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Is Belgrade Worth Visiting?

Belgrade, or Beograd as it’s also called, used to be the capital of Yugoslavia. Now it’s the capital city of Serbia. It’s also the country’s largest city.

Many people online say it’s one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. In 2023 I spent two weeks in Serbia’s capital and asked myself: Is Belgrade worth visiting?

In general, I would say Belgrade is worth visiting if you’re touring the Balkans anyway, you could for example spend some time in Sarajevo first and then go from Sarajevo to Belgrade. And it’s worth visiting in summer. Keep on reading to find out why.

🤩 See the best attractions in Belgrade on this incredible tour!

Where Belgrade got its name

Belgrade, or Beograd as it’s called in Serbian, means literally translated “White City” or “White Fortress”. The name comes from the famous Belgrade fortress which was built with limestone and in contrast to the surrounding nature it appeared sparkling white.

How to get to Belgrade

Belgrade has a big international airport, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. From most countries, it’s probably easiest to get to Belgrade by plane. From the Belgrade airport to downtown Belgrade you can either take a bus or a taxi.

For both options, you need to draw out some Serbian dinars from the cash machine at the airport. We took the taxi and were quite surprised by the steep price of about €50.

In case you come from Sarajevo to Belgrade, I don’t think the plane is the best way. I went by plane from Sarajevo to Belgrade and I wished I had chosen a different option later.

If you want to continue your journey in Hungary afterwards, I don’t recommend getting the bus since the waiting time at the border is insane.

I also made a YouTube video about the best things to do in Belgrade:

8 Top Things to Do in Belgrade SERBIA 🇷🇸

Best things to do in Belgrade

The answer to the question: Is Belgrade Serbia worth visiting? depends on what you like to do in a city.

I visited the most recommended places in Belgrade and some were really amazing, and some are a bit overhyped in my opinion. But now, let’s have a look at things to do in Belgrade.

🤩 I love this tour for visiting all the best places in Belgrade in one full day!

1. Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress

Kalemegdan Park is massive, it’s the largest park in Belgrade. It’s so big that I didn’t even see the Belgrade Fortress inside the park on my first visit to the park. And the Belgrade Fortress, which is sometimes also called Kalemegdan Fortress, is not small by far.

Bridge to Belgrade fortress
Belgrade Fortress

You can visit the Belgrade Fortress itself but the most impressive thing is just the fortress walls in the park.

You get amazing views from the fortress walls of the meeting point of the Danube River and the Sava River. The steepest drop from the fortress walls is a 125-meter-high cliff.

The park and the fortress are free to visit and it’s the perfect place to escape the big city and be surrounded by greenery.

Fountain in the Belgrade Park
Green lung of the city

One more interesting fact before I get into detail about what we did in the park. The strategic location at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava was first settled by the Celts in 279 BCE! More than two thousand years later it’s the most visited tourist attraction in Belgrade.

🤩 I love this Belgrade tour for the professional guide!

2. Saint Petka Church and Ruzica Church

The Chapel of Saint Petka and Ruzica Church are two Orthodox Churches inside the Belgrade Fortress.

Saint Petka Church in Belgrade
Saint Petka Church is a really cute little chapel

Saint Petka Church was only built in 1937 and it’s a really cute little chapel. The outside is very picturesque, especially since it’s surrounded by flowers and greenery. Every inch of the inside is decorated with Mosaic stones, giving the chapel a cool look.

When I visited there was a woman selling water bottles inside. So, you can check out the chapel for a look at the mosaic or if you’re thirsty.

Ruzica church in Belgrade park from the outside
Ruzica church from the outside

Ruzica Church was first built in the 15th century and reconstructed in 1925. It doesn’t look as picturesque from the outside as the Chapel of Saint Petka. It’s worth having a look inside though for the chandeliers.

There are three chandeliers in the church built only with weapons. And having a look at chandeliers made out of bullets and swords is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Belgrade.

chandelier made out of weapons
Chandeliers made out of weapons

So if you like visiting unique churches you should answer the question: Is Belgrade worth visiting? with yes.

🤩 I love this Belgrade tour for the hotel pick-up!

3. The Victor statue

The Victor, also called Pobednik, is a 14-meter monument in Kalemegdan Park symbolising the victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars and the victory over the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War.

Victor statue in Belgrade park
The naked Victor statue in Belgrade on a massively tall pedestal

The statue depicts a nude man holding a sword in the right hand and a falcon in the left hand, they symbolise war and peace.

It was a big scandal at the time of construction in 1928 that the statue is nude. That’s the reason the pedestal is quite tall and it’s in the park rather than in the city center.

View of Belgrade city
Amazing view of Belgrade new city

The statue itself was a bit underwhelming in my opinion, the pedestal is so tall that you don’t even see the statue that well. But you get some great views from next to the Victor to new Belgrade on the other side of the Sava River.

🤩 I love this Belgrade tour for the small tour group!

4. St. Sava Temple

The Church of Saint Sava, or The Temple of St. Sava, is the largest Orthodox church in Serbia and one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world. It is dedicated to the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Saint Sava.

woman in front of Belgrade temple of St. Sava. Is Belgrade worth visiting? Yes if you want to see the countries largest church
St. Sava temple is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world

The iconic Belgrade landmark is modelled after the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Construction started in 1935 but kept being paused because of different wars. It was only finished in 2004, almost 70 years after construction started. The interior which is decorated with 12,000 m2 of gold mosaics was only finished in 2021.

Church from the inside with a lot of golden mosaic
I couldn’t believe that this amazing church is free to visit

St. Sava Temple is really impressive from the outside and from the inside. I couldn’t believe that this impressive Orthodox church is completely free to visit. This church made me lean towards answering the question, is Belgrade worth visiting? with yes.

🤩 I love this Belgrade tour for the small tour group!

5. Explore Skadarlija

Skadarlija is a really famous street. It’s supposed to be this amazing, hip, urban neighbourhood around Skadarlija Street. The bohemian quarter of Belgrade.

I have to admit there are some really amazing murals in Skadarlija Street but otherwise, it’s just one restaurant after the next. So, I don’t quite see why Skadarlija is the second most visited place in Belgrade.

Buildings with buildings painted on it
The murals are my favourite part about Skadarlija

I guess Skadarlija is a great place for dinner, but since I love going to all-vegan restaurants on my holidays, I didn’t eat anything in Skadarlija.

6. Knez Mihailova Street

Knez Mihailova Street is the most popular shopping street in Belgrade. Even if you’re not interested in shopping it’s nice to stroll down the street. You can get some popcorn from a street vendor and listen to some incredible street musicians.

7. Republic Square

The Republic Square is one of the major squares in Belgrade and a popular meeting place. Among other things, you can find the National Museum and the Serbian National Theatre in the square.

Public square with statue of a horse in the middle
Public square is the main square of Belgrade

When we visited the main square there was a live performance of some Serbian folk dancers, which was very cool. You can try your luck and see if there’s anything going on during your visit as well.

8. Nikola Tesla Museum

If you only visit one museum in Belgrade, it should be the Nikola Tesla Museum. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Nikola Tesla and it’s also the final resting place of the famous inventor and engineer.

Nikola Tesla Museum from the outside
Nikola Tesla Museum from the outside

When we visited we had to wait for about 45 minutes until we could get inside. You can visit the museum on your own but I would recommend a free guided tour.

The tours are packed with people and the beginning bit is very technical but you get to see some science experiments.

Make sure to have cash with you, the museum does not take cards or foreign currencies.

Plague of Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla’s ashes are inside the museum in Belgrade

9. Street art

Even though we found some amazing works of street art in Belgrade, I wouldn’t answer the question, is it worth visiting Belgrade? with yes for its street art.

street art of a man looking up to colour dripping down
Beautiful street art next to ugly graffiti

Most graffiti in Belgrade is not art at all, it’s just ugly and a lot of times rude writing. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a European capital with more ugly graffiti writing on the houses.

If you want to see an amazing European city for street art you should visit Valencia in Spain. Valencia is one of the best places for street art I’ve ever been to.

10. Ada Peninsula

Big letters spelling "Ada Ciganlija" in front of a river at sunset
Ada Peninsula is the perfect place to go for a swim in summer

Is Belgrade worth visiting? In summer it is, you can relax on the Ada Peninsula, do some water sports or just go for a drink next to the river. The island Ada in the Sava River was made into a peninsula for easier excess.

Belgrade letters next to flags
The BELGRADE sign is at Ada Peninsula

When we visited it wasn’t really swimming weather, so we couldn’t experience a swim in the River Sava ourselves but we visited anyway.

We simply went for a walk and took loads of pictures of the Belgrade sign and of Ada Stonehenge, Belgrade’s version of Stonehenge. Afterwards, we went to watch a movie in the Ada shopping mall.

rocks in front of a sunset
Belgrade’s version of Stonehenge

From the top of the nearby Ada Mall, you get a great view of the Ada Peninsula and of Ada Stonehenge. There’s a terrace at the top level which you can enter for free.

11. Boat tour on the Danube River

The best way to experience the stunning natural beauty of the Danube River and its surroundings is to do a boat tour.

The tour takes you on a full-day adventure to the Golubac Fortress, Iron Gate Gorge, and Lepenski Vir, providing a fascinating glimpse into the many cultures that have thrived along the Danube River.

The 1-hour speedboat ride along the Danube is a highlight of the tour, offering breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding landscape.

🤩 I love this boat tour from Belgrade for the amazing view of the countryside!

12. Nightlife

Many people say Belgrade is the best place for partying and nights out. But I don’t like to go clubbing at all, so I didn’t. But in case you enjoy it, you might want to answer the question, is Belgrade worth visiting? with yes.

There are countless bars and clubs in the city and next to the Sava River, some are even on the boats.

Things I liked in Belgrade

The best things to do in Belgrade are walking around Kalemegdan Park, exploring Belgrade Fortress and visiting to The Temple of Saint Sava. Especially walking around in the park is best in summer when it’s warm.

flowers in front of a Belgrade fortress wall
Summer is the best time to visit Belgrade

Belgrade seems like the perfect place to have a drink outside in one of the many restaurants, coffee shops or bars either in the city center or on the promenade.

When we visited it was unfortunately too cold for that. Another reason to go to Belgrade in the summer. In summer you can even go swimming in the River Sava and relax on the promenade.

river in the sunset
Sava Promenade is an amazing place in summer

The Serbian people were all really friendly people, especially in the restaurants we went to, which is not always the case in a large city like that.

Belgrade felt very safe and I never felt threatened walking anywhere on my own.

For those points I would answer the question, is Belgrade worth visiting? with yes.

Things I didn’t like in Belgrade

I don’t want to go into politics here, but I do find it very questionable how close Serbia is to Russia. Why people still think that Putin is a great leader and sell mugs and T-shirts with his face on them more than one year after he invaded Ukraine is just beyond me.

T-shirt souvenirs in Belgrade
Souvenir T-shirt with Putin on it

A lot of buildings in Belgrade are, to be completely honest, ugly. You have many buildings from the communist area which are not very pretty on their own and then people scribbling ugly graffiti on them doesn’t help either.

Don’t get me wrong, the buildings are what they are and I think nice street art could improve them a lot but not graffiti like that.

Those were the reasons that would have me say no to the question, is Belgrade worth visiting?

Best day trips from Belgrade

After you have seen everything of interest in Belgrade, you can make your visit more worthwhile with a great day trip.

The most popular day trip from Belgrade is Novi Sad. The second-largest city in Serbia has a lot to offer from a cute old town to a fortress of its own. Novi Sad is an amazing city for a day trip but for a longer stay, I prefer Belgrade to Novi Sad.

How long to stay in Belgrade?

We stayed two weeks in Belgrade which was way too long. I would recommend 2 days to see all of Belgrade. If you visit in summer and want to spend more time relaxing at the river you should spend more time.

Where to stay in Belgrade

The location of your hotel has a big influence on how you answer the question, is Belgrade worth visiting?

We stayed east of the big park and even though the park and the city centre were within walking distance we would have preferred to stay closer to the beautiful buildings in downtown Belgrade.

Our first impression of Serbia’s capital wasn’t the best because of the neighbourhood we stayed at.

When to visit Belgrade?

In my opinion, the best time to visit Belgrade is in summer, then you can go for a swim in River Sava and have drinks outside.

But it has its own charm to visit Belgrade in winter since you can visit the Christmas markets and go ice skating on an outdoor rinks.

When you visit Serbia in winter you can also go skiing in the Kopaonik National Park for example.

Beograd sign

Final thoughts: Is Belgrade worth visiting?

So, once again: Is Belgrade worth visiting? I think the capital of Serbia is worth visiting in the summer months when you can enjoy the park or the river promenade during the day and you can sit outside for a drink in the evening.

In my opinion, there’s not enough to do in cold weather. But if you really like partying, you might answer the question, is Belgrade worth visiting? always with yes since apparently it’s one of the best European cities for partying.

My highlight of Belgrade was walking through Kalemegdan Park with the view of the rivers and the castle, really cool. But in general, I preferred Sarajevo.

🤩 I love this tour for visiting all the best places in Belgrade in one full day!

FAQ about visiting Belgrade

Where is Belgrade located?

Belgrade is the capital of Serbia, a country in the Balkans in Eastern Europe.

What country is Belgrade in?

Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia.

Why is Belgrade called the white city?

Belgrade is called “white city” because the famous Belgrade fortress was built with limestone and in contrast to the surrounding nature it appeared sparkling white.

Is Belgrade ugly?

The architecture in Belgrade is still a remaining part of the communist history of the city, which means most buildings look like concrete blocks. But in the city centre you can also find some beautiful historic buildings.

Read more about Serbia:

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Is Belgrade worth visiting? two pictures of Belgrade, one showing the Saint Sava Church and one the city letters of Belgrade

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