Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, doesn’t usually make it to ‘the most picturesque European capitals’ or ‘the prettiest European capitals’ lists. It does, however, make it to the ‘best party capitals’ list.
Hence, it’s one of the best cities to write about when it comes to nighttime attractions.
Belgrade is one of the oldest European capitals. Thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, and the intersection of the Western and Oriental Europe, Belgrade has been fought over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times. Remnants of Habsburg, Ottoman, and Yugoslav architecture can be seen all around the city.
Tourists point out hospitality as Serbia’s strongest point. Generally, citizens of Belgrade tend to be friendly and open to visitors. And your dollar goes a long way! Which means you get to enjoy more of the following:
1. Go Clubbing by the River
Probably the most famous night attraction in Belgrade is partying at “splavovi” – that is boat clubs on the Sava and Danube rivers.
Music-wise, there is something for everyone: dance, house, r&b, and the local turbo folk (a genre considered “trashy” by some locals, but still enjoyed by many).
Belgrade has many summer clubs. The floating clubs of Belgrade are open from the beginning of May until the end of September. The most popular Belgrade clubs are those on the river Sava, starting from the old Railway Bridge and up to the “Gazela” bridge, and also those on the Danube, near “Hotel Yugoslavia”.
Among summer river clubs, some of the most famous ones are Freestyler, Lasta, and Splav 94, as well as Hot Mess Club. These floating parties are Belgrade’s top attractions, so if you’re into partying, they should not be skipped!
2. Stroll along Skadarlija
Skadarlija is the old bohemian quarter (though it’s more of a street) in Belgrade. It dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Kafane (taverns and restaurants) were a meeting place for many artists, journalists, writers, and musicians.
They were meeting in Skadarlija to have drinks and enjoy the tavern atmosphere, and talk about the latest events and politics. It is often compared with the Montmartre in Paris, both for its appearance and the cheerful, vigorous artists’ atmosphere.
The preserved ambiance of the winding, tree-lined street in cobblestones and old houses is captivating and also filled to the brim with young people and tourists seeking to recreate the old charm of Belgrade.
3. Go up the Kalemegdan
Kalemegdan, also known as the Belgrade Fortress, was built on a white ridge above the confluence of Sava and Danube. It’s the symbol of Serbia’s capital.
Make sure to tour Upper and Lower Town of the Belgrade Fortress and stroll through the Kalemegdan park.
The view of the city from Kalemegdan is breathtaking. You will see the monumental “Victor” rising above the walls of the city.
If you’re visiting during summer, you’ll spot a lot of teens and young adults having beers with their friends enjoying the stunning backdrop while sitting along the walls. Most of the time, you can also see couples strolling in the park as Kalemegdan is undoubtedly the city’s most romantic spot.
Seeing the sunset from Kalemegdan comes highly recommended!
4. People Watch on Knez Mihailova Street
Knez Mihailova, Belgrade’s most popular pedestrian street, is always bustling. It’s the social midpoint of the Serbian capital. It goes from Kalemegdan (central park and fortress) to the Republic Square (main central square), and continues to Terazije square, splitting the downtown in two.
This street is one of the best places to feel the pulse of the city. Residents of Belgrade and tourists alike fill the many cafes and restaurants. Also, this busy pedestrian zone in Belgrade is home to many cultural sites like the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes, Centre Culturel Français and many others, including bookshops and galleries, if you prefer that to people watching in cafes.
An evening can easily be spent people watching in Knez Mihailova. There is something there for all ages, interests, and budgets.
Some say that when you spend several hours in Knez Mihailova, it seems as if no one is at work or that the time has stopped.
5. Walk Along the River
The Danube is the largest river in Central and South-Eastern Europe and belongs to the Black Sea basin. The Sava is the second largest river of Belgrade, much narrower but busier than the Danube. Together they form a spectacular delta in the middle of the city, overlooked by the famous Belgrade fortress Kalemegdan, and the less famous Zemun town.
Many tour operators offer river cruises, but the river promenades offer spectacular views, cafes, restaurants and food trucks – and walking is free!
6. Go to Ada Ciganlija
Belgrade is landlocked, but that didn’t stop Serbs from creating a “sea”. Ada Ciganlija, a river island turned peninsula, is known as Belgrade’s Seaside.
It’s crawling with people in summer, even if the temperatures are just above the 20 °C mark.
If you are visiting during summer and need some refreshment, this is the place to be. There are plenty of bars around for refreshment, making a day of lounging by the water even easier.
Ada is not just for lounging in bars and cafes though (although there are plenty of those). There are many activities available: rollerblading, cycling, as well as water skiing and other water sports. Ada Ciganlija also has wonderful bike trails and nature paths; all surrounding the lake.
7. Drink Rakija at a Local Pub
Rakia or rakija is the collective term for a fruit brandy popular in Central Europe and Southeast Europe. The alcohol content of rakia is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger (typically 50% to 80%, even going as high as 90% at times).
Most common are from plum – Šljivovica, Kajsijevača – from apricot, Dunjevača – from quince, and Vilijamovka – from pear. There are also other variations, such as cherry, healing herbs (Stomaklija), and honey – Medovača.
Try rakija in Belgrade, either in a tranquil garden, in a local tavern, or share a bottle overlooking the river.
Here are some suggestions:
Jazz Bašta – live music and chill atmosphere
Rakia Bar – dedicated to all types of rakija
Ambar – trendy and with international outposts
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Updated: April 3, 2018