Belgrade (Serbia)


castlerivBelgrade (in Serbian Београд / Beograd) means ‘White City’ and is the capital of Serbia. The city lies on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and has a unique character and spirit, like all the Balkan region, a recent base of communist elements, a mix of Austrian and Slavonic cultures with Turkish influence and a Mediterranean flavor in its view of life(café culture and nightlife). All these combined make Belgrade a must see destination. Visiting Belgrade you will enjoy:

Kalemegdan – Belgrade Fortress. Once important military fortification, it now serves as central park of Belgrade. Accessible from the end of the Knez Mihailova street, it offers beautiful views, especially during sunset. Most part of it is a park and the fortress walls, with several cafes, tennis and basketball courts, museums and observatory. Don’t miss to take a look at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers, and statue of Pobednik (Winner), one of the symbols of Belgrade. Spend an afternoon at the Park and enjoy the sunset at one of the fortress lookouts.

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The St Sava Church, the biggest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world (a must-see for all visitors)

The Old Royal Palace (Serbian Cyrillic: Стари Двор), at Nikola Pasic Sqaure, built in 1881, it was residence of Serbian kings, now used as Town Hall.

Skadarlija (Skadarska street). Pedestrian street filled with restaurants and cafes, most in the spirit of old Belgrade. Live bands playing old Belgrade music could be heard here in the evenings. The street is paved in cobblestone so ladies are advised to avoid wearing high heels, unless highly experienced. Blank-walled buildings on the south side have been painted with impressive ‘trompe-l’oeil’ paintings to add to the atmosphere.

Belgradozemun2Gardosh (Serbian Cyrillic: Гардош / Latin: Gardoš) is an urban neighborhood of Belgrade. It is located in Belgrade’s municipality of Zemun. Gardos the hill, located on the right side of the river Danube, is a historical and authentic cultural environment, with narrow streets and houses and churches authentic. At the top, there is a tower “Sibinjanin Janko” (or Millennium Tower) – height of 36m, open in 1896, with a gallery and a beautiful view of the river, and Belgrade. On the hill and near by the river is a large number of restaurants with local food, seafood restaurants, ship-restaurant…

City centre. Knez Mihailova Street (Serbian Cyrillic: Кнез Михаилова улица). Main pedestrian street in Belgrade. Crowded during day and night. Mostly shopping and numerous cafes and Republic Square (Main Square). Main meeting point in the city (also called “by the horse”), right next to statue of Mihailo Obrenovic (riding a horse), National Theater, National Museum and Knez Mihailova Street. Right place to arrange a meeting.

republGet in

Belgrade is serviced by Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Bus #72 runs twice an hour (quarter past and quarter to each hour) to Zeleni Venac in the city centre, and costs 150 dinars (~€1.25) from the driver or 80 dinars from the shop inside the departure hall that sells food and newspapers. The trip is around 45 minutes. A more comfortable city bus option is the A1 minibus, going from the airport to Slavija Square in the city center, stopping at the Main Train Station. The buses are comfortable and air-conditioned. The fare is RSD 300 (~€2.67) as of December 2012, which is paid on-board; be sure to tell the driver what your destination is before departure.

 

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Railways station is 15 minutes walk (uphill) to Republic Square. Trains go to Budapest: 8h, two daytime and one overnight train. There is a special offer Budapest Special/Beograd Special, €15 for one-way and €26 for return ticket; Prague: 15h, EC Avala. Direct one-way ticket is expensive, it’s better to combine cheaper Prague-Budapest and Budapest-Beograd e-tickets; Ljubljana: 9h, two daytime and one overnight train. Discounted Beograd Special ticket, non-refundable and bound to specified train and day, costs €25; Sarajevo: 8½h, a daytime train departing at 11:49. Ticket costs €17; Sofia: 8h, one daytime and one overnight train Nusic. Ticket cost about €20 it is cheaper to buy a ticket until the last station on the Serbian Railways – Dimitrovgrad (€10) and then pay just €2 to the Bulgarian controller once past the border for the remaining of the track to Sofia

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Belgrade’s central bus station is next-door to the central train station, in Karađorđeva street. Whilst coach service to national and international destinations is frequent, departure times are usually reliable, but arrival times may be not. Timetables aren’t clearly posted; the timetables that are there are in Serbian only, so ask for information inside the terminal. When buying a bus ticket, you will also receive a token to enter the platform area, for national travel. For international travel, you will be given a paper stub to present at the platform gate. Be aware that most coach drivers will charge you a fee for baggage handling in the cargo compartment. Also be aware that drivers rarely speak English or any other foreign language. Inform yourself about your trip prior to departure as much as you can; if in doubt, ask a fellow passenger for assistance.

Getting around

Belgrade has an extensive public transport network, covering almost all areas of the old city, however often this is not enough and public transport in Belgrade is usually crowded during rush hour. Daily transport starts at 4:00 and ends at 00:00. Night transportation is operated only by buses. It is sparse and goes every half-hour to every hour, but there are plans to make all night lines depart every half-hour. It is best to ask where and when to use it since some of the night lines are modified versions of the daily ones. There are nine public minibus lines (E1–E9). Minibuses are all air-conditioned, smaller and generally quicker than regular city buses. However, tickets are bought only inside a minibus and they are more expensive than ordinary ones. Take note that several regular bus lines (such as 24 or 49) are operated by minibuses, but the tickets for them are the regular ones.

Taxis are cheap (by European standards) and plentiful, and you can either hail one in the street, or call a taxi company. It is always best if you order taxi by phone since your order will be saved in the operator database. If you believe that the driver is trying to rip you off, call the operator of that taxi association to check if the price is regular for the specified distance. Afraid of the inspection, they might call back the driver and bring him to reason.

Budgeteuro…tips

supermanCity tour by tram 2, its circular route is known as krug dvojke (#2’s circle) and rings the central city streets. Tram 3 is famous for a beautiful neighborhoods it goes through, particularly Miloš’s Konak Park.

Visit Nikola Tesla Museum (Krunska 51). Dedicated to the man whom Serbs revere. Nikola Tesla made significant contributions to the development of electric engineering, pioneering alternative current (making long-distance high-energy transfers possible), radio (making base work for today’s mobile communications) and AC motors (widely used today, e.g. blenders, vacuum cleaners and elevators), among other numerous inventions. There are English-speaking guides who are students from the Engineering Department of the University of Belgrade who can help you understand the sometimes-complicated science.

Belgradozemun3Spend an evening on the terrace in one of the restaurants in Zemun district, next to Danube.

Snacking and eating on the go in Belgrade are easy and cheap. Bakeries (pekara) are everywhere and you will find a wide assortment of breads, sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches and pizza on offer. Some are open 24 hours. A snack or light meal of pastry and drinkable yoghurt (similar to kefir) will give you an added healthy boost when walking about the city center.

At night, there are bars, cafés and discotheques that are open, selling cheaply priced drinks. Belgrade is reputed to have some of the best night life in Europe.

THE Belgrade Pub Crawl. Wednesdays to Sundays. They take you to a variety of hidden-underground bars and pubs in town and ends at a night club. It is a good way to sample what the nightlife in Belgrade is like avoiding the tourist traps.

Inex Film; a squat on the North side of the center, on the shore of the Danube, with weekly film screenings, art exhibitions, and DJ parties

Tap water in Belgrade is perfectly safe.

 

Act like a local

burekbeogradEat burek and yogurt for breakfast. You will love it!

Serbs love to drink and to toast when in good company, when toasting in Serbia, it is expected that you look your friends at the table directly in the eyes whilst clinking glasses as a sign of respect. Say ‘Živeli!’ (cheers!) to everyone and take a sip. Repeat as necessary, and enjoy a night out in Belgrade! Try local beers such as Jelen, Lav, MB, Pils…

Enjoy Ada Ciganlija, a river island on Sava River with an artificial lake. The lake has an 8 km long gravel beach, which is visited by thousands of bathers during the summer. This is a great place for sports (area for football, basketball, beach volley, golf and tennis) and picnics. It also contains a lot of cafes and restaurants. In summer, it is swamped with people wanting to cool down in the water; The great War Island (Veliko ratno ostrvo), a river island at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, for picnics and bird spotting.

Visit a splav (literally: raft) – a barge restaurant located along the Sava and Danube rivers. There are two kinds of “splav”. Some are restaurants ( There you can dine and eat with the extra feature of being on the river and enjoying the view) and most are nightclubs. Each “splav” is a nightclub to itself. You can literally club hop all night long. Many of them feature live bands. It is really unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Belgrado - Derby torceThe local football derby between Partizan Belgrade and Red Star Belgrade is also known as the Eternal Derby and is considered to be one of the most intensive sport events. Even if you do not support either club, but you enjoy cheering, watching one of the matches between the two sides is still recommended to experience the atmosphere. Due to the intensity of the rivalry, it is not recommended to wear either team’s colors outside the stadium during matchdays between the two sides. The two clubs have teams in other sports, basket for instance is very popular too. If you have time visit the Belgrade Arena, New Belgrade. It is the second largest arena in Europe and the largest in the Balkans. You will definitely be impressed by the architecture.

 

 

castleriver2Spend an hour sipping coffee or a drink at one of Belgrade’s cafés. Coffee culture in Belgrade is particularly developed, walking about the central areas of the city you will find sprawling terraces and cafés, serving all types of coffee and sweets, particularly Viennese type cakes and local specialties. Be sure to try Serbian Turkish style coffee, and chestnut purée with whipped cream, a local specialty especially at Republic Square (available mostly during winter). There are a couple of places worth visiting if you are a fan of cafe culture. The street best known for its trendy cafes is definitely Strahinjića Bana. On this street, cafes are full even on weekdays. The best atmosphere is on Friday evenings when the trendy youth of Belgrade descend to enjoy the music and each other. The second cafe zone is Obilićev Venac (a street parallel to Knez Mihailova). Third cafe zone (also a going out zone) is quay next to hotel Yugoslavia in Zemun. On the quay are numerous river boats (splavovi), many of them are cafes, restaurants and clubs.

Wander the Kosancicev Venac neighborhood preferably on a summer Sunday for a taste of authentic Belgrade.

Have a rakija at one of the old style buffets. Rakija, a Serbian brandy that is very strong, is the national alcoholic drink

Befriend a Belgrader. It will last forever!

 

Eating

Serbs are very proud of their food, based on grilled meats and sausages, local cheeses and bread. Salads are primarily tomato, cucumber, and onion, or cabbage. Local produce is fresh and organic. Most Serbian restaurants offer roštilj, a large plate of various unseasoned grilled meats, or any possible variety of grilled chicken wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese. It is possible to order fresh salads, plates of grilled vegetables, crepes, or omelettes if you are vegetarian. Serbian cuisine is famous for its heavy use of varied vegetables, fresh or cooked.

It is also worth visiting a pijaca (green market) to buy some fresh fruit, vegetables and other grocery items. The farmer’s market at Zeleni Venac, close to the Hotel Moscow, is not one of the largest, but it is the one with the least expensive merchandise – in the city. Contained in a newly-built complex, it makes for an enjoyable Saturday morning experience, with the lively hustle and bustle of people milling about and stall-owners trying to attract customers. Depending on the season, an amazing assortment of fruit and veg can be found in farmer’s markets, including watermelons, olives, wild mushrooms and fresh figs. Take the time to explore the stalls, and compare the quality and prices of the produce. Most produce at the farmer’s markets in Belgrade are organic and fresh from the farmer’s gardens brought over daily from the villages surrounding the city. You will notice the particularly good taste of this produce.

There is also pljeskavica, the Serbian version of a hamburger which can be purchased from fast food restaurants. Most of the fast food restaurants in Belgrade are local and sell baked goods, pizza, sandwiches, and pancakes (crepes). Some may go beyond that, selling Turkish delicacies such as baklava, tulumba and other Greek/Turkish treats.

However, the most famous dish in Serbia is ćevapčići. Also called Ćevapi, they are a traditional Serbian food that is also eaten throughout the former Yugoslavia. It consists of different types of minced meat mixed together, shaped like small sausages, and then put on the grill. It is usually eaten with diced onion, and is very tasty. Do not forget to taste the Karađorđeva Šnicla. It is meat that is filled with kajmak and bacon, and then also grilled. It is another traditional Serbian dish that honors the leader of the first Serbian uprising. Try other traditional Serbian dishes, such as pečenje (roast pork or lamb), veal soup…

Some restaurants are famous not only by the quality, but also the quantity of the meals. Have a meal at on of the old state owned cafés like Beogradsko Prolece or Kafana “?”.

Events

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BITEF, Belgrade International Theater Festival September
BEMUS, Belgrade Music Festival, October
Belgrade Jazz Festival, around October
Belgrade Tango Festival, around November
Rakija fest, December, festival of traditional Serbian distilled alcoholic beverage
International Wine Fair, around February
Belgrade4Youth , last weekend in february
Summertime Jazz Festival, around July
BELEF, Belgrade summer festival, around July–August
Belgrade Beer Festival, around August

Outside Belgrade: Exit Festival (rock, alternative, Techno, Electro, House) Petrovaradin

 

DAILY TRIPS

  • The beautiful city of Novi Sad is nearby.
  • Go to Avala mount for a day in nature. During summer, bus 400 will take you there from Voždovac terminus. Climb the Avala Tower – the view from the top is magnificent.
  • Go to see the famous hill Oplenac(Serbian Cyrillic: Опленац), (town of Topola) south, near Belgrade. There is a Mausoleum of the Serbian Royal family Karadjordjevic (St. George’s Church),museums. You can also enjoy the famous royal Oplenac the vineyard. Surrounding the town of Topola is a famous wine growing region with excellent wine, try it!
  • Go to Vinča or Lepenski Vir archeological sites and see how prehistoric people used to live.
  • In summertime, spend a day and night in bungalows for two on Sava river in Boljevci.
  • If you like visiting monasteries, they are plentiful on Fruška Gora mount.
  • See Obedska bara (Obedska pond or Obedska bog, Serbian Cyrillic: Обедска бара) is a large swamp-forest area and natural reserve stretching along the Sava River in Southern Srem (Serbia), some 40 km west of Belgrade.The pond is an authentic complex of stagnant tributaries, marshes, pits, marsh vegetation, damp meadows and forests.
  • Serbian wine routes.In the vicinity of Belgrade has several offers “wine roads”! Wine roads of Smederevo (southeast of Belgrade), Oplenac (south), or Fruska Goraand Sremski Karlovci (north of Belgrade).
  • Pay a visit to Vršac which features a prominent mountain famous for its vineyards and wine.
  • Go to Sremski Karlovci(Serbian Cyrillic: Сремски Карловци) north of Belgrade, near Novi Sad (old road).Sremski Karlovci have a very rich history, numerous monuments, museums, churches, galleries, the famous wine cellars, and others. Some sites:The Patriarchy residence,Karlovci’s Grammar School – the oldest Serbian high school,The Chapel of Peace – built in 1817,The Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church, etc.
  • See Viminacium known archaeological site, near the village of Stari Kostolac (near Pozarevac) about 80 km south-east of Belgrade.Viminacium (VIMINACIVM) was a major city (provincial capital) and military camp of the Roman province of Moesia (today’s Serbia), and the capital of Moesia Superior. The city dates back to the 1st century AD and contains archaeological remains of temples, streets, squares, amphitheatres, palaces, hippodromes and Roman baths…
  • If you are interested in Serbian spas there are plenty of them, closer to Belgrade, the Bukovička Spa(Ser: Буковичка Бања) -Aranđelovac, Selters Spa(Ser: Селтерс бања)- Mladenovac, and Banja Vrujci (Ser: Бања Врујци)- Mionica- Valjevo, is about 80 km south from Bg.

 

City centre

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city view from zemun district

Belgradozemun2 Belgradozemun3

Last but not least you can see in Belgrade…nato ‘humanitarian help’…

natohelp

 

Visit budgeteurotrip.com

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