I moved there one hot summer and stayed for two years. Belgrade met me with unbearable 35+ heat and ruined old gray buildings. But the longer I stayed there the deeper I was falling in love with the city. It turned out there were so many layers of it that almost every day you could find something to surprise you. No wonder Belgrade is referred to these days as New Berlin and was ranked one of the top-10 party towns in the world.
Where to have fun
It used to be a dark gray area with abandoned halls and warehouses. Now it’s a creative hub of Belgrade, with a lot of excellent nightclubs, cafes, and cultural centers. Must-visit places include KC Grad and Mikser House where exhibitions, film screenings, and expat meetings are held quite regularly. If you want to see how Serbs party “Balkan-style” check out Corba Kafe on Friday evening. There are loads of locals, national music from 70s, 80s, and 90s, and “traditional” dances around the tables. In Belgrade’s bars, there are almost no special areas for dancing so people dance around the tables with their drinks.
When talking about Belgrade’s nightlife, it’s impossible to ignore “splavs”- floating river clubs located on the banks of the Sava river. It’s something very unique for Europe. They attract tons of locals and tourists during the summer season. Keep in mind that these are night clubs so the banks become crowded after 2 am. Popular splavs include rock and alternative Shlep, techno and house 20/44. But basically you can just walk along the bank and choose the place according to the music.
It’s a recently built clubbing district right in the center of the city (Cetinska 15a). The place is packed with different bars so you can spend all evening club-hopping. Famous places include a retro-like cultural center Polet, a bar Elektropionir with live DJ sets and a music club Kenozoik.
The club is famous for its 23 meter long dance floor where you can dance to electronic beats. The club is located right in the center of Belgrade so it’s very convenient for tourists.
Though Belgrade is known for its club scene, not many of the great places can be spotted right away. The reason for that is the specific marketing strategy of Belgrade’s entrepreneurs, or should I say the lack of it? Not many clubs and bars have web-pages or at least any actual signs indicating their existence. Meanwhile, they can be located in places you won’t find on your own. Most often word of mouth is the only way to learn about worth-seeing places. Here are few of those:
Sinnerman Jazz Club
It’s an amazing bar located on the rooftop of Dom Sindikata. In order to get there, you need to enter the building, take an elevator to the 7th floor, turn left, and follow the signs. Apart from live music, great meals, and warm atmosphere, the place has a great view of Belgrade’s center from the terrace.
That’s a not-obvious hot-spot in town. The club is one of the oldest ones in Belgrade and has been opened since the 1950’s. From a local student spot it grew into an iconic club that every year holds the biggest costume party in town. It’s literally located in the university. In the basement, though.
I remember passing by one old and abandoned-looking building in the center for almost a year until I realized that it was actually a small club. It has beautiful old-fashioned interior with huge windows covered with thick black curtains. Very “What we do in the shadows” kinda place.
Located not far from the famous Saint Sava Temple, on the top floor of a living building, Chillton is an ex-apartment transformed into a bar. The place has everything you need in the evening – drinks, good music, couches, and even a billiard table.
Where to eat
After a crazy night you will definitely need some time to get your strength back. Don’t overlook local food, which is a must-try, especially if you’re a meat lover. There are many places with local cuisine in the center where you can order pljeskavica, cevapcici, vesalica, and other delicious Serbian meals. Small warning: don’t try to order two-three dishes at once. There is a big chance you will be positively surprised by the size of the portion you end up with.
Where to rest
Belgrade Fortress “Kalemegdan”
It’s the oldest area in town. It not only has a great view over Danube and Sava rivers but also offers a lot of green lawns, cozy corners, and loads of entertainment. Especially during festivals, which are held there quite often;
Ada Ciganlija is the most popular summer resort. There you can find there beaches, restaurants, parks, bike rentals. Though it’s located a bit far from the city center (about 5 km away), you can easily reach it by bus or car.
- You can exchange your money for the local currency (dinars) almost everywhere in the city. Exchange offices (Menjacnica) have similar exchange rates so there is no point of looking for that special one with the best rate.
- Belgrade has a well-developed transportation system but hasn’t yet created an easy-to-use payment scenario. In the bus, you can buy only an overpriced ticket from a driver. So the best option is to buy a BusPlus card at small kiosks located near bus stops.
- Serbian people are very friendly. Many of them speak English. Even if they don’t they will still try to help you with your issues or find someone who will 🙂