Valentine’s Day is as good as here, but the madness of Christmas may have left the purse strings feeling a little tight. Belgrade is full of delightful activities that you and your significant other can enjoy without parting with a single dinar, or at least only parting with a small number of dinars.
It may not be the geographical centre of the city, but there is no doubting that Knez Mihailova is the social spine of the Serbian capital. The street is full of all generations of Belgraders from dawn till dusk, and strolling down the thoroughfare is an absolute must for any visitor to the city. There is no better spot in the city for people watching, as all strands of Belgrade society head out to be seen.
Romance outside of wedlock might not be too high on the Christmas card list of the major religions, but there is an awesome quality to Belgrade’s Church of Saint Sava that needs to be respected. One of the largest Orthodox temples in the world, the building dominates Belgrade’s landscape from all angles. It is entirely free to walk inside and talk in the epic nature of it all, although the interior is far from finished. If you want to marvel at how small we all truly are, the Church of Saint Sava is the place to go.
Is there anything more romantic than a gorgeous view? How about a gorgeous view at sunset? Okay, how about a gorgeous view of two rivers meeting next to an abandoned island at sunset? That is exactly what is on offer at the edge of Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade’s most popular spot and one that is entirely free to stroll around. You’ll have to share the view with many others at the height of summer, but you’ll be too entranced by what you’re looking at to notice.
The markets of Belgrade aren’t quite as glorious as legend would like you to believe, but they are still definitely worth checking out when you’re in the Serbian capital. They are also entirely free, and weaving your way through the many twists and turns of Bajloni, Kalenić can be an invigorating experience. You can also pick up some fresh ingredients for a romantic meal while you’re at it.
February might be a bit too cold for an outdoor picnic, but the parks of the city are still there waiting to be explored. Belgrade is a far greener city than it gets credit for, and that isn’t just down to Kalemegdan. Tašmajdan, Topčider, Košutnjak, Zemun Park and the rest are some of the most tranquil settings in the entire region, and entire afternoons can be spent staring at clouds and playing around these immensely green playgrounds.
That can mean the Sava or the Danube, as both are extremely viable options for a free date in Belgrade. Zemun’s Kej is home to some of the finest seafood restaurants in the city, and the views across to the Great War Island aren’t bad either. Belgrade is blessed with two major European rivers, and it makes the most of them with plenty of walkways along either one. It doesn’t cost a dinar to stroll along them.
Hidden away (somewhat) off a busy street in the centre of Belgrade, the city’s Botanical Gardens are a predictable oasis of serenity in a modern hectic capital. The Jevremovac Gardens were founded in 1874 on the insistence of Serbian botanist Josef Pančić, and it was he who eventually arranged them. He did a great job, and the gardens are now a gorgeous spot for an afternoon’s loitering in the city.
You may well have to pay for the bus fare out to Zemun, but 89 RSD most definitely qualifies as ‘cheap’. Zemun is Belgrade’s most fascinating neighbourhood, although the people living there will argue their independence all day long. Gardoš Hill is the most important part of town, and the Millennium Tower offers unbeatable views of the Danube, looking out towards Belgrade’s city centre. If you want to experience a true town within a town, Zemun has everything you’ll need.