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I also do not know why it’s hard for me to write about my second home, but I’ve put this blog post off for a long time. Maybe that’s because I experience the city more as a local and less as a tourist and therefore I am unsure whether I will give you such good tourist tips. Besides, I did not take the nicest photos of every cafe because I just wanted to enjoy the time with my family and did not want to annoy them.
But Belgrade is such a great city that I strongly recommend that you add it to your travel list! The White City (the literal translation of Belgrade) may not be the prettiest city you’ve ever visited, but it’s not called “Berlin of the Balkans” or “Urban Capital of Cool” for no reason. The city is just dynamic, everywhere you discover something different and people are very hospitable.
So today I’ll show you some nice spots in the city that I personally like to visit. Below I have included links to a few more Travel Guides, as my list is by no means all-inclusive, but is really only a mini-section! I also wrote a separate Belgrade Vegan Food Guide! Forgive me that I do not have a nice photo for every restaurant, as I said, sometimes I just did not want to take the camera out. Here are my tips sorted by district:
We start in Skadarlija, in the “Bohemian Quarter”, which you should not miss. The super photogenic cobblestones and the old buildings along the road exude a beautiful vintage flair. You will find restaurants, galleries and various shops there. But the area is also just a good starting point for your tour of Belgrade!
From Skadarlija you can go for a walk to the Dorćol (pronounced “Dortschol”) district! Dorćol is one of the oldest districts of Belgrade and is known for its numerous small boutiques, cafes and trendy restaurants. Just walk a bit, you will discover a lot yourself. My highlights:
- Jane Doe Vintage Shop – just nice to browse!
- Srna Store – a small, eco-friendly grocery store with freshly squeezed juices and veggie desserts. Here you can also shop a little Zero Waste!
- Blaznavac Bar & Cafe – on Google it says that the cafe only opens at 21 clock, I think that’s wrong since we often sat here in the afternoon in the beer garden and enjoyed fresh mint tea!
- Supernatural – a perfect corner for healthy drinks and snacks
- Marukoshi – Japanese food (check my vegan food guide for more details)
- Smokvica (apparently there are many of them, more about that in my Vegan Food Guide)
- Do not forget to stop by the cultural center Dorćol Platz. On Facebook, you always see which events are happening there. Super hip and urban!
Next, head over to the shopping area Knez Mihajlova. Here, it is worthwhile to stroll along and browse in various bookstores (for example Plato or Akademija). Occasionally you will also find Englishbooks, but generally I like the vibe of bookstores, so this is a big recommendation from me. Also, you will find the Elixir Juice Bar, as well as Moritz Ice Cream, with a good selection of vegan sherbet ice cream (but a bit pricey!) here as well.
On Cara Lazaro Street you will also find this great umbrella installation, which you can see at the top of the title page! It’s located next to the restaurant Manufaktura. As I said, just stroll up and down and explore a few side streets!
From Knez Mihajlova Street you can go straight to the fortress of Belgrade and the park Kalemegdan. You can find the entrance directly at the bus stop “Kalemegdan“. From there you can take a walk in the park, enjoy the view of the new district of Belgrade from the wall in the west and stroll down the center of the park. Along the way you will find various museums, towers, parks etc. The statue “The Victor” – “Pobednik” is one of the most famous symbols of Belgrade. In the park you will also find the restaurant and cafe Kalemegdan Terrace. The restaurant is ok, I found something vegan there, but I don’t think it’s so great.
If you have time, why not make a detour to Gardoš, a neighborhood in Zemun, a district in northwestern Belgrade. The most famous attraction is the Gardoš tower on the top of the hill, with a beautiful view of Zemun and the rest of Belgrade. Do not forget to take a walk along the banks of the Danube. Below the Gardoš hill you will find numerous cafes, especially in the Gospodska street, where you can take a break 🙂
To be honest, this botanical garden is not the most spectacular one in the world. But it offers a quiet oasis in the middle of the bustling city and botanical gardens are in my opinion always worth a visit – if you like such things in general!
Church of St. Sava
Of course, I must not forget the great sight of the Church of St. Sava. As one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, the building is impressive. Construction began in the early 20th century for decades, was interrupted by wars and the exterior work was completed in 2004. The interior is also almost completed, expected to be finished in 2019.
I did not list other typical sights such as St. Mark’s Church, Republic Square or the National Assembly building, as you will probably be able to read about them in more detail in most city guides anyway.
Since I was never really a tourist in Belgrade, but always with my family, I never did a tour with a guide or anything. I can highly recommend this, because you can learn so much about the history and background of the city and ask insider questions!
Belgrade is generally a safe city. The only real danger is the heavy traffic (so ALWAYS look left and right, even if it’s green) and the pickpockets, but pickpockets exist in every tourist town en masse. But be super careful about it. We always use the bus, but I found the bus system rather complicated, but you just have to ask people for help. Because the bus tickets are sooooo cheap. Taxi is also very cheap compared to what we are used to, but you should only use reliable taxi companies like Gold or Pink Taxi or ask at the hotel if they can order one. Otherwise, you can visit a lot on foot, especially the places that I have just mentioned!
A drawback to Belgrade and generally Serbia: Unfortunately, there is a lot of smoking here and smoking is allowed in many cafes and sometimes in restaurants. If you come in summer this is not a problem because you can just sit outside, but during the colder months I just wanted to make sure that I warned you!
Do not forget to check out my Vegan Food Guide for Belgrade!
If you have three days in the city, you can easily visit all of these recommendations, and maybe some more nightlife venues that I honestly do not know so well. Here are also a few more guides:
Here are a few more impressions that will hopefully convince you to visit: