A Visitor’s Guide To Belgrade

If you’re looking for a European city that combines a magnificent history with all the excitement of modern day life, then Belgrade might just be for you. The capital city of Serbia, this city of 1.7 million was first settled back in the 4th century B.C. Its historical districts are filled with buildings and other reminders of the centuries it spent as a hub for the Roman Empire, as well as Ottomans and the Austrians. Several of the “must-see” historical highlights include St Sava Church, the biggest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world; the Kalemegdan Fortress, which dates back to Roman times and the Old Royal Palace.

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Belgrade is also a city with a long religious tradition. It’s filled with churches of nearly every belief, many of them hundreds of years old. The city has several large museums, as well as the Nikola Tesla Museum, devoted to the well-known inventor and rival of Thomas Edison. That museum includes many of his personal papers, as well as other artifacts from his life. One unusual museum is the Aeronautical Museum, which houses more than 200 aircraft that were owned by the air forces of Yugoslavia and Serbia. There are many rare aircraft on display, including some examples of plane wreckage from the Balkan Conflicts with NATO in the 1990s.

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For foodies, Belgrade is a wonderful delight. Prices are generally lower than in the other major European cities and Serbia’s rich history has created a unique cuisine that tastes both familiar and surprising. Some places to try include Mega Mesko, which is located on the Republic Square and Fofa, which is the home of the famed Sarajevo Pies. For an example of Serbian cuisine, try Dva Jelena, an iconic Serbian restaurant that has been in business for more than 170 years. Meals are inexpensive, ranging from 5 to 20 Euros. The city also has several huge farmer’s markets, filled with local produce and other food products brought in from the surrounding small towns.

Mesko

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife, you’re likely to be disappointed by Belgrade. New local laws force bars and nightclubs to close by 1 a.m. and while there are some private clubs that are open later, they are difficult for tourists to get access to.¬†Local coffee of choice is the stronger Turkish coffee, but you can still have espresso in every restaurant or coffee shop.

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As far as accommodations are concerned, Belgrade has a wide range of options in nearly every price range. At the low end of the budget, the city has a number of hostels, costing from 10 Euros per night. One of the best known is the Black Sheep Hostel, which is located just across the street from the airport bus terminal. In the budget price range, some local favorites include Belgrade City Hotel (located near the main train station), downtown’s Hotel Villa Forever and if you want to be close to the main Republic Square, the Kasina Hotel is a good choice. While there are a number of new high-end hotels, locals recommend the historical Hotel Europa, located near the National Assembly. Another popular choice is the option of renting a Belgrade¬†apartment for your stay. There are a number of options, ranging from small, individual units to large complexes such as downtown’s Habitat Developments.

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