Belgrade’s biggest neighbourhood is more of a city itself than a neighbourhood, but there is little argument when it comes to the most popular place for families to live. Wide boulevards, plentiful amenities, good cafes and a number of schools make it obvious, all without taking into account the relative ease of transport and family-friendly residential set-up.
Neighbourhoods don’t come much more ‘city within a city’ than Zemun, as this fiercely independent municipality has indeed spent most of its existence as a separate town in a separate empire. Its self-sufficient status gives the benefit of living in Belgrade without the mania of the city centre, along with plenty of schools and some of the best restaurants in the entire country.
Not every part of Belgrade’s city centre is entirely chaotic of course, although it is somewhat ironic that its most ‘Bohemian’ is another excellent choice for the nuclear family. ‘Bohemian’ must always be used with a pinch of salt of course, as it no longer means anything close to what people think. But Dorćol’s collection of cafes and shopping make it a popular choice for families in the city, whether they are sticking around or simply dropping in.
There should probably be a caveat here, in that Dedinje is an excellent choice if your bank balance is in a particularly healthy state. Once the diplomatic part of town, Dedinje became the neighbourhood of choice for Belgrade’s rich during the 1990s. Huge houses and all manners of comfort are found in this most leafy part of town.
It might not be the most popular neighbourhood in town, but there is a functionality to Mirijevo that makes it very appealing to young families in the city. Situated just outside of the city centre, the focus is well and truly on practicality than aesthetics, but since when have children been bothered about a bit of drab architecture? Parks, food and comfort are far more important, and there are plenty here.
Tašmajdan Park is the centrepiece of Palilula, and it doesn’t take a parenting expert to see the benefits of that huge green area for younger folk. The area is well connected with the city centre, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for eating out, although good luck getting the kids in from the playgrounds long enough for them to finish a meal.
While the lake itself usually becomes a noisy party zone in the summer, the distance between the body of water and residential parts is far enough for that to be a non-factor. Ada Ciganlija offers plenty of distraction for the restless minds of youth, along with a year-round relaxation element that isn’t touched throughout the rest of the city.
A hilly area in the north of the capital, everyday life in Zvezdara sprung up around the neighbourhood’s famous observatory throughout the 20th century. The forest offers plenty of getaway options for those long weekends, a chance to keep the kids fit while getting away from the intensity of the big city.