Belgrade is a city that may be difficult to fall in love with at first sight – until you feel its vibe. It is true that practically all foreigners who arrive here for the first time note certain grayness and moodiness. However, after several deep dives into the local life and atmosphere, they inevitably give their hearts to this truly interesting city and return time and again to visit their new home. Yes – it turns into your home as it claims a part of your soul! And there is nothing wrong with that. We will try to focus your attention on some tourist places you should not miss if you arrive in Belgrade for the first time. Our top 15 list will help you get to know this wonderful Balkan city, feel its unique atmosphere, and become truly fond of the local landscapes and culture.
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TOP 15 Tourist Places in Belgrade to See on your First Visit
The capital of Serbia looks just like any other European capital, Warsaw or Bucharest, a city with a turbulent history whose influence is still felt. A superficial look may give you the impression that tourists will hardly find many beautiful places here, but a closer acquaintance will definitely bring surprise and genuine delight.
Tourists often use Serbia as a transit country because it is the easiest way to the Balkan peninsula surrounded by warm seas. But even in this case, we recommend staying here for 2-3 days to visit incredibly interesting places.
The first place that all tourists typically visit upon arrival in Belgrade is the Belgrade Fortress located at the intersection of the Danube and Seva rivers. The building with unusual architecture has survived for more than 2,000 years, and it used to accommodate the population of the entire city. Kalemegdan, a luxurious park near the fortress, looks unusual with its angular remains of antiartillery bastions and ravelins.
Kalemegdan, Skadarlija (the old quarter of the capital of Serbia), and the large Orthodox Church of St. Savva are popular tourist attractions that usually take one day to get to know. Where to go next? Some foreigners find themselves at a loss at this point as they do not understand the very essence of this country and its wonderful capital, and end up considering it boring. But it’s not true at all! We have gathered interesting places and tips given by the Serbs themselves so that travelers could get acquainted with the Serbian atmosphere and identity.
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TOP 15 Things to Do on your First Visit to Serbia
If you want to better understand the Serbian life, priorities and moods of the Serbs, take a good look at Belgrade and literally merge with it by going beyond tourist places. Here is our choice:
- Visiting unknown places that other tourists miss
Standard tourist tours in Belgrade usually cover the “Stari Grad” district where the Church of St. Savva is located. However, we recommend moving a little further to the territory of the Vračar and Neimar communities. They boast an incredibly quiet, cozy atmosphere, giving an understanding of how Serbs actually live away from tourist routes. Well-maintained streets, an abundance of flowers on the lawns, and stylish houses will show you how laid-back the local life is.
A bike ride along the Danube embankment is a memorable moment for tourists, especially if you make a stop for a boat trip. You can admire the breathtaking scenery in exceptionally clean air for many hours without getting enough. Such unknown places can also include the walls of the Belgrade Fortress: the Serbs, especially young people, enjoy admiring beautiful sunsets from here, climbing to the top to spend relaxed evenings in this romantic setting.
- Secret charm of Belgrade
It is, in fact, more mysterious than secret. There are rumors among many tourists that Serbs lead a very moderate lifestyle, do not rush anywhere, and in general, keep away from the hustle and bustle of life. Sit on a bench in the city park, in a café, or in a pedestrian alley, and just look at the people passing by. It will help you catch the rhythm of life in Belgrade, the simple joys of the locals, and just enjoy the tranquility in constantly rushing everyday life. Try to eat and drink like a local by visiting traditional restaurants where Serbian music plays and a bohemian spirit is felt in the air. You will enjoy every second of it!
- Serbian breakfast
A long-standing charm is hidden in fragments of everyday life that become your second nature. To feel this, let’s plunge into the special atmosphere of the Serbian morning. Almost every Belgrader gets up on the breath of dawn to pop out to the nearest bakery and buy hot fresh pastries that emanate a mouth-watering smell. The morning in the ancient city begins with people lining for burek, pita, and kifla with a portion of kefir or yogurt. The Serbs eat this tasty breakfast standing near some street corner or just on the go. This is quite a hearty breakfast that will leave you satiated almost until dinner.
- Long coffee meditations in Belgrade
Another unique feature of Belgrade is the love for long coffee breaks. They are real coffee lovers and are used to large portions of drink. However, if you are not Serbian, we recommend having no more than 3 cups a day as you need to get accustomed to this rhythm. Locals love to drink coffee (usually made in cezve) in a slow meditative manner, exploring the surrounding world, having conversations on various topics, or just watching what is happening around them. As we said, the main thing is the absence of any rush.
- Breaks at wonderful Boho Bar
Boho Bar is an amazing place located above Belgrade Zoo in Kalemegdan Fortress. This is an atmospheric spot where you can continue your leisurely exploration of Belgrade’s unique vibe while enjoying the delightful surrounding views. This is an exclusively outdoor establishment that is open only on warm days, so be sure to catch good weather and fill your senses with beauty.
- Tram No. 2: get into the very heart of Belgrade
Tram No. 2 is a famous tourist route that circles around the center of Belgrade. It will take you 60 minutes to complete the tour, but tickets must be booked in advance. The tram will take you straight to the heart of the Serbian capital to quietly enjoy the surrounding sights. This is a great trip for those who love exploring and learning – or just want to dive into the Belgrade street life.
- Pljeskavica tasting
If you agree that one of the best ways to feel the soul of the nation is by tasting its traditional food, here is a point of start. This national Serbian dish should definitely be tasted (unless you are a vegetarian). A pljeskavica is a large round cutlet with filling which is very popular in the Balkan countries. The size of the portion will surprise you, so don’t order anything else! In fact, this is local fast food – try it once to fall in love with it or at least get acquainted with the local cuisine.
- Visit the Mama Shelter Hotel Roof
Mama Shelter is an ideal place for lovers of evening panoramas located between the main street of Prince Mikhailov and Kalemegdan Park. You can visit one of its 10 rooftops to admire the stunning design of the surrounding buildings, colorful landscapes, and just relax outdoors. One of the roofs overlooks a famous work of street art – graffiti depicting a man with a book.
- Climbing the Avala Tower
The Avala Tower is a unique place to enjoy bird’s eye views. Climb this TV tower to see a 100-kilometer panorama of Belgrade. You can take some snacks with you as the Avala Tower is also a favorite picnic place that you can reach by lift.
- Znak Pitanja: the oldest coffee shop in Belgrade
If you want to plunge into the authentic atmosphere of past centuries and eat traditional Serbian food, Znak Pitanja is a place for you. Enjoy the vintage interior that will take you 2 centuries back in time. Tourists come here to feel the spirit of Serbia, while Belgraders drop in to recall the old times and traditions that may get lost in the fast-paced life.
Znak Pitanja is a traditional Serbian kafana – a kind of tavern where guests used to come to sing, cry, fight, or have a nice discussion. It was built in 1823, and it is the oldest kafana in the city. The owner wanted to call it At the Cathedral because it is located opposite St Michael’s Cathedral, but he was not allowed to do so. He put a question mark on the sign, and the Belgraders thought it was a good idea for a tavern name. That’s why the kafana is called Question Mark (Znak Pitanja in Serbian).
- Visit the Bank of Serbia to have your photo printed on Serbian dinars
Travelers to Serbia can take advantage of a truly unique opportunity to visit the National Bank of Serbia and order the printing of your photo on Serbian money. Such souvenirs can be ordered for friends and relatives as well. You can also take a quick photo and have it printed on small chocolate bars. And it is just 100 meters away from Znak Pitanja!
- Nightlife in the Savamala Quarter
The best clubs, trendy coffee shops and great wine – you will find all of that in the Savamala area. This is a good place to get acquainted with Serbian wines. Foreigners typically know about rakija, Serbian vodka made using a special recipe, but they know little about the unique products of local fruit wineries. These are exclusive local drinks that have been perfected for many years. Prokupac and Tamjanika are considered the best, and if you like muscat wines, we recommend tasting Crna tamjanika (Black Tamyanika).
- Explore the best graffiti
Are you a fan of street art – or maybe just curious? Take some time for a leisurely stroll through the Savamala and Dorcol districts, as well as New Belgrade across the Sava River. Street art in Serbia is not just about random graffiti images – it’s like visiting an art gallery to admire amazing frescoes and portraits! The most famous street art object in Belgrade is the image of a giant man eating a tree, which symbolizes the harm that people do to the environment. The work belongs to the famous street artist BLU from Italy and is located on Pop-Lukina street near Brankov bridge.
Many of these works in Belgrade are dedicated to legendary personalities, including famous football players. You can book a special Street Up tour to explore colorful works in the capital of Serbia.
- Have a rest on the river island of Ada Ciganlija
The picturesque island of Ada Ciganlija is located not far from the city center, and foreign visitors love to spend time here, in this natural enclave. In addition to large well-equipped beaches, there is an abundance of entertainment, such as water sports and some adventurous activities. Ada Ciganlija is an excellent place for outdoor activities, picnics, and an adrenaline rush from unusual competitions on the water.
- Experience the Crazy Yugotour
This is a very unusual kind of entertainment that attracts very few tourists upon their first arrival in Belgrade. But we advise you to stay a couple of days in the capital of Serbia and take some time to drive the legendary Yugo car.
This is not a supercar with any superpowers – or exquisite forms, for that matter. It is more of a historical tour, and Yugo car is a part of the epoch. In fact, Serbian motorists criticized this “technological marvel” a lot and tried to guess the year in which it will finally disappear in Serbia. Nevertheless, the car was very popular in Yugoslavia, and some copies are still handed down to generations. This truly historical vehicle was used by the Yugoslav expedition to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro. During the Yugotour, you will hear why locals have always considered the model to be the worst achievement of the local auto industry.
Tour to Belgrade and close acquaintance with the city
There are tourists that are too fussy about details and find every reason to be dissatisfied with the place, and their opposites that tend to look at the bright side of things. However, what we recommend to our clients is to be open to the new experience that any foreign culture has for you. This is the best mindset to take with you on the way to completing our TOP 15 to-do list!
Once you are through with it, you will feel how amazing and unique this European city is or may even fall in love with its charm. A closer acquaintance with the capital of Serbia will remind you of medium-sized resort cities where life is especially turbulent at night and there is a huge number of beautiful places that are not immediately noticeable. You just have to look at it in detail.
We will not say anything about the traditional sights of Belgrade near the Moscow hotel built in 1908 that has undergone several modernizations ever since, nor will we mention the Serbian version of Sebilj (a drinking fountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina) or NATO-bombed buildings which stand there as a mute reminder of horrific events. Such objects are very popular, so everyone has heard about them.
We emphasize the opportunity to explore the atmosphere of this Balkan capital from within in a meditative manner, become part of it, and notice all the details. In this case, you will aspire for more, and each next visit to Serbia will be a coveted journey. Many foreigners now choose Belgrade as a place of permanent residence due to the lack of haste, and its regular and tranquil pace of life. Discover the Balkan-style serenity, and you will not regret it. Of course, there are things that will take you longer to adapt, and we will talk about them in the following articles.
You will definitely love Belgrade, and maybe you will even decide to settle in Serbia one day. If you do, we are ready to offer you a full range of services in terms of organizing tourist tours and in the field of financial, visa, immigration services, selection of real estate, or organization of relocation for the whole family. For corporate clients, we provide business services in Serbia and legal support. With our help, you will get a hassle-free Serbian experience and enjoy all the treasures that the country may offer you. Write to us to schedule an individual consultation.