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Things to do in Belgrade

Catch a classical concert at the National Theatre

Belgrade supports a strong theatrical tradition (although most performances are in Serbian) and there are several good theatres in the city. One of the best has to be the National Theatre (tel: +381 11 2620 946; www.narodnopozoriste.co.rs/en). Expect some of the greatest dramas in history to be played here, with performance of Shakespeare as well as Serbian, Italian and Russian greats.

Get all square-eyed at Musej Kinoteka

Belgraders are very passionate about film and there are numerous cinemas in the city, most of which screen the latest Hollywood blockbusters in English. For more unusual films, try Musej Kinoteka which is famed as the home of one of the most comprehensive film collections in Europe (tel: +381 11 262 2555; http://www.kinoteka.org.rs/wp)

Seek out Serbia’s best street art

Belgrade's street art is a recent phenomenon but the sheer amount of quality work is impressive. What started as an explosion of brash graffiti in the final stages of the Milosevic regime has evolved into complex artistic efforts that would make Banksy proud. You can, of course, pound the pavements yourself to seek out the many murals and stencils, but several outfits such as Belgrade Alternative Guide run street art tours (tel: +381 64 2395 704; www.belgradealtguide.com).

Take a vow of silence in a medieval monastery

Serbia boasts some very impressive Orthodox monasteries, many within easy reach of Belgrade. Their bold medieval architecture is a reminder of one of the more critical phases in the country's history, when Serbia eventually gained independence from the Byzantines. Serbian Heritage Tours (tel: +381 65 241 0746; www.serbianheritagetours.com) offer terrific two-day trips to visit some of the best preserved.

Toast the night with some local rakia

Depending on who you're talking to, rakia originates from Serbia, Bulgaria or Montenegro. Whoever you believe, this punchy plum spirit is a real chest-hair cultivator, and turning down an offer to share a round is simply not an option. For the widest selection in town, head to the handily named Rakia Bar (tel +381 (0)11 3286 119; www.rakiabar.com).

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Union

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.

Royal

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.

Kasina

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.

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.