Located at the meeting place of the Danube and Sava Rivers in southeastern Europe is the capital and largest city in Serbia, Belgrade. There is a wide variety of things to do in Belgrade that may strike your fancy, and your itinerary of places to see and things to do can be adjusted depending on your personal interests, but if a full Belgrade experience is what you’re after, this is the travel guide for you.
Like most major European cities, Belgrade boasts a culture-rich history that spans several millennia. The area in which the present-day city stands was home to one of the most important prehistoric cultures in Europe, the Vinča culture, whose origins date back to the 6th century BC. Throughout Belgrade’s vast history, the city found itself controlled by many different groups, empires, and monarchies, as the city’s strategic location made it a prize among opposing groups in 115 wars.
Because of its incredible, 7,000-year-old history, many of Belgrade’s popular sites are of the historical variety, but the city also offers attractions for every type of travel enthusiast imaginable. This is our travel guide of the 15 things to see and do in Belgrade!
Located in Stari Grad, the old town of Belgrade, right at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers, is Kalemegdan Fortress (also known as Belgrade Fortress), one of the most important historical sites in the city. For many of its early centuries, the entire city, which was called Singidunum at the time, was confined to inside the then primitive fortress’ walls, which consisted of earthen bulwarks and wooden palisades before it was fortified with stone later.
The fortress was rebuilt several times in its history after suffering damage and destruction through the Middle Ages all the way to the first and second World Wars.
The fortress, which is free to enter, overlooks both the Old Town and the meeting point of the Danube and Sava Rivers and is also situated very close to Knez Mihailova Street, the main pedestrian street in the city center. Kalemegdan Fortress was named a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979 because of its historical significance and with over two million annual visitors, it is the city’s most popular tourist attraction.
Knez Mihailova Street
In the shadow of Kalemadgan Fortress is the main pedestrian and shopping zone in Belgrade, Knez Mihailova Street. The street is named after Mihailo Obrenović III, a Serbian prince who was assassinated in 1868 and is lined with many historic buildings and mansions that were built between the 1860s and 1880s. Because of this, Knez Mihailova Street is protected under Serbian law as one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks in the city.
This pedestrian zone is considered one of the most beautiful in southeastern Europe and is popular among locals and tourists. At the end of the street is a 165,000 square foot shopping mall that was completed in 2017 after years of construction. The street also serves as the shortest route between the central town square of Terazije and Kalemegdan Fortress.
No list of the top 15 things to do in Belgrade is complete without mentioning the Balkan staple known as Burek, a flaky, doughy pastry that can be made with cheese, spinach, meat, and apples, and is traditionally eaten with yogurt.
We highly recommend you try as many types of burek as you can find, but if you can only try one, the cheese and spinach-and-cheese varieties are outstanding! For some of the best Burek in town, make sure to visit Pekara Toma, a sensational bakery located in the Super Vero Market in downtown Belgrade.
The Church of Saint Sava
Another can’t-miss place in Belgrade is the Church of Saint Sava, a Serbian Orthodox church in the Vračar municipality in the city center. The church was dedicated to the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Saint Sava, whose remains were burned in 1545 on the location where the church now stands, Vračar plateau.
After many years of delays, construction on the church began in May of 1935 but was halted several times due to bombings in the region. The exterior of the church, including its bell, windows, and façade, were completed in 2017. The Church of Saint Sava is a prominent landmark in Belgrade’s cityscape and is now the second largest Orthodox church in the world. It also ranks among the largest religious buildings in the world.
One stop that has to be on your itinerary when you come to Belgrade is Republic Square, a central square and neighborhood that is located in the Stari Grad municipality. The square, which is just one hundred meters from Terazije and connected to Kalemegdan Fortress to the west via Vacina Street, is commonly referred to “the horse place” in the Serbian language and is a popular meeting place for friends.
Two of Belgrade’s most recognizable cultural buildings, the National Theatre and the National Museum of Serbia, are located in the square. The National Museum is the largest museum in the country and houses an extensive collection of over 400,000 objects. The other prominent landmark in the square is the Prince Mihailo Monument, which was erected in 1882. Both buildings and the statue have been named Monuments of Culture of Great Importance and as such, are protected by the Republic of Serbia. Visiting this square is without question one of the top 15 things to do in Belgrade!
Try Bucko Pizza
The next place you have to visit during your stay in Belgrade is a popular pizza place called Bucko, which many people consider the best pizza shop in the city. Locals highly recommended it to us and when you’re in a foreign location, do as the locals do!
Located at Beogradska 56, Bucko’s signature dish is pizza with various sauces and various types of salad on top, including the beef (which seems to be a favorite among locals and tourists), chicken, and sesame. A popular late-night destination for night owls nursing hangovers, Bucko is open until 2 a.m. and is known for its fast and efficient service despite the long lines. You haven’t had a Belgrade experience until you’ve eaten some Bucko pizza!
While in Belgrade, don’t forget to visit Skadarlija, a vintage street and neighborhood that has been known as the bohemian area of the city since the 19th century. It is located just south of Republic Square in Stari Grad and is known for its traditional urban architecture.
This world-famous street is less than 400 meters long and connects Despot Stefan Boulevard with the Dušanova Street, but just because it’s short doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. It is the second-most popular tourist attraction in the city and is lined with great restaurants. These restaurants are the perfect place to try Rakia, which is a strong, traditional fruit brandy that is served in Serbia and Croatia. Each restaurant makes their own specialty Rakia. Along the street, you can try Rakia that is made from quince fruit, plum, apricot, and a variety of other tasty fruits.
Located on the right bank of the Danube River, atop three hills (Gardoš, Ćukovac, and Kalvarija) that share their names with local urban and historical neighborhoods, is the municipality of Zemun. Zemun was once its own town, but it was incorporated into Belgrade in 1934. Various peoples and states have controlled the city and area throughout its history, including the Byzantine Empire, the Gepids, the Austrian Habsburgs, and more.
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Today, Zemun is known for its many small squares, romantic architecture, and a long promenade along the shores of the Danube that contains barges-cafés, an amusement park, and the Hotel Jugoslavija. The municipality, which is also known for having a slower way of life, also contains a market and French restaurants, and in the Upper Town, you’ll find Gardoš Tower.
Comunale Caffe e Cucina
If you want to visit a restaurant in Belgrade that serves high-quality food from a menu that ranges in variety from traditional Italian to succulent seafood to popular Western staples like burgers and barbecue, then a stop at Comunale Caffe e Cucina is in order.
This unique and trendy food hotspot occupies a refurbished Austrian warehouse in the Savamala region of the city and overlooks the Sava River. During the summer, it doesn’t get more perfect than having a delicious meal on their outdoor terrace along the waterfront. With an unbeatable location, fantastic service, and dazzling culinary creations of all types, Comunale Caffe e Cucina has to be on your Belgrade itinerary!
Arguably the capital’s top fine dining establishment, Homa Restaurant is quite different from Belgrade’s other eateries. This exclusive restaurant is known for its modern European fusion cuisine and intimate, dimly-lit atmosphere, which makes Homa the perfect place for a date or a fun meal with friends.
The menu here is seasonally influenced and changes every six months. New, fresh, and exciting selections are added regularly. If you like to have wonderful gastronomical experiences at fine dining establishments, Homa Restaurant is the way to go when you’re in Belgrade!
If a fusion restaurant with Japanese influences is more your style, have a meal at Iguana Restaurant, a combination restaurant and jazz bar that overlooks the Sava River from the Skadarlija district. The restaurant features a live jazz band every night and serves “Fusion Confusion” cuisine, which gives them the free range to do a bit of everything.
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Items on the menu include an earthy mushroom, truffle, and prosciutto soup; steak with wasabi; and salmon soaked in sake. With a fantastic menu inspired by the seasons and Japanese cuisine, live music, and an electric atmosphere, dining at Iguana Restaurant is without a doubt one of the top 15 things to do in Belgrade!
Every traveler needs a comfortable place to lay their head at night, and there is no place in Belgrade more relaxing than Townhouse 27, a luxury boutique hotel located in the charming old part of the city. The hotel is known for its artistic and award-winning design and huge, spacious rooms.
Townhouse 27 also boasts a wonderful restaurant, a friendly and attentive staff, great views of the city, and every modern convenience you could possibly want. It’s also centrally located and just a five-minute walk to all of the city’s main attractions. Townhouse 27 delivers on all fronts and is the perfect place for any traveler to stay during their time in Belgrade.
History buffs looking to visit a fascinating historical site near Belgrade should take a day trip to the Serbian town of Sremska Mitrovica, just one hour east of the capital, where you’ll find the remains of an ancient Roman Imperial palace complex called Sirmium. which has roots dating back to 5,000 BC and thrived for several centuries until its destruction in 582 AD.
One of the most important cities in the Roman Empire and the birthplace of ten Roman emperors, Sirmium includes a large site of ruins that have been unearthed in the Sremska Mitrovica town square; a fantastic museum that displays several Roman artifacts, including beautifully carved tombstones, sarcophagi, sculptures, columns, and coins; a fifth-century Christian Basilica dedicated to St. Demetrius; and the Imperial complex ruins, which are housed in a building in the center of town and include mosaics, a bath system, and the palace walls. The entire site is protected as an Archaeological Site of Exceptional Importance and is a must-see for anyone visiting Serbia.
Located at the point at which the River Mlava empties into the Danube just 90 minutes east of Belgrade is a fascinating archaeological park that encompasses the ruins of the Roman city, fortress, and military camp known as Viminacium. Once the capital of the ancient region called Moesia Superior, this ancient military fort dates back to the first century AD and served at the base for the Seventh Legion Claudia in the fourth century. The 6,000 legionnaires who lived there included the best soldiers from the antiquity period. The city thrived until its devastation by the Huns in the fifth century and its complete destruction just one century later by the Slavs.
The 1,100-acre archaeological site includes the ruins of temples, streets, palaces, amphitheaters, Roman thermal baths, mausoleums, and more. Important finds that have been made there include the unearthing of a 14-inch jade sculpture, a one-million-year-old mammoth skeleton, and over 15,000 graves, the most found at any Roman archaeological site. If you’re a history buff, you have to come here!
The final item on our list of the top 15 things to do in Belgrade is a day trip to Gobulac Fortress. This dramatic, medieval 14th-century castle is located just an hour and a half from Belgrade, in the town of Golubac along the Danube River.
The fortress boasts ten impressive towers, whose main function was to protect three internal compounds. The castle has seen its fair share of battle, including during wars between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, and has been ruled by the Turks, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Serbs, and Austrians over the course of its history. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy the stunning scenery and the view of Romania, which lies just across the river.
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That concludes our list of the top 15 things to do in Belgrade. The Serbian capital and its surrounding area offer a wide variety of fascinating, important, and fun sites to visit, fantastic food, charming historic neighborhoods, top-notch shopping, and much more. This city’s warm and magical allure is sure to entice and enrapture every type of traveler. Book a trip to Belgrade today to experience its delightful charm for yourself!