A few weeks ago Manu gave you your first guide for enjoying your time in the Balkans with a great article on top things to do in Bucharest. For today, we’ll be moving on to our next Balkan destination and to a place that, as a Romanian, will probably feel the closest to home from all European capitals – Belgrade. If you’re planning on visiting it anytime soon, browse through the following tips and pick your favorites – they’re fresh, just collected over the weekend :)
Especially during summer, Belgrade is a wonderfully animated place. You’ll be able to find things to do at any time of the day, whether you are up for some nice lunch/brunch and a casual stroll or simply want to party until 7 am. While walking around, you’ll notice a mix of influences in its’ architecture which makes is truly special – from Byzatine to Ottoman, from communistic influences to Art Nouveau. Another thing I like, same as in the case of Bucharest, is that it doesn’t have a touristic/commercial feel to it, you can still enjoy the city without being invaded at all times by a huge group led by a floating umbrella :)
Luckily for me and implicitly for you guys, I visited Belgrade through the lens of locals and for that I am truly thankful. Sit back and enjoy your Serbian rakija. I’ll be presenting my best finds and must-dos on your future Belgrade list:
- Ciglana – awesome cultural center in an old brick factory. Experience Belgrade from the heart of its’ artist community, enjoy the ateliers, have a bite at the local kefana and check what concerts/ art galleries are scheduled for the day;
- Tri Sesira – you cannot leave Belgrade without trying out all the delicious traditional food and wines; found just the restaurant that will do the trick;
- Skadarlija neighborhood – after a fulfilling traditional meal at Tri Sesira, continue in the neighborhood with a nice walk or maybe having a coffee at one of the nice small terraces you can find on every corner. I would recommend this as an area where you can find accommodation. If you’re interested in a truly local experience, I would definitely advise choosing Airbnb – there are plenty of nice and decently priced apartments to check out.
- KC Grad – very nice cafe next to an abandoned cultural center, with a strong alternative twist. You’ll find concerts, events, exhibitions in a very laid back environment surrounded by street art;
- Savamala neighborhood – continue your stroll after KC Grad in the wonderful, lively surroundings; Savamala is a booming area in Belgrade, able to show you the city’s evolution from the times of the Yugoslavic war and until today;
- Ada Ciganlija – looking for some piece and quiet in the middle of a park? This is the place where you can lay your blanket :) Overseeing the Sava river and its’ many boathouses, this park is a small oasis in middle of the busy traffic;
- Kalemegdan fortress – the old town, first mentioned in historical documents around 1869 & a small park, beautiful place overlooking the confluence of the two main rivers passing Belgrade – Sava & the Danube. Note: I’ve been told this is supposed to be a very romantic place, perfect for you to take your significant other around sunset :P
- Knez Mihailova – popular and very animated shopping street in the heart of Belgrade;
- Hotel Moskva – beautiful historical building and landmark of Belgrade. This is a must-see attraction where you can enjoy a nice coffee, probably sitting at the same table where sometime in the past Albert Einstein, Indhira Gandhi, Ana Pavlova have had theirs.
- Hot Mess – pool club by day, party place by night; this is one of the many examples of how partying should be done :) Walk along the Sava river and pick your favorite place – you’ll find a huge variety of clubs, usually in boathouses of different shapes and sizes, playing all music genres;
- Boat ride on the Sava river – this I would ideally do in the evening as you’ll get to see a much nicer view of Belgrade’s panorama;
Last but not least, you need to spend some time chatting with the locals and enjoying the wonderful Serbian hospitality & kindness. I might be biased as Serbians have always been Romania’s across-the-river friends & neighbors but they do make you have an excellent time every time you visit. Have a drink all together and don’t forget to say “Cheers” or “Iveli” [jeev-eh-lee] before downing that rakija! Hoping that this will be helpful on your next trip to Belgrade, I’ll wrap up and think of what my next Balkan destination will be.