15 Belgrade Top attractions & monuments!
Belgrade is certainly one of Europe’s most vibrant and active capital. As many Serbs say, the real attraction of the city is the people who live in it.
The capital of Serbia, however, is also rich in monuments, probably not as spectacular as those of many other European cities, but equally interesting and full of history! Trust me, a few days are not enough to appreciate all the venues of this city of nearly 2 million inhabitants.
Precisely for this reason here is the list of the 15 Belgrade Top attractions. The places are highlighted in the map below with icons in form of temple, church, flag or red explosion for places bombed by NATO.
Kalemegdan, Belgrade fortress.
The citadel of Kalemegdan was the defense of Belgrade since Roman times. 115 battles were fought between those walls and numerous times the fortress was destroyed. The same name Belgrade (white city) comes from the white marble used to built the fortress.
What we can see now, ramparts, walls and ditches, is what remains of the 18th century reconstruction, with a mix of Byzantine, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian ruins.
From there you can enjoy the best view of Belgrade, admire the Danube, peer old Yugoslavs skyscrapers and appreciate the extension of the Old Town, Stari Grad.
Inside Kalemegdan, which is not only a fortress but also a large park, do not miss the Statue of Winner of 1928, which celebrates the victory of Serbia against the Austro Hungarian Empire in World War I, and the Mausoleum of Damad Ali -Pasa, one of the few Turkish elements within the city.
Saborna crkva – St. Michael’s Cathedral
If you look at Belgrade from afar, you will always see the bell tower of this Baroque church, destroyed by the Turks and rebuilt in 1837. The frescoes, the iconostasis and the internal architecture are surely worth a visit. Opposite to the cathedral there is the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church, in which it is also exposed a cup that belonged to the famous Russian Emperor Ivan the Terrible.
Belgrade top attractions – Trivia: Do you know why the church bells ringing all over the world at 12am are called Belgrade bells? Because during the 1453 turkish siege, Pope Callistus III ordered that all the city bells sounded to call all the faithful to pray for the city. The habit has remained.
Knez Mihailova – Belgrade main street.
The most important and famous pedestrian street in Belgrade, stretching from Kalemegdan to Trg Republike. It is full of shops, markets, cafes, and beautiful buildings such as the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, in art nouveau style, the School of Fine Arts, in neo-Renaissance architecture and the Public Library, with Roman ruins. It is a pleasure to stroll here during day and night and stop in any bar or cafè without the fear of paying too much. This problem does not exist in Belgrade.
It is considered one of the most beautiful building in Belgrade, a real Art Noveau jewel. Huge and with the appearance of a castle, was completed in 1909 after four years of work. During the Second World War it became the basis of Nazi Gestapo, who stole all the valuables things including silver and gold ware and precious paintings. The hotel returned to its original purpose after the conflict.
Explore its opulent interiors and have a relaxing break: prices are only a little higher than average, so do not miss the famous and sweet cake Moskva Snit, typical of the Hotel!
Old & New Royal Palace – Parliament
We suggest you to see these huge institutional buildings at night when they are illuminated in a dazzling way.
The old and the new royal palace are located one in front of the other. The first, now Municipality the Town, was finished in 1884, while the second, now headquarters of the President of the Republic, was completed in 1922. The parliament is a little further back and it was built in neoclassical style.
While walking between Terazije and Pionirsk Park at night, it will be a pleasure to admire these huge monuments and use your tripod for some great night shots.
Originally it was the summer residence of Marshal Tito, President of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia from 1953 to 1980. Built in 1962, it is characterised by a modern architecture that does not imitate the typical gargantuan soviet buildings.
Inside there are various exhibits on the history of Yugoslavia. Unfortunately it seems that the funds reserved to this museum are quite limited. However we must underline the appreciable effort of the museum staff to offer appealing exhibitions.
A very interesting section presents all the gifts that Tito received during his 27-year presidency from all around the world, including original prints of the “Caprices” by Francisco Goya.
It is worth to visit the “House of Flowers”, Tito mausoleum, so named for the hundreds of plants that surround it. At the center of the mausoleum is located the tomb of Tito and the one of his second wife, Jovanka Broz, who died in 2013. Around the graves you can see a collection of various objects and clothes belonging to Tito,
Belgrade top attractions – Trivia: An interesting map shows how many heads of state came to the funeral of Tito. It was the largest state funeral in history with 4 kings, 31 presidents, 6 princes, 22 prime ministers and 47 foreign ministers, from 128 countries. Only the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 saw more heads of state.
To get to the museum, quite far away from the city center, you have to take bus 40.
Immense and harmonious at the same time, characterised by the gentle contrast between the white marble and the green roof, is visible from any point of the city. Here is the temple of St. Sava, the saint whose relics were burned by the Turks in 1594 right on the hill where the church stands.
The interiors have not yet been completed, since the construction is carried forward only with the donations of the faithfuls. This since 1941.
The temple houses 49 bells and a 4000 pounds gold cross, suspended 79 meters above the ground. In the park in front of the temple there is a statue of Dorde Petrovic, commander of the last rebels against the Turks, and the 1973 National Library.
Dedicated to the Serbian scientist, pioneer of the studies on electromagnetism, offers an interesting tour about his most important inventions. Paying a little more you can be part of a group with a guide in English, and try some nice test on electrical conduction. The only problem is that the rooms are very small and if the group is very big your adventure between electricity could result in many jostling.
In conclusion, it is worth it if not too crowded … or if you’re a true fan of electromagnetism.
Symbol of the Yugoslav period of prosperity in the 70s, is full of offices and cannot be visited, but it is a good reference point when you walk through the city. High 101 meters was completed in 1974.
Tašmajdan Park, St. Mark’s Church and Russian Church.
Inside the very quiet Tašmajdan Park, created in 1828 on a stone quarry, we find St. Mark’s Church (Crrkva svetog Marka), finished in 1948 with a Greek cross plan and a beautiful copper dome. Just below you can find the tiny Russian Church (Ruska pravoslavna zagranicna crvka), pretty building done thanks to the money donated by the faithful Russians in 1924.
You should visit this part of the city if you want to take a quiet walk in the park, in which there are many statues and a monument commemorating the children killed by the NATO bombing in 1999.
Radio Television of Serbia
If you are interested to see the damage done by NATO bombing in 1999, this building is one of the few that remains as evidence. In the attack died as many as 16 journalists. A plaque near the Russian Church, asks the reason “Why?” of those deaths.
Other traces of the NATO bombings.
Belgrade was bombed by NATO for 78 days in 1999, during the military operation “Allied Force”.
The Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs, located on Kneza Milosa, were hit hard, and now stand as evidence of those terrible days. Remember that theoretically those buildings cannot be photographed.
A green island on the River Danube transformed into beach (8km!) and recreational park.
Here you can ride your bike on excellent paths, visit many shops, bungee jumping, water skiing, golfing, fishing, participate to an obstacle path in the Adventure Park and spend the evening in a nightclub bar! What more can you ask for?
A nice little town on the Danube. You can reach it with the same 40 bus you take to go to the Museum of Yugoslav History. The town has a strong Austro-Hungarian touch and it offers a picturesque view of the capital. It is also home of the oldest church in Belgrade, the Church of St. Nicholas.
When you walk on the riverside (Kej Oslobodjenja) you should stop by any of the many restaurants. There you can eat fresh fish at a very low price and enjoy the pleasure of the river breeze. The staff is always so friendly and you will have to resist the urge to hug your waiter!
After your lunch, head to the Gardos hill to visit the Millennium Tower, built by the Hungarians in 1869 to report the southern border of the Austro Hungarian Empire and the thousand-year dynasty.
Landed in Belgrade, the first thing I noticed when I took the bus to get to the center of the city, was a huge planes cemetery.
I said to myself “what a pity not being able to visit it, it would be a perfect place to take fantastic pictures.” I was wrong. Not in the fact of taking photos, but in the fact that it was a cemetery. In fact it is the Belgrade Aviation Museum, full of different planes from World War II onwards. The high densification of aircraft, also not so well preserved, and the futuristic architecture of the building, make it a very interesting museum and one of the reasons why I want to come back to visit Belgrade.
Belgrade top attractions – Trivia: The museum hosts the cockpit of an F-117 A Stealth, an American warplane considered invisible but shot down by Serbian in 1999. It was the only F-117 A shot down in history, but the shutdown costed very much to the American military industry, as the warplane was inspected by Russian and Chinese experts who acquired its technology. The plane was then put out of production since 2008.