Belgrade’s status as a major continental capital has meant that the expat population in the city has always been high, and the recent influx of capital has seen another spike in that number. Where are the best neighbourhoods for those finding themselves in the capital of Serbia?
As with anything else, Dorćol absolutely sticks its hand up high as a fine part of the city for expats to set up a new home. The city centre neighbourhood is one of the most social in the city, and you won’t have to travel far for those late lunches and even later drinks. All the amenities required to ease into a new city are here, making this the coverall choice for new expats.
You simply won’t find more expats anywhere else in the city than in New Belgrade. This is fairly obvious of course, as Belgrade’s most populous municipality is home to more of everyone than anywhere else in town. There are plenty of reasons for this too — great facilities, bars and restaurants as far as the eye can see and no small amount of transport and parking facilities.
If you can afford it, Dedinje is one of the best parts of the city to seek out if you are a new foreigner in Belgrade. The wealthiest part of the city by an absolute mile, the Savski Venac neighbourhood is full of villas and estates that will impress and depress in equal measure. The area was once covered in vineyards and orchards, and it is no surprise that many diplomatic addresses can be found in these parts. Be prepared to shell out for the privilege, however.
The fiercely independent municipality of Zemun ticks many of the prospective boxes that will appear on the soon-to-be expat’s wish list. Plenty of social opportunities, cafes and bars? Tick. Good public transport links with the city centre? Tick. Relatively inexpensive living costs? Big fat tick. When you add the riverside location and views towards the big city, you have a true winner.
Offering many of the perks of the city centre without the congestion and constant intensity, Palilula is starting to appeal to more and more foreigners moving into the Serbian capital. The neighbourhood originates from one of the brief Habsburg forays into the city, and it was immediately popular. It might not be the most populous part of the city (as it was at the end of the 20th century), but there is plenty to love about living in Palilula.
Something of a left field option, Voždovac has everything anyone could possibly need if they found themselves living in a brand new city. Grocery stores, supermarkets, bars, post offices, restaurants and the rest are all here, in a part of town best known for a shopping centre that has a football stadium on top of it. The transport links to the city centre are fine, but a car will definitely make things easier.
Undoubtedly one of the prettiest segments of a city that straddles beauty and ugly in an almost precarious manner, Topčider is a heavily forested area just outside the centre, but the utter tranquility means it might as well be an entirely different part of the continent. There isn’t a huge amount of facilities around, but those looking for peace, quiet and nature won’t find much better than Topčider.
The relative spending power of expats coming into Belgrade means a high standard of living can be achieved for a considerably lower price than in the west. Neighbouring Dedinje in Savski Venac, Senjak is every bit as affluent and renowned as its counterpart. This has always been an upper class area, although NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign did a little bit of a number on it. It remains popular with the wealthier folks today, although don’t expect much in the way of personality and charm.