Best things to do in Belgrade: Our perfect 1 to 3 days itinerary

Tt bistro Belgrade

Serbia is one of my favorite destinations in Eastern Europe. Belgrade, one of the largest and most populous cities in the Balkans, the first place you think of when traveling to Serbia.

I’ve been to Belgrade twice this year. Luckily, I had plenty of time to explore this wonderful city. In this article, I would like to share the best things to do in Belgrade in 2024.

Article contents

  1. Is Belgrade worth visiting?
  2. 15 things to do in the city
  3. Some places to add to your itinerary
  4. Belgrade itinerary for 1–3 days
  5. Belgrade’s best cafes and restaurants
  6. A few things to know about Belgrade
  7. Where to stay in the city?

Speaking from experience — is Belgrade worth visiting?

Absolutely! The capital of Serbia has everything you need for a perfect vacation. Historical buildings and interesting museums will fill your cultural itinerary, while rich cuisine and excellent coffee will fill your stomach. If you want to have fun, Belgrade has one of the best nightlife in Europe. And the prices for all of this are very affordable. What else can you wish for?

How many days are enough for Belgrade?

Belgrade Waterfront Moritz eis Belgrade

Belgrade is a big city, so you have to decide to what extent you want to explore it. Of course, you can manage to visit all of the top attractions in one day, but where is the fun in that?

I’d say you need at least three days to check out the most popular spots as well as some hidden gems further from the city center. However, there are so many things to do in Belgrade (which I’m about to cover) that you can enjoy time here for a week. I loved every minute of my visits to Belgrade, so my answer to “How many days are enough for Belgrade?” is as many as you can afford.

So, I think Belgrade is worth visiting just so you can:

1. Explore the Belgrade Fortress

Belgrade Fortress

The fortress is the place to feel the history of Belgrade — its construction dates back many centuries. The city walls have several entrances leading to Kalemegdan, a large park with plenty of activities.

There are lots of sculptures and monuments to marvel at. The one that stands out as a visual symbol of Belgrade is the Victor Monument, which is also a great spot to watch the sunset.

If you travel with kids, this is one of the places to visit in Belgrade. There are several playgrounds, a dinosaur park, and a zoo. Some cafes can be found within the city walls — for lunch on the terrace head to Kalemegdanska terasa. However, my personal recommendation would be taking a walk to Stories café, located next to the fortress. It’s one of my favorites in the whole Belgrade and you’re likely to claim the same once you try their khinkali.

Open 24/7 the fortress is free to enter, but some of the facilities have their own working hours and entrance fees. You can find all of the information and a map on the website.

2. Take a peek into Ruzica Church

Belgrade Streets Ruzica Church

I feel like this lovely chapel in Kalemegdan deserves a special mention. The interesting detail to look at inside is the two chandeliers made of trophy weapons and gun shells. Just like the country itself, the church has quite a turbulent history: The site was heavily damaged during the First World War and had to be reconstructed. The soldiers made the chandeliers with the materials they had at hand. It somehow fits the occasion — the church was originally built to serve as a military temple.

There are also some beautiful frescoes inside and sculptures of Serbian soldiers at the entrance, which are cast from cannon shells. Even though Ruzica Church is located right in the heart of the Belgrade Fortress, it might be overlooked due to its small size and ivy-covered facade. The working hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There is no entrance fee, so Ruzica Church is an ideal option for those looking for free things to do in Belgrade.

3. Hang out in Skadarlija

skadarlija

Skadarlija is a small neighborhood in Belgrade Old Town. It has been a popular hotspot for artists and intellectuals to hang out for the last century. This bohemian quarter with cobbled streets has also become a major tourist attraction and is sometimes referred to as Serbian Montmartre. If you are looking for a vibrant place in Belgrade, this is your choice.

  • I love starting my day in Belgrade by popping into Skadarlija’s famous bar Zaokret for breakfast.

Skadarlija is a nice area to walk as the streets are pedestrian-only. Houses are decorated with graffiti and flowerpots. A good idea is to chill in one of the cafes or wine bars there. Tri Sesira has a nice terrace and live music. This is also a restaurant to slip into a meat coma — they mostly serve grilled meat, and the portions are big.

4. Have fun at Ada Ciganlija

ada ciganlija

One of the best highlights of my journey is visiting this big island. Swimming in a city river usually sounds like a bad idea. To my surprise, the water was super clean. The beach is small for the number of tourists and locals there, but you will find a spot. There are many cafes on the promenade, but I would recommend paying a visit to Gusti Mora for excellent fish meals.

If you are traveling with family, Ada Ciganlija is a perfect destination. There are so many activities there, so don’t limit yourself to sunbathing. Your children would love the variety of adventure parks the island has to offer — from ziplines to water trampolines. There are numerous sports facilities, which include golf courses and tennis courts. And how about some kayaking? You can also simply take a walk or rent a bike.

If you come to Belgrade in winter, a small ice-skating rink is available to the public there free of charge.

5. Stroll down Knez Mihailova Street

Knez Mihailova Street Knez Mihailova Street 1

Another great location for a stroll is Knez Mihailova street. It is inevitable that at some point you end up here as it connects two major points: the Belgrade Fortress and the Republic Square, a big public-transport hub in the city center. You will encounter street artists and performers along the way, some of them play traditional Serbian music.

Knez Mihailova is not only the main pedestrian street in Belgrade but also the most popular shopping zone. Chain stores and cafes dot the area. Apart from shopping, you can check out some historical landmarks like:

  • Knez Mihailo Monument,
  • the National Museum,
  • and the National Theater.

For those searching for things to do in Belgrade in winter, the Republic Square stations a wonderful Christmas market.

6. Learn about the man

Belgrade sign

You guessed it right! Nikola Tesla is an iconic figure in Serbia. You will notice it as soon as you fly to Belgrade — the local airport is named after him as well as one of Air Serbia’s aircraft.

And this is only the beginning: His face can be seen on 100 bills, graffiti, and even beer bottles. The place to learn more about this inventor and electrical engineer is Nikola Tesla Museum — it will shed light both on his life and professional achievements.

  • Working hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., except for Monday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • However, the museum can only be visited with a guided tour — English or Serbian. You can check the schedule online.

The downside of it is that you cannot book in advance — you have to pray for availability and pay on the spot (800 RSD, cash only). In high-season months, the groups are large, which spoils the impression a little bit. Despite all this, I think the museum is worth visiting, especially with kids — there are some fun experiments at the end of the tour.

7. Marvel at the magnificent St. Sava Temple

st sava

In total contrast to the small and old Ruzica Church comes the mighty and relatively new Temple of Saint Sava. In fact, it is one of the largest Orthodox Churches in the world, which is able to accommodate up to 10,000 people.

If you have ever been to Istanbul, you will see the resemblance to Hagia Sophia. The impressive exterior is not the only worth seeing part though — you will find plenty of artworks to stare at inside.

St. Sava Temple is one of the best things to do in the city. It is free to visit and open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Listening to the choir is definitely worth experiencing there — the service schedule can be checked on the website. And don’t miss the stairs to the magnificent crypt with golden ceilings and stunning chandeliers!

8. Chill on Belgrade Waterfront

Belgrade Waterfront 2 swans, waterfront

Belgrade has a long promenade from the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers to Gazela Bridge. It is a popular place to take a walk and eat out. There are many cafes along the promenade to spend a pleasant evening with great views of the river. My recommendation is Comunale Caffe e Cucina, a stylish restaurant that was listed in the Michelin guide. If you want local food, head to Ambar nearby.

How about keeping the evening going? Partying at splavovi (floating river clubs) is one of the best things to do in Belgrade at night. The venues may seem strange to a foreigner, as usually there is no dance floor and you are served by a waiter. That is why a good idea is to make a reservation beforehand, especially on the weekend. For starters, try one of the most popular nightclubs Na Vodi Kafana.

For a more down-to-earth experience, you can always join a boat cruise which is, at least to me, the best kind of organized tours in any city in the world:

9. Admire various architectural styles

Streets of Belgrade

What is Belgrade famous for? It is home to a mix of architectural styles from different times and cultures. You will find a little bit of everything in the city: Mediterranean, Oriental, Central European, and socialist.

I have already mentioned several architectural wonders in the article, let me add some more to your list. Top things to see in Belgrade:

  • Belgrade Fortress
  • St. Sava Temple
  • Republic Square (the National Museum, the National Theater, and Knez Mihailo Monument)
  • St. Mark’s Church (an outstanding example of Serbo-Byzantine style!)

st mark's cathedral

  • Princess Ljubica’s Residence (a former family residence of a Serbian prince, now a museum)
  • Genex Tower or Western City Gate (two skyscrapers connected with a bridge)
  • White Court (the only royal palace in the city that is preserved in its original form)
  • Millenium Gardos Tower (a small red tower with a balcony built by Hungarian architects)
  • Captain Misa’s Mansion (a residence that belonged to a famous philanthropist, now an administration of the University of Belgrade)
  • Avala Tower

10. Enjoy the view from Avala Tower

The tallest tower in the Balkans, one of the finest examples of Brutalist architecture in Belgrade, looks like a big tripod. The original version was destroyed by NATO bombardment, the new one was opened only in 2010.

Avala Tower stands on the namesake mountain, so you can get breathtaking views even from the ground level, let alone from the observation deck.

Avala Tower is a must-see attraction, but due to its location, it better fits those looking for things to do in Belgrade in three days. The distance from the city center is about 18 km. It is possible to get there by public transport (401 bus), but I recommend taking a taxi (around 2000 RSD) to save time. The ticket to the top of the tower will only cost you 300 RSD.

11. Have a picnic in Topcider Park

Park in Belgrade

Topcider Park is a great choice for a picnic — a big green area is far from the hustle and bustle of the city center. You will see one of the oldest plane trees in Europe and the Residence of Prince Milos there. If you want to check out the interiors of this 19th-century building, the ticket costs 200 RSD.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the high season and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the rest of the year. Monday is a day off. I recommend taking tram 3 for a nice ride from the city center to the park.

12. Shop at Zeleni Venac

Money in Serbia

My personal favorite among things to do in Belgrade Old Town is visiting one of the city markets Zeleni Venac. I love buying fresh fruits and vegetables and talking to locals. Zeleni Venac is called the “Queen of markets” and has the best prices in Belgrade. This is also a great place to try bureks (Serbian pies) at one of the pekaras (bakeries).

If you are interested in things to do in Belgrade at night, you should come to the Night Market. This is a fair where you can try Serbian meals and drinks, listen to live music, and buy handmade souvenirs. The events are held from time to time at different city markets. You can check for updates on their Facebook page.

13. Visit interesting museums

the museum of yugoslavia

Nikola Tesla Museum is not the only suggestion for Belgrade to-do list. The city has a big variety of museums. Let me highlight some of them.

National Museum — historical paintings, sculptures, and artifacts.
Entrance: 300 RSD (free on Sundays!)
Working hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Thu, Sat 12-8 p.m.; Monday — day off)

Zepter Museum — contemporary Serbian art.
Entrance: 200 RSD (free on Sundays!)
Working hours: 12-8 p.m. (Thu 12-9 p.m; Sat, Sun 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Monday — day off)

Museum of Yugoslav History — a mausoleum of former Yugoslavian President Tito and a collection of his gifts.
Entrance: 400 RSD
Working hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Monday and Tuesday — days off)

Museum of Aviation — more than 200 aircraft from different times.
Entrance: 850 RSD
Working hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Note: temporarily closed for renovation

14. Don’t miss the oasis

Another great spot to take a break from the city and hide from the Sun is Jevremovac Botanical Garden. The park is tucked away right in the heart of Belgrade and has a Japanese garden and a greenhouse with tropical plants. I love to explore nature, so for me, this is one of the best offers on what to do in Belgrade. The ticket costs only 300 RSD. The garden is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

15. Take photos of Belgrade street art

student looking at the wall graffiti man eating a tree graffiti

The city is dotted with graffiti — you will see them almost everywhere and close to many of the things to do in Belgrade, Serbia. In the Old Town, you can find a lot of works in the Savamala and Dorcol districts.

Let me give you some ideas on what to see from the local street art scene:

“Student Looking at the Wall” by Perica Donkov. It’s the first large-scale mural in the city! Location: Rajiceva Street (just around the corner from Knez Mihailova)

“Giant Man Eating a Tree” by BLU — a famous environmental message from an Italian artist. Location: 6 Pop Lukina Street (1 min from Princess Ljubica’s Residence)

“Waiting for the Sun” by Aleksandar Macasev — a witty work addressing social issues of the neighborhood. Location: 51 Karadjordjeva Street (not far from Belgrade Waterfront)

“A Girl with an Umbrella” by Cedomir Vasic — a beautiful piece with a newer look-alike copy on the opposite wall. Location: 40 Terazije Street (5 minutes from Zeleni Venac market)

Some places to add to your itinerary

zemun

If you have more than three days in the city, you might want to explore other parts of Serbia. Believe me, this country has some wonderful destinations. But first, let’s figure out how to get around Serbia:

  • Use public transport. The cheapest way to travel in Serbia. The buses and trains to the most popular destinations are frequent, but some of the locations cannot be reached by public transport.

Side note: In 2023, Belgrade introduced a bit weird way of payment for public transport. You have to have a local (!) sim-card with SMS plan (!!) and have a proper balance (!!!) to send a text message thus paying for your ticket. Alternatively, you can visit Moj Kiosk to buy a ticket but there are only 5 of them for the whole city.

  • Rent a car. Rentalcars has offers from major car hire brands all in one place. In the high season, prices go up fast, so you better book in advance.
  • Book a guided tour. Some of the best tours are offered on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Day trips from Belgrade:

  1. Novi Sad. The most popular choice and the second biggest city in Serbia. Historical landmarks like Petrovaradin Fortress and a mixture of Serbian and Hungarian architecture. Home to the famous EXIT musical festival, which happens every year in July.
  2. Fruska Gora. A large national park around the namesake mountain. Dozens of ancient monasteries in the region like Krusedol Monastery with beautiful frescoes. Perfect for hikers.
  3. Drvengrad. A lovely ethno village with traditional Serbian architecture. It was initially built by Kusturica for one of his movies and stations Kustendorf film and music festival annually in May.

Things to do in Belgrade in 1 to 3 days

How many days do you need in Belgrade? I think three days is a minimum. If you have less though, no worries — I made itineraries depending on the length of vacation. I tried to sort them by the best experience in the city so that you can visit as many must-see attractions as possible. I also included great restaurants that are close to the landmarks. If you have something else on your mind, you can always customize the routes according to your preferences and comfort.

Day One.

  • Knez Mihailova Street — look at the National Museum, the National Theater, and other historical buildings along the way;
  • Belgrade Fortress — explore Kalemegdan park, visit Ruzica Church, and enjoy the views of the Danube and Sava rivers;
  • Mama Shelter — have lunch on the rooftop and look at the oldest large-scale mural;
  • St. Sava Temple — go down to the crypt;
  • Nikola Tesla Museum — don’t forget to check the tour schedule;
  • Skadarlija — stroll this lively street in the evening;
  • Tri Sesira for live music and terrace or Iva New Balkan Cuisine for a peaceful dinner further from the crowds.

Day Two.

  • Jevremovac Botanical Garden — enjoy nature;
  • Millennium Tower — check the other side of the city, the Zemun neighborhood, and feed swans on the promenade;
  • Saran — for seafood lunch;
  • Ada Ciganlija — have fun at one of the adventure parks and sports facilities or simply swim and sunbathe;
  • Gusti Mora for dinner or Gavez Club for drinks;
  • Belgrade Waterfront — take a nice walk;
  • 20/44 Club — party at splavovi (a floating river club).

Day Three.

  • Zeleni Venac Market — buy some fresh fruits, pastry (burek or pljeskavica), and drinks;
  • Topcider Park — have a picnic and visit the Residence of Prince Milos;
  • Avala Tower — enjoy the panorama;
  • Museum of Yugoslav History — count all of the presents Yugoslavian President Tito received during his rule;
  • Mezestoran Dvoriste — have dinner on a nice terrace.

Food in Belgrade — our gastronomic to-do-list

coffee belgrade specialty local food in Serbia Belgrade

Serbian cuisine is hearty. It has a lot of grilled meat dishes to offer, which is not always what you want on a hot summer day. I tried to mix it with fresh drinks and vegetables. You can also try seafood — it’s pretty good there. Vegetarian meals in Belgrade are hard to find, but there are some options like ajvar, gibanica, or bureks with spinach or cheese.

First, let’s find out what is what and then move on to my favorite restaurants in the city:
🟡 Gibanica — a pie with cottage cheese and eggs;
🟡 Burek — pastry with meat, cheese, potato, or spinach;
🟡 Ajvar — sauce made of bell peppers and eggplants;
🟡 Kajmak — clotted milk cream. Used as a spread or a side dish;
🟡 Sarma — cabbage rolls with minced meat, rice, and tomato sauce;
🟡 Cevapi — basically small Serbian kebabs;
🟡 Pljeskavica — a patty made of pork, beef, and lamb. Served in a sandwich or as a main dish;
🟡 Slatko — sweet fruit jam (usually strawberry, plum, or cherry);
🟡 Ustipci — donut holes. Usually served with slatko or kajmak;
🟡 Rakija — Serbian vodka.

Worth visiting cafes & bars in Belgrade:
✔️Radost Fina Kuhinjica — for vegetarians
✔️TT Bistro or Zaokret — for a delicious breakfast
✔️Iva New Balkan Cuisine — for local food with a modern look
✔️Znak Pitanja — for snacks at kafana (a traditional local bistro with coffee, alcohol, and snacks)
✔️ISTOK — for Vietnamese cuisine
✔️Walter — for authentic and relatively cheap Serbian food
✔️Tri Sesira — for live music and entertainment
✔️Samo Pivo — for beer lovers
✔️Gavez Club — for rakija and vibes
✔️Kafeterija — for a quick snack and a cup of okay-ish coffee
✔️Hotel Beograd Café, DRIP, Chernyi Cooperative Coffee Roasters — for a cup of excellent coffee

A few more things to know about Belgrade

city center of Belgrade

Let me summarize everything you need to know before traveling to Belgrade and answer some popular questions.

1) The best time to visit Belgrade is Spring and Autumn — the weather is pleasant, and there are fewer tourists than in summer. I visited in June and July, and it was super hot for me. Still, summer is ideal for open-air parties — the temperature is comfortable in the evenings. I wouldn’t recommend only winter, as I feel like Belgrade is perfect for chilling outside and eating out on the terraces. Plus, in winter, there’s a constant smog from the imperfect house heating system.

2) You can easily find a cheap flight to Belgrade from major European cities as Wizzair is a frequent guest at Belgrade’s airport.

3) The majority of apartment buildings in the central Belgrade (Vracar and Dorcol districts) are old, but it’s not that big of a problem unless you use an elevator. These kinds of elevators — with the doors that you need to open and close with your own hands — scare me so much that I prefer to climb the stairs:)

4) Serbs are heavy smokers. Cigarette smoke in the cafés is commonplace.

5) The currency of Serbia is the dinar (RSD). The most popular currency for exchange is the euro, but you’ll find long lists of rates for other popular currencies at almost every menjacnica (exchange offices). Some of the offices have an exchange fee, so make sure to ask about it beforehand.

€1 ≈ 117 RSD
$1 ≈ 107 RSD

6) Don’t get too many dinars at the airport — the rates there are lower than usual. Exchange enough to get to the city. The taxi ride to the city center usually costs around 2000–2200 RSD (actually, some of them accept credit cards). Public transport is cheaper — 150 RSD for a bus or 400 RSD for a shuttle.

7) The best way to get from the airport to Belgrade city center is the A1 minibus shuttle — it is cheaper than a taxi, and the ride is usually only about 30–40 minutes. If you are on a budget, take bus 72, which takes longer, but gets you to the city center as well.

8) Taxi is the most comfortable way to get to the city from the airport, but make sure not to overpay. We got warned by hotel clerks that if you catch a taxi on the street, you are likely to pay way more than you should. The local government even came up with fixed rates for the rides from the airport. To avoid being scammed in the city, use taxi apps. The most popular one is CarGo.

9) If you get lost or confused about anything, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most young people speak perfect English.

10) Tap water in Belgrade is safe to drink. Make sure to have a bottle to stay hydrated during the day, especially in summer.

Is it safe to travel to Belgrade?

Don’t worry, you’ll be fine! Belgrade is a safe city — the crime rate is low. Locals are very friendly. I had only positive interactions and good vibes in Belgrade. However, it is never a bad idea to exercise common sense: Always keep your money and valuables secure. My only advice is that I wouldn’t necessarily touch on wars and politics with locals — it seems like a sensitive subject.

Where to stay in Belgrade?

Where to stay in Belgrade

As well as making plans on what to do in Belgrade, it is very important to choose accommodation wisely. The right location gives you a chance to save time and have a comfortable stay in the city.

For short-stay travelers, I recommend staying in Dorcol. It is a neighborhood in Belgrade Old Town, which means you will be close to must-see attractions and most of the popular restaurants. If you prefer accommodation a little bit further from tourist crowds, look for options in Palilula and Vracar neighborhoods.

The average price for a night is around €60, which is pretty cheap for European standards. Belgrade has everything from amazing budget-friendly hostels to luxurious 5-star hotels. Let me suggest a few options:

  • Budget-friendly: NapPARK Hostel — from €20
    A cozy hostel located in Belgrade Old Town, within walking distance to Knez Mihailova street. The host is very friendly, and there are curtains for each bunk bed.
  • Mid-range: San Art Floating Hostel — from €50
    A great hotel for a unique “floating” experience in Belgrade. You get to enjoy the views of the river and the Belgrade Fortress. Breakfast included.
  • Vacation with style: Hotel Moskva — from €140
    The facade and the interior have luxury written all over it. The location is excellent, minutes away from the Republic Square. Free spa access included.

For more information and tips, check our main article that is yet to come — Where to stay in Belgrade? 5 Best Neighborhoods + 10 Hotels.

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