Belgrade Serbia: How To Spend 2-Days In The City

Belgrade city view

Do you have two days or a long weekend in Belgrade? This blog is for you. Here you will find comprehensive information I share during my trip. But where is Belgrade? You will not be the only one who is unfamiliar with this city. I have been to adjoining countries but never heard of Serbia. It was a coincidence a few years back while searching for airline tickets to a particular destination Air Serbia pop-up on my screen, which intrigues me. This country in the Balkans is still a relatively undiscovered gem in Europe.

Getting to Belgrade Serbia

If you check Skyscanner tickets, you see some direct flights to Belgrade. Air Serbia used to have flights from Brussels, but they’ve changed their route to Amsterdam. When I planned a trip two years ago, I could fly for a hundred euro in return. Nowadays, the increase in airline tickets is unbelievable.

The cheapest I found was with Austrian Airlines but had a long layover in Germany. I booked an evening flight so it will give me an extra day in Belgrade. But one month before my departure, they changed the itinerary. I arrived in Belgrade late in the afternoon, and almost dark when I got to my hotel. I hope you will find a direct flight. 

Do you need a tourist visa to visit Belgrade, Serbia?

The view from Kalemegdan Fortress

For most European nationals, a tourist visa is not in demand for up to 90 days stay. You’re European identity card is adequate to travel to Serbia. Some say you need a passport, not necessarily leave your expensive passport at home. For other nations, check HERE if you need a tourist visa before traveling to Serbia. 

Currency in Serbia and ATMs 

The majority of European countries use euros, but there are a few that hasn’t changed their currencies, like Serbia. Thankfully, exchange offices exist at the airport. But they are the lousiest place to exchange your money…you get better rates in the city center. I suggest exchanging a small amount at the airport for the bus. The taxis accept euros if you plan to use the service no need to change your money at the airport.

However, shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit cards without additional fees. But one thing you should know when using your credit card at the ATM for cash, it is an expensive affair. Reckon 6.00 euros charges per cash withdrawal. The maximum amount you can withdraw is 30.000 dinars, and I think it is sensible to take the upper limit to save your credit card transaction. Serbian banknotes are in 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 dinars.

Turn off your mobile data

Avoid unexpected high bills. It happened to me once when I was traveling to Monaco. I forgot to turn off my mobile data and use my google maps, a jolt of bills that I never forgot. Serbia is not included in the data roaming for most European networks. I know google maps are the best, and their offline maps aren’t suitable for walking.

Kalemegdan Fortress of Belgrade
Kalemegdan Fortress of Belgrade

Download the app Maps. me – it’s free and works entirely offline I never leave home without it. I will be freaking out going on a trip without the maps. However, if you don’t feel comfortable without mobile internet, you can purchase a sim card at the airport, they’re just next to a baggage claim. But only for two days in Belgrade, you don’t need it. Wifi is available at the airport, hotels, and restaurants.

How to get to Belgrade city from the airport

Belgrade city is less than one hour from Nikola Tesla Airport. During my visit last April 2023, there was a massive work at the airport, which was a bit disorderly. The public transport has moved temporarily from the terminal it was inconvenient.

You have three options: The taxi’s fixed price is 25 euros, and you can pay in euros as well. If you plan to take a taxi when you arrive in Belgrade, check the taxi prices on Booking.com. Sometimes it’s cheaper on their app if booking in advance.

Another option is the A-1 red minibus, which is 400 dinars. They have frequent service, which takes 30 minutes trip to Belgrade city. As for the ticket, you can just purchase it by the driver, but you need local dinars, and it stops at Slavija Square near Hilton Hotel. The cheapest option is bus number 72 for 150 dinars. It goes to the terminal in Zeleni Venac (city center). The drawback is, with only one bus every 30 minutes and travel time is approximately 40 – 50 minutes.

Getting around the city of Belgrade

Although I love walking when exploring a city, I did use public transport in Belgrade. The ticket price for an all-day bus and tram with unlimited rides cost 290 dinars (2.50€), the most economical price I’ve ever had in European cities. 

Transport ticket kiosk
This is the kiosk that sells transport ticket

However, it is not mandatory to purchase a day card if you don’t want it. Also, you can travel with a single ticket, which is available from the bus driver. The price for a single trip is 150 dinars, with a time limit of 90 minutes to use the buses or trams. One day ticket is much cheaper if using public transport multiple times a day.

Where to stay in Belgrade and which area

Of course, if you only have two days or a long weekend in Belgrade, you want to stay near the city’s highlights. For first-time visitors like me, choosing a neighborhood to stay in wasn’t easy, as there were five neighborhoods; Stari Grad, Terazije, Savamala, Dorcol, and Vracar.

One of the oldest Building in Bohemian Quarter
Hotel Bohemian Garni – Skadarlija

However, after looking at the map and reading some reviews, I picked Stari Grad, the old town of Belgrade. It is, in fact, a pretty good choice because the room prices in this neighborhood were less expensive. I’m staying at Hotel Bohemian Garni Skadarlija in the Bohemian Quarter. A great location if you want to walk to major attractions in the old town. Also plenty of traditional restaurants in the area. Check the price on booking.com.

Booking.com

How To Spend 2-Days in Belgrade

With this trip, I flew Friday morning and returned home Monday morning. But, I had a long layover in Germany on my outward flight and arrived in Belgrade in the afternoon. To be precise, I combine Belgrade and Novi Sad in two days. And I highly recommend you to visit Novi Sad during this trip.

Anyway, I check out early on Saturday and take the bus to Novi Sad. I spent the night, which I didn’t plan in the first place, and then took the early bus back to Belgrade on Sunday. I was lucky and able to check in early, or I could just leave my backpack at the hotel office. You will see the highlights of Belgrade in one day if you plan it well. But you are continuously on the go, which is a bit exhausting.

Belgrade

Spend one day in Novi Sad

Novi Sad is more than one hour from Belgrade, and feasible to make a day trip, even better if you can spend the night. If you take an early bus, it can fit in your two days in Belgrade. Although it is the second largest city, you won’t be struggling to get around. It has a relatively small but remarkable center and should be on the list of places to visit in Serbia.

Novi Sad church

Most visitors from Belgrade take a day trip to Novi Sad just to see Petrovaradin Fortress, but there’s more to see than the fortress. In fact, I prefer Novi Sad to Belgrade. To give you more insight into the city: Read my separate post on Novi Sad.

How to spend the best day in Novi Sad and tips!

Walked around Skadarlija

Skadarlija, or the Bohemian quarter, used to be where bohemians got together. Now it’s more of a tourist attraction in the old town of Belgrade. An excellent pedestrian area for entertainment with many traditional restaurants. Not a coincidence that I chose to stay in the neighborhood because it is central to everything. I find this part is different from what you see in Belgrade, which reminds me of Tallinn Estonia

The cobbled stones in Bohemian Quarter
The cobbled stones in Bohemian Quarter

It doesn’t take too much of your time a walk through just to feel the sensation of the Eastern European sphere. Definitely include the Bohemian Quarter in your two days in Belgrade. You maybe disagree with me…this is one of the nicest and coziest streets in Belgrade. Some will even resemble this to Montmartre Paris. Buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries are still preserved. Nowadays, they are occupied by various establishments. During the day is very quiet, if you come here in the evening you will enjoy some live music. A great taste of Serbian culture.

Stroll at Knez Mihailova and Republic Square

This is more than just a shopping street in Belgrade and can get buzzing during the day. For the compulsive shopper, it’s the place to be. As for an architectural lover, you have to walk through Knez Mihailova. Here you will find a variety of old buildings, street art, and quaint cafes. There are also several banks, money exchanges, and so on.

The pedestrian street of Knez Mihailova
The pedestrian street of Knez Mihailova

The large pedestrian street is one of the enjoyable places for a stroll to get a good impression of the city. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, go in the morning or evening when all shops are closed. It’s the center of Belgrade, connected to Republic Square and Kalemegdan Fortress, which is just a short walk away.

Kalemegdan Park and the Fortress

Do you wonder what else you can do in Belgrade? You will be surprised that two days are short. The fortress is the most significant symbol of Belgrade, located in Kalemegdan Park. It’s a large area with so many things to see you can spend the entire day if you want it. But if your time is limited, walk straight to the fort entrance. My main draw here was the view over the Danube and Sava Rivers.

The famous Kalemegdan Fortress

The fort is free of charge, but there’s also a military museum if you’re interested in war history. Outside you find some displays of tanks, rocket launchers, and various military equipment. For some who are profound to single features… inside the museum, you’ll find some collections of weapons from the Roman Empire but you must pay 350 dinars for entry.

Tip: How to get here by public transport? Tram lines 2 and 11 stop at the park.

The Cathedral of St. Sava

Saint Sava is one of the iconic medieval orthodox churches on top of a city hill, an important landmark of Belgrade. The massive structure is built in white marble with a large green dome visible from most parts of town. This religious structure is simply awe-inspiring from the outer to the inner side. In addition, the interior is breathtaking, the most impressive Orthodox church I have seen.

The amount of mosaics and artwork on walls plus the ceilings surpasses everything that takes your breath away. It’s free to visit and can get busy inside, but take your time. Don’t forget to walk down the stairs on the left side that leads to the crypt on the basement floor. The glittering interior makes you forget that the underground room is unmissable.

The mesmerizing Sava Cathedral
The mesmerizing Sava Cathedral

Tip: The location of this Cathedral is more than 30 minutes walk from the center. Your best bet is to take the bus: 30, 31, 33. It stops at Karadordev Park, a short walk from the church. Other options are tram lines: 9, 10, 14.

Take a ride with the tram line 2 

Walking can be weary in Belgrade…in some places, it feels like you’re mounting. For some people can be an issue. Tram line 2 is made for locals and visitors who don’t like to walk as it runs in a circle. It’s a great way to see real life in Belgrade and it stops at the city’s highlights.

This tram reminds me of Portugal, especially in Lisbon. It’s a fun and cheap way to get an orientation of the city. Remember, you need to have a ticket. I found a blog that said the tram line 2 is free. Don’t believe it, better safe than sorry, avoid high penalty. The ticket price is only 89 dinars (0.75 cents euro) if you bought this in advance at a kiosk. 

Zemun

Where is Zemun? Is like you’re asking, where is Serbia? At first, I have no idea about Zemun. I didn’t think about this to include in my things to do, but after watching some videos, I don’t want to miss Zemun. Some will spend a day soaking in the old town. If are like me, two hours was a satisfying visit.

The views from millennium tower
The views from millennium tower

The Millennium Tower, also called the Gardos Tower, is a must-see in Zemun. The highest point of Millennium Tower offers a vista of 360-degree overlooking the Danube and the old town of Zemun. There was a small fee of 200 dinars which was worth it. You can’t find a better place in Belgrade that offers a marvelous view. One thing you should know, when going to the top you walk up the spiral stairs, which can make you dizzy, so be very careful. 

Another thing worth checking out is the riverfront. Zemun Danube Promenade is full of local joints, bars, and restaurants. And for the remaining time, get lost in alleys and see where your outcome is. Zemun is a small and pretty town, less crowded than Belgrade. I understand why some people want to spend most of their time in Zemun.

Getting there: Take bus number 83 or 88 which goes straight to Zemun, but the problem is, these buses continue to drive outside Zemun. It doesn’t go to a bus terminal. I even don’t know where the station is in Zemun. I follow my GPS, and when approaching Gardos Tower, I get off the bus and walk. If coming back from Zemun, you can take any bus just wait and stand at the bus stop. They all go to Zeleni Verac station in Belgrade.

Take a walk at Usce Park 

If you have one hour or less, this fit in your two days in Belgrade. This part is less visited, and I recommend not omitting the place. It’s a perfect spot to get away from the city’s bustle. In fact, while standing at the Kalemegdan fortress, the appearance is specified in this area. And in reverse, an excellent view over the city and the fort.

One of the boathouses on the Sava River
One of the boathouses on the Sava River

It’s a long footway, but make your walk shorter if you don’t want to waste so much time. I’m hooked on the beauty of this area. I plan to spend briefly…I walk for one hour instead. You can combine this with Zemun either before or after. I get off the bus on my way back from Zemun.

Getting there: The location is outside the center, but you can walk or take the bus: 78, 704, 708 directions Zemun. And get off at one of the stops once passing the Brankov Bridge, then walk to the riverside.

Savamala district

Exploring a city on foot is one of the best things you can do if you don’t want to miss anything. Located right next to the Sava River and Brankov Bridge is the urban district of Savamala…a charming neighborhood with a mix of the old and the new Belgrade. And due to its artistic countenances, Savamala attracts locals and foreign visitors.

The beautiful neighborhood of Savamala
The beautiful neighborhood of Savamala

Talented artists promote their work here…therefore, you will see more galleries and exhibition halls. In addition, revelation graffiti placed on some walls and buildings creates energy to wander around. As a street art lover, I could roam for hours to look for murals…the same as in the Caribbean. Furthermore, the old warehouses are transformed into trendy clubs and restaurants, meaning Savamala is Belgrade’s party destination.

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