Rediscover your joie de vivre in Serbia’s “White City”.
Belgrade has something for everyone who visits, whether you are looking for history and tradition, or for legendary nightlife. Serbia’s capital lies at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers and shows many influences, including Turkish, Mediterranean and Communist. The most pleasing traditional architecture is to be found at Kalemegdan, where you can stroll amongst Orthodox churches, Turkish Baths and Moslem tombs. In this area, Skadarlija is a vintage street often referred to as Belgrade’s answer to Montmartre; here you can eat rihja corba (a fish soup), kajmak (a local cheese) and ajvar (a red pepper spread) whilst listening to Starogradska, the traditional music of Serbia. For a more cosmopolitan atmosphere, soak up the café culture of Strahinjca Bana. For night-life, there are many clubs open until dawn; Belgrade is regarded as having one of the most “happening” scenes in Europe for young hedonists.
Go to learn about the turbulent history of the Balkans, from the 16th Century Suleiman the Great to General Tito during the Communist era, to Slobodan Milosevic in the modern era. Go for the many shopping centres and modern architecture of New Belgrade or the traditional buildings of Kalemegdan.
When to go?
Belgrade has a moderate continental climate, with temperatures reaching 22°C in July and sinking below freezing in December. Belgrade Beer Festival attracted 650,000 people in 2009 and can be enjoyed every August. The Summer Festival spreads over July and August. The Exit Festival, for lovers of contemporary popular music, can be enjoyed in July. October sees the Music Festival (classical, opera and ballet) and the Jazz Festival.
How to get there?
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG) lies 20km west of the city and serves 40 worldwide destinations, principally through the national airline, JAT. Low Cost Carriers have failed to make any inroads yet, so air travel may be more expensive than with comparable destinations. From airport to town, take the shuttle bus for 3 Euros; beware taxi drivers whose cabs do not have roof-signs as they will not meter the trip and may overcharge you.
If renovation has been completed by the time of your trip, visit the magnificent National Museum, whose 400,000 objects includes works by Titian, Matisse, van Gogh and Picasso. The Military Museum has a display ranging from Roman swords to parts of a 2007 USA F117 stealth bomber. There are also museums of Aviation, Ethnography, Contemporary Art, including works by Warhol, and African Art. If you begin to suffer from urban malaise, slip down to Ada Ciganlija to sunbathe at 7km of beaches on the River Sava.
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