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It truly is a heartbreaking conundrum. You want to visit every city, town and village on the planet, immerse yourself in local culture and became a true citizen of the world. But gaining that understanding takes a lifetime and none of us are immortal, so sometimes 48 hours will just have to do. With that in mind, here’s the best way to get the most out of Belgrade with just two days at your disposal.
Here, everything begins at the horse. Republic Square is a meeting point for Belgraders of all ages, so where better to start your exploration of the city? The National Theatre and National Museum are also here, although the latter has been closed for the better part of a decade.
Head away from the square in the direction of Terazije and the monolithic Church of Saint Sava will come into view. The structure is the biggest church in the region, and the unfinished interior gives it a haunting feel. After the spiritual experience of Saint Sava, slip into the nearby Nikola Tesla Museum to check out the colossal power of invention.
When you are done gawping at the incredible mind of the Serbian inventor, head back towards Republic Square and Knez Mihailova street. This is the nerve centre of Belgrade, the main street where people come to be seen. There are plenty of options for lunch, with Burger House a great option for burger fans.
At the end of Knez Mihailova lies Kalemegdan, the old Belgrade Fortress and park that is full of gems, such as the Military Museum (easily found thanks to all the tanks). There is no better place to catch the sunset, and the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers makes for an invigoratingly romantic scene.
Savamala once held court as the top spot in the city to dance the night away, but the construction of the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project has changed this. KC Grad is still a lively hub of activity and excitement, however.
Start day two at Meduza, a splendid cafe by Belgrade’s only mosque. Head to the transport hub called Zeleni Venac, jump on the number 15 or 84 and visit Zemun, a real town within a city. Trek up Gardoš for another astounding view of the town and the Danube.
Zemun offers plenty of lunchtime options, but save yourself for the gastronomical delights of New Belgrade. Built in 1948 to sate Tito’s desire for a major capital, there is good food everywhere. Durmitor is an absolute must for meat lovers. Back in the heart of the city, be sure to give yourself time for a stroll in Tašmajdan Park. Here we find St. Mark’s Church, one of the most aesthetically impressive structures in the country.
If there is any room left after Durmitor, pick a restaurant on Skadarska street (known colloquially as Skadarlija), Belgrade’s ‘Bohemian’ quarter. More like a street than a quarter, the restaurants are filled with the strains of live music sas a mobile troupe of musicians serenade visitors.
Next to Skadarlija is the new beating heart of Belgrade’s nightlife. Until recently, Cetinjska was little more than a street with a car park. But the park has been transformed and is now home to a variety of bars and clubs. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
If there is time, check out the man-made lake called Ada, a summer spot that can easily take up a full day. Tito’s mausoleum and the Museum of Yugoslavia are also in the city.
Or perhaps you could always go back to Durmitor for seconds.