Belgrade, know as Beograde which means “white city” is the capital of Serbia. It’s a cliche to say this, but Belgrade is somewhat of an underrated city. Most travellers looking for a mini-break in Europe might head to Budapest, Berlin or even Bratislava before they think about Belgrade. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good, because anyone who wonders if Belgrade is worth visiting and decides that it is, will be able to explore a city that is not mobbed with tourists. There are so few tourists here that everyone just assumes you’re Serbian and looks shocked when they find out that you’re not. But it’s also bad, because this means there are lots of people who haven’t had a chance to enjoy it yet!
Belgrade may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but read on to find out if it could be yours!
How many days do you need in Belgrade?
Belgrade is an excellent city to visit for a long weekend. You can easily fill up three days exploring, eating, drinking and partying. Personally, we believe that 48 hours is not really sufficient time to get to know Belgrade, as a it is a large city, so we would recommend at least 72 hours.
If you come to Serbia for longer and want to explore beyond Belgrade, there are some great options in the North, like Novi Sad (the second largest city in Serbia) and Sremski Karlovci (wine region!)
Alternatively, you could explore cities close to Belgrade – here are five cities you can visit from Belgrade without flying.
What are the different areas of Belgrade?
Belgrade is a large city divided into different districts. You’ll notice when you visit Belgrade that the names of the district are used quite frequently in directions or just for reference. Each area has a different personality and character, as well as different price points. In total, there are 10 urban districts in Belgrade, but tourists are most likely to visit the most central few.
Here’s a short guide to the central districts in Belgrade.
What to do in Stari Grad (Old Town)
This is the main tourist area and subsequently you will find that the prices are a little higher here. Nevertheless, we recommend starting your Belgrade adventure by exploring Stari Grad. The main pedestrianised street Knez Mihailova is a great place to kick off – here you can find shops and restaurants, but it’s best to veer off onto the side streets to find nice spots like Harats Pub, with a great selection of craft beer. Eventually you’ll reach Kalemegdan Citadel, with a great vantage point for views of the Danube.
What to do in Dorćol
Slightly confusingly, Dorcol is also an historic area of Belgrade next to but not to be confused with the Old Town. There is a famous street in Dorcol, Skadarlija, which is known as the bohemian quarter. This cobbled street may be one of the bits of Belgrade that you recognise most from pictures, it’s quite iconic. Visit her for old taverns and restaurants, cosy in the winter but this street really comes alive in the summer. You’ll also find the Museum of Science and Technology in Dorcol.
What to do in Savamala
Savamala is a bit of a mixed bag. At night, this is a great place to come to party. Try Old London Pub for a pint and a game of pool and Tranzit Bar for a late night spot. By day, you can visit the imposing Orthodox Cathedral – well worth a look inside. You can also head down to the waterfront to promenade or grab a coffee. The river is lovely for a walk, but for us, the waterfront area, which has been developed with high rise flats, a large shopping centre and trendy (but slightly inauthentic) restaurants, isn’t the most charming district of Belgrade – but check it out for yourself.
What to do in Vračar
We stayed in Vračar, subsequently it is definitely our favourite neighbourhood of Belgrade. Why do we love it? Well, it really does have a neighbourhood feel, from trendy families with small children and even smaller dogs, to bakeries with queues of hungry Beograders in the morning. Serbian’s are perhaps not known for their “extreme cheeriness”, but I’m sure I saw people smiling at us in Vračar. Here, you can find parks with outdoor gyms, urban coffee haunts like Kafertija Przionica Lokal, smokey bars that feel some how enthralling like Monks Bar, the Nikola Tesla Museum and even cool pilates and yoga studios.
What to do in Zemun
Zemun is across the river from Stari Grad, to get there you will need to take public transport. Interestingly, Zemun was previously a separate town in its own right but is now part of Belgrade. Although it is quite far from the centre, we recommend visiting Zemun as it has a totally different look and feel to the other areas in Belgrade. Come here to visit the quayside, lined with boats and frequented by walkers and joggers. Take some time to marvel at the quaintly romantic streets and enjoy one of the many river front restaurants or bars.
Is Belgrade the “New Berlin”?
The big question! European travellers are always on the hunt for the “new Berlin.” So how does Belgrade stack up against Berlin?
Trendy Bars ✅
Nightclubs and live music ✅
Young People ✅
Urban design ✅
Cosmopolitan Dining ✅
Museums and History ✅
Is it missing anything? No not really!
Sure, Belgrade has a bit more brutalist architecture than Berlin. Some of the city is not pretty, some buildings are being developed, others ought to be. But, it’s a totally different city to Berlin. A totally different history and culture. And a totally different, but welcome experience!
Is Belgrade good for Digital Nomads?
Belgrade has a ton of co-working spaces to choose from, in the many different districts of Belgrade. The two most popular, and biggest co-working spaces, are Impact Hub (which offers a free test day) and ICT Hub (where prices start at 15 euros per day.) Both are great options for Digital Nomads looking for a work space to meet people and work productively.
Digital Nomad Cafes
There are some good Digital Nomad appropriate cafes in Belgrade. Of the cities we have visited, we don’t think that Belgrade necessarily has the best selection of Digital Nomad cafes, compared to Ho Chi Minh, for example. Our main gripe with cafes in Belgrade, is the indoor smoking policy.
If you’re a Digital Nomad who enjoys smoking, then Belgrade provides a number of excellent cafes where you can hang out and work. We don’t smoke and found the air quality indoors to be a little too heavy with smoke to work. However, some of our favourites were Smokvica Molerova and Manufaktura.
Digital Nomad Scene
Belgrade is relatively popular with Digital Nomads, with many choosing to come to Serbia to avoid the 90 day limits of remaining in the Schengen Zone. It’s easy to see why it is attractive to Digital Nomads. Prices are very reasonable and it’s a fun city, with generally good internet. People here are up for a good time too! There are a few Facebook groups and Instagram pages to connect with other nomads too. We also noticed a number of locals working remotely from cafes, making it relatively easy to chat and integrate a bit more.
What to do in Belgrade in the summer
Is Belgrade worth visiting in summer? In the summer, temperatures sore in Belgrade and the sun shines. The city has an abundance of outdoor space, so there’s plenty to enjoy throughout the summer months.
Belgrade waterfront is a little controversial. There’s been significant development to the area in recent years and people either love it or hate it. If you’re visiting Belgrade in the summer, we would really recommend exploring this area. It’s a little less charming than other districts of Belgrade, but there’s a long promenade to enjoy, whether walking, running or rollerblading! After which, you can enjoy a cold beverage of your choice with a river view.
Visit the Fortress
The Belgrade Fortress includes the Citadel and the large Kalemegadan Park. This is a great place for a wander, especially because it provides a fantastic vantage point over the river Danube. In the summer, locals come here to enjoy the shady areas in the park and the intricate walkways. Bars and cafes can be found here, offering cold drinks on tables under umbrellas. There are also occasional concerts in the grounds of the fortress.
Find out more about the fortress here.
Outdoor dining in Belgrade
Summer is not the time to eat inside. Yes, there are some very cosy nooks in Belgrade, but when the sun’s out dining outside is a must! The best areas for outdoor dining are either the waterfront or Skadarlija (in Dorcol). That said, you can pretty much wander down any street in Star Grad or Savamala and find a delightful spot to enjoy!
Beer gardens in Belgrade
Nearly every bar in Belgrade has outdoor space. Yet in the as soon as the sun comes out (even a little), all the gardens and terraces seem to be thronging. Bag yourself a table outside just about any of the bars in the city and you’ll be happy. But, for a real treat, we recommend heading down to Docker Brewery beer garden. A really fun atmosphere in summer months and plenty of space for everyone!
You can find more information on breweries here.
Boat tour on the river Danube
What could be better on a sunny day than slowly meandering down the river Danube on a boat. You can book a boat tour, with drinks, perfect for a fun group day out here.
What to do in Belgrade in the winter
Is Belgrade worth visiting in the winter? Absolutely! Even when the temperature drops, there’s still a lot to enjoy in Belgrade.
Go to the theatre
There are a handful of theatres in Belgrade. Probably the best one for tourists to visit in Belgrade is the splendid National Theatre. There are a number of showings in Serbian that may not be suitable, but the occasional opera and ballet too.
An alternative is the more modern Yugoslav Drama Theatre which has a range of productions, from Shakespeare to the more edgy.
Visit a museum
Belgrade has a museum to suit most interests. The most famous is the Nikola Tesla Museum (you’ll recognise Tesla’s name when you fly into Belgrade) is a crowd pleaser for all the family. There’s even a selfie museum, if you’re looking for something a little more modern!
We’ve written a piece about the best museums in Belgrade, with more information.
Take a stroll
To quote a 10cc song that I like “The things we do for love. Like walking in the rain and the snow when there’s nowhere to go.” Strolling in Belgrade in the winter is a little like this!
In truth, rain is not usually much of an issue in Belgrade. But you do get snow. Despite this, if you wrap up warm and take as many pit stops for coffee and pastry as you need, you can explore a lot of Belgrade by foot even when the temperature drops.
Visit a brewery
Belgrade has some wonderful craft beers. We really enjoyed a winter’s day spent at Docker Brewery and Draft Bar. If you want something more central, the Black Turtle Pub is a cosy and atmospheric hangout spot for craft beer, normally filled with art students.
You can find more information on breweries here (published soon).
Find a cosy nook
By far, my favourite aspect of a visit to Belgrade is finding a cosy nook in the winter to hide away. It is totally acceptable to spend hours inside a coffee shop or bar in Belgrade with a book or newspaper. Many bars and cafes seem to be curated just for this very activity. Walk down any street and you’re sure to find a welcoming, dimly lit corner with a squishy sofa calling your name.
If you don’t smoke and don’t like to be around it, bars in Belgrade in the winter can be a challenge as most of them allow smoking indoors. There are many with no-smoking sections, as well as a handful that ban smoking altogether. We have selected a few smoke-free favourites here.
What to do in Belgrade at night
Is Belgrade worth visiting for the nightlife?Yes yes yes! Belgrade is at it’s best at night. Here’s what to do:
#1 Party on the River
In summer, the party hits the river along the Sava and the Danube. You can choose from a number of popular party boats (Splavs), like Kartel, Sindikat or Leto.
#2 Listen to some live music
Jazz lovers try Sinermann Jazz Club. Dance music fans can head to Drugstore Beograde. In fact, all musical tastes are catered for in Belgrade. We found this website (Belgrade Beat) particularly useful as a guide for live music.
#3 Dine out
Belgrade is all about dining out! For a very traditional vibe, try Lovac in Vracar. This place has been delighting meat loving diners for many years and I’m sure will be around for many more! For something more upscale, head over to Mudra Art Cuisine – an immersive dining experience. Whether you want Sushi, Chinese, French, Italian or Serbian – you can find whatever you want in Belgrade.
#4 Go on a bar crawl
Whether an organised crawl, or a DIY one, it’s all to play for in Belgrade. The bohemian streets of Dorcol are perfect for this, equally Vracar offers many a great bar for one or two drinks. Maybe stick to a theme? Wine bars one night, cocktails bars the next. It’s all here in Belgrade!
Is Belgrade expensive?
Serbia is considered to be a “middle income” country comparative to others in Europe. Prices are far lower than the expensive cities, such as London, Vienna and Paris. But, perhaps not as cheap as Sofia, Sarejevo, Pristina or Tirana. We felt that Belgrade represented good value for money considering the quality of food and drinks in the restaurants and bars, as well as the produce in supermarkets.
As we’ve noted above, the different areas of Belgrade have slightly different prices. In Stari Grad and Savamala (the central districts) and any restaurants or bars on the waterfront to tend to be slightly more pricey than the “neighbourhoods” of Belgrade, such as Dorcol.
On average, this is roughly the price we paid for our 5 most purchased items!
|Item||Price RSD||Price $|
|Large beer (500ml)||250 – 350||2-3|
|Glass of wine (175ml)||320 – 500||3 – 4.50|
|Basic Coffee/ Fancy Coffee||130/250||1/2.50|
|Mid Range Meal||700 – 1300||6 – 12|
|Pastry from a bakery or a slice of pizza||100 – 250||1 – 2.50|
Is Belgrade worth visiting on a budget? Absolutely! There are loads of budget options for travellers. Check out the many bakeries with good value food, budget restaurants and bars. There are many in Vracar!
However, not all of Belgrade is cheap. Belgrade has a good brewery scene, many cocktail bars and fine dining options which are generally more expensive but worth visiting!
Where to stay in Belgrade
There are many accommodation options in Belgrade, from hostels to hotels and Airbnb apartments. We chose a great Airbnb in Vračar, where we got a long-stay discount, as we booked for over one month. There are lots of options on Airbnb and Vrbo, which may suit Digital Nomads looking for longer stays.
It can be difficult to decide which area of Belgrade to choose for your stay. If you are in the city for a long weekend, it’s best to be relatively central therefore we would not recommend New Belgrade or Zemun. Vračar and Dorcol are both solid choices if you want neighbourhood charm and more local hipster bars. If you’re happy to pay a little more, then aim for Stari Grad or Savamala.
How to get to Belgrade
From the UK, there are direct flights from London Luton to Belgrade with Wizz Air. The flight time is just over 2 hours and flights are very regular. There are also a number of other international flights
The international train station in Belgrade normally has a number of connections to other European cities. But, this is currently (February 2023) being renovated. If you are backpacking through Europe, there are a number of buses into Belgrade from Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Best day trips from Belgrade
If you are looking to take some day trips from Belgrade, there are a number of options for independent travellers. We would particularly recommend Novi Sad (35 minutes from Belgrade on the train) or Sremski Karlovci (45 minutes from Belgrade on the train). We’ve written more about both, here and here.
If however, you want to take an organised trip, we would recommend checking out organised tours through Viator. We’ve selected six below in Belgrade and surrounding areas.
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