A curated and comprehensive set of recommendations and tips to make the most of your time in the city that never sleeps.
If you haven’t been to Belgrade in the summertime, you’re missing out. The weather is perfect, their outdoor café and dining culture is charming, the nightlife is excellent (including Belgrade’s famous riverside splavs), the women are gorgeous (and guys aren’t bad looking either), people are friendly, open, and many speak English, the architecture is beautiful, and it’s all incredibly cheap. This is a European capital that’s overlooked by far too many. And for people looking to travel prior to the end of Covid restrictions, Serbia’s borders have been open since May 2020.
Wanting to connect with my Serbian heritage, I spent six months in Belgrade during the summers of 2020 and 2021. I loved Belgrade so much that I’m hoping to revisit every summer. Hopefully this list of recommendations and tips will be helpful for your own Belgrade adventure.
Written together with my girlfriend Meena Sengottuvelu, who I discovered most of these places with.
Belgrade’s summertime outdoor café and dining culture is one of the highlights of the city, with endless good places where people will hang out for hours.
- Franš — A romantic, fancy restaurant with a unique garden ambiance. Popular with Belgrade’s social elite including politicians and celebrities.
- Mokum — A romantic place with beautiful views and fancy food.
- Moon Sushi — Reasonably priced and good sushi.
- Viva — A great restaurant/bar on a splav (river barge).
- Kafeteria — Local café chain. The one on Knez Mihailova is great, and its third floor is a popular working spot for digital nomads.
- Pietra Pizza Napoletana — The best pizza in Belgrade. Another good option is Pizza Bar, across the street from Saint Sava Temple.
- Mezestoran Dvoriste — A Greek restaurant that looks uninviting from their sign on the street, but walk through a building to get to the restaurant and you’ll find a lovely garden and excellent food.
- Additional restaurants we liked: Balkon, Plato, Kalemegdanska Terasa (best aglio e olio I’ve had in my life), Mama Shelter, Baraka, Angry Monk, and Soba 207 (a bit out of the way, but they have the best lava cake ever).
- Cheap local eats: Walter, Cevap, and Hleb & Kifle (bakery with locations all over the city).
- Podrum Wine Art — Go to the rooftop wine bar.
- Hilton SkyLounge — Rooftop bar and restaurant with great ambiance and views.
- Boho Bar — Cool vibes, in Kalemegdan.
- Shisha Hill — Super cool hookah bar. Try to go on a Friday or Saturday evening when it’s full of dressed up people (but on those days you’ll need to go early or make a reservation).
- Sinnerman — Rooftop bar popular with locals. A bit hard to find.
- Druid — Speakeasy with great drinks.
- Bar Central — Excellent cocktail bar.
- Bluz i Pivo — Beer bar in a cool spot that regularly has live music.
- Cohiba Atmosphere — A swanky Cuban-themed cigar lounge with excellent Cuban and Dominican cigars, located near the U.S. embassy.
- Slatkoteka — Donut shop with unique flavors and cronuts.
- Crna Ovca — Popular ice cream place.
- Ferdinand Knedle — Unique Serbian dessert. They also have savory varieties.
- Princess Puff — Delicious puff pastries (and nothing else).
- Mandarina Cake Shop is a recommendation from a reader.
- Kalemegdan Park & Fortress — Large, popular park that also includes a zoo. There are several tour operators that do Kalemegdan catacombs tours, but some underground areas might be closed due to Covid.
- Most museums can be skipped. The Military Museum in Kalemegdan park is an exception, and totally worth a visit. If you have an interest in Nikola Tesla, the Nikola Tesla Museum might also be worth checking out. However, it’s small and doesn’t have a ton of information, so it’s probably better to visit with a guide who can go into more details.
- Ada Lake (Belgrade’s beach) — Paddle boats, rollerblades, bicycles, cafés, etc.
- Great War Island — Military outpost and beach. During the summer the military builds a temporary bridge from Novi Beograd, and opens it to the public. Essentially a park and river beach, but the water there is not clean like in Ada Lake.
- Zemun (and Gardoš tower).
- Church of Saint Sava — Under construction since 1935, and only recently opened to visitors.
- Avala Tower and the Monument of the Unknown Hero.
- You can walk between these two, and go up to Avala Tower’s observation deck.
- Avala tower is visible from the city but a bit of a drive out.
- Moskva Hotel — Make sure to try their famous Moscow Šnit at their outdoor café!
- Knez Mihailova — Pedestrian-only major shopping street.
- Skadarska street, in the Skadarlija district — This is the bohemian quarter; a cobblestone street full of traditional kafanas and table-side folk musicians. A bit touristy but definitely worth seeing.
- Srahinjića Bana — Belgrade’s “silicone valley,” so called because of its reputation as a spot where the city’s dressed up and chest-enhanced women go to be seen. It’s a great street with lots of outdoor cafés, hookah bars, etc.
- Ram Fortress. And it’s only a little further to Silver Lake and Golubac Fortress.
- Resava Cave (Resavska pećina) and the Lisine waterfalls nearby are gorgeous and definitely worth the trip.
- Some local recommendations were Niš, Novi Sad, and Uvac Canyon. Sadly, we didn’t get to visit these.
- Serbian Language and Culture Workshop — Offers group and private language lessons for reasonable prices. Can be as intense as you want, or as little as one week with one 90 minute class a day. The teachers here are great.
- BeoArt House — Lovely place with evening sessions. They don’t provide actual classes, but they will help you with whatever kind of art you want to do (drawing, painting, sculpture, calligraphy, etc.) and give you all the supplies, so you can just show up.
- Djokovic’s Novak Tennis Center is excellent for tennis (and cheap). There’s also tennis in Kalemegdan park.
- There are basketball hoops in many public parks. Just bring your own ball.
- Tandem skydiving at Skydive Serbia — About a 30 minute drive from downtown.
- Clubs — Belgrade’s splavs (river barges) are super cool, and a famous source of the city’s nightlife.
- New Theatre Zvezda (Novi bioskop zvezda) — Outdoor theater with free screenings of older, beloved films.
- Shooting ranges — There are several in the city, but we never made it out.
- Stari Grad is the city’s old town and most happening neighborhood. It’s hands down the best area to stay in Belgrade, if you don’t mind paying a little more (prices are quite reasonable). The closer you are to Republic Square (Trg republike), the more downtown you’ll be.
- You are technically supposed to get a White Card (Bela Karta) at your local police station within 24 hours of arrival and anytime you change your address. Airbnbs and hotels are supposed to do it for you automatically, but make sure to check with them. You probably won’t get hassled without one if you stay away from the police, and they won’t check for it at the airport when you leave.
- Banca Intesa has no ATM fee (unlike Raiffeisen Bank which charges RSD 500 per withdrawal).
- Buy rechargeable bus passes at the kiosks, though passengers are rarely checked so you can mostly get away with riding for free.
- Google Maps is okay for bus routes, but it doesn’t include all of them. Download the Moovit app instead.
- Car:Go, Pink Taxi, and Yandex Taxi are their apps for rides (no Uber), but metered taxis are also plentiful in popular spots.
- Food delivery apps are cheap, but will require you to have a Serbian phone number. No Uber Eats.
- Airbnb has lots of options, and there are often discounts for stays of 28 days or more. Much better than trying to get a local apartment rental, which might require a yearlong contract.
- If you need a Covid test for your next destination when leaving the city, there’s a clinic right at the airport that does both antigen and PCR rapid tests. You don’t need a reservation.
What am I missing? If you’ve been to Belgrade yourself (or live there!), share your tips and recommendations in the comments! I’d love to check them out during my next visit.
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