Friday, 28 July 2017

When to go

Belgrade can be attractive through the year, although its charms become more melancholic in the winters. It's often snowy from the second half of December until early March, when the streets may become grey, dirty and uninspiring. The city is at its best from early April until the end of June, and then in September and early October.

How to get there


By Air

Belgrade's international airport Nikola Tesla is located 20 km from the town and a taxi to the city centre should cost about 10 euros. In terms of flights, the city has become somewhat isolated in the last decade, as the country hasn't fully recovered from the seclusion imposed by the Yugoslavian wars. Yet it is connected by direct flights to most of the European capitals, such as Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Paris or London. The flights to Podgorica, Sarajevo and Skopje are daily, while they are infrequent, or non-existent, to the rest of the Balkans’ capitals. No low-cost carriers fly to Belgrade.  

By Rail

Belgrade’s railway station is in the town centre. Serbia’s capital is a traditional stop on the Orient Express railway route, connecting Western Europe with Istanbul. However, the development of this type of transportation here has stopped somewhere in the first half of the twentieth century. Without a doubt, reaching Serbia's capital by train is a romantic and adventurous experience, but it is also certainly a lengthy one. In the region, the train connections with Sofia, Skopje and Thessaloniki are good, but slow, the one with Sarajevo is currently not functioning.

By Road

There are international bus lines operating from Belgrade, which are a little more expensive than the local trains, and very cheap compared to Western standards. The experience with them can vary greatly, as sometimes they are usually very slow and often get delayed at the borders, while at other times they provide a surprisingly pleasant lift. The roads to Skopje-Thessaloniki-Athens, and to Zagreb are excellent, while to Nis-Sofia and to Novi Sad - Budapest are relatively good, and only at places turning into highways. Belgrade-Sofia and Belgrade-Bucharest can be taken in 5 hours, Belgrade-Zagreb in 3 to 4. 

Where to stay

There are plenty of hotels in Belgrade, which seem quite diverse, and a few of them offer fantastic accommodation. There is a Hyatt Regency in Novi Beograd, next to the Sava Congress Center, and Best Western, 4 km from the town center. Several local hotels also bear 5 and 4 stars signs of excellence. The bulk of Belgrade's hotels are state-owned, and the service is touchingly old-fashioned at times. Yet there is some charm in the old establishments, such as Metropol, Moskva and Prag.

Where to eat

The food choice in Belgrade is not like in a western capital, but it is gradually improving, without abandoning its traditional charms.

From caramelised apples on the street, to monstrously big and juicy pleskavice - minced meat steaks with lots of white bread and onions, to Mediterranean seafood, to inventive cooking spots - the city centre could be a culinary adventure, especially for those who are not familiar with Balkan cuisine. One of the popular areas with a high concentration of restaurants is Skadarlija and many others are located around the main pedestrian street of Knjeza Mihaila.