Right in the heart of the Balkans is Belgrade, the beautiful, mysterious and captivating capital city of Serbia with many a interesting sight – from the old to the ultra modern, there is everything here to keep you fascinated! What I loved most was the way women were dressed – elegance is the word I’d use here!
The old cobbled streets, the old Russian cars and easy going nature of the Serbians is guaranteed to inspire you to return.
You may have of course been told of the Danube cruises and the forts, but did you know that the oldest supermarket in the Balkans is right here in Belgrade?
Akademski Park (Academic Park)
A smallish park with the most interesting history. Located opposite to the seat of the University of Belgrade, this area is particularly important for its role in history and proximity to the famous Kalemegdan Fortress. This area was part of civil settlement in Singidunum (period of Romans occupation). Dotted with statues of important people, this park is of great interest to the visitor looking for traces of history.
Akademski Park is particularly popular because it is surrounded with several important cultural and academical institutions like Belgrade Philharmonic, Kolarac Hall, universities of philosophy, natural sciences and philology.
This is one of the most interesting things to do in Belgrade – not to mention the fact that it is one of the largest fortress in Europe! Complete with underground bunkers, Viktor Monument, step wells, church, underground cellar to store gun powder, a beautiful park and excellent vantage points overlooking River Save and Danube. This is a MUST visit for every visitor to Belgrade.
These fortifications have been defending the city and the surrounding area from intruders for centuries. Over the years the fortress has been destroyed and continuously rebuilt and today, it’s a very large park and a popular place to spend an afternoon exploring.
From the fortress walls you can enjoy some incredible views of Novi Belgrade and the confluence of River Danube and Sava. The park is full of walking paths, interspersed with canons, wooded areas, fortress walls, churches and terrace cafe and one end you can even visit the Belgrade Zoo that was built within these walls!
Kalemegdan is easily accessible. Simply walk all the way down Knez Mihailova Street where you’ll find the fortress at the end.
The most famous of Belgrade’s attraction is the Church of St Sava, the largest Orthodox Church in the world. From its position on Vračar plateau, it dominates Belgrade’s cityscape. Any time of the day you will find it full of people. The church can hold over ten thousand people at a time.
Dine at Skadarlija
Call it “Bohemian” or “Vintage” – this area of Belgrade is a must visit place for every visitor to the city. The history of Skardarlija can be traced back to 1830 which began with the settlement of gypsies escaping bombings. A rather short lane, it is packed with restaurants that serve local food, art galleries and boutiques. Late into the night, you will find diners here – and stylishly dress women in high heels deftly holding their step on the cobbled streets!
The well-known house of Đura Jakšić, a Serbian writer & painter who lived and died in Skadarlija, has been turned into a meeting place for the poets.
Walk around the city
A five minute walk from the Knez Mihailova Street you come upon this architectural gem of Belgrade. Built in the Russian style this hotel was inaugurated by King Petar I Karadjordjević himself in 1908. Today, it has been completely renovated and in addition to luxurious rooms and suites it also boasts of the iconic café and restaurant which is nearly always full. Even if you are not staying at the hotel, you are free to drop by for a coffee!
Walk around the Cvetni trg (Flower Square)
Walk around the beautiful (and white) Flower Square for a different perspective of Belgrade. The giant oak tree at the corner (by the Maxi Supermarket) is believed to be almost 200 years old and is the oldest tree in Belgrade – while Maxi Supermarket boasts of being the first supermarket in the Balkans and the first also to sell coke! The tree, is a national treasure, by the way!
Remember, people love walking and people love walking their dogs as well. It is very common to see them everywhere. Do not freak out when you see one!
THINGS TO KNOW…
Belgrade is easily accessible from other parts of Europe –
- Budapest: 315km
- Skopje: 440km
- Bucharest: 596km
- Zagreb: 390km
- Bucharest: 450km
- Ljubljana: 490km
- Prague: 730km