Belgrade has it all! No matter if you like exploring historical architecture, trying delicious Serbian cuisine or having an exuberant night out, it’s all there. This Eastern European city cherishes its tradition and culture, but at the same time it has evolved into one of the greatest modern European metropolises. One day in Belgrade is a short time to explore everything this city has to offer. Still, if you make the best of that day, you’ll be blown away.
What’s the best time to visit Belgrade?
Belgrade never sleeps, never rests. And even though there’s no bad or wrong time to visit this city, there are some seasons that you may like better. Winter can be pretty charming and exciting, but at the same time very cold. If the cold doesn’t bother you, it’s a great part of the year to visit Belgrade. However, spring and summer are when a lot of outdoor activities are going on, so it’s up to you to choose.
What’s good to know about Belgrade?
Once the capital of Yugoslavia, Belgrade has remained one of the biggest and most influential cities in the region. The Serbian capital is located at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers, at the crossing of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkans. Its long and storied history, all those different cultures that intersected over the centuries, can be seen in the way the city looks and lives. The city’s architecture varies from Byzantine and Ottoman, Neoclassic, Art Nouveau all the way to Brutalism and Modern. Its recent resurgence as the Southeastern Europe’s hub makes it one of the most interesting cities and a must-see tourist destination.
One Day in Belgrade Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Belgrade.
Visit Kalemegdan, the Belgrade Fortress
Start your day at Kalemegdan Fortress, one of the most important strongholds of the city. This 600 year old former fortress was invaded throughout the history more than 100 times. Today, it’s not a place of a conflict anymore, but a huge city park, a calm refuge from the busy streets and a place of relaxation.
Stroll down the promenade overlooking the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, have a nice panoramic view of the New Belgrade across and even visit the Military Museum if you’re into it. The entrance to the Kalamegdan Fortress is free of charge.
Walk along the Knez Mihajlova street
Walk along Knez Mihajlova, a lively pedestrian boulevard lined with coffee bars, restaurants, food stalls and fashion brand shops. The busiest street of Belgrade attracts the locals as well as tourists who can enjoy street artists’ performances, buy many of the country’s unique souvenirs and admire the beauty of the historical buildings along the way.
Visit the Republic Square
This main city square is just a block away from Knez Mihajlova street. Both National Theater and National Museum are located along the square with the monument of Prince Mihajlo at its center. The Republic Square is a meeting point for many locals and a great spot to grab a cup of coffee and people-watch.
Have some lunch and rakija at Skadarska street
Skadarska street or Skadarlija, once the bohemian street of the city, today the most famous restaurant area. This picturesque, cobblestone street, still represents the old Serbian way of dining and socializing with live music string orchestras and a lot of rakija. Have lunch at one of many old bistros (kafana) and restaurants, try the local Serbian specialties and taste the best rakija in the world. For meat lovers, don’t forget to try Karađorđeva šnicla (meat stuffed with ham and cheese) and Punjena vješalica (minced meat stuffed with cheese and rolled in bacon) with ajvar and urnebes sauce on the side.
Visit the Cathedral of Saint Sava
Grab a taxi or walk through Kralja Milana, a busy street full of shops and restaurants, and you’ll reach the Cathedral of Saint Sava in the beautiful Vračar neighborhood. The Cathedral is stunning in its exterior with a lush park all around. At the moment, it is undergoing interior reconstruction, so expect it to be pretty modest from the inside.
Visit the Mikser House and the Savamala area
The riverside quarter Savamala went from ruins to resurrection, and today it makes for a creative headquarter and the cultural hub of the city. Check out the Mikser House, a warehouse design center that attracts both locals and tourist, young and old, artists and business people. During the day, it’s a co-working hub for many freelancers and artist, coffee shop, restaurant and even a design concept store. During the night, it transforms into a concert hall, dancing club or an exhibition place.
Visit Branko’s Bridge and have dinner at Beton Hala
Just a few meters away stands the Branko’s Bridge, the bridge that connects the Old and the New Belgrade. Below the bridge, stretching along the riverbank, is Beton Hala, the hall of contemporary gastronomic experience.
Have dinner in one of the many exquisite (but still affordable) international cuisine restaurants, such as Sakura (Japanese cuisine) or Cantina de Frida (Spanish cuisine). If you want something more, local Ambar offers many nice Serbian dishes for low prices. Their pork stew with roasted peppers called Mućkalica is the best!
Check out some of the best bars in Belgrade
Cetinjska street is where many great bars are located just a few meters away from each other. At weekends, you should expect more crowd, since there are usually DJs in each bar playing music. If you want to spend an evening tasting all the rakija flavours you could imagine and even rakija cocktails – head up to Rakija Bar. But be careful – when rakija hits, it hits hard!
Have a crazy night out at the floating river barges
The New Belgrade river bank became over the years the favorite nightlife area for all those party-goers who love to party hard until the early hours. Both Sava and Danube floating river barges, called Splavovi, offer a great range of bars and clubs of any music genre, including a very spread Serbian folk music. If you want to spend a memorable night in Belgrade, don’t miss it for the world.
Where to stay in Belgrade?
Belgrade Inn Garni Hotel
Francuska 11, Stari Grad, 11158 Belgrade
Belgrade Inn Garni Hotel is a modern and charming hotel, located in the real heart of Belgrade. It’s close to all the main attractions, such as Skadarlija Street, Knez Mihajlova Street and Kalemegdan Fortress. Therefore, it’s a perfect place if you want to feel the real atmosphere of the capital.
Square Nine Hotel Belgrade
Studentski trg 9, Stari Grad, 11000 Belgrade
Located in Belgrade’s most attractive historic district, Square Nine Hotel Belgrade is a modern and luxurious hotel suitable both for rest and work. The sophisticated design, elegant interiors and an impeccable service of this boutique hotel will provide the utmost comfort to all its guests.
San Art Floating Hostel & Apartments
Ušće bb, Novi Beograd, 11000 Belgrade
San Art Floating Hostel & Apartments is a perfect place for those who love nature, walking, cycling, sleeping on the river but still being near the city center. In case you’re visiting Belgrade because of the cultural, sports, musical or any other events, this hostel is a perfect choice!
White Owl Hostel
Skadarska 15/2, Stari Grad, 11000 Belgrade
White Owl Hostel is a very stylish and modern hostel, located in a historical refurbished building, built in 1934. The hostel offers a courtyard, including a quiet garden where you can relax and enjoy your morning coffee, or late evening glass of wine.
DAY TRIPS FROM Belgrade
Going on a day trip from Belgrade is always a great idea. There are interesting cities to visit and beautiful nature to enjoy all around it, not to mention the culture of those places. And since Belgrade is in the very centre of Serbia, you never have to travel too long anywhere. Here are some great suggestions.
Although considerably smaller than Belgrade, Novi Sad is an excellent destination for a day trip. It’s a beautiful little city with a very picturesque city centre and a massive Petrovaradin fortress. This is where the famous EXIT festival is held every year, which is certainly another thing to consider when coming here. Tasty food at affordable prices will also make your trip worthwhile.
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Manasija and Ravanica monasteries
If you’re interested in this country’s history, head east and see Manasija and Ravanica monasteries. These medieval edifices hold many beautiful secrets, such as their intriguing architecture and the frescoes in Manasija which will leave you speechless with their beauty. On the way be sure to stop and try some local delicacies and have a great outdoorsy day in general.
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Hopping over to Romania to see the city of Timisoara is also an option. It’s really not that far from Belgrade (about 150 kilometers), and the city boasts very rich history full of various influences. This can all be seen in Timisoara’s buildings, but there are may other fascinating statues and places to visit. The city is also fairly large (third largest in Romania), so you can also do some serious shopping, and you don’t want to miss out on Romanian cuisine, either.
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Another way to combine the interesting history of this country and its magnificent nature is by checking out the historical locations along the incredible Danube River. You can even hop on a boat near Golubac Fort and ride the second largest river in Europe. Additionally, there is an eco-ethno village nearby, which is a great place to stop and enjoy a traditional Serbian meal (and maybe some rakija, why not?). All in all, if you’re fortunate enough with the weather, this will surely be a great day.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).