It isn’t entirely clear what constitutes a ‘hipster’ these days, but if we take it to mean ‘young, creative types’ then Belgrade is well and truly a city that lives with arms wide open. The city centre and its outer reaches are full of neighbourhoods that tick all of the hipster boxes.
There may be a little bias in our opinion, but for us Dorćol is home to all of the best of Belgrade. The downtown area features many of the city’s best cafes, a collection of caffeine houses that are as committed to good coffee as they are stylish interiors in which to sip. Dorćol may be one of Belgrade’s oldest neighbourhoods, but youth well and truly reigns in these parts.
This may not be true in a few years’ time, as the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project is well and truly laying waste to Belgrade’s famous Savamala district. This has bred a sense of rebellion and protest though, and many aesthetically impressive restaurants and cafes have sprung up as a result. They now sit snugly next to famous arts centres like KC Grad, creating a unified front against questionable development.
Zemun is a world within a world, a part of Belgrade that simply refuses to acquiesce to the demands of the capital city knocking at its door. The municipality is full to breaking point with excellent cafes, fantastic restaurants, and a great beer scene, along with all manner of riverside activities. The atmosphere of Zemun will definitely appeal to those in search of something a little more edgy.
There are plenty of similarities between Dorćol and Vračar, although the latter is a little further out of Belgrade’s epicentre than the former. That isn’t to say you need to travel far of course, as the cafe-lined streets of Vračar spread out around the monumental Church of St. Sava. Vračar was once a very affluent area, but any wealthy pretence has long been replaced by a down-to-earth cool and an ambitious populace.
Belgrade doesn’t have an Old Town in the way that most central and eastern European cities and towns do, and the capital’s historical centre contains as many stylish modern cafes as it does iconic landmarks. Kosančićev Venac is its oldest part, and the juxtaposition of old cobblestones and modern architecture makes for a fascinating mix.
A 20th-century construction, New Belgrade was built in order to sate Josip Broz Tito’s desire for a huge and modern capital city. It offers something for everyone as a result, and is as ideal for large families as it is young creative types looking for inspiration. Tree-lined boulevards, cinemas, cafes, and a host of bars are waiting to be enjoyed and explored.
Once considered a diabolical eyesore and a half, the huge concrete residential blocks of Belgrade are starting to be appreciated more and more by people who weren’t alive to see the glory days of Yugoslav socialism. Young artists are emerging from the seemingly soulless blocks, finding inspiration in the dreary. The bars on every street more than likely help with the process.