Belgrade Travel Guide
Introduction to Belgrade
Serving as the capital of the former Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, Belgrade is an Eastern European city that is starting to find its way after spending the last decade recovering from the war that ravaged it in the late 1990’s.
Since then, backpackers exploring the Balkans have found a city with historical landmarks that are refreshingly lacking in tourists, a museum honoring a scientist whose immense accomplishments have been largely ignored by western history textbooks, and a populace that is very much in love with living life day to day.
While you might draw a blank at the mention of this city now, we think that you’ll come away from Belgrade with a favorable impression of this hidden gem.
Cultural Experiences in Belgrade
Of all the sights in Serbia’s capital, seeing Belgrade Fortress should top your list, as it has defended the residents of this region dating all the way to Roman times. Sitting not only at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers, but also at the confluence of empires and kingdoms, Belgrade Fortress has been at the centre of innumerable conflicts between powers over the centuries.
From the relentless skirmishes between the Romans and tribes like the Goth and the Huns, to the emergent Serbian kingdom facing down the might of the Ottoman Empire before succumbing to the inevitable in the early 16th century, you can almost imagine the ferocity of the battles that took place here by looking at some of the pockmarks from artillery hits in the fortresses’ stone.
Despite this landmark’s history of warfare, it has been lovingly restored for the most part, as the ramparts and towers look as stately as did during the height of its power during medieval times.
To get the proper background of the events that have occurred over Belgrade’s long history, a visit to the Historical Museum of Serbia should be next on your travel agenda during your visit here. While it is a bit on the small side and exhibits change on a regular basis, the artifacts contained within will help fill you in on the finer aspects of life in Serbia from the days of when it was a heavily forested outpost on the outer fringes of the Roman Empire, to the days when communism and totalitarian regimes dominated discourse in this Eastern European country.
If you are looking for a unique and interesting place to visit during your time in Belgrade though, we strongly suggest that you take the time to visit the Nikola Tesla Museum. Honoring one of Serbia’s (and arguably the world’s) greatest scientific minds, this institution has hundreds of thousands of documents, books, and photographs, along with tons of scientific artifacts that detailed this man’s career, the greatest achievement of which had to do with the electrification of the world.
Other Attractions in Belgrade
If you are visiting Belgrade during the height of the summer season and need relief from the sweltering days that can occasionally afflict the Balkans at this time, do as the locals do and head to Ada Ciganlija.
An island in the middle of the River Sava, Ada Ciganlija has long been a spot where Belgrade citizens have flocked to in order to beat the heat in the midst of an Eastern European summer. In addition to being a popular place for swimmers (the water in the roped off swimming area can reach 24 degrees Celsius in peak season) and watersports enthusiasts, land based sports ranging from beach volleyball to golf can be enjoyed here, and if you visit during winter, there is even an artificial slope where skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed.
Feeling like doing some shopping during your time in Belgrade? The best place to do this is along Knez Mihailova, which is a pedestrian shopping street located in the heart of its downtown core. While the presence of internationally recognized shopping brands like Zara, Gap and Zephora will attract those looking for the latest fashions, the architecture of the buildings that contain these shops are also attractions themselves, with their appearance being protected by local heritage laws.
Finally, those seeking a vantage point from which to take a spectacular picture of Belgrade and its surrounding area will want to head to the top of Mountain Avala. Located 16 kilometres southeast of the city centre, this peak not only promises to give you the best possible shots of Belgrade from its viewpoints, but there are also a number of monuments that pay homage to the victims of the wars that raged here in the 20th century, a climbing wall used by Serbian mountaineering clubs, and a giant TV tower that is the fifth largest self supporting structure in the world.