Should I visit Belgrade, Serbia?
Belgrade, the capital of the republic of Serbia has been described as the "pearl of the Danube". It is an ancient city, with its colorful history stretching back to pre-Roman Celtic times. Over the course of its history, Belgrade has been conquered and plundered over 40 times, which makes for an interesting mix of attractions. In addition to its natural history, Belgrade is aptly placed in the center of the Balkans, with a continental climate. The winters are cold and frosty, while the summers are quite warm. Situated on the Danube river, Belgrade has a number of public beaches that fill up with sunbathers during the summer, and is renowned for its many riverside bars, which are set on floating barges.
When visiting Belgrade, it is best to come in the early summer or early fall. Temperatures in the wintertime easily fall into the negatives, and snow is common. Alternatively the middle summer season is scorching hot, with almost the entire city seeking relief at one of the many public beaches available. Located close to major air transport hubs (Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Heathrow all being 2-3 hours away), Belgrade is easily reached by air. With the advent of budget airlines such as Ryanair, it is quite possible to visit the city for a few nights and fly back home over the course of a weekend.
Is there anything to do in Belgrade?
As mentioned above, Belgrade is renowned both for its natural and historical beauty. In the summer, the city comes to life as its residents head to the myriad beaches to cool off and enjoy the setting sun. The bars on the beach come alive as the sun goes down, with the local "turbofolk" music blasting. The nightlife scene in Belgrade is well developed, with many bars and clubs open into the early hours of the morning. Alcohol regulations are a lot more relaxed than in most Western European nations, and laws are regularly circumvented in the name of a good time.
For those that are more inclined towards Belgrade's historical attractions, there are a number of options there as well. The most famous attraction is the "Kalamegdan" fortress on the Danube river. It is an ancient military complex that was renovated countless times by different armies and occupiers, with each force instilling their own feel to the place. It currently serves as a military museum and is open to the public. The palace of the royal family "Carski Dvor" is another famous attraction, and dates back to the time when Serbia was a monarchy.
In addition, there is the Belgrade zoo, a number of city parks for picnics and markets/shopping area's scattered throughout the city. If you are willing to use public transit, you can reach many different places in the course of a few days and get to see Belgrade.
The last, and most macabre attractions are the bombed buildings that were damaged in the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia. The buildings have not been repaired and serve as a reminder to both tourists and locals of the suffering that was visited upon Serbia and its people during those unfortunate times.
Interested In Visiting Belgrade?
If you are interested in visiting Belgrade, then you should plan on coming in the early summer of early fall. Flights are quite cheap, especially if you are traveling in from Western Europe. A flight from the Pacific Coast of Canada will cost 1,200$ for two ways, meaning that traveling to Belgrade is accessible for most individuals.
In addition, the cost of staying in Belgrade is much lower than traditional attractions such as Paris or Berlin, meaning that a thrifty backpacker can plan out their stay and save a significant amount of money while getting to experience one of the worlds oldest cultures.