The former capital of Yugoslavia may not be filled with beautiful architecture, but there are plenty of things to do in Belgrade for all to enjoy. Belgrade is one of the most interesting capitals in Europe.
The Balkan city has much more than first meets the eye. Once you delve deeper you’ll find a thriving arts community, awesome cafes, history, and an intense nightlife scene. It’s a gritty city that is rewarding to explore.
To top it off it is one Europe’s most affordable cities.
There are plenty of affordable activities to keep yourself entertained. We spent a month in the city and never ran out of things to do for crazy low prices. How low? Well, our month two bedroom apartment in one of Belgrade’s hippest neighborhoods cost us a whopping $550. Tickets to the ballet set us back $3 a piece, and we had more than our fair share of cheap sushi. Thanks to affordable flight connections within Europe it makes a weekend in Belgrade less expensive than just one day in common tourist staples like Paris or London.
Whether you have one day or one month to spend in Belgrade it’s unlikely you will leave the Serbian capital disappointed. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Belgrade.
Things to do in Belgrade
Join a free walking tour
The first thing you should do after arriving in Belgrade is to enjoy a free walking tour! We found Belgrade Walking Tours, and decided to venture around the city with them. The Free Downtown Belgrade tour is offered at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. every day. The tour will give you a crash course on the city of Belgrade, and Serbia itself for that matter.
Almost all capital cities in Europe offer a free walking tour and we love taking them to stay on budget in Europe! It helps us to get acquainted with the city, learn some history without Google, and we are usually able to make some friends. Although these tours are free it’s always appropriate to tip your guide if you are satisfied.
Cafe hope on Skadarlija Street
After all that walking from the Belgrade free walking tour around Belgrade you’ll want to regroup and have a drink. Head to one of the cafes on Skadarlija street for an authentic experience.
Skadarlija street is well-known as the main bohemian quarter and popular for cafes, restaurants, and nightlife. The cobbled street is very popular with young people and should not be missed when visiting Belgrade.
Check out Kalemegdan park and the Belgrade Fortress
Near Skadarlija Street is Kalemegdan park and the Belgrade Fortress. You may have walked through this area if you went on a walking tour, but it’s definitely worth more exploring!
Kalemegdan features countless statues, great lookouts, old men playing chess, and many street vendors where you can find Serbian souvenirs. On a nice sunny day, a walk through this park and across the Belgrade fortress is perfect. At the entrance of the fortress, you can even have lunch at Kalemegdanska Teresa overlooking New Belgrade.
Party the night away
If you’re looking for a cheap party than Belgrade is the right place. Many of Belgrade’s best nightclubs are located in Savamala along the Sava river. Great for a Friday or Saturday night out, especially in the summertime.
Savamala isn’t just for partying. It’s also an urban neighborhood of Belgrade with plenty of history and is right along the Sava river. You can’t miss the street art along many of the buildings there, and it is truly a treat to the eye.
Catch a show at the Belgrade National Theatre
One of the best things to do in Belgrade is to see a show or ballet at the Belgrade National Theatre. The Theatre is located in the Republic Square and features a performance every night. Tickets to the theater are extremely affordable at 300 dinars per seat ($3). So if ballet, opera, or drama is your passion, a night at the Belgrade National Theatre is a real treat. You can book your tickets online here.
Admire the Church of St. Sava
The Church of St. Sava is a new addition to the Belgrade skyline and has quickly become an iconic set piece. The church is the largest in the Balkans and ranks among the largest in the world, and the unfinished interior is humbling in scale. Besides being absolutely massive, it’s a beautiful piece of architecture that deserves admiration. It’s also where the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, St. Sava, is laid to rest.
Just around the corner from the Church of St. Sava is Vracar, one of the hippest neighborhoods in Belgrade. There are countless cafes to grab your morning coffee at in the area, here are a few of our favorites.
Shop at Kalenic Green Market
Kalenic market is Belgrade’s largest market and is filled with tons of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, pickles, honey, meat, eggs, dairy, and even seafood. Enjoy perusing the local wares, and don’t be afraid when a local offers you to sample their product.
No trip is complete to Serbia without having the local clotted cream, Kajmac. Pair this cheese with some hot fresh bread as a present to your tongue. If the smell of fresh baked bread or vegetables doesn’t draw you in, the crowd surely will. You won’t find the Serbs at the supermarkets, but instead, they will be here at Kalenic Pijaca every morning. Even if you won’t be cooking later, a walk through this market is certainly recommended to get a feel for the city.
Get to the Tesla Museum
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor born in modern day Croatia. Some of his life work, achievements, and even his remains are located at the Tesla museum in Belgrade. A visit to the museum takes about an hour and cost 500 dinars ($5).
Learn a bit about history
There are a number of buildings that are still standing from the NATO bombings of Belgrade in 1999. One of the most visible sites is the Former Yugoslav Ministry of Defence located on both sides of Kneza Milosa street. On both sides of this street stands two very large complexes with extreme damage from 1999.
This is Belgrade’s most famous ruin and protected site. We knew very little of the NATO bombings upon arrival in Belgrade. When we first arrived we walked past this building at night and thought “Holy crap, look at that building!” However, after a local communist tour, we were able to grasp some of the cities dark past.
If you’re interested in more history from here you can also hop on bus 41 and go to the Museum of Yugoslav History for a more detailed look into…well, Yugoslav history. This is also the site of beloved Joseph Tito’s grave.
Cross the bridge to Zemun
It’s time to cross the bridge to New Belgrade and spend the day in beautiful Zemun. Zemun has a quintessential location right along the Danube river and is arguably one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Belgrade. Plan to come here on a sunny day and enjoy lunch in one of the many cafes along the river. The streets here are all cobblestoned and quaint, just walking them will put you in a timeless mood. The gem of Zemun is Gardoš, where the Gardoš Tower is located. There is no need to explain where this tower is, as you can’t miss it if you look up in Zemun. Climbing up the tower will cost all of $2, and it is surely worth the view overlooking the city.
Sample Serbian Cuisine
Have you tried the local Serbian cuisine? It’s a fabulous mixture of meat, meat, and more meat. No, just kidding it’s not all meat, but ćevapi and pljeskavica are very popular. For a little more greens in your diet order a shopska salad – a mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, and white brine cheese.
Our General Thoughts on Belgrade
We spent a month in Belgrade at this wonderful AirBnB in Vracar (Click here for €2- off). Everyone – and I mean everyone wondered why the hell we spent an entire month here. Truly, I felt like this was the perfect city to get to know better and delve into Yugoslavia’s confusing past. Besides the history, there was plenty to do, see, drink, and eat.
Where to Eat in Belgrade?
We certainly didn’t hold back in Belgrade. The capital has a restaurant on every corner and there is something to fit every kind of budget here. Here are some of our favorites.
- Burrito Madre: Burrito lovers rejoice for Burrito Madre, where you can get a Chipotle quality burrito for $3.
- Le Bon Appetit: Extremely affordable takeaway option. Located on Kralja Milutina and serves up great salads.
- Restaoran Lovac: Excellent Serbian Barbeque here in a fine dining atmosphere. Here you can find a massive meat serving for 2 people for less than 1100 dinars.
- Manufaktura: For traditional Serbian cuisine, try Manufaktura. Located near the Serbian National Bank.
- Go Sushi: Have I mentioned that we love sushi? Go sushi was the perfect place to settle our sushi cravings. Highly recommend.
Where to Stay in Belgrade?
If an AirBnB rental isn’t in the cards, there are countless hotels and hostels to lay your head down.
- For a fancier stay in Serbia’s capital city try the Courtyard Marriot, located right next door to the national theater.
- We also met many people who were staying at Hostel Bongo for a more affordable option. Read more about how you can save on accommodation.
General info if for visiting Belgrade
- Currency: Serbian Dinar (100 Dinars = $.92)
- The main airport in Belgrade is the Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG).
- Transport: Cabs are cheap here, and the bus and tram system are good. *Hint* No one pays for public transport in Belgrade, not even in the locals. However, most of the old town can be explored by foot.
- Belgrade was the former capital of Yugoslavia and is the largest city of all the Southern Slavic countries.
- Rakija is a fruit brandy and is very popular in all of Serbia, and the Balkans for that matter.
- Meeting Point for the Belgrade Free Tour is at the Republic Square, look for a guide with a big yellow sign behind the man on a horse.
- Check out our favorite backpacks for backpacking Europe.
- Smoking inside is still legal in Serbia – and yes, it sucks for nonsmokers.
- Get out of Belgrade and take a 4-hour train ride to Niš, or a 1-hour train ride to Novi Sad.
Plan Your Trip to Belgrade
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking hotels, flights, and car rentals. Check out some of our preferred partners below:
- Accommodation in Balkans: Find the best hotel deal at Hotels.com, or to feel more at home try Airbnb. Here is a coupon for your first stay!
- Flights to the Balkans: Compare airlines, dates and prices all in one place with Skyscanner.
- Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. We ALWAYS travel with travel insurance. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
- Water: We found the water in the Balkans fine to drink, if you want extra assurance then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go Waterbottle
- Guide Book: Sometimes it’s just nice to have a real book. We like Lonely Planet.
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