, 9 hours ahead of California and 7 hours behind Japan.
How to get to Belgrade
Belgrade is a crossroads between Western and Eastern Europe, which is why it is so well connected to these regions in a multitude of ways including by road, railroad, or air.
If travelling by car, two main highways can be taken. The first of which is the E-7, followed by the E-70. As well as that, Belgrade can easily be reached by coach from several European cities. The two main coach stations have over 80 platforms for departure and over 20 for arrivals, where more than 1400 coaches will pass every day.
The Belgrade railway is an intersection of 7 railway lines that carry international traffic and where five local lines will meet. The city can be reached from almost any European city with both day and night trains running. Also, don’t forget to check out if you can qualify for any discounts such as Interrail, Railplus, Euro Domino, and others!
Alternatively, Belgrade is easily accessible by air. The Nikola Tesla airport regularly flies to over 40 destinations worldwide. The national airline of Serbia is Jat Airways, alongside plenty of other international carriers. The airport itself is located close to the city center, just 18km away. It is well connected to the rest of the city by public transport, such as bus line 72 and taxis.
How to Get Around Belgrade
You can get around Belgrade in so many ways, including car, motorcycle, and of course, walking.
If you’re planning on getting around by car or motorcycle, you will first need to be aware of Belgrade parking regulations within the city. The ‘red’ zone, where you can park for one hour, will cost you 56RSD per hour. The ‘yellow’ area will allow you to park for two hours and will cost you 48RSD per hour. Finally, the ‘green’ space is where you can park for three hours at 41RSD per hour. Tickets can be bought either from designated ticket kiosks or via SMS. The parking enforcement is enforced from 7 am to 9 pm from Monday to Friday, and 7 am-2 pm on Saturdays.
Public transport is another great way for you to get around the city. There is a range of ticket that you can buy depending on exactly what you are looking for, such as day cards and other smart cards, which can conveniently be topped up at supermarkets and kiosks. Alternatively, BusPlus passes for tourists can be purchased from 250 RSD, 700 RSD, or 1000RSD for 1,3 and 5 days, respectively.
When is the Best Time to Visit Belgrade
The best time of year to visit Belgrade is generally between the spring months of March and May or September/October time. The weather during these months is perfect for a city break, warm, but not overly hot or stuffy. July and August can be helpful but are very warm times of the year. October and November can be quite pleasant, but you will have to be careful about the rain. The only months in which you may not want to visit Belgrade is during December, January, and February. While the new year celebrations might keep you warm, it usually is freezing and perhaps snowy!
Is Serbia Safe
Given that Serbia is a county that is emerging from years of war and security problems, it is a very safe place to visit. Like everywhere, however, travelers should continue to take caution and use common sense when traveling. Belgrade has low crime levels, but petty crime such as pickpockets are standard. Most crimes occur because people aren’t paying attention. For example, valuables left in plain sight unlocked cars and open garage doors make some people targets for criminals.
However, as long as you can use common sense and stick to the major tourist areas, then you are unlikely to run into any problems on your trip here. When in doubt, like with other countries, check your countries travel advisory before setting off on your vacation to Belgrade, Serbia.
What area of Belgrade should I stay in
1. Old Town Belgrade
The most popular place for tourists to stay in Belgrade is at the heart of the old town. This part of the city center is hugely popular and vibrant. Nearby the military museum, victor monument, and the zoo , there are always plenty of things to do in this tourist hotspot. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to keep yourself entertained on your stay here in the old town.
2. Dorcol Belgrade
This historical neighborhood close to republic square is one of Belgrade’s main tourist areas. It is within shouting distance of the famous Skadarlija, which owes its popularity to the 20th-century writer’s poets and musicians who frequently hung out here, and truly put the neighborhood on the map.
Top 21 Things To Do In Belgrade Serbia
1. Kalemegdan Fortress
Kalemegdan (Belgrade Fortress) used to be a formidable stronghold in the past, which is an oasis of tranquility and fresh air in the heart of Belgrade today. The city’s principal attraction assumes a vantage point over the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, boasting marvelous panoramic views. The area within the mighty walls was planted with trees once such defensive systems were outdated. Barracks, armories, and warehouses were replaced by walking paths, sports grounds, and children’s playgrounds. The Belgrade Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe, was established in 1936.
As you wander around the expansive area, you will pass by various monuments. You will recognize The Victor (a symbol of Belgrade) and the Monument of Gratitude to France as the most striking ones by far. The Victor depicts a young male with a sword and an eagle, commemorating the victory in the First World War. The Monument of Gratitude to France depicts a fierce lady drawing a sword while rushing to aid Serbia during the same war.
While you are out and about, pay a visit to the Observatory and the Planetarium. The former is housed in the medieval tower in upper Kalemegdan; the latter occupies a former Turkish bath in lower Kalemegdan. A few hospitality facilities, including a lounge bar, café, and a restaurant, are always nearby.
2. Military Museum (Kalemegdan)
The way to the most comprehensive military museum of the Balkans is lined with devices originated throughout past centuries. Your kids are sure to enjoy the sight of cannons, tanks, and torpedoes before you enter the museum. Basic information is provided in English, but don’t hesitate to ask someone to find out more. In Belgrade, most people speak English.
The Military Museum elaborates on the history of the Balkans from Roman times onward. Both great 20th century wars, the Turkish expansion into Europe, and the wars against the Turks are particularly well-elaborated. Here you can see small-scale models of medieval fortresses, cold and fire weapons, armors, and uniforms among other exhibits. You should also make use of the available interactive content. Pay special attention to the screen showing how Serbian troops defeated the Austro-Hungarian army in the Battle of Cer in 1914.
3. Knez Mihailova Street
If you are looking for what to do in Belgrade, consider visiting this famous street. Knez Mihailova is the main street in downtown Belgrade, leading you directly to the Kalemegdan. It’s a pedestrian zone, filled with fashion stores, bookstores, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. You can also find exchange offices here that offer the best rates in the city.Street performers are about most of the day, while open-air cultural exhibitions take place occasionally.
Attend free classical music concerts in the Gallery of Serbian Academy of Sciences, and Art. Exhibitions are available in the Serbian Association of Fine Arts Gallery. Or you can enjoy a sunny afternoon on a café’s outdoor terrace. For some authentic shopping, visit the Katapult store, selling handmade and antique items. The store is next to the main Tourist Info Center of Belgrade.
Next to Knez Mihailova is the Republic Square, the main square in Belgrade. The National Museum (officially under renovation since 2003) and the National Theatre (staging theatrical shows and operas) are its main landmarks. In front of the National Museum, you can see the only equestrian statue in the city. It honors Knez (Prince) Mihailo Obrenovic, during whose reign the Turks abandoned Serbia for good (1867). The Turks ruled Serbia over five centuries.
Kosutnjak is another popular recreation area where locals come to picnic, play sports, or simply hike throughout the hilly, forested expanse. Football, basketball, and tennis courts are some related facilities, and you can find a large open-air swimming pool in Kosutnjak too. Hospitality facilities are also available should you need to refresh yourself.
5. Residence of Princess Ljubica
The history of Serbia and Belgrade is full of turbulent events that left few remains of the past. The Residence of Princess Ljubica, built in the 1830s is one of them. It was the official residence of Ljubica and Milos Obrenovic, who was the founder of the Obrenovic dynasty. The dynasty ruled Serbia from 1815 to 1842, and again from 1858 to 1903.
The museum depicts the transformation of Belgrade into a modern capital in the 19th century. You can see official and private rooms featuring various styles, including Turkish Ottoman, Biedermeier, Baroque, and Second Empire among others. The residence regularly stages an interesting mono-drama in English. Princess Ljubica’s narrative describes family relations and the struggle of the Serbian people for independence. This should be on your list of what to see in Belgrade Serbia when you do visit.
6. St Michaels Cathedral
This attention can be found within walking distance of the fortress and from Princess Ljubica’s residence. This cathedral is from the mid 19th century and was crucial in Serbia’s fight for independence. This monument has roots which date much further back than that however. It’s roots date back to the 1500’s and was repeatedly torn down throughout the Ottoman Empire. The cathedral itself holds tombs of 14th century king Stefan Uros and national hero Vuk Karadizic, who had a major influence on the Serbian language throughout the 1800’s.
7. Museum of Yugoslav history
Another top-rated attraction in the city is the mausoleum of Josip Broz Tito and the museum, which was built there at the turn of the millennium. This museum covers the history of what used to be Yugoslavia, which of course, arouses plenty of emotions amongst Belgradians, but thankfully they are mostly positive ones.
The museum displays all of the gifts that Tito amassed during his 27 years in power. This museum features over 200,000 artifacts, including the ceremonial batons, which were used in relays to mark Tito’s birthday each year.
8. National Theatre
The national theatre is a great place to experience high culture at a reasonable price. The venue initially opened in 1869 and has passed through war damage and plenty of architectural updates to remain an integral part of the Serbian culture in the city. During the daytime, you can go backstage for a tour of how the wardrobes and scenery are maintained. During the evening, there is always a schedule of drama, opera, and ballet at the theater, all of which are very affordable thanks to the state subsidies.
9. Ada Ciganlija
Famous “Belgrade Sea” is the prime recreational area in the city. You and your family can enjoy various activities here, including water sports, swimming, cycling, skating, and playing tennis, basketball, and other ground sports. A 5 mile long cycling and walking paths circle the lake whose shore is lined with numerous beach bars.
If you are an adrenaline seeker, then you’re in luck since an Adventure Park and Bungee Jump is within reach! So if you are wondering about things to do in Serbia or Belgrade attractions, this is one place you should visit.
10. Church of St Sava
This church is the largest in the orthodox region and the second largest in the entire world. Now it stands as an evergreen monument in the heart of Belgrade. You can see the church’s white granite and spot the beautiful marble walls from almost any approach to Belgrade, and you shouldn’t be able to miss the 50 bells that sound throughout the city each day at noon. This temple is constructed upon the specific sites where St Sava’s relics had graced flags during an uprising in 1594. The construction was initially started in 1935, almost 350 years later after the uprising, and eventually finished in 1989. Add this to your list of Belgrade landmarks of the world.
This little section of the city is totally free of cars and filled with bumpy cobblestones instead. Visitors who come here are often reminded of the Montmarte region of Northern Paris. It truly shone in the early twentieth century when writers, poets, and musicians would live, work, and perform.
Their spirts live on, however, through the restaurant terraces, awnings, and foliage. Take a visit here, and you can make the most of the traditional Serbian food, the nightlife, and enjoy local street performers while soaking up the evening atmosphere. This should answer your question of what to do in Belgrade at night.
12. Danube and Sava Waterfronts
Belgrade waterfronts are great places for you to unwind. The Danube riverside extends all the way from the confluence in New Belgrade to Zemun (Belgrade’s suburb). You can cover ground by bicycle, inline skates, or on foot, and drop in to a boat-restaurant for a drink or a meal. Trees line the New Belgrade side of the promenade, while bars and restaurants are abundant along Zemun’s waterfront.
Saran (Carp) and Reka (River) are some especially reputable restaurants here. Children can enjoy the fun park in New Belgrade’s section. Once you arrive in Zemun Quai, befriend swans and share your snacks with them. The Sava waterfront is also a very pleasant area for strolling and cycling, especially between blocks 70A and 45. Boat-restaurants and bars line the riverside, while shuttle boats sail between New Belgrade and Ada Ciganlija.
For great, yet affordable dining, check out the Suvenir (Souvenir) Restaurant. For relaxing in a pleasant ambiance (from spring to fall), Valdano is a great choice. Not that until the end of WWI, everything on this side of the Sava belonged to Austro-Hungary. We think this is a one of the best Belgrade Serbia points of interest for a Serbian vacation.
13. St Mark’s Church
This church is also one of the most popular in the entire country, and interior work is still taking place, even though the exterior was completed 90 years ago. The frame of this church is made from marble, while the painting of the last supper on the inside was done by Duro Radulovic, who was a local painter to the city.
Work began in 2007 when the tombs of the Serbian royal family were moved from the Old St Mark’s Church, which was destroyed in the German bombing of Belgrade during the Second World War to this new one. This is certainly a popular place to visit in Belgrade.
14. Republic Square
Towards the southern side of the Knez Mihailova, you can find Republic Square, with some of the most significant landmarks in the entire city and a vibrant business district showing the city off at its finest. There are more than 20 bus lines and trolleybus lines that meet at this place, making it the perfect spot for residents and tourists to meet up. The Serbian national theatre and museum are also here. You never have to wonder about what to do in Serbia when you visit here.
15. Nikola Tesla Museum
In the Nikola Tesla Museum, you can gain an insight into the life and work of a brilliant scientist whose discoveries changed the world for the better. Although Tesla (1856-1943) never received international recognition, it was he who discovered alternating electrical current while working for Thomas Edison.
The guided tour is conducted in English, and you can touch the lightning and other harmless, yet interesting objects and experiments. If nothing else, this museum is a historic cornerstone for Belgrade Serbia tourism.
16. Museum of aviation
You may make this your first tourist attraction in Belgrade or perhaps your last one, as it is situated right next to the city’s airport. This museum is home to more than 200 aircrafts, which belonged to the Serbian military as well as countless other collectors and clubs. There are even more artifacts from the NATO bombing campaign of 1999, including the wreckage of numerous historic aircraft.
17. Saint Sava Plateau
Saint Sava Plateau is dominated by the Saint Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Christian temple in the Balkans. It was erected on the very spot where the Turks, according to legend, burned the remains of the most venerated Serbian saint (1594). Before becoming a monk, Saint Sava (born as Rastko) was a prince and a member of the medieval Nemanjic dynasty. Before the Turks emerged, Serbia has become the mighty empire during the Nemanjic rule. The temple is an exquisite example of Serbo-Byzantine architecture. Visiting Belgrade – then plan to add this tourist attraction to your stop.
A monument in front of the temple honors Karadjordje (Black George). He was the leader of the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks (1804-1813), and the founder of the Karadjordjevic dynasty that succeeded the Obrenovic dynasty in 1903. Karadjordje’s capabilities were even acknowledged by Napoleon Bonaparte, who praised him as the best commander of their time.
Next to the Saint Sava Temple is the National Library. Everyone is allowed to become a member and use the library’s published materials, interactive contents, and other offerings.
18. Crkva Ružica
Ružica Church is not only the oldest church in all of Belgrade, but incredibly, it is also made totally from weapons. When the battles of WW1 took place in the center of Kalemegdan, the Serbian soldiers used their spare time to build two huge chandeliers from empty bullet shells and other weapons, eventually offering them to the church. These chandeliers are kept in the church to remind people that the devastation and trauma of war should never be repeated again. Unfortunately, this symbol didn’t last too long, as Belgrade was tragically bombed again in 1941.
19. Mount Avala
The 511-meter high Mount Avala is a popular resort near Belgrade. The tallest structure at its top is the Avala Tower, offering unparalleled views over the Serbian capital from its observation platform, as well from the café up there. The Monument to an Unknown Hero assumes the mount’s summit, and you can experience the second best views from there. The monument is made of marble, and it had replaced one erected by the Germans when they occupied Belgrade in 1915.
Somewhat lower, by the road leading to the top, you can see another monument. This one commemorates the location of a plane crash involving Soviet Union’s representatives who were coming to Belgrade, then, the Yugoslav capital to celebrate the 20th anniversary of liberation from the Germans during the Second World War.
20. The Gardos Tower
Situated in the oldest part of Zemun, this monument is found over the right-hand side bank of the Danube. This guards tower is also referred to as the Millennium tower, as it was built at the end of the 19th century to celebrate a millennium of Hungarian settlement on the Pannonia Plain. It’s the eclectic design that makes this attraction so unique, as it was built over the ruins of a medieval fortress, one of many projects built for that anniversary. Inside of this tower, you can find a small exhibition which details the history of Gardos and Zemun, and if history is not your thing, you can head to the top for a fabulous view over the river Danube.
21. Zemunski Kej
This promenade by the water is the best place to take in the views of the Danube river. It begins just below the Gardos tower by a large green area and offers beautiful views of the second-longest river in Europe.
These dams used to be flooded every year, but recent engineering projects have raised the banks while the pedestrian path was widened to accommodate leisurely walks by the river. There are plenty of lovely restaurants nearby and not to mention the fleet of old boats which can take you on a trip down the Danube.
If You Have More Time
Get in touch with the Tourist Organization of Belgrade and schedule guided tours to the National Assembly and the Royal Palace complex if available during your stay. A tour of the National Assembly takes you through the history, art, and national folklore of Serbia (before WWI) and Yugoslavia (after WWI). Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic federation, comprising a single Muslim, three Orthodox Christian, and two Catholic Christian states. It was dissolved in 1992, breaking up into multiple countries. A tour of the Royal and White palaces offers a glimpse into the lives of the Yugoslavian royalty, revealing interesting stories, outstanding art pieces, and architectural styles.
FAQ’s about Serbia
What was Serbia Called Before?
During the 1950s and 1960s, Serbia was known as the people’s republic of Serbia and was later named as the Socialist Republic of Serbia until 1990. From 1992 until 2006, the official name was the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
Is Serbia in the EU?
Currently, no. Serbia is not in the European Union, but they are negotiating a deal to join. They officially applied for membership in 2009, and negotiations have continued since 2011, with an agreement expected by 2023 to allow them to participate in 2025.
Is Serbia a part of Russia?
Nowadays, Serbia is an independent country. However, many western tourists are likely to confuse it with Siberia, which is part of Russia. Serbia, however, is another country on its own.
What is Serbia known for?
There are so many things which Serbia is known for. Ranging from its delicious cuisine to its proud historical culture, the list would be far too long to name all the things that make it so famous.
However, what has truly put the country of Serbia on the map is some of the achievements of its citizens. For example, Nikolas Tesla was a Serb. Many of the inventions that we have become so used to nowadays were made by Tesla. The radios that we use, remote-controlled mechanics, and wireless communications were all possible thanks to the inventions of Nikolas Tesla. He was a true Serb. In fact, according to his final wish, all of his documents were moved to the capital, Belgrade, where he even has the city airport named after him.
Novak Djokovic is a Serb, too. At the time of writing, he is the world’s number one tennis player, with over 17 grand slam titles. But even if we take the sport out of the picture, he is a fantastic ambassador to the people of Serbia and acts as a hero and the model to the people of the country.
What do they eat and drink in Serbia?
As far as drinks are concerned, the national drink of Serbia is Rakija. Rakija is a strong brandy that is made from plum, apricot, quince, and pear. Other variations include the use of cherries, thyme, and even healing herbs.
The most popular national dishes include gibanica, which is egg and cheese pie made from a full dough, ćevapi (grilled meat). Given that Serbia is located almost at a crossroads between the East and West, its cuisine takes the perfect blend between the middle east and Europe to develop refined gastronomy with a balance of cheese, fresh pastries, meats, and vegetables.