Belgrade is both the capital of modern Serbia as well as the former capital of Yugoslavia. Walking along Knez Mihailova, the main pedestrian street in the city center, it is difficult to distinguish Belgrade from any number of other European capitals with many high fashion stores making this area their home. It is largest city within former Yugoslavia and while the downtown area is still easily navigable by foot, it does feel like a larger city than any other in the Balkans. Belgrade is famous for its nightlife with venues located on houseboats and rafts on the banks of the Danube and Sava rivers dominating the scene in summer.
Hedonist Hostel is located in the center of the city and is ideally located. There is a really a nice garden where guests can mingle and socialise, cook barbecues and have an evening drink before heading out somewhere else. The common areas are spacious and cozy and are decorated in a unique but traditional style. There is separate living room and kitchen/dining area accessible from the garden which makes for a very good area to socialise in while cooking and eating or just having a drink and playing some cards. It’s the kind of place where it’s easy to make friends, both with fellow travellers and the staff. Book Hedonist Hostel here!
Hostelche has been designed to be a great chill out place for backpackers and travellers where you can relax after long walks around our city or a crazy night out. At night you may faintly hear violins emanating from the oldest restaurant in the city called ‘?’ (literally ‘Question Mark’) which is located directly next door. Belgrade’s main pedestrian street full of cafes, bars, and shops is less than a minute walk away. Free laundry is provided for stays of at least 3 nights. Book Hostelche here!
Sights and Highlights
Located in the north-west corner of the city center within Kalemegdan Park, the Belgrade Fortress is at the very core of the history of Belgrade. For many centuries the fortress was not an area within the city like it is now, but rather the entire extent of the entire city. For many centuries during the Ottoman rule of Belgrade and Serbia, the fortress represented the border between the east and west, with the Austro-Hungarian empire occupying lands to the west.
There is a free walking tour in Belgrade will include a brief walk through the fortress, there is also a military museum within the fortress grounds that is worth visiting. Perhaps the best way to visit the fortress is by taking bottle of wine to the western side of the fortress, sit atop the walls and watch the sun go down.
This small area is the bohemian quarter of Belgrade, it has a long association with the arts and is considered the ‘artists quarter’ of Belgrade. It is located very centrally and a short walk from many of the hostels in town. It is a fun bubbly, albeit touristy area of Belgrade that saves its best for night-time. At nigh time the Skadarlija inns, or Kafanas will each have at least one string quartet playing music for the patrons. They do this largely in exchange for tips however they use a particular interesting method to receive these tips. The patron is required to plaster the money on the forehead of the musician that they want to play for them. This musician is then required to play in such a fashion so that they are producing enough sweat to ensure that the money continues to remain in place, stuck to their forehead. Should the money fall, the patron is within their rights to retrieve the money due to lack of effort on the part of the musician. As the string quartet moves around the room playing for the patrons, be ready with some money to stick to the musicians head.
There is an excellent free walking tour available in Belgrade that departs twice daily from behind the monument in Republic Square. They also offer paid tours (~10€) to other areas of Belgrade that are well worth investigating.
The National Theatre in Belgrade is a fantastic place to see high quality theatre in an iconic European city at a price not possible anywhere else. Located across the road from Republic Square.
For your fix of cheap ćevapi, this is a very good option. The location is perfect, only a few minutes walk from the Republic Square or Skadarlija Street. The best way to find this place is to follow the map available at the bottom of the restaurants website.
Black Turtle are a collection of small brew pubs in Belgrade that offer a tasty selection of locally brewed standard and seasonal beers. One of these pubs is located close to the southern tip of Kalemegdan Park close to the finishing location of the free walking tour and is good place to rest after the walk.
The english translation for Samo Pivo is ‘Just Beer’. This gives you a good indication as to what to expect when you go to Samo Pivo. The beer selection inside is incredible with beer available from every corner of the globe. There is a bit of a trick to finding Samo Pivo. It is located about 300m south of Republic Square, quite close to the famous Hotel Moscow. Access to the pub is through a subway entrance located on the street, so look out for this rather than a conventional shop front.
Mostly you will be walking around Belgrade, the old town is not that large to require public transport. However if you plan to visit an area that requires public transport, the following choice of transport maps will be very useful.
Getting In and Out
Belgrade is in an awkward location for a backpacker. Its location relative to many of the other popular backpacking destinations in the region mean that it is not possible to avoid a lengthy bus or train journey to reach your next destination. Serbia is well connected by train to Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia, Skopje, Zagreb and many other destinations. Trains depart from the Central Railway station located a short but steep walk to the south-west of the city center in the suburb of Savamala. A very good resource for information on train journeys involving Belgrade can be found at seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Belgrade
Domestically, Novi Sad is another popular backpacking destination. There is no train connection with Novi Sad but there are buses leaving nearly constantly for Novi Sad from Belgrade. A very useful website for finding bus departure times is bas.rs/