Belgrade is one of Europe’s most underrated cities. Most people haven’t even heard of the place let alone travelled there but I believe it has so much potential. I’m not just saying that because it’s my hometown.
I was born and raised in Belgrade (Serbia) and have lived in five other countries. About two years ago I decided to move back to my beloved Belgrade. I love living abroad but Belgrade is always home for me.
The locals of Belgrade are friendly and sometimes loud. No matter the occasion, they’re up for a good time and love a joke or two. They will help you if you need anything and it’s easy to make friends for life.
I’m not saying the people here are perfect but we do try to be good hosts. You’ll definitely feel welcome in Belgrade. I also love my city because of its charming history, streets, museums, coffee shops and bookstores.
The Incredible History of Belgrade
Belgrade is a city so rich in history that it would take me an age to tell its full story. That’s why I always suggest a guided tour when you come to Belgrade so you can learn about what our amazing city has gone through.
One of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe – the Vinča culture – evolved from the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. After 79 BC, the Celts conquered the city giving it the name Singidunum. It wasn’t too long before the Romans conquered Belgrade during the reign of Augustus.
It was then settled by the Slavic people in the 520’s. Belgrade became the capital city of King Stefan Dragutin from 1282-1316. In 1521, Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and much of the city was destroyed during the centuries’ long Ottoman–Habsburg wars.
In 1841, Belgrade was again named the capital city of Serbia. Due to its strategic location, my hometown has battled through more than 115 wars in its long history. We are a people who really appreciate our history and there are many movies related to the subject.
More recently, Belgrade was the capital city of the former Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918 to its final dissolution in 2006. I really hope that you’ll visit Belgrade and if you love history there’s so much to learn.
My Favourite Neighbourhood – Kosančićev Venac
One part of Belgrade that has a special place in my heart is Kosančićev Venac. It’s a lovely area in the city where you can enjoy a stroll, have a coffee at one of the quaint coffee shops and simply watch the world go by.
Kosančićev Venac is a residential neighbourhood with beautiful old houses that are worth seeing. The most appealing aspect is the quietness of the area even when the sun is shining and the streets are full of people.
Top 10 Things To Do in Belgrade
Belgrade is one of the great historical cities of Europe. It’s complex and somewhat turbulent history has given the city this unbreakable and fun-loving spirit. There’s so much to see and do that you need at least a couple of weeks to experience it all. Below are my top 10 recommendations.
1. Discover the Belgrade Fortress in Kalemegdan
The Belgrade Fortress is the number one symbol of the Serbian capital. This epic fortress sits on a white ridge and rises above the Danube and Sava rivers to protect the city. I recommend going on a tour of the Upper and Lower Town of the Belgrade fortress to get a feel of the rich history here.
2. Walk Down Knez Mihailova Street
Feel the pulse of the city as you walk down the main street of Belgrade. Knez Mihailova Street goes from Kalemegdan Park to the Republic Square to Terazije Square and splits the downtown into two. Home to some of the most beautiful architecture of Belgrade plus great shopping.
3. Wander around the Republic Square
The Republic Square is Belgrade’s main gathering point for both locals and tourists. There’s a lot to discover such as the National Theatre, National Museum and the monument to Knez Mihailo. As soon as you arrive, you won’t be able to miss the square as four fountains can be seen from afar.
4. Visit the National Museum in Belgrade
The National Museum of Serbia lost much of its funding over the past 20 years. That all changed in 2018 when the museum received a much needed €12 million makeover. Highlights include works by Croatian Ivan Meštrović, archeological treasures from the Roman-era and many galleries.
5. Catch a Ballet or Opera Show at the National Theatre
The National Theatre can be seen on your walk down Knez Mihailova Street or on your visit to Republic Square. If you’re not a big fan of ballet or opera then you can still marvel at the architecture of this magnificent building. It’s beautifully decorated and preserves the style of the early 20th century.
6. Marvel at the Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade
The Church of Saint Sava is the Orthodox heart of Belgrade. First glance of this extraordinary building will take your breath away. It’s located on the Vračar plateau, on the eastern part of the Svetosavski Trg square. This church is the largest Orthodox place of worship in all of the Balkans.
7. Learn about Nikola Tesla at the Nikola Tesla Museum
Located in the center of Belgrade, the Nikola Tesla Museum was founded in 1952 to showcase the life and achievements of Nikola Tesla. The Serbian-American inventor is best known in history for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system.
8. Explore the Kosančićev Venac Neighbourhood
As mentioned previously, Kosančićev Venac is one of the most amazing neighbourhoods in Belgrade. This jewel in the heart of the city is perfect for a stroll admiring the beautiful old houses, the orthodox Cathedral and Patriarchal palace, ruins of the old Serbian National Library and more.
9. Experience the Vintage Street of Skadarlija
There is a saying in Belgrade that you haven’t really experienced the city until you’ve visited Skadarlija. This vintage street is located in Stari Grad and is considered the bohemian quarter. Over the years, Skadarlija has been a popular spot for writers, journalists, singers, musicians and painters.
10. Spend a Day in the Zemun Quarter
The Zemun quarter is a must-do on your visit to Belgrade. Only a 15 minute drive from downtown, this picturesque neighbourhood is located on the Danube’s right bank. The best things to do here include taking in the views from Gardoš Tower, trying the seafood and enjoying the nightlife.
Awesome Day Trips from Belgrade
Belgrade is a fantastic place to visit in itself but there is still so much to see around the region. A few of the best day trips you can take from Belgrade are trips to Novi Sad, Fruška Gora mountain and Golubac Fortress.
In Fruška Gora, you can visit some beautiful Serbian monasteries and taste great wine and food. This is a perfect option for slow travel.
Another great place to visit is the Golubac Fortress. The fortress is situated right on the border between Serbia and Romania. Golubac Fortress is one of the most impressive sights in Serbia. It’s recently been reconstructed and open to the public. The view from the fortress is stunning!
Belgrade’s Amazing Photography Spots
Another fantastic photography destination is the place I love most: Kosančićev Venac. You can find some gorgeous architecture and cute little side streets here. Then there are city icons like Saint Sava’s Church which is truly impressive and hard not to take a good photo of.
I’ve got a thing for streets and buildings so these things are prominent in my photos. However, I also love photographing details and you can find so many interesting places to photograph in Belgrade. Just stroll through the city and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of opportunities.
The Hearty Food and Cuisine of Serbia
People in Serbia love to eat and the people in Belgrade are no different. We love to cook but we also love going out. I’m going to mention some of the Serbian food you must try: sarma, prebranac, cevapi and pljeskavica (Serbian kind of burger), sopska salata (salad) and muckalica.
If you go to almost any “kafana” (old restaurants with traditional food) you can order all these things I just mentioned. Some people tell me that they would gladly come back to Belgrade even if it’s just for the food.
One of the best traditional restaurants is Srpska Kuca. I always recommend it to tourists who are coming to Belgrade because I love going there too.
In the Skadarlija area of the city you can find many traditional restaurants. A great example of this is Zlatni Bokal. Other places in Belgrade which I love are Homa, Trattoria Campania, Piazza, Prolece, Toro Latin Gastrobar, Villa Maska, Walter, Cantina de Frida and Tikas.
Belgrade also has many coffee shops with beautiful decor and great coffee.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
My advice for anyone visiting Belgrade is to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the city. There are beautiful things to see here but you also need to take the time for a good lunch followed by coffee and dessert.
Above all else, make sure you meet new people and have a great time!