The Serbian capital of Belgrade sees far fewer tourists than it should, with many would-be visitors opting to travel to neighbouring countries rather than exploring the gritty charms of the former capital of Yugoslavia. This means that there aren’t always a lot of people searching for a Belgrade itinerary to help them plan a trip.
This is a real shame, however, because Belgrade is one of the most interesting, vibrant and dynamic cities in Europe and desperately deserves more visitors. We’ve visited Serbia’s capital on numerous occasions over the years and the city continues to surprise us with a wealth of interesting things to do and a social scene that is rivalled by few cities in Europe. Though it is not instantly beautiful on the surface, Belgrade has a tonne offer visitors no matter how long you choose to visit.
Having been to Belgrade a number of times and having spent many weeks exploring the city, I have figured out the best things to do in this edgy capital to help you plan a fantastic trip whether you have one, two, three days or more to devote to your Belgrade itinerary, I can assure you that Serbia’s capital will not leave you disappointed.
How Many Days in Belgrade?
Before I dive into the Belgrade itinerary that will leave you falling in love with the fantastic Serbian capital, we need to discuss how many days you should spend in Belgrade. While you could certainly see all of the main tourist and historical sites within the span of a single day, I would say that Belgrade is best experienced if you give it a bit of time. However, if you only do have one full day to spend, I would still recommend visiting Belgrade.
If you want to get a thorough view of the tourist sites, be able to visit a museum or two, and see more than just one part of the city, then plan to spend 2 days in Belgrade at least. While you will still have a pretty packed itinerary and not really get a big chance to spend much time enjoying the pace and energy of the city, it is still a good amount of time to spend to be able to get to know Belgrade.
If you’re short on time but want to get the most out of your itinerary, then I would recommend spending at least three days in Belgrade. This will allow you to do everything that I mention in days one and two of this itinerary while still allowing you some flexibility. You can either slow down on the sightseeing and spread it all out over three days, opt to go on a day trip, or even dig deeper into the city’s history or explore some neighbourhoods that few tourists take the time to venture to.
As I said earlier, however, it doesn’t matter how long you plan to spend in the city as I’m certain you will leave longing to return.
Getting To and Around Belgrade
Now that you likely decided how many days to spend in Belgrade, you’re going to want to know how to get to and around the Serbian capital. Being a bustling metropolis with a large population, Belgrade is quite well-connected between nearby cities and does have an extensive public transit network making getting around the city fairly easy.
Belgrade is served by an international airport that connects a number of destinations across Europe and further afield to the Serbian capital. It is located about 15 kilometres west of the city centre and can be easily reached by bus or by taxi. Keep in mind that the controlled rate of a taxi going from the city centre to the airport is €15 or about 1800 RSD.
If you want to avoid a taxi scam, then I recommend using the Yandex taxi app, which will often be cheaper and you won’t have to worry about negotiating a price or worrying about a rigged meter.
Belgrade is also served by numerous buses and trains from nearby cities. While the main train line between Belgrade and Budapest is under some much-needed repairs at the moment (as of late 2019), it is still operational from the city of Novi Sad if you take the bus there and transfer.
If travelling to Belgrade overland, your best bet is to rely on the bus — as is common in the vast majority of Balkan countries. Due to the fact that it is the largest city in the region and its central location, Belgrade is very well-connected to neighbouring big cities, with numerous bus connections to places like Zagreb, Sarajevo, Sofia, and more each day. The central bus station in Belgrade is also located close to the city centre (for now — the government does have plans to move it in the near future), meaning that it is easy to reach by foot or a cheap taxi.
Once in Belgrade, you will find that a vast majority of sites are easy enough to reach on foot, especially if you’re only planning a short period of time for your Belgrade itinerary. If you do want to visit some further-flung neighbourhoods or sites, however, the Belgrade tram and bus network is easy enough to use and navigate. You can purchase tickets quite affordably from newsstand kiosks all across the city and you just need to make sure validate your ticket once you are on the bus or tram.
Belgrade does not have a metro and it is actually the largest European city without an underground train service.
Belgrade is a fantastic city for visitors no matter how long they can spend, because you can still get a good feel for the city if you only have one day in Belgrade and you can just keep building on top of it if you have 2 or 3 days in Belgrade. This 3-day Belgrade itinerary is designed to follow in sequence and each day can be built on the other to make the ideal plan for your length of trip.
One Day in Belgrade Itinerary
Start your first (or only) day in Belgrade in the very centre of the city — Republic Square. Known as the main meeting point in the Serbian capital, this massive square is distinct because if its large statue of Prince Mihailo on a horse. Known colloquially to locals as “the horse,” the statue was erected in 1882 and has been an important fixture in Belgrade ever since.
In the square, you can also see and visit the Serbian National Museum and the National Theatre, both boasting beautiful Austro-Hungarian style architecture reminiscent of their time of building in the 19th century. There are also numerous bars and cafes lining the square and it is also where the main pedestrian thoroughfare in Belgrade, Knez Mihailova, begins.
From Republic Square, you can easily walk a few hundred metres to the cool and eclectic Bohemian Quarter, known as Skadarlija in Serbian. Originally a home for artists and creatives hired to work for the newly-opened National theatre in the latter half of the 19th century, the neighbourhood was once twinned with the Montmarte area in Paris.
For more than a century, Sakarlija has been known for its nightlife and kafanas — which are traditional Serbian taverns and coffeeshops known for their live music and communal atmospheres. In fact, it is still one of the most popular areas for nightlife in the Serbian capital and it’s an excellent place to go if you want to eat at a traditional kafana. Just make sure to tip the musicians if they play at your table!
From the Bohemian Quarter, it’s time to head into and explore the old town of Belgrade, known as Dorcol in the local language. Though this area has been inhabited for centuries by numerous different people, it has an incredibly eclectic architecture and history and you can see just how much the neighbourhood has changed over hundreds of years due to Belgrade’s fraught history.
From one side of the street to the other, you can see an example of classic Austro-Hungarian architecture directly next to a functional brutalist apartment block while an Ottoman-era house sits across the street. This collection of different styles and influences is part of what makes Belgrade a unique city.
The old town is also full of a number of great restaurants, bars, and cafes and makes for an excellent place to explore at any time of the day.
A tourist and local favourite alike and a spot that must be included on any Belgrade itinerary is the Kalamedgan Fortress. This massive fortress complex overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, it was once a massive military complex and now serves as the central park in Belgrade.
Find yourself a place on the wall and watch the sunset with a local beer in hand (it’s totally fine to drink in public in Belgrade!) or take the time to wander through the park and maybe visit a couple of the museums in the complex.
There are some great times to be had at the fortress and it remains one of my favourite places in Belgrade time and time again.
You can get an introduction to these sites and more on the Belgrade Free Walking Tour. Their Downtown Tour leaves daily all year long at 11 AM and 4 PM and meets in front of the horse statue in Republic Square.
This is an excellent way to learn more about the history of this engaging city while saving some money. It also gives you the opportunity to explore each site in more depth after the tour. Please note that it is customary to tip your guide when the tour is over because that is how they make their living. If the free walking tour doesn’t fit your schedule, then consider taking this paid walking tour instead.
Sample Belgrade’s Nightlife
After a long day of sightseeing, no trip to the Serbian capital — even just a one day in Belgrade itinerary — is complete without sampling some of the city’s infamous nightlife. Whether you’re interested in partying to the wee hours of the dawn on a barge on the banks of the Sava or are happy to spend your evening sipping rakija or cocktails in a trendy bar, there is really something for everyone when it comes to Belgrade’s nightlife.
Belgrade has made a name for itself by offering a fantastic night out, but if you’re not sure where to go, I would recommend heading out on a pub crawl, like this one that will take you all around some local favourite hotspots.
2 Days in Belgrade Itinerary
Begin your day on Knez Mihailova, Belgrade’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. This street is crammed with a number of chic shops, great restaurants, and inviting cafes and it is a great place to stroll down while window shopping and people watching.
Spanning from Republic Square all the way to the entrance of the Kalamegdan fortress, this is one of the hippest and happening streets in Belgrade and it is an excellent place to enjoy the energy and atmosphere of the Serbian capital.
A little bit further from Knez Mihailova lies the Hotel Moskva, an iconic hotel that is known for its beautiful Austro-Hungarian style architecture. Built in 1908 by an architect from St Petersburg, the hotel has been known to house the rich and famous visitors to Belgrade ever since it’s construction. Today, it is an iconic landmark in the Serbian capital and still considered to be one of the finest hotels in the city.
Church of St Mark
This beautiful Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the most stunning buildings in Belgrade, however, it often gets overshadowed by the far bigger (though unfinished) St Sava Church — which you will visit later on this itinerary!
Constructed in the Interwar period between 1931 and 1940, this is one of the biggest and most impressive churches in Belgrade. Built to resemble a large and important Serbian Orthodox monastery in Kosovo, you will notice that the architectural style doesn’t match that of other buildings in Belgrade — further adding to the eclectic nature of Serbia’s capital.
Entry into the church is also free of charge.
Radio Television of Serbia Building
Not far at all from the church, you will find a landmark with a fraught history and that is the remains of the Radio Television of Serbia Building. This building was bombed during the 1999 NATO bombings of Belgrade and has been left to its crumbling state as a memorial to those civilians who were killed during that bombing.
Though the majority of the NATO bombings were directed at governmental or military buildings in Belgrade, this one was the only one that targeted a place where civilians were actively working. The site is memorialised with a plaque and it is still quite a controversial topic in Belgrade today.
St Sava Church
If you wander a bit further, you will find yourself at one of Belgrade’s most famous landmarks, the Church of St Sava. This orthodox church is one of the world’s largest — others of equivalent size include the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in nearby Sofia and the People’s Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest.
Though massive in size, the Church of St Sava has been under construction since it began in 1935 and there are still large parts that you cannot visit due to it being an active construction site. As of late 2019 visitors can only visit the elaborate basement area inside of the church, which is well worth it. It is also beautiful from the outside. Entry is free.
You can see all of these sites and more on the free 20th Century Walking Tour, which meets daily in Republic Square at 10:30 AM year-round.
Nikola Tesla Museum
If you want to learn about one of the world’s most influential scientists who just happened to be Serbian, then Belgrade is the place to do it. Nikola Tesla was Serbian and is the pride of Belgrade — so much so that the international airport is named after him.
Though Tesla was born in Croatia and spent the majority of his life in the United States, Belgrade still lays a claim to him and you can learn about his life and inventions at the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade.
Here you can go on a tour where the guide will demonstrate some of his most influential inventions and teach you about his life and work. Entry into the museum with a tour (in English) included is 800 RSD.
Belgrade Craft Beer
After learning about more history and sightseeing in Belgrade, you might want to do something to unwind. Well, why not go and sample some of the city’s fantastic craft beer? Belgrade is relatively new to the craft beer scene, however, there are a few local microbreweries in the locality all brewing up some excellent ales and lagers. Go on a self-guided tour to some of the best brewpubs in Belgrade (we recommend Samo Pivo, Dogma Brewery, and Endorfin Gatstropub) or opt to go on an organised beer tour to learn about (and sample!) a number of different Belgrade craft beers.
3 Days in Belgrade Itinerary
If you have 3 days in Belgrade to spend, then there are a few different options you could take. First off, you could use an extra day to go on a day trip outside of the city. Alternatively, you could use another day to explore some farther-flung neighbourhoods within the city and learn more about the history and culture of this dynamic city.
Novi Sad Day Trip
One of the most popular and easiest day trips from Belgrade is to go to Serbia’s second-largest city of Novi Sad. It is incredibly easy to do this trip independently as there are numerous bus connections between the two cities daily and Novi Sad is only about one hour away from Belgrade.
However, if you want to combine a visit to Novi Sad with a visit to Sremski Karlovci for a wine tasting then it might be easier to go on an organised tour. This guided tour available includes transport to and from Belgrade, wine tasting and time to explore Novi Sad.
Learn About Communist-Era Belgrade
If you decide to stay in the city on your third day in Belgrade, you could use to learn more about the city’s history as the capital of Yugoslavia and its more recent history. If this interests you, we recommend going on this communist tour which meets every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 3 PM in Republic Square.
It costs €10 per person and includes entry into the Museum of Yugoslavian History and a bus ticket. It is an excellent way to learn more about the modern history of Belgrade from the formation of Yugoslavia through to the Balkan wars and the 1999 NATO bombings.
Another option is this guided communist tour that follows a similar itinerary but with more frequent departures.
Explore Zemun & Novi Beograd
If you want to see more of the city, then we recommend taking the time to get away from the old town area and explore the neighbourhoods of Novi Beograd and Zemun.
Novi Beograd, or New Belgrade, is a great place to explore if you’re a fan of brutalist architecture — it has some of the best examples of this architectural style than many cities in Europe!
Zemun, located a bit further afield, didn’t use to be a part of Belgrade at all and was rather its own town. The area retains its own Austro-Hungarian style charms and can feel a world away from the hectic hustle and bustle of central Belgrade.
If you’re interested in learning more about Zemun in particular and you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, then I recommend going on the free Zemun tour that leaves every Saturday at 3 PM from Republic Square.
Belgrade residents love to eat out and enjoy their meals and the restaurant scene in the Serbian capital just keeps getting better year after year. While Belgrade still isn’t the greatest city to visit for vegetarians, there are still plenty of options for every taste — whether you’re searching for traditional Serbian cuisine or international flavours.
Mala Gastionica — An excellent Serbian restaurant located close to Republic Square. They serve up local favourites like cevapi and plijeskavica at affordable prices with friendly service.
? — Arguably the most famous kafana in the Skadarlija neighbourhood, ? is a favourite place amongst visitors to Belgrade. They serve traditional food in an even more traditional setting and also have live music most nights.
Three Hats — This is a great option if you want another kafana option on Skadarska street. They serve great Serbian food with friendly service and decent prices.
Manufaktura — An excellent place to visit for “modern Serbian cuisine,” this restaurant is well-known for its umbrella-lined outdoor eating area and delicious, hearty food.
Drama Cevapi — If you’re looking for a delicious, fast, and affordable glimpse into local cuisine, then look no further than Drama Cevapi. This fast-food restaurant has a few locations across the city and serves some of the best cevapi to be found in the city.
La Taquería — If you’re craving some Mexican spice at decent prices, then look no further than La Taquería. Run by a Mexican chef who sources his ingredients from Mexico, this is one of the most authentic places for tacos and more that you can find in Europe. They also make some damn good margaritas!
Endorfin — If you want to sample Belgrade’s craft beer scene while enjoying a great meal, then Endorfin is the place for you. They are considered to be the first gastropub in Belgrade and have an extensive tap list of local beers and a delicious menu.
Majstor i Margarita — If you’re craving wood-fired, Neopolitan pizza, then look no further than this gem of a place. They serve delicious pizzas at affordable prices and have friendly service as well.
Sweets & Treats
Crna Ovca — After eating so much food, you might be looking for a quick dessert or something to take the edge off a hot day. Well, then look no further than Crna Ovca, which is an absolutely delicious ice cream shop in old town Belgrade. They have numerous ice cream flavours available and there is always a long queue here — it moves fast, so don’t be discouraged!
Where to Stay in Belgrade
There are a number of great places to stay in Belgrade whether you’re keen to stay in a backpacker’s hostel or a luxury hotel. If you’re wondering where you should rest your head in Belgrade, have a look at these suggestions:
Hedonist Hostel — A great option for solo or budget travellers, this is one of the best hostels to choose from in the city. They have a range of both private and dorm rooms available, clean facilities, great common areas for meeting other travellers, and a friendly and attentive local staff to help make your trip a great one. Click here to check their availability
Garni Hotel Opera — A great mid-range located in the city centre within easy walking distance of all of Belgrade’s main attractions, they have a range of comfortable rooms available and an on-site bar. Click here to check their availability
Hotel Moskva — If you’re looking for a bit of history and luxury all in one, then you can’t go wrong with staying at the hotel Moskva. They are centrally located and have a range of rooms available to suit all of your needs. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Belgrade hotels!
Planning the ideal one, 2 or 3 days in Belgrade itinerary doesn’t have to be a difficult task, with so much to do in the city that it’s sure to keep you occupied well beyond it’s time to leave!
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Are you planning a Belgrade itinerary? Have you been? Let us know in the comments!