Visiting Belgrade, Serbia: Is It Worth It? (An Expat’s Secrets)

Belgrade, Serbia is one of those very off the grid places with a somewhat untrue reputation. The truth is that Belgrade is worth visiting for the people, the beauty of the city and the amazing food it offers. All for a really low price.

Today, I will share my thoughts about visiting Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade: things to do, foods to eat and everything in between. Because, trust me, if you’re looking for an European capital with a low cost of living, Belgrade is your top choice.

We’ll find out all the reasons why in today’s article… but let’s start with the beginning.

Where To Stay In Belgrade

Guide to Belgrade, Serbia - Where To Stay In Belgrade

Much of the action in Belgrade is centered around the Republic Square. Anywhere within a mile to the North, East and Southeast of that is a good place to stay.

If you want to stay in one of the most impressive places around – which I really loved, to be honest – you need to give Hotel Moskva a try.

Right in the heart of the city and with amazing quality, it’s surely a top pick for those who can spend a bit more on accommodation. Check out below a photo I took of this impressive hotel:

hotel moscow in belgrade

For a budget option, you can give Hotel Argo a try. It’s still close to all the central attractions and minutes away from the Nikola Tesla museum.

Of course, if you don’t care about being close to the city center (which I recommend though), you can find lots of really cheap hotels throughout Belgrade.

An option could be booking a stay close to the Belgrade airport and simply getting a cheap taxi to the center when you want to visit.

I didn’t find many “bad areas” in the immediate vicinity of the center and throughout Belgrade, overall. At night Kneza Mihaila is well lit, as it most of the city. Overall I felt very safe in Belgrade.

Best places eat and drink in Belgrade, Serbia

Serbian people are friendly and somewhat “forgotten” people. I came away thinking of them as a “rich” poor country.

It is a former communist country, and at times intense. It has a feel of Mediterranean cultures with lots of smoking, eating and drinking.

park in Belgrade
It’s also a great and safe place to visit with children.

It’s a mid sized city, modern for being a Former Soviet Union state, and is chock full of beautiful architecture. And, of course, amazing food.

Eat & Drink

The area around Republic Square has a large number of cafes, restaurants, and bars with outdoor areas and nice views over the city.

During the summer months many of them also featured live music and bands playing. For a string of several weeks in became a ritual to sit out for at least one beer to enjoy the warm summer nights.

I managed to find some amazing Frozen Yogurt during my stay there. Absolutely delicious, with plenty of options and extremely cheap too.

The place was called Icebox and it’s right towards the end of the main street (Kneza Mihaila), before entering the Fortress area. Or exiting, depending on where you come from:

frozen yogurt in belgrade

Here’s a list of bars and restaurants that stood out to me also:

Mustache Bar (Blaznavac): A must visit bar in Belgrade, lots of character, great atmosphere. One of the best drink menus in the city.

Samo Pivo: Beer lovers paradise. This place has a large selection of beers. Easily 200+ different beers to choose from, along with an outdoor patio overlooking the oldest street in Belgrade. Great place to start on a Friday night.

Roof Top Bar at the Samsung Building: If I knew the name I would tell you. The fact that I can’t find this place anywhere on the web makes the experience that much cooler.

It’s a local’s spot with some of the best views of Belgrade. Get there early or you risk it filling up for sunset.

Go to the Samsung building and take the elevator or stairs all the way to the top. Those are the best directions I can give. Search and you will find. The reward is worth it!

Best places to stay, eat and drink in Belgrade, Serbia

River Walk Bars: This is the new, hip and usually noisy area of the city. It features some swanky new bars and restaurants. They are a bit pricey but I didn’t mind it as one off novelty experience. They turn in actual night clubs with dancing and more during the evenings/nights.

Boutique: This place is right in Republic Square and some may call it a “Tourist Trap”. I didn’t find it much different in pricing than the other bars I visited. Stop here if you are trying to get out of the sun after walking the main street of Kneza Mihaila.

Insight into Serbian Culture

Serbian culture struck me as a mix between Eastern European and Mediterranean cultures.

Guide to Belgrade, Serbia - Insight into Serbian Culture
Football (aka soccer) is pretty big in Serbia, and it’s a real experience going for a game there!

The Serbs are mostly friendly overall – but at times can be hit or miss. For example many of the taxi drivers tried to rip us off.

One of them even refused to give us change for a ride when we only had a large denomination bill. He threw my friend’s stuff out of the car and told him to leave. Even going so far as to try and drive off with him still partly in the car.

That’s not the only example. A few locals I talked to had visited the US and hated it. One called it way to “capitalistic” and described it as being entirely centered around money.

At one particular bar after ordering two drinks my roommate and I left a tip. The bartender came out from around the bar and slapped the money squarely on the chest of my mate.

He then explained that the money in our dollars was pennies. It was an insult to tip him so little.

We can understand some of that behavior based on the fact that Serbia has been in a relatively recent war (in the 90s) and they blame NATO and the US for it. As a result, many still have strong feelings against the west.

But overall, except for these few occurrences, people in Belgrade and Serbia in general are extremely welcome and will go out of their way to make their guests feel welcome.

belgrade fortress
The Fortress, one of the main attractions in the city

Serbia has tasted the luxuries of the west but still wants to consider themselves in the category of the poorer Eastern European countries.

The problem is the city looks significantly better than the cities I visited in Ukraine (before the war). Their sidewalks, roads, transit system, buildings, and landscape all made it feel like I was back in the United States.

The city has a population of 1.3 million people but at times it felt much smaller than that. Belgrade can easily be understood in four weeks or less.

I’d also consider it a great destination for a vacation with a girl you’re already seeing – we do like those Moldova women.

There is no metro but the public transport system is very easy to get around, with a combination of buses and trams.

If you stay close to the center, walking will always be your best bet. There is also a city bus that goes from the Belgrade Airport to the city center.

Introduction to Serbian Women

Belgrade center fountain

Ahh yes, what every guy reading this site is looking for.

Throughout my stay in Belgrade I encountered a wide variety of women. To generalize them all as friendly and outgoing or somewhat westernized and aloof, would be unfair. Instead I found three main categories.

“Converse” Serbian Girls

These girls are outgoing and friendly. They speak fluent English and are excited to meet foreigners.

They are more westernized than traditional Eastern European women. They tend to be less rigid in their views and traditions. Many of the girls I met along the river / boat bars would fall into this category.

Eastern European Looks with Olive Skin 

When guys think of what a typical Serbian girl looks like, they are probably imaging this type of girl.

Dark haired, olive skinned, with Slavic facial features. They dress up when they go out. Many of the loud EDM clubs with bottle service were chuck full of them.

Draw back here is they are usually surrounded by brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. It made me think of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. As you can imagine, this means they are more traditional in their views and less open to meeting foreigners.

Foreign Girls

I met quite a few American, French, British and Spanish girls. Belgrade is a bit of a transient city. Since it is part of Schengen it is not uncommon to find foreigners passing through or working there.

Many times walking the main streets in the center you could go a few blocks without seeing a cute girl. This is probably why the city had that small feeling I talked about earlier.

If you’re coming from a place chock-full of Ukrainian women, you might notice a slight dip in overall quality (it could also just be quantity, as places like Kiev are huge). 

There are still plenty of really high quality women to approach here (I’d rate them higher than Czech women from a physical perspective).

Conclusion

Belgrade was a great time in the mid summer months. The main tourist attractions never felt overrun. I’m pleased to say the city of Belgrade still has some authenticity left.

Spend a month here during the summer. You’ll have a time you’ll never forget.

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