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Belgrade Travel Guide

About Belgrade

Belgrade is fast building a reputation as a city that really knows how to enjoy itself, with excellent museums, a vast selection of restaurants and cafés, and probably the best nightlife in southeast Europe. Modern-day Serbia has worked hard to put the torrid 1990s behind it, with most visitors speaking warmly of the friendliness and generosity of Belgradians.

The Serbian capital is often described as ugly, but that all depends on your taste – with countless different rulers over the centuries, there’s something for everyone. New Belgrade on the western side of the Sava is dominated by striking Soviet-era buildings, as is the commercial centre across the river on the eastern side.

There are also many impressive neoclassical buildings from 19th century and some later art nouveau architecture towering over grand boulevards in the city centre. Meanwhile, on narrow pedestrianised streets, you’ll find some remnants of the Ottoman era.

Overlooking the convergence of the mighty rivers Danube and Sava is the stunning fortress of Kalemegdan, set within a large and pleasant park that rises into a sheer hill. The battlements were built to defend the city from the Ottomans, only to be captured and used by the invaders themselves.

This diverse, colourful past is partly what makes Belgrade so interesting. Look out for mighty Orthodox churches, especially the pristine-white Cathedral of St Sava and its 4,000-tonne dome, which took 80 years to construct. Also expect shisha bars, Turkish coffee and hearty Balkan food alongside an intense drinking culture.

Indeed, Belgrade is a thriving cultural hub, with a slew of terrific museums and galleries. The Museum of Applied Arts puts on topical exhibitions, while the National Museum in Belgrade hosts extraordinary collections of art and artefacts.

As for grassroots art spots, the city is blessed with dozens, particularly in Savamala by the river. Covered in graffiti, the edgy district’s once-abandoned and derelict buildings have been converted into all-purpose cultural centres and bars. In fact, this is the coolest nightlife area of the city, with its atmosphere of reclamation and creativity explaining why Belgrade is being dubbed the new Berlin.

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Conveniently located in the city centre across the road from the Balkan Hotel, this is a good-value option with decent rooms and its own pavement café. Built in 1856, this sizable property has plenty of history about it, and a rather decent restaurant to boot.

Le Petit Piaf

Located in the eastern part of the old city close to the bars and restaurants of the Skadarlija quarter, Le Petit Piaf is a small modern boutique hotel with plenty of character and elegant, spacious rooms.

Hotel Zira

Not far from the centre, Zira Hotel is one of the sleekest, most futuristic of properties in Belgrade. The rooms, hallways and dining area are ultra-modern, with contemporary art, plenty of space and science-fiction style design. Breakfast is of superb quality and dinner on the terrace is becoming a favourite with the city's affluent. There are 127 rooms, a fitness centre and sauna.


Located in the heart of the city, the Union offers more than 100 clean and comfortable rooms in a pleasant, smart environment. If you want to splash out a little more, there are also a few luxury suites. The hotel also has a restaurant, a piano bar and even a casino.


With an excellent location close to Kneza Mihala and Kalemegdan Park, this long-established budget hotel offers good-value, no-frills rooms close to the action. Receiving visitors since 1886, the welcome is still as friendly today, while the admirable onsite restaurant is quietly affordable.

Belgrade City Hotel

Within easy reach of the shopping district, historic centre and commercial zone, Belgrade City Hotel is a handsome 4-star property right next to the main railway station. There are more than 80 slick rooms, with warm, unpretentious décor, a great breakfast buffet and friendly staff.