Belgrade is known as the fun life capital of Europe. Extremely cheap and out of the European Union and Schengen area, Serbia – and therefore Belgrade – are a great choice for those looking for a place where their dollars (or euros) go a long way.
In Belgrade, the cost of living for a single person is around $1,000 per month. This will allow you to live comfortably in the city. If you want a lot more options, consider a budge of around $1,300 – $1,500 per month and you’ll live like royalty.
Couples can live on even less per person. In smaller cities in Serbia, you can live for as little as $500 per month (although a modest life). But couples can live even in Belgrade on $1,500 per month, making each person’s monthly contribution just $750. Pretty cool!
When estimating the cost of living anywhere, many personal preferences come in play, with the biggest swings possible in the rental area (the more rooms or luxury you want, the more expensive), what food you eat (ESPECIALLY if you eat out a lot) and how much you plan to spend on entertainment.
For today’s article, I am estimating the cost of living in Belgrade for a regular person who wants a bit of comfort, likes to eat out every now and then and go to a club on weekends, but without being completely over the top.
In your situation, the costs might be higher or lower – but it’s good to have at least some sort of a starting point in order to better estimate just how cheap living in Belgrade is. Let’s get this started!
Is Belgrade cheap or expensive to live in?
Since you can live for as little as $750 per month in Belgrade – which is a beautiful European capital, after all – we can all agree that it’s very cheap to live here.
Now let’s break down the costs a little bit and see where your money will go each month based on my estimates.
Rental prices in Belgrade
When it comes to long term rentals, you can easily find a studio or a one-bedroom apartment in a good condition (fully furnished), in the city center, for around $400 per month.
Split that with your partner, and you’ll only need $200 per month for accommodation in Europe. That’s an amazing deal!
I stayed in the Stari Grad area (the old town area) close to the Botanical Garden – and that’s the area I recommend wholeheartedly. You’re in the heart of the city with everything around you.
Atop of rent, you will have to pay some other monthly expenses for your heating, electricity, water and garbage and so on. These will all cost you around $120 each month.
Really affordable – but do keep in mind that if you use the A/C unit non-stop during the scorching hot summer months (it seems to get warmer each year in Belgrade), your monthly expenses can go up fast.
Food costs in Belgrade
A quick meal for one can be had for a measly $5 if you’re not very picky, while more high profile options are available in the $10-15 range.
Unless you fall for a tourist trap or make it a mission to find a Michelin starred restaurant (good luck with that!) I see little reason to EVER spend more than 2200 dinars (around 20 US dollars) on any single meal. And you’ll eat like royalty!
Supermarket prices will be between 20% to 50% cheaper than those in your home country, and drinks at a classy club won’t be more than 5-6 bucks for something more fancy (a couple dollars for a beer, for example).
Here are some examples of food items and their prices:
- 1 liter of milk: $0.9
- 1 loaf of bread: $0.6
- 1kg of potatoes: $0.8
- 1kg of tomatoes: $1.2
- 1kg rice: $1.25
- 1kg chicken breasts: $5.50
- 1kg of local cheese: $5.00
- 1.5l bottle of water: $0.6
Overall, your monthly costs for food in Belgrade (including eating out 4-5 times each month) will be around $250 on the lower end and $400 on the higher end.
Probably an average of around $350 per person is safe to consider as the norm in most cases when it comes to food costs in Belgrade.
Transportation costs in Belgrade
Public transportation is very limited, so I pretty much avoided it – but locals usually just jump in and out the city buses without paying for a ticket (something which will shock many visitors).
I do believe that a monthly ticket costs around $30 in Belgrade if you want to play it safe (as you should).
As in many of other less developed countries, taxis in Belgrade can be hit or miss. I personally only had one bad experience when I boarded an unofficial taxi, but I called the driver on his crap and after a couple of back and forth insults we reached a reasonable agreement.
Yup, it can get ugly, so make sure to only pick genuine taxis. Unfortunately, there is no Uber in Belgrade, but you have the alternative of Bolt (which is basically Uber with a different name) and CarGo. I recommend using the former as it is the best option.
Tip: Even if you’re an obvious foreigner, use Serbian to ask the driver how much the trip will cost you, before you get in. It’s the surefire way to get the cheapest fares:
Koliko Kosta se [Destination]? Should be enough broken Serbian to get the driver wondering how up to date you are with local taxi fares. Do your best to make it seem like you’ve gone on the same ride many times.
Other costs in Belgrade
SIM cards and internet data, a necessary tool for any seasoned traveler, are almost insultingly cheap in Serbia: you can have a SIM and 5GB of data for about $5, but you can find all sort of deals that are also dirt cheap.
And the internet is fast – especially if you’re planning to live here longer term and sign a monthly contract. Here are other prices to expect:
- Monthly Gym membership: $30
- Cinema ticket with popcorn & soda: $12
- Nice haircut (men): $10
How much does it cost to live comfortably in Belgrade?
With all the numbers above in mind, I would say that a single person can live a comfortable life in Belgrade for $1,000 per month.
This will let you rent a good studio in the city center, eat good food and go out every now and then, as well as allow yourself some luxury every now and then.
Have in mind that the average salary in Belgrade is somewhere around $700 per month, so if you have $1,000, you are already well above the average.
It is true that for 2024, prices are higher than ever thanks to the rampant inflation that has affected Europe as a whole. But Belgrade and Serbia in general still remains one of the cheapest places to live in Europe.
Living in Belgrade, Serbia
Now, I’m not going to lie here: Belgrade isn’t Vienna or Verona. Aesthetically speaking, the city doesn’t offer much, except for the central area (and more recently, the outskirts where new, modern buildings are taking over).
This is not a surprise, considering the USA (The Clintons) lead the bombing of the entire city in the 90s.
The city itself makes sure to remind you of that – by keeping a couple of destroyed buildings in the center, just like the airstrikes left them.
Combine that with the slow economic growth and it’s no surprise to see that Belgrade remains a bit frozen in time.
If you were a typical Lonely Planet backpacker or a middle age couple looking into romantic destinations, you’d be hard-pressed to justify visiting this place.
I could then tell you about the beauty of Kalemegdan (a medieval fortress right in the middle of the city, consisting of a huge park, cafés, restaurants, a dinosaur museum and even a pretty good nightclub).
Perhaps I could show you videos of how young people flocking to a nearby lake called Ada Ciganlija to swim and play beach volley – and it would still be a hard sale.
Fortunately, regular readers of this site are anything but that – and they will no doubt check those places out if they decide to explore Belgrade.
What Belgrade does offer is what ultimately moves the more off-the-grid kind of travelers: tons of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, nightclubs, relaxing places and sports events. And AMAZING people.
The city is extremely affordable for a westerner and despite the economic struggle, people living here can’t live without being out and about enjoying what Belgrade has to offer.
It is very difficult to express this in words, but Belgrade has some sort of a positive vibe, a charm of its own that simply makes you fall in love with the place as soon as you set foot there.
It’s not an insanely beautiful city, but it has personality and charm and something that makes you love it no matter what.
I would go as far as saying that Belgrade is one of the hidden gems of Europe and an amazing place to live in. Make sure to read my guide to living Belgrade for more about this.
As for where to stay, the city center isn’t huge, so your safe bets will be Savamala, Skadarlija and Vračar (northern part of it, mainly).
I would suggest avoiding New Belgrade (Novi Beograd), which is a newly built, pretty nice residential area on the opposite side of the Sava river.
It may be great for locals and the quality of flats will be way better – but it does not allow a real traveler to experience the city properly.
Stay as close to Republic Square (Trg Republike) as possible and you’ll be fine.
And if you want an alternative to Belgrade – or just a similarly nice place to visit during your stay there, read my previous article teaching you how to spend an amazing weekend in Novi Sad.
This sums up my estimated monthly costs for living in Belgrade, Serbia. It’s definitely one of the cheapest capitals in Europe to live in and the people here are really amazing. In other words – you’ll love it!
If you’re living in Belgrade already and you have more insight on how much it costs YOU to live here, I’d love to read your thoughts.
The more numbers we can compare, the easier it will be for other people to better estimate their monthly cost of living in Belgrade.