AIR SERBIA. BELGRADE. THINGS TO DO. KALEMEGDAN. THE NATIONAL MUSEUM. EXPERIENCE. WHERE TO EAT.
I used to speak about many people, places and tastes, but somehow I never spoke about Serbia. It happened that when I wanted to show to my partner photographs from Belgrade, I didn’t have them. Not even one.
Belgrade, capital of Serbia, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. It wasn’t until recently that Belgrade made its name as a tourist destination. With its rich history dating back to Celtic times, the city offers outstanding historic sights.
The Serbian capital lies on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The strategic position had made Belgrade into a battlefield time and time again. Not even the 20thcentury was peaceful: Belgrade suffered serious damage during World War II and 1999 NATO bombing. Luckily, peace had prevailed in Belgrade since then. Many times I heard from foreigners that they have respect for Serbians as even they had a lot of hard times, they still smile, have a warm heart and keep making their future plans brighter.
I adore being in Belgrade. There is some sparkly atmosphere in the air. The city is vivid. There are many events happening around. You can never get bored. I have feeling that Belgrade is a city of new opportunities.
how to get to Belgrade
Only 670 kilometers away from Thessaloniki, Belgrade is pretty well connected. By car it is around seven hours trip, by various bus companies around twelve hours, or by AirSerbia airplane around one hour. Greeks can travel to Belgrade with their ID cards, and can stay in Serbia for 3 months without VISA.
Serbia has borders with Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, FYROM, Montenegro, and Romania.
So let me share some of my favorite travel tips for a cool weekend in the White City (the literal translation of Belgrade). The best way to explore the city is on foot. The city center is quite compact so there is no need to use public transportation. Everything between Kalemegdan, Kneza Mihaila street and Skadarlija corner is within walking distance.
Republic square (Trg Republike)
When Belgraders wants to go out, their meet location is usually “at the Horse,” a reference to Republic Square, which is dominated by a statue of Mihailo Obrenovic, the Serbian Prince that freed Serbia from the Ottoman Empire, atop a horse. For example, what is Kamara in Thessaloniki, that it is “at the horse” in Belgrade.
Republic square belongs to the best things to do in Belgrade if you want to experience the architecture. Surrounded by beautiful historical buildings such as the National Theatre and National Museum. In my opinion it is a perfect point to start our exploring.
The National Museum in Belgrade
Fifteen long years have passed since the closure of the museum, and one of the great art collections of Europe has sadly been neglected as a result. Fortunately, in June 2018. the museum has opened its doors once again.
Basically, the National Museum in Belgrade was opened on May 10, 1844, as part of the major renovation of Republic Square. A famous tavern once stood in its place, but the drinking hole was demolished in order to add a bit of class to the true heart of Belgrade.
The museum will take your breath away even before you get your ticket! If you want to skip to pay the ticket of 3 euros, the entrance is free every Sunday from 10 – 18h. The entrance is just opposite of the National Theater of Serbia, the one we still need to visit.
At the first floor I was trying to savor all facts about Prehistory and Ancient ages. There is even a bunker with envying numismatic collection.
Then there is impressive collection from Middle Ages and my favorite from the New Age and Modern Period. At the moment, there was a huge Chinese group, and maybe about 50 other cool people who were staring at every single painting. ( read more)
Museum of Illusion
To be honest I was not so excited after the visit as much I was before the one. I do not know if I was expecting too much, but in my opinion this place is overpriced. It is definitely recommended to visit if you have kids with you. They might enjoy it.
The main walking street of Belgrade, which starts right from this part, indicated by the first photograph of the Palace of Albania, and it was named after the Prince Mihailo Obrenovic. There are many cultural monuments in this street, but also one of the most beautiful buildings in Belgrade, especially when both fountains are working and when the sun’s rays break through the water and the surrounding trees
If I say that every local from Belgrade is proud of Kalemegdan, I would not be wrong. It is our location for the first kiss, for the long talks, for the most beautiful sunset and for realizing the special magic of Belgrade.
The historical complex of Kalemegdan is one of the oldest monuments in town. This is the place were Celtic tribes first settled in the 4th century BC. If you are into the history, this deserves a spot among the top things to do in Belgrade.
Make sure to observe the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers and the statue of Pobednik (Winner), one of the symbols of Belgrade. My favorite spot is at the bench on the little hill above the statue. Also next to the fortress, an outdoor collection of historical canons lines the outer wall of the Military Museum. (read more)
Belgrade Fortress was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and is protected by the Republic of Serbia. The entrance to the fortress is free ( although the monuments and museums on the fortress have a small admission fee).
Belgrade Boat Cruise
Jahting club Kej invited me to join one of their cruises. I must say that I was pretty excited. All over the world, I always went for a boat cruise, but I never gave that chance to Belgrade.
The cruise lasted about one hour and half. Between 3 cruises, I decided to go for the Sunset tour (the recommended one). The boat started from Savamala (read more).
If Belgrade is not under construction at the moment, this cruise would be a lot more beautiful. However, if you have the time and would like to have a relaxing time on the boat – the sunset tour is for you.
Walk the city streets, past towering Communist buildings, graffiti-lined blocks, the banks of the Danube, and bands playing along the main drag, and you’ll feel the city’s pulse.
Both your body and your brain will need a drink. And do the Serbs love to drink. One of my favorite places for that is an old neighborhood. There history is omnipresent. The classic old bars with huge variety of drinks with the view to the confluence of rivers.
The Royal Palace of Belgrade
As a teenager I was passing many times next to the Palace but unfortunately due to the many circumstances the Palace was closed to the public. Upon return to Serbia, their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, decided to open the door of their home to everyone who would like to learn more about the Royal family and its history. Visiting the Royal and White Palaces is organized so that visitors with professional tour guides will get acquainted with the history, art and culture in a nice two-hour walk through the Royal Compound. The tour includes the magnificent Royal and White Palaces and the Royal Chapel dedicated to the patron Saint of the Royal Family – St. Andrew the First Called. (read more)
Tourist Organization of Belgrade (TOB) organizes visits to the Royal Palaces every Wednesday at 10:00 am, and on weekends – Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Ticket purchased from Tourist Organization of Belgrade include organized bus transportation from Nikola Pasic Square to the Royal Palaces (meetings for transport on Wednesday 9:30 am (tour in English); Saturday 9:30 am (tour in English) and 12:30 pm (tour in Serbian); Sunday 9:30 am and 12:30 pm (tours in Serbian). Ticket price is 650 RSD.
This is one of the most beautiful palaces I’ve been in my life. Definitely worth to visit!
The Temple of Saint Sava
This white marble building overlooking the city from the quarter of Vračar belongs to the highlights what to see in Belgrade. It’s the biggest orthodox church in the Balkans, and one of the biggest on earth. As many as 10,700 people can fit inside this monumental building.
The walls inside the St. Sava church are unattractively covered by scaffolding–the church had been patiently awaiting its completion since 1936, when construction officially began. Work on the interior is still in progress, but the northern section is still open to both worshippers and visitors alike. I love that everytime when I visit it there is something new inside, during my last visit I left speechless. All the shine!
This “kaldrma” street is legendary. Writers and poets found their home here. It is well known as bohemian center. With all the rapid post-war rebuilding that has taken place in Belgrade, it hard to find as picturesque a street as Skadarlija is.Thanks to its atmosphere, Skadarlija is usually compared to Montmartre in Paris. It’s an amazing place to spend an evening; you can find here some of the best restaurants to try local Serbian food. Probably during your visit the local band would preform the traditional Serbian music and famous actors would welcome you with the poem or song.
Nikola Tesla Museum
Few people know anything about Serbian history or Serbian famous people. However, some might know Nikola Tesla and at least after landing in Belgrade you will realize that even the airport is named after this famous Serbian engineer and inventor. Nikola Tesla has a little but very lovely museum in the city center that offers guided tours that are not only interesting but also totally entertaining. Kids love the museum as you get to do funky experiments like holding a neon tube that illuminates itself in your hands – without being plugged in anywhere!
Avala is a mountain in Serbia, overlooking Belgrade. It is situated in the south-eastern corner of the city giving a great panoramic view to Belgrade, Vojvodina and Šumadija, as the surrounding area. It stands at 511 metres above sea level.
The famous Avala tower- monument made of concrete was designed in 1965, destroyed in 1999 in the NATO bombing and reopened for visitors in 2010.
More about Belgrade
Botanical garden Jevremovac
Obviously I am not done yet with my tips for Belgrade. As you might assume there will be some following blog posts specially dedicated to some of my favorite places for your cool weekend at my hometown. See you soon in Belgrade!
P.s. As always be free to write me in the comments or on Instagram anything you might wish to know about.
Pin it for later