A good problem to have is coming to a city and not being able to decide what to do first. Even though you’re excited about the abundance of choices, you…
A good problem to have is coming to a city and not being able to decide what to do first. Even though you’re excited about the abundance of choices, you can’t seem to narrow them down.
In those situations, it’s best to have a local accompany you and show you around. If that’s not an option, a close second is having a really good guide with a list of things you should do. So, if you ever find yourself in Belgrade, Serbia, we made sure you have a detailed list of places to be and things to try. Try to check off as many as possible!
The Absolute Best Things To Do In Belgrade, Serbia
Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress
Kalemegdan is Belgrade’s largest park and most important historical monument at the same time. That’s why it is the most popular destination among tourists year after year, with around 2 million visitors annually.
The base of the fortress was built in 279 BC and it has since been destroyed and rebuilt many times. However, it’s impressive that certain original parts still exist to this day. That’s why it’s protected by the Republic of Serbia.
Another attraction is the Serbian Military Museum, located inside the fortress. When exploring Kalemegdan, it’s important to look around, so you don’t miss all of the outer exhibitions!
The Fortress is home to one of Belgrade’s most famous symbols, the Victor (Pobednik). The area around the monument probably has the most stunning view in the city. You’ll be able to see the actual confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, as well as the panorama of Belgrade.
Kalemegdan has many hidden gems and if you would like to discover some of them start with these;
- The Victor Monument
- Ruzica church (Famous for the chandeliers which are made of weapons)
- Military Museum
- Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavilion (the center of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts)
- The Roman Well
Ada Ciganlija is commonly referred to as Belgrade’s Sea. This lake with a huge green area around is a haven for thousands of visitors during the hot summer days. It’s basically an oasis in the middle of a busy, crowded city.
If you’re interested in more than swimming and relaxing on the beach, there’s a lot of activities available as well. You can play some sports (tennis, basketball, volleyball etc.) in the courts placed in the forest. Also, consider renting out a bike and going for a spin around the water.
Whatever you choose, spend a relaxing day here and you’ll start feeling like a real born and raised Belgrader!
The Nikola Tesla Museum
You probably know Nikola Tesla as one of the greatest minds of all time. His inventions and patents changed the world dramatically. Therefore, that makes him one of the people Serbs are most proud of.
If you find yourself in Belgrade, the Museum is a great way to get to know his work through interactive exhibitions. Visitors will get the chance to actually see in action the things they’ve only read about in theory. Cool, right?
You can search through his drawings, letters, and photographs and get a different approach to this genius’ mind. What’s guaranteed is that you’ll leave the Museum with a much better picture of who he was. Remember the address, Krunska 51!
This bohemian quarter is often referred to as Belgrade’s Montmartre. When it first started to exist, it was a meeting point for the city’s finest writers, actors, musicians and artists in general. It has to this day managed to preserve that spirit of old, crème de la crème Belgrade.
Today, this cobblestone street is lined with restaurants and kafanas. Kafanas are Serbian taverns, where people come to eat, drink and listen to traditional music. Every tourist should at least take a walk through the street, but if you can, sit down for a meal.
It will be a special experience. Besides eating some amazing food, you’ll be able to enjoy the Serbian bands playing what is commonly called “old city music”. The romantic atmosphere will make this a night you will remember!
Museum of Yugoslav History
National museums are often the best way to get to know a country in only one afternoon. Even though Yugoslavia ceased to exist in the 90s, this is still one of the most visited museums in Belgrade.
If you choose to visit, you should know that it consists of three buildings. The most popular one is the House of Flowers because Josip Broz Tito’s mausoleum is located there. An interesting phenomenon is the fact that people from all over Yugoslavia still come to Belgrade for his birthday as a sign of respect.
An interesting collection is one of the gifts Tito had received from various world leaders. The Museum also houses around 200,000 photographs, documents, artworks and many other things associated with the history of Yugoslavia. It is an overall great way to get a better feeling of what this great country was like.
The Museum is not too far away from the city center and the tickets are fairly inexpensive, so try to stop by!
Even though it’s a part of Belgrade, if you go to Zemun, you’ll feel like you’ve gone to another country. Starting from the architecture, everything seems different. This is due to the fact that it used to be a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. However, Zemun is full of landmarks you should consider visiting!
- Gardos Tower
Reaching this will require a bit of walking and climbing, but it will be worth it. Also called Millenium Tower, it was raised by the Hungarians, to mark the 1000th anniversary of their reign in Pannonia.
Since it was used as a viewing tower, make sure you climb to the top to see the amazing view which is one of the best in Belgrade.
- The Great War Island
This river island is the city’s very own piece of untouched wilderness. From far away, it looks like a big, lush floating forest. Also, it is an area recognized as being a globally important habitat for many rare birds.
Just like Ada Ciganlija, the island has a beach called Lido, which is very popular in the summertime. Some people have even built holiday homes here, in which they spend the warmer months of the year.
It is perfect for picnics, enjoying the nature or just pretending you’ve left town and went on vacation!
St. Sava Temple
Saint Sava Temple is the most important sacral object in the city. It’s located on the Vracar plateau in Belgrade, and it is known as one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.
The church can receive up to 10,000 people at once and the choir gallery seats 800 singers.
The basement is home to an impressive crypt and the treasury of Saint Sava.
The crypt is open to visitors, but the inside works in the church are still not completed.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
If you’re an art geek or if you’re interested in seeing the best examples of Yugoslav architecture, this Museum is something you must visit. Even though it was closed for 10 years, it has now become one of the most interesting cultural institutions in Serbia.
Even the way it looks on the outside is an art form. Due to its geometrical shape and the fact that it’s located across from Kalemegdan, it is called “the crystal at the confluence”. It is one of the greatest Yugoslav architectural pieces, and its creators have even received awards for it.
Today, the Museum’s fund consists of around 8,000 works. Therefore, this is the best collection of art from the Yugoslav art space. It is modernized so that your experience here would be just as enjoyable as in any big museum in the world.
Two other galleries in separate locations are also part of the Museum. Those are the Petar Dobrovic Gallery and the Colakovic Legacy. Both are worth the visit!
Princess Ljubica’s Residence
This is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Belgrade, dating back to the 1800s. If you’d like a glimpse into the Serbian royal family’s life, this is where you should go!
This house was built for Princess Ljubica, wife of the first Prince of Serbia, Milos Obrenovic. Even though stories say she was a very humble woman, her husband still wanted the residence to demonstrate power and strength.
The interior perfectly shows the transition from Ottoman to European styles. In fact, the residence has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the interior of 19th-century homes in Belgrade.
The Princess was one of the most interesting, headstrong women of that era. If you’d like an authentic, close look at her life, the Coffee at Princess Ljubica’s tour is just for you.
You’ll sit down for a cup of traditional Turkish coffee and listen to what life was like through her eyes. She’ll tell you her intimate stories you won’t find in history books.
Don’t be surprised if you leave the residence feeling like you’ve actually got to know her as a person. P.S. Remember to ask for the tour in English since there’s a Serbian version too!
This is the only mosque in Belgrade, Serbia. Also, it might be the oldest standing building in Belgrade, since it was built in the 16th century. Just like the entire city, it went through a series of drastic changes to get to where it is today.
During the Austrian occupation, the mosque was actually turned into a Roman Catholic church. When the Turks returned, it became a mosque once again. Now, it serves as the main Islamic cultural center in Belgrade.
It is worth the visit, at least only for the historical endurance it has sustained over the centuries. If you’re lucky you’ll be in Belgrade in time for their traditional annual feast. They celebrate Eid al-Fitr, an important religious holiday, by preparing and giving out lots of delicious food!
Food & Drink
Just like Serbia was influenced by many different cultures and nations, the food is an interesting concoction as well. Serbia is heaven for foodies, especially those who love meat and well-seasoned dishes.
While you’re in Belgrade, try to eat like a local. Even though fast food is popular here like everywhere else, people in Serbia will never give up their traditional, homemade dishes. Preparing food is more than mixing ingredients. It’s a way to gather the family.
There’s a couple of local specialties you must try while you’re here. Everyone’s favorite is sarma (cabbage filled with minced meat) and prebranac (baked beans). Serbians eat a lot of grilled meat, so try cevapi or pljeskavica.
Ideally, you should get the full experience of someone cooking it for you in their home. If that’s not a possibility, here are some of the best traditional restaurants:
- Skadarlija street (all of Skadarlija’s restaurants are incredible, so you won’t make a mistake wherever you decide to go)
One of the things Serbia is most famous for is the amazing traditional food. Besides wanting their food to taste good, Serbians are passionate about it being organic and locally grown. That’s why they usually get their groceries at local markets.
If you still haven’t experienced a Serbian market (called pijaca), you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s not just a place to go and get some fruit or vegetables and go home. In fact, it is a much more personal experience.
When you walk in, you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of fresh, affordable produce. Then, you’ll realize that people in Belgrade are very friendly with their vendors. If you know some Serbian, you’ll recognize they’re asking each other about their families and friends.
It’s truly something you must see for yourself. Also, prepare to taste the most delicious fruit of your life. They’ll tell you the secret to it is only nature and good care.
A bonus tip: ask around and find out if there’s a Night Market any time soon. It’s a manifestation designed to bring the markets to life after the sun sets. The difference is that, besides groceries, you’ll be able to buy a much greater variety of products.
You’ll see everyone from young designers, winemakers, and artists, to small family workshops among the exhibitors. All of that is accompanied by either a performance by a band or a DJ.
Here’s a list of markets to visit during the day and the night as well:
- Kalenic pijaca
- Zeleni venac pijaca
- Bajloni pijaca
- Djeram pijaca
- Zemunska pijaca
- Blok 44
- Night Market (various locations across town). Check FB events!
Eat Ice Cream
In the past couple of years, many independent ice cream shops have started working and have reached popularity quickly. People in Belgrade love that they can now enjoy high-quality treats made from fresh ingredients at any time of year. Also, everyone seems to be happy to see local businesses grow and expand. That’s why it’s not strange to see huge lines of people in front of these shops.
With vegan and sugar-free options, as well as some never-before-seen flavors, they are suitable for every type of visitor. We guarantee you’ll be able to taste the care and love put into each scoop!
Here’s a list of our favorite ice-cream shops in Belgrade:
- Crna ovca
- Moritz Eis
- Gelato Freddo
Continuing in the same spirit, we have a couple more dessert recommendations. Belgrade is becoming richer in unique cake and pastry shops. There are more and more small, one-product oriented places that have already become everyone’s favorites.
You should definitely consider trying a Serbian specialty called knedle (a potato-based dough filled with plums or other sweet filings). It’s something everyone from Serbia has eaten at their grandma’s house at least once in their lifetime. Luckily, you can now try them on the streets of Belgrade.
If you’re a donut lover, there’s a couple of shops that specialize in them only. They offer everything from basic flavors to some more exotic ones. Either way, you can be sure they’ll be perfect with a cup of coffee.
Last but not least, a stop on your way should be a candy shop called “Bombondzija Bosiljcic” which was founded in the 1930s. Still at the same exact place, with the same quality, this shop’s products are all handmade. They’re mostly known for their Turkish delight, but check out the lollipops and candy as well!
Here’s a list of our favourite sweet shops in Belgrade, Serbia;
- Ferdinand knedle
- Bombondzija Bosiljcic
- Al Pachinka (try the bubble waffles!)
Street Food in Belgrade
Just like everywhere else in the world, life in Belgrade can get hectic and fast. One of the upsides of that is the growing variety of street food. Even if you can’t use lack of time as an excuse, make sure you stop by some of them.
One of the typically Serbian “traditions” is grabbing a bite in a bakery right after a night out. Whatever the time of day may be, make sure you don’t leave Belgrade without trying burek. Burek is a flaky filled pastry, usually made with meat or cheese.
Also, don’t be surprised if you end up trying the best burger of your life in Belgrade. Some street restaurants have gained a reputation for being as good as those in the USA, or even much better.
You can find pretty much every type of cuisine on Belgrade’s street and fast food places. Just so you don’t get overwhelmed, here’s a list of a couple of the best:
- Trpkovic Bakery
- Aurelio Bakery
- Burger House
- Burrito Madre
- Tel Aviv Hummus House
- Walter Sarajevski Cevap
The ritual of having conversations over a cup of coffee is something specific for this part of the world. Unlike some other places, where people drink coffee on the run, this is something completely different.
People in Belgrade can drink one cup of coffee for hours. The day can turn into night and you’ll still see the same group of friends chatting, without a break. It’s, essentially, a way to bond and spend quality time together.
Even though the coffee part seems like a completely insignificant factor, it’s important that your cup of joe is perfect. The content look on people’s faces after the first sip makes for a smooth start to a conversation.
If you’d like to experience the Serbian coffee culture, here’s a couple of places you should visit.
- Leila Records
Let’s face it, the ambiance is just as important as everything else!
Everyone who has been to Belgrade will tell you that the nightlife here is something incomparable. The city literally never sleeps, especially during the summer. Depending on what you like, there’s definitely a place for you somewhere.
A night out usually starts in a bar. People meet up for drinks at their favorite spot and perhaps listen to some live music. If you don’t have other plans, that can also be the end of it.
However, if you’re in the mood, transfer to a nightclub or a splav. Splavs are located on Belgrade’s most prominent features – its rivers, and they’re most popular when the weather is warm.
Since the selection is abundant, we’ve prepared a list of places to choose from. We’ll start from the bars and end with the nightclubs:
- Cetinjska street (Zaokret, Polet, Elektropionir etc.)
- Sinnerman Jazz Bar
- Samo Pivo
- Rakia Bar
- Miners Pub
- KC Grad (stop by during the day as well, there are often many interesting events to check out!)
- Ben Akiba
We hope you liked this extensive guide on best things to do in Belgrade, Serbia. If you need help to plan your Belgrade trip check our consulting services.