City of culture, inspiration, sports and festivals, the Serbian capital is an exciting mixture of rich and diverse history, cultural heritage and urban life. Famous for its recognisable attractions, delicious gastronomy and dazzling nightlife, Belgrade is considered the hip and dynamic capital of the Balkans, embracing visitors from all around the world, and is an enchanting rising European destination to visit on your gap year.
Welcome to Belgrade
Eclectic architecture and a diverse event calendar makes Belgrade a true metropolis in this part of Europe. A trip through the city centre reveals some of the most recognisable attractions: from the Republic Square — the epicentre of the city, carrying on along the pedestrianised Knez Mihailova Street, all the way to the Belgrade Fortress — an “open air museum of Belgrade history”.
Skadarlija is a bohemian cobble-stoned district dedicated to preserving 19th century charm, where visitors can enjoy countless taverns with live music and local dishes. Some must-visit places include Tri šešira, Šešir moj, Dva jelena, Zlatni bokal, Ima dana, Putujuci glumac and Dva bela goluba. Over the decades, Skadarlija has hosted many celebrities including Alfred Hitchcock, Jimi Hendrix, Josip Broz Tito and King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Belgrade on the river banks
Belgrade Fortress is in the core section of the city which overlooks the confluence. The spot next to the Victor statue, by the famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović, offers a breathtaking view of the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.
Crossing the bridge over Sava, you’ll enter the completely different world of New Belgrade and Zemun, where the river banks never sleep. Grab a cup of coffee from one of the numerous boats, restaurants and cafes, eat a fish speciality, and have fun till the early morning hours in the highly popular splavs (floating river clubs).
Must-dos on your gap year in Belgrade
- Visit the magnificent Temple of Saint Sava, which dominates the sophisticated area of Vracar.
- Live life like a local in Dorcol.
- Experience the city’s nightlife in Savamala.
- Explore Ada Ciganlija, which has been officially declared one of three most beautiful city islands in the world.
- Visit the Royal Palace in Dedinje, which offers artistic beauty and luxury.
- For an amazing sunset head to Avala Mountain, where Avala Tower offers a memorable view.
Explore the city’s culture
A lot of interesting museums make Belgrade the city of culture, and are must-sees on your trip to Belgrade. The centrally-located National Museum displays arts and artefacts from the Paleolithic period to the 20th-century, whilst the foreign collection includes artwork by Giovanni di Paolo, Paolo Veneziano, Tintoretto, Van Utrecht, Rubens, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Pissarro, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Derain, Picasso, Kandinsky, Chagall and more.
The permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art contains more than 35,000 works produced by Yugoslav and Serbian artists. Museum of Yugoslavia presents the period of the old country, along with the life of Josip Broz Tito, while the Museum of Nikola Tesla preserves the complete heritage of the greatest Serbian scientist and inventor.
The cuisine in Belgrade is a rich mosaic of Mediterranean, Austrian, Turkish and Hungarian influences. Some of the best restaurants can be found in Skadarlija, where you can expect to find meat of all kinds, from Serbian sausages and smoked meat to veal, lamb and spit-roasts. Fish is a big part of the local cuisine — try some fish dishes for yourself by visiting one of Belgrade’s many floating restaurants on the rivers.
Come and experience Belgrade for yourself
Enjoy the view from the Belgrade Fortress, walk down Knez Mihailova or Skadarska street, indulge your senses in the city’s restaurants with a lively atmosphere; visit some of the bars and clubs where entertainment lasts till dawn. Enjoy the rivers, parks, museums, theatres on offer and make sure to schedule your visit around some of many events in Belgrade.
Find out more
Tourist Organisation of Belgrade:
This article was in partnership with the Tourist Organisation of Belgrade
Featured image: Dragan Obric