Belgrade is located at the exact confluence where the Sava River meets the Danube River. This city is one of the most established urban areas in Europe and, alongside Athens, the busiest city in the Balkan Peninsula. Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia and the center of communications, trade, education, and industry and has been an important river port since the A.D. 100’s. The city also has lush forests and rich mineral resources. In good weather, its beautiful mountains, river views, fortress, museums, and old religious structures attract many tourists.
If you visit the southern part of Belgrade, alcoholic beverages are distilled using a traditional process. The Serbians are famous for their fiery drinks which are made from fruits such as plums, cherries, and apricots. The most famous of these alcoholic drinks is a strong plum brandy known as slivovitz. This is often served with spicy meats and sausages.
When To Go:
The city is characterized by a moderate mainland atmosphere. It is blessed with having four seasons. The autumn season lasts longer than spring, with extended sunny and warm periods. Winter is not all that extreme, and has a normal duration of 21 days with temperatures going sub- zero. January is the coldest month, with normal temperature of 0.10c and the peak season to visit Belgrade. Spring is short and stormy while the humid but manageable summer arrives sharply. May and June experiences the most downpours and it is around this time when travel is not advisable.
These are the important attractions to see and things to do when in the city of Belgrade, Serbia.
The Belgrade Fortress (Kalemegdan Park)
The Belgrade Fortress or more commonly known as the Kalemegdan Park is a magnificent fort not only because of the condition (it’s been partly rebuilt dozens of times, most recently after 1999), but also because of its unique location. It has great views to the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube. In and around, the fort is lively with cafes, playgrounds, a beautiful park, and market stalls (with a lot of war material). It lies on the edge of the mall and from the promenade area it is immediately accessible. It is a pleasant park with various attractions to explore.
For those interested in history, a visit to the Gallery of the Natural History Museum is more than worthwhile. The Belgrade Zoo with white tigers and the oldest crocodile in the world is also quite fun. For the cost, you do not have to worry because it all costs nothing. It is a breath of fresh air in the crowded Belgrade City. One can easily stroll for about an hour or 2 as the ramparts are a well preserved moat and the doors are also vintage. In the middle of the park are rides for children, a tennis court, a dedicated basketball area, and a bar with trendy eateries. Every corner of the fort is surprising but it is always full of life and curious travelers.
Saint Petka’s Chapel
The Saint Petka’s Chapel is an Orthodox church gem that is nestled in a secret corner of Belgrade. There are important parts of the church like the altar and the collection of icons that must not be missed. It is best to conduct a private tour in the morning after the holy service is done. Set on the slopes of the hilly fortress of Kalemegdan, the chapel is amazing and quite unusual.
It is a small church in the fortress where many Orthodox pilgrims line up to fill the plastic bottles with water believed to be miraculous and sold by the church. If you are in luck, you will see a priest who blesses the people and pray over the bottled waters and a crowd that goes in and out constantly. It is an enchanting place for all believers. After visiting the Belgrade Fortress, do not hesitate to go there.
The Ada Ciganlija is a place to cool off, have fun, eat something but mostly swim and sunbathe. All this is possible because in the new part of Belgrade they have managed to create a very large artificial lake where the ends (the banks) have created a row of several other beaches to enjoy. The beaches offer chairs and umbrellas where you can relax and dine from a wide choice of restaurant menus placed on the table. For those who go to Belgrade in the summer, it is a must-see.
You can do some wakeboard sports while being towed by a wire attached from the cable wires above the water. There are many people who use this place to play other sports (running, cycling, roller skating, kayak, etc.). At night there are live bands that perform until the wee hours of the morning. The water is very clean, obviously it is a lake but it does not have the colors of a Caribbean sea, but the water is still enjoyable. The island is really beautiful with manicured gardens where you can lie back and enjoy the day even in the shade of the many trees. On this beach you can do pretty much everything!
St. Michael’s Cathedral
The St. Michael’s Cathedral is really worth visiting in Belgrade. It is located in the embassy and in front of the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It is much used for church weddings and other various Orthodox functions. The tombs of the two illustrious men in Serbs are placed in front of the main entrance. The cathedral was built in the 19th century on the site of the old church (St. Michael the Archangel). There are relics of one of the Serbian kings and several metropolitans, as well as representatives of Serbian culture. This Orthodox cathedral is close to the pedestrian streets of Prince Michael and Kalemegdan Park.
Inside, the temple is beautifully decorated with mosaics, old paintings, beautiful wood carvings on the iconostasis and a huge chandelier. The presence of stained glass in the windows gives the church a pleasant shade making the decorations look even more elegant. There is so much to see and admire from inside and outside. Unfortunately, taking pictures is strictly prohibited.
The Knez Mihailova is a pleasant street with lots of shops, bookstores, drinking fountains, and cafes. The main pedestrian street of Belgrade was named in honor of the Serbian Prince Michael Obrenovic III, who ruled the Serbian throne in the middle of the 19th century. Most of the buildings on this street were built in the late 19th and early 20th century in Art Nouveau style.
The street of Prince Michael has a solid skyline dotted with very beautiful buildings made in the same style or harmoniously into one another. The facades of the houses on the main pedestrian street of the city are all in excellent condition. One of the most famous buildings here is the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. At night the fun places are always filled with young people.
The Skadarlija is a typical street in the old town that is full of attractions and dining options in the local bohemian style. It attracts many tourists as it slopes down to a street market with stalls of fruit and vegetables and various kinds of food. From this side, it is interesting to visit and learn about the real life of the city. It is the central street of the bohemian neighborhood of Belgrade and the only area of the city that was not bombed or devastated during the Second World War when the Serbian capital was razed to the ground. Today it is a very busy today attraction and recalls the splendor of the past with traditional restaurants from both sides of the road. It is entirely a highly pedestrian area.
The meal prices are not too high and the typical “bohemian service” is not to be missed when in Belgrade city. Indeed, it is the most characteristic part of the city with dozens of bars, restaurants and lots of walking to do, remember to wear comfortable shoes. Aside from the gastronomic adventure of Serbian cuisine, the road is full of history and charm. There are numerous restaurants and bars where the food is served on terraces outdoors to enjoy the al fresco and fine dining experience while listening to the beautiful Balkan Music.
Church of the Holy Mother of God (Crkva Ruzica)
The Church of the Holy Mother of God (Crkva Ruzica) is located within the Kalemegdan fortress. The church is small and quite simple, covered with lush vegetation, but the locals do their fervent prayers with utmost devotion even if there are no chairs or church pews inside. This cute and small church is positioned between the lower and the upper part of the fortress.
It was once demolished by the Turks and served as a military warehouse during World War I. Despite everything it has passed through so much rehabilitation and reconstruction but it is still full of tradition. Notice the chandelier made of bullets and observe complete silence while inside this sacred and venerated church in Belgrade.
Gardos – Tower of Sibinjanin Janko
You can reach the Gardos – Tower of Sibinjanin Janko after a walk from the road full of pebbles. It is all uphill, but it’s worth it. The panoramic view over the city of Belgrade is worth all the effort. On the way back you can try to descend via the stairs. Be careful because the railings are too high and there are areas where you are likely to fall into nothingness!
The tower was built to celebrate the millennium or to commemorate the thousand years since the arrival of the Hungarians in the Pannonia plain. It is accessible from a hill overlooking the entire town of Zemun, once a separate town from Belgrade that holds a history and a culture that is different from the rest of the Serbian capital. It is truly amazing that you can enjoy the view from atop the tower, the red roofs in Zemun, Novi Beograd, and in the distance beyond, the Great War Island of the old Belgrade.
The confluence of the Sava and Danube River is a jewel in Belgrade. Do not miss a mini cruise through town on the Sava. You can walk on the south bank of the Sava river to the right of this Brankov bridge and arrive at the confluence with the Danube. On it you will find nice Italian restaurants that serves good, simple, fresh cuisine, at a very reasonable cost and service.
And one step further before approaching the junction there are floating restaurants to try and experience. The right side of the Danube riverbank is a long promenade and extends up to the Zemun district. There is also a sports center and tennis courts for guests to enjoy.
Muzej Nikole Tesle (Nikola Tesla Museum)
The Muzej Nikole Tesle (Nikola Tesla Museum) is especially designed for fans of physics and technology. There are some Serbian and English guides during the day and the tour begins with a film showing giving an insight into the life of the famous scientist. Many exhibits are available in which the current experiments are presented. Then go for a walk once in absolutely the most beautiful streets of Belgrade called “Krunska” in which the museum is located.
This small museum is within walking distance from downtown city. It is best to go on one of the guided tours. Several of Tesla’s discoveries are demonstrated together with his inventions (including the world’s first remote control). In this museum you will learn a lot about Tesla’s life and work. The staff is helpful and very knowledgeable.
St. Sava Temple (Hram Svetog Save)
The St. Sava Temple (Hram Svetog Save) is the largest Orthodox church in the world. It was built in the municipality of Vračar at the top of the plateau of the same name, with its massive dome that dominates the city. It is connected to the large square of Slavija and stands right across the street of Kralja Milana in the center of Belgrade. In 1894, it was decided to build a small church in honor of Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian church. The old chapel was erected in 1935, but in the same year the authorities concerned decided to build a much larger church.
In 1941, construction was initiated into the temple. The larger one was built in 1989 and on its top is placed a cross of 4 tons in gold leaf and rises 79 meters above the ground. The interior is still to be completed. The temple looks majestic and the style of the building is a fine example of neo-Byzantine architecture. The temple is not to be missed during a tour of Belgrade because it represents the city well; combining prestige buildings that still retains traces of the last conflict. The temple is really impressive and worth a visit, though not completed, the half-empty interior has its own charm and always visited by tourists.
The National Theatre in Belgrade is located right in the center of the city. Luckily, this beautiful building and theater was not destroyed by bombing in the Second World War and the 1999 War. The facility is beautiful and well maintained, but the best thing is the row of young people who go to the theater in the evening to watch an opera, ballet, or a musical.
Tickets can be booked in advance and redeemed through the site of the theater, and then you can get it at the box office. The old theater is very convenient and stands near the pedestrian area (you can also visit the Square with the monument to Prince Michael). The building inside is designed in the traditional style, a small room, the place of the orchestra, and with good acoustics. If you make your ticket in advance, you pay only one euro!
The building of the National Assembly is located in the center of the city and instantly noticeable. It looks like an old structure, though it is not even a hundred years old yet. The construction was completed in the mid-thirties of the twentieth century. The main entrance on both sides of the stairs is guarded by a sculpture of a man trying to keep the black horse from standing up on its hind legs symbolizing the struggle between man and nature. Try to visit at night when the lighting on the façade looks amazing. It is one of the most historic places in Belgrade City that is truly worth knowing. Belgrade City has the best gathering of organizations with national significance in the field of art, science, and technology. It is also the heart of the Serbian culture, history, and tourism along with its wealth of attractions and things to do like; the Belgrade Fortress and within the walls of this Old Town are several attractions. It is a cultural and war museum with many large pieces of cannons and guns, plus, a great number of ancient Orthodox churches. The enclosure is also very nice, with gates and bridges. In addition, you have beautiful views of the Danube River. Kalemegdan is one of the many unforgettable experiences Belgrade offers. When you get tired from seeing so many sights, you can find lots of options to unwind in the beaches of Ada Ciganlija.