We went for a long weekend break to Belgrade in August 2019, to soak up some sun and get away for a few days. The city has such a wide variety of culture – from old castles to ugly buildings from the communist era, which is both interesting and a little underwhelming . This was the 8th country that we visited together, and the 8th glass to add to the collection.
When we landed in Belgrade airport, we had been given very specific instructions to get us onto the right bus into the city:
“When you come through the arrivals hall, you are on level -1. Don’t leave the airport here, but take the stairs to go up to level 0 and then leave the building. On the left hand side, you will see a bus stop for number 72, which takes you across the bridge and is about 45 minutes. A ticket is approximately £1.50 each.”
We managed to get everywhere else on foot (except from our excursions), although taxis are relatively cheap here as well.
What to do
River Boat Cruise – We paid approximately £15 each to float on a large boat down the River Danube for an hour an a half, taking in the view and learning about the history from the water. It was a really relaxing tour where we sat back with a drink and soaked up the sun.
DON’T GO TO THE ZOO – We had a bit of time to kill one afternoon and so we decided to take a wander, when we passed a sign for Belgrade Gardens and Animal Park. We (wrongly) assumed it would be a nice park with some birds and little animals, but WOW we were wrong. There was every animal under the sun here – from lion to Siberian wolf, monkey to elephant, and everything else in between. The cages were the size of postage stamps, and the animals didn’t look in very good condition at all! At one point, we saw people banging bottles against the monkey’s enclosure to try and get a reaction which is when we knew that we had to leave. PLEASE don’t go here!
Belgrade Car and Walking Tour – This was the best activity that we did here, just because of the amount of information that we learned, and the area that we covered in the time. We got picked up from outside our Airbnb in a minibus, along with another small group of 3 people, and then we set off around the city. Our guide was really lovely and knew so much about the history of Belgrade (including the spot where Novak Djokovic trained). We got taken up to an old castle with an amazing view, the Temple of St Sava, and the ‘new’ area of Belgrade which sits on the other side of the Danube. This sightseeing tour lasted 3 hours and cost around £20 per person, which we booked through Get Your Guide.
If you have a hard hat and High-vis then bring it. Obviously that’s a joke, but there seems to be construction work EVERYWHERE in the city. That was one of the negatives, as we feel that it did bring down the beauty of the place.
Day drink – There are a lot of nice areas and bars to sit and watch the world go by with a drink in your hand, but one of the places that we found on the waterfront was a road called Ulica Savsko Pristaniste Stek where we spent a couple of our evenings in the many bars and restaurants.
Party on the floating clubs – We didn’t actually go into any of these, as neither me nor Scott are particularly into the ‘club’ scene, but we passed quite a few whilst we were on the boat tour and they all seemed really lively. One thing we had also heard however, is that a lot of those clubs are run by the Serbian Mafia. I don’t know how much truth is in it, but just be careful if you are planning on spending the evening in these areas!
Where to eat
The first place that we ate when we got to Belgrade was a place called Bistro Grad Hometown Food. This was a really bohemian looking place, and had some nice food including horse tartar, beef carpaccio, pork belly and some amazing ‘ raw cookie’ puddings – one was called psychedelic zebra. Another place that we visited was Plato café restaurant. The food here wasn’t quite as good (we shared a burger and pizza) but they did have quite a nice menu and I think it’s a good place for a quick bite or relaxed lunch. If you’re looking for a slightly more upmarket place to eat, then I would recommend Sofa Restaurant and Bar. It’s right on the water front, the food is delicious, and we didn’t seem to need a reservation when we went so it wasn’t too packed – but there are loads of other restaurants along the waterfront here as well.
The whole area of Skadarlija was my favourite place for eating and drinking. It’s known as the bohemian area of Belgrade, and is a long cobbled road filled with bars and restaurants. It’s a chilled out area that really comes alive at night with loads of different traditional Serbian buskers (which can be a bit overwhelming, especially when they catch eye contact with you and don’t leave you alone until you pay them), and has a variety of places to eat.
Scott and I both feel that it’s a good place to visit for a cheap, warm weekend away, but we’ve seen it once – and that’s enough for us! If you haven’t been here yet, its not at the top of our recommendations, but it’s good to have ticked off our list – and got a shot glass.