Continuing on with the theme of the introduction, spring in Belgrade is beloved by all for it represents the end of the long, miserable winter. Some cities are beautiful in winter, with fluffy white snow sleeping delicately on cute architecture and more, but not Belgrade. The snow quickly turns to slush, and everything just gets a little harder.
So spring comes with extra joy for locals, and you can feel that in the air. The slight improvements in temperature bring the occasional scorcher, and the mixture is absolutely delightful. The weather will be just warm enough to get outside and do things, but not so warm or cold as to make it a struggle.
As mentioned previously, spring sees the local mood lifted and then some. Winter is a season punctuated by quarrelling and pessimism, and the first glimpse of sustained sun even goes so far as to change the cadence of local chatter. People become friendlier, smiles wider and tempers longer. Spring brings out the best in the Serbs.
There is more to spring in Belgrade than the intangible of course, and the best season is when many of the city’s most enjoyable festivals take place. The film festival FEST is a national institution at this point, and all the capital’s cinemas put together a packed schedule designed to impress. Belgrade’s Irish Festival is another popular event at this time of year, carefully straddling the line between events and full-blown excess.
The tourist season in Belgrade begins again in earnest at this time, but the sleepy nature of it means it takes a little bit of time to wake up. The major crowds don’t come until summer, meaning spring provides the perfect balance between a unique experience and one that you can share. If it was possible to have a city entirely to yourself without being alone, that would be Belgrade during spring.
Serbian food is good all year round, but the end of winter usually coincides with a little bit of creativity and ambition from those in the kitchen. The cold months are all about survival, and the enthusiasm of the sun shining high in the sky is reflected on the plates. The improved weather means people are a little more inclined to take their time and enjoy their food too, making dining out an altogether more pleasant experience.
Being one of the most important countries in the Eastern Orthodox sphere, Serbia takes Easter very seriously. The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates one week after the Catholic equivalent, but you won’t see any chocolate eggs here. There will be plenty of painted eggs however, and don’t be surprised to see folk pitting their eggs against each other in a (quite literally) smashing competition. There is fasting over Easter weekend, and the feast that ends that tradition is mighty to say the least.
Belgrade’s green markets can be hit or miss, but it is difficult to argue against the explosion of colour that takes over once spring is here. The produce gains an extra shine as the general lift in Belgrade’s mood seeps into the early morning fruit and veg shop. The temperate weather also bodes well for the food itself, and the uncomfortable smells of summer are well and truly avoided.
Belgrade’s nightlife is legendary, and much of that legend has been built around the many clubs on the Danube and Sava rivers. The ‘splavs’ might not be to everyone’s taste, but the excitement that surrounds many of their reopening in spring is palpable. A new generation of clubbers will dip their toes into the wild waters for the first time, which makes for an entertaining spectacle at least. Good luck negotiating your way past the overzealous bouncers and dealing with the inhumanely loud music though.
Belgrade doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves when it comes to its greenery. The city is full of parks of all shapes and sizes, from the historical Kalemegdan all the way through the lush Košutnjak. You don’t need to be a scientist to realise that spring is the best time of year to see them, as life is breathed into the trees and grass once more. Belgrade is resurrected in spring, and nowhere is this more visible than Tašmajdan, Zvezdara and the rest.