One Day Itinerary in Belgrade
As we made our plans to travel from Turkey to Germany, we decided to make Belgrade, Serbia, one of our stops along the way. Belgrade is the Serbian capital and is a city with a population of approximately 2 million. The city is a mishmash of different architectural styles and cultures. Belgrade is known for its lively atmosphere and has earned the nickname “the sleepless city.”
Although we were only staying for one night, we did not explore the beautiful nature surrounding the city. However, here is what you can see in do in Belgrade:
Stroll The Knez Mihailova Street
Knez Mihailova Street is the main street in Belgrade. On both sides of the road, you will find shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. It is the central pedestrian shopping zone in Belgrade. Nearby are cultural landmarks such as the National Museum and National Theatre.
The National Museum of Serbia
Before entering the museum, you will see the Knez Mihailo monument (a.k.a “the horse”). If learning about the city’s history is something you are interested in, please visit the National Museum of Serbia. Included in the museum is some foreign art to admire.
- Fee: 300 RSD, free of charge on Sundays
- Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00, Thursday and Saturday: 12:00 – 20:00, Closed Mondays
One of the city’s hidden gems is the Bohemian Skadarlija. It is filled with traditional restaurants, music, and an assortment of unique shops. It is a great place to enjoy rakija or a glass of wine if that is too strong.
For many years, it was most famous for its kafanas (taverns), which attracted Serbia’s most celebrated writers with the promise of rakija. One of the most notable inhabitants of the street was Dura Jakšić, whose house has been preserved.
NATO Bombed Building
Witness NATO Bombing Scars
Back in 1999, the whole country was bombed, and the ruins were left as a reminder of those horrible times. Although it is unsettling to see the scars of the war, it is truly sobering.
Today, the ruins are reinforced to preserve the remains as a resting place and for the world to see.
If you want to read more about this horrific event, visit this website for details.
Nikola Tesla Museum
Nikola Tesla is NOT about the Tesla car! Nikola Tesla, a native Serbian, a scientist that invented the Tesla coil, alternating-current (AC electricity and the discovery of the rotating magnetic field. The Nikola Tesla Museum is dedicated to honoring and displaying the life and work of Nikola Tesla.
- Fee: 800 RDS
- Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 – 17:00, Saturday – Sunday 10:00 -18:00
My husband loves to visit local farmer markets. So one morning, we discovered a corner market on Kamenicka and Kralijice Natalije, where you will find fresh produce and random things such as clothes, shoes, electronics, and a food booth to grab breakfast.
View from Nebet Hill
The Old Belgrade (Kalemegdan) Fortress
Built in 279 BC, the Belgrade Fortress is located in one of the best parks in the city. The word kalemegdan means “white city.” Overlooking from the top of its walls, you will see the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers and view the Roman ruins below. This 124-acre vantage point served as a military outpost since the first century AD. The fortress has been rebuilt several times, with the most recent addition in the mid-1700s.
View from Nebet Hill
Zindan Gate was built in the middle of the 15th century and was the best-fortified entrance into the fortress. Its vaults served as a dungeon.
View from Nebet Hill
The Roman Well is an interesting structure, about 60m deep and 3,40m wide, surrounded by grisly legends. A double spiral staircase leads from its top to the water level.
Belgrade Underground Tunnels were built to protect them against attacks from crusaders from the Danube and Sava Rivers. Over the past 2,000 years, Belgrade has been occupied by Celtics, Romans, Byzantines, Hungarians, Austrians, Turks, and Germans. The best way to explore the tunnels is with a guided tour.
The Victor (Pobednik)
A male figure cast in bronze, with a sword in his right hand and pigeon in his left, is one of Belgrade’s most recognized sculptures standing 14m high and is mounted on a stone pedestal facing Zemun.
The sculpture commemorates the 10th anniversary of breaching the Salonika Front, a great victory achieved by the Serbian Army in WWI. The Victor commands some of the loveliest views of sunsets you can enjoy in the center of any capital city in Europe.
The Military Museum
While visiting the fortress, you can walk over to the Military Museum, where you will see a long line of tanks and old military machinery. Here you can learn more about the history of Serbia, weapons used in military combat, and the battles won and lost.
- Fee: 350 RSD per adult
- Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:00, closed on Mondays
The Ruzica Church was dedicated to the nativity of the Holy Mother of God. It is the oldest church (that is still standing in the exact location) in Belgrade. The church was converted into a military church in 1867 when Serbs took over the fortress. During WWI, it was severely damaged by the Austrians and later rebuilt in 1925. Three cast brass chandeliers hanging inside the church are part of the original church.
In front of the church are sculptures of two Serbian warriors; a spearman from the times of Emperor Dusan and a WWI infantry soldier.
Saint Petka’s Church
This lovely chapel is located in the Lower Town (within the Belgrade Fortress), near the famous ‘miracle’ water spring. The church was completed on St. Petka’s day, a popular religious holiday in Serbia, thus earning its name Saint Petka’s Church.
People from all over Serbia visit Belgrade to have a drink from this spring. It is said to refresh the spirit and help with ailments. Most famously, it is said that the water is beneficial for women and washing one’s eyes as it is to help with sight-related problems.
Inside the chapel are beautiful mosaics that adorn the arches of the church’s walls. It was created by the artist Djuro Radulovic in 1980-1983.
St. Sava Temple
This is probably one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen in the world. St. Sava Temple is a Serbian Orthodox Church and is the largest Serbian Orthodox church in the world. Construction of the church began in 1935, and although it is relatively new, it’s an impressive building to explore.
The church is dedicated to St. Sava, founder of the Serbian church and an important figure in medieval Serbia. The temple dominates Belgrade’s skyline and is perhaps the most monumental building in the city. The church structure has been financed exclusively by donations.
The temple’s main dome rises 70 m high and is topped by the main gold-plated cross raising another 12 meters. The surface area of the ground floor is 3,500 sq. meters with three galleries. There are more than 49 bells in the bell towers and over 18 gold-plated crosses on the domes. The temple can hold 10,000 people at any one time. The basement contains a crypt, the treasury of St. Sava, and the grave church of St. Hieromartyr Lazar.
The façade of the church is designed from white marble and granite. The inner decoration is filled with mosaics, and the center dome contains a mosaic of Christ. Each mosaic piece is about 3 meters wide. You will be amazed at all the details and the beauty of this church.
FREE WALKING TOURS
A great way to learn about Belgrade is by joining one of the many FREE Walking Tours. These tours are guided by licensed, professionals who have worked have worked in tourism for decades.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotels in Belgrade a very reasonable. Due to our limitations on time, we wanted to be near the heart of the city to walk to all the attractions.
If you plan to stay longer than three days, you may want to consider renting the 3 Rooms Apartment, a small but nicely designed apartment. In addition, Republic Square is only 800 m away.
Hotel Opera Garni is a 3-star hotel offering free Wi-Fi near Republic Square in the city center. Each room is equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen TV, with private bathroom.
The most famous hotel is Hotel Moskva which has stunning architecture and impeccable service. Each room is fitted with traditional décor and modern amenities. All rooms are suites which include a flat-screen TV and a minibar. The bathroom consists of a shower and complimentary toiletries. Within the hotel is Tchaikovsky restaurant serving international dishes.
If you stay near Republic Square, you are close to the city center, and most of the attractions are within walking distance. You can purchase a bus pass to help you get around to other sightseeing destinations. Depending on your length of stay as the type of public transportation pass you will want to purchase. Visit the website to learn more.
Of course, you will find a taxi service available as well. A regular fare from the airport to the city should be around 12 USD.
We drove our car, and so we kept the car at the hotel parking lot and walked or rode a taxi to get around.
Belgrade had probably the most unusual ambiance from any other city I have visited in Europe, but it is an interesting place to see from a historical perspective. The country is set to be a part of the European Union in 2024 which will help with their economy and increase tourism. If you are in the Balkans region of Europe, Belgrade should be on your list of cities to visit.