Built on the confluence of two rivers, the Sava and the Danube, Belgrade has always been an important cross point for different cultures and communities, and it has often been referred to as the gateway to the Balkans.
It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with 7,000 years of tumultuous past. Through history, it has been part of the Roman, the Byzantine and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has been occupied by 40 different armies and rebuilt from scratch 38 times.
Today, Belgrade’s is still a fascinating mosaic of cultures, influences and architectural styles as reflection of its past. Modern buildings are squeezed among Art Nouveau blocks, Hapsburg heritage and Ottoman relics.
By visiting Belgrade, you will embark to an incredible journey through a part of Europe’s history that is often untold and that no other place can offer.
Kalemegdan Fortress – because of its strategic location overlooking the confluence of the Sava and the Danube, more than one hundred battles have been fought over this fortress and it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Today it is mostly possible to admire the product of the Austro-Hungarian and Turkish reconstruction that has become a unique museum of the Belgrade’s history and an important cultural complex for the whole Serbia. The Fortress is composed by a Lower and Upper Town and includes important attractions like the Military Museum, the Clock Tower, the Sveta Petka Church and the Old Turkish Bath.
Museum of Yugoslavia – Very important stop for art and history lovers, this museum houses a unique collection of artworks, historical documents, photographs, videos and weapons of the history of Yugoslavia. It also includes the Marshal’s Tito Mausoleum where other than Tito’s gigantic tomb it is possible to admire art crafts from his personal collection and gifts received from other political leaders.
Church of Saint Sava – it is one of the largest churches in the world and the biggest Orthodox Church in the Balkans. With a total height of 82 m it is a key feature in Belgrade’s landscape. The Crypt with its golden ceiling and the Murano glass chandelier is alone worth a visit. However, by the end of 2020 it will be also possible to admire a 1248 m2 mosaic adorning the cupola.
Mount Avala – It is located 16 km from the city centre and it offers a spectacular view over Belgrade. Visitors can climb the broadcasting tower and enjoy the panorama from viewing platforms and a café.
River Banks – Belgrade’s river banks are the centre of the cultural and social life, full of promenades, cycling treks, cafés, restaurants, sports centres, beaches and playgrounds. One of the residents’ favourite spots during summer is the Ada Ciganlija, a peninsula on the Sava River famous for its beach and considered a true ecological oasis in the middle of the city.
Zemun – a charming neighbourhood located on the Danube River and one of the oldest parts of Belgrade. Zemun was a separate town until WW II, when it was absorbed by Belgrade municipality. The area is believed to be inhabited since the Neolithic Era, but walking through its narrow streets today you get a clear idea of what the region looked like during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The major landmark is the Gardos Hill and its Tower, which offers another incredible view over the river and the city.
FOOD & DRINKS
Belgrade’s cuisine as well presents a mix of influences from different cultures. In the typical Kafanas (the local equivalent of a tavern) it is possible to find dishes either from the Turkish, Central European or Balkans traditions.
Ćevapi (or ćevapčići) are small sausages of grilled minced meat, either of lamb, pork or beef. They are usually served with flatbread, chopped onions, sour cream and minced red peppers. But the most popular and traditional Serbian dish is probably the Sarma, a sour cabbage roll filled with beef and rice, cooked for long time in its broth.
The best known Serbian drink is the Rakija, a strong brandy flavoured with fruit like plum, apricot and pear. Serbia has also a great potential as a wine producer. The Serbian wine was very popular in the 19th century, but years of war and communist regime have devastated the vineyards. Luckily, in the last 10 years the production has increased and the quality is exceptionally good. Add a wine tasting to your tour for a full Serbian experience.