These are ten wonderful things you can do while visiting Belgrade. Each of them will be a unique experience, I promise.
1. Take a walk at the Kalemegdan Fortress
Kalemegdan means a battlefield with a fort or the Hill of Thought. It is one of the oldest fortresses in the world and is located in the city center, at the end of the main street and a pedestrian zone , Knez Mihailova. The fortress overlooks the Great War Island (today: protected heritage) and the confluence of the Sava river into the Danube. From this very place you are bound to have a spectacular view onto Zemun and New Belgrade. Kalemegdan is known for its kilometers-long tunnels, underground corridors and catacombs. It is also a popular concert venue (Amy Winehouse, Simply Red). You will also find famous sights, such as the Zoo, a number of churches and the most recognizable landmark of Belgrade: the Victor Monument (14 m), built in 1928 to commemorate Serbia’s victory over the Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan Wars and the First World War. Kalemegdan was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979.
2. Listen to traditional live music at Skadarlija
If you want to have a more profound insight into what is normally referred to as the Belgrade’s soul – do have a walk at Skadarlija Belgrade’s Bohemian borough, early at the dusk before the night falls. This soft, romantic place with its charming Belle Èpoque lanterns is Montmartre’s younger sibling. You can listen to traditional live music in any of these charming little inns.
3. Watch Street Art in the Savamala district
Every city weaves their own tales by the street art it has. I am a huge fan myself, because it’s made for everyone and like every piece of art, there is always a message to mull and muse about. Street art has gone through the whole loop from vandalism to high art for those with an acquired taste in the past few years. Savamala is one of Belgrade’s main graffiti spots. It starts from Branko’s Bridge and goes further down Braće Krsmanović Street and Karadjordjeva Street.
4. Drink a Cocktail at the Ada Ciganlija Beach
Ada Ciganlija is a river island, which is used as a multi-purpose recreation zone by the locals as well as by the visitors and holiday makers. You will find all manner of very good bars and restaurants. This place will give you a real beach feeling, because every bar provides sundecks and loungers and good music. At night, the beach bars turn into nightclubs. For those, who can’t just lie the whole day at the beach, there is a wide range of sport activities to take up. You can try Waterskiing or play beach volleyball with your friends. Or you could rent a bike or inline skates.
5. Party on a float
Belgrade is known for its party life, especially on the splavovi (floating river clubs) which are spread along the banks of the Sava and Danube rivers. My favourite raft is the 20/44 club, which hosts the best clubbing (Disco Not Disco) with famous Serbian DJs such as Schwabe and Brka. If you party there, you will have a fantastic view on the old town and an even better sunrise experience. 20/44 (Belgrade’s coordinates) is located on Savski Kej BB, in New Belgrade. Opening hours: Thursday – Saturday: 21:00 – 05:00
6. Have a Burek for Breakfast
Burek is a pastry made of thin dough filled with meat, if you fancy eating it the traditional way. In this day and age there are a lot of different variations of burek. You can choose between cheese, mushrooms, cabbage, ham , cheese and chicken. Serbs usually drink yoghurt while eating burek. The best place to eat this delicious pastry is the Trpković Bakery, you can find in three different locations: Nemanjina Street 32, Dimitrija Tucovića Street 60 and Milorada Bondžulića Street 6. Trpković is known as the oldest bakery family in Belgrade. (since 1905)
7. Visit the Exit Festival
The Exit Festival usually takes place in July, in the Petrovaradin Fortress of Novi Sad. (an hour ride from Belgrade) The Festival itself was founded by a group of students, wanting to resuscitate and revive the alternative music scene after the downfall of Yugoslavia. Today, it is the biggest festival in Southeastern Europe. Exit was officially proclaimed as the ‘Best Major European festival’ at the EU Festival Awards. http://www.exitfest.org/en
8. Eat a Serbian Burger – Pljeskavica
You can’t leave Belgrade without trying a Serbian Burger, called pljeskavica. This grilled and spiced meat (pork, beef, lamb) is a traditional dish in Serbia. If you purchase it off a street vendor on a small stall or in a shop, you will get the meat in a flatbread. You ll be offered to choose your favourite filling, dressing or condiment (onions, tomatoes, mustard, ketchup, peppers..) I recommend Stepin Vajat at Vojvode Stepina Street 2 and Loki in the city center, in Gospodar Jovanova Street 27, which is open 24/7.
9. Visit Zemun
Zemun is a historical town in Belgrade since 1934. Before, it was a separate town adjoining Belgrade in its close proximity. Zemun has a really nice neighbourhood packed with history. You can have a walk on the Danube quay, enjoy the view from the Gardoš Tower and eat delicious food at the famous taverns.
10. Light a candle in the Saint Sava Church
The Saint Sava Temple is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world. It was built in this location, where Saint Sava’s remains were cremated in 1595. Serbian-Orthodox Christians usually light candles as a symbol of praying for good health, on the upper candleholder and one for the deceased on the one below.