The history of Serbia has always been a turbulent one and the uneasiness is visible even today on the city’s streets and facades. In this well-rounded 2 days in Belgrade itinerary, you will get to discover the history, arts, and culinary side of this city!
Belgrade is still being seen as a part of a wilder adventure vacation across the Balkans. This is why even today the Serbian capital remains a relatively undiscovered destination.
But besides all these drawbacks, is the warm hospitality of the locals, the food and drink are cheap and the city is pretty easy to navigate.
2 days in Belgrade itinerary: Best of Belgrade in 2 days
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Belgrade is the city where the Danube and the Sava rivers kiss and a lively pedestrian boulevard extends all the way to an imposing fortress, flanked by historical buildings on either side.
Here old world galleries sit next to artisanal cafes and the unique gritty character makes it ideal for new age travelers to spend quality time in Belgrade, even if it is for just 48 hours.
2 day Belgrade itinerary: What to see in Belgrade in 2 days
Day 1 of Belgrade itinerary 2 days: Go on a walking tour of Belgrade centre, Belgrade Fortress, Kalemegdan Park highlights, Saint Sava Temple, Nikola Tesla Museum, Republic Square
Day 2 of Belgrade itinerary 2 days: Museum of Yugoslavia, Zemun, The Genex Tower. Underground Belgrade, Bombed Nato buildings
Belgrade Serbia Trip planning
In all probability, you will land at the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade. Just book a pre-paid cab to reach the city (€18) to avoid being conned by other drivers or wasting precious minutes on bargaining considering the limited time you have at your disposal.
You can also arrive in Belgrade by road (road trips or by bus).
Once in Belgrade, you can use tours, public transport, or taxis/Uber to get around.
For taxis in Belgrade download the app Car.Go as it is similar to Uber. If you arrive by air you use the airport WiFi to book a cab even before you have received your luggage.
Travel insurance is essential for Serbia for the peace of mind it gives in case of accidents or emergencies like trip disruption or cancellation.
Now, the centre of Belgrade is very walkable, so just charge your camera, don a good pair of walking shoes and you are good for the day.
As a rule of thumb pack a healthy mix of warm and casual clothes keeping in mind that Belgrade is the party capital of Europe. The weather is extremely unpredictable and you may need a jumper even during summer.
Remember to carry an unlocked smartphone in order to purchase a cheap Serbian sim card to stay connected.
Where to stay in Belgrade Serbia
Rooms in Belgrade are much more affordable in comparison to other cities in Europe. There are plenty of places which are centrally located and reasonably priced with large beds and showers.
Typically, a good four-star hotel costs €70-140/day. An apartment €30-50 per day, and a hostel is €10-20 per day in shared accommodation.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Belgrade,
- Maccani Luxury Suites: The Maccani Luxury Suites has an ideal location and is close to all historical sites. Check out rooms options and availability here
- Hotel Moskva: The landmark Hotel Moskva in Republic Square, which first opened to the public in 1908 is another option. The beds have been known to be occupied by personalities like Albert Einstein, Yasser Arafat, and producer Alfred Hitchcock to name a few. Book your stay at the Hotel Moskva Belgrade
- Central Park Residence: These centrally located apartments are great for long-term stays, and they are also close to the city’s primary attractions. The rooms are spacious! Check it out here
Now, let’s kick start our Belgrade two day itinerary (we have more travel tips below, so keep reading)
Day 1 of the 2 day Belgrade itinerary: Go on a walking tour of Belgrade centre, Belgrade Fortress, Kalemegdan Park highlights, Saint Sava Temple, Nikola Tesla Museum, Republic Square
Start with a lovely breakfast at the centre
Assuming you have already arrived in the city the night before or quite early on day one of your Belgrade itinerary, we suggest that first thing in the morning you should visit any of the popular bakeries and try the traditional Serbian breakfast of Burek, made of pastry stuffed with cheese, potato, spinach, and meat.
Some good outlets are Sarajevo near Tasmajdan Park or Kalis near Kalemegdan.
The day we arrived in Belgrade it was super early and was a little gloomy too, so we sat down at an outdoor cafe where they had heaters on, and it was super cozy and nice!
Walking tour of the centre (4 hours)
The best way to get acquainted with a new city is by opting for a guided walking tour. Because many of the city centre attractions are located so close to each other, so walking makes a lot of sense.
We recommend setting aside at least 4 hours to see it all (with or without a guide). When we booked our tour, it was just the two of us, so we really took it slow and experienced it all!
Begin your exploration of Belgrade by exploring the attractions around the Stari Grad area. In terms of good historical sights, this is where visitors and locals spend most of their time having fun.
Running right through the middle of the city’s historic city center is the pedestrian street of Knez Mihailova, a place you will be covering more than once on your two day Belgrade visit as it is linked to most of the attractions.
A major landmark in the area is the Belgrade Kalemegdan Fortress, which overlooks the Danube River and the Sava River where the city first started long before the Romans arrived and took control of it.
Set aside at least two hours to explore this place over which more than 115 battles have been fought. Entry is free and the views of the river below from the Boho Bar and New Belgrade across are stunning, to say the least.
Surrounding the fortress is the huge public Kalemegdan Park which is always a lively place at any time of the day.
Just outside the park is the unmissable Military Museum having tanks and artillery on the walls. If you are with a family or kids the nearby Belgrade Zoo and the Amusement Park may be of interest.
Access: Belgrade Fortress, Roman Well, Military Bunker, Gunpowder Magazine, and Casemates of the Military Museum
- Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Fees: Single ticket: 80,00 RSD
Just off the southern end of the park is the St Michael’s Cathedral, an important place of worship in Belgrade dating back to the 1840s. The golden flourished and distinctive towers make this orthodox church an instantly recognizable mark against the city’s skyline.
If interested you can also walk to the landmark National assembly of Serbia, and check it out.
Stop for lunch (around noon)
Grab a meal at Walter for some great Serbian food in an outdoor setting. The place is a bit pricey but their Kebabs or Cevapi are out of the world.
Another option is to head to The Berry Bar for Cevapi and Turkish coffee!
Church of Saint Sava: One of the largest orthodox churches
Saint Sava is one of the most important Serbian Orthodox Church buildings and is visited daily by locals, most of whom are orthodox Christians.
It is the biggest church in the Balkans with an impressive interior and monumental architecture which makes the church visible from kilometres away.
In the evenings the church is lit up after sundown and looks quite magical. Worth a visit if you have the time.
Entry to the church is free, and you will only need about 30+ minutes to see it all. Right outside the church, there is a lovely complex where you can relax a bit, check out the statues, and more.
- Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Fees: Free
Nikola Tesla Museum
A short fifteen minutes walk from Saint Sava will bring you to the Nikola Tesla Museum located at Krunska 51.
There are over 1200 precious exhibits on display at the Tesla Museum and the amazingly trained guides create an engaging experience describing the authenticity of the working models created by the inventor Nikola Tesla.
- Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Monday) | 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
- Tickets with a guided tour in English: Single 800 RSD | Group: 500 RSD
The 19th century built Republic Square is the social hub of Belgrade and the meeting place of all the locals.
As pointed out earlier, you will again come across the pedestrian street Knez Mihailo named after Prince Mahailo, whose monument can be found in the middle of the square.
Around this area are also the National Theatre and the National Museum, now open after many years of closure.
Skadarlija for dinner and nightlife
Skadarlija is the second most popular attraction in Belgrade after Kalemegdan and it is easy to understand why.
It is located in the Stari Grad neighborhood of the Old Town and is a perfect place to relax at the end of the day enjoying traditional food, drinks and listening to live music by a mobile troupe of musicians. We recommend Dva Jelena for a variety of Serbian food.
Right next to Skadarlija is Cetinjska, the heart of Belgrade’s nightlife. There are a number of nice bars and clubs here where you can while away the night hours.
Day 2 of the 2 days in Belgrade itinerary: Museum of Yugoslavia, Zemun, The Genex Tower, Underground Belgrade, Bombed Nato buildings
Since you have already visited the most popular areas on day one, you can now stroll around some lesser-known spots on the other sides of the Sava River where New Belgrade is located.
It is not as fascinating as its counterpart, but nevertheless, it has a charm of its own, but first a cup of coffee.
Kafeterija is an extremely popular coffee outlet in Belgrade with a few locations, but the one at Kralja Petra is the most beautiful.They offer fifteen different types of coffee from around the world and is a must-visit spot.
Another cool spot is at the Manufaktura! We went there for breakfast and dinner and it was amazing!
Museum of Yugoslavia
Before you head to the offbeat areas of Belgrade, if you are interested in learning about the political history of the Balkans, then we recommend visiting the Museum of Yugoslavia.
This is a public history museum in Belgrade, that showcases the start and fall of Yugoslavia and highlights major political shifts and moods of those years (nonaligned movement, cold war, etc).
You will also find details about how life was under Socialist Yugoslavia as well as the life of Josip Broz Tito. You will also find Tito’s grave here.
We spent about 2 hours at the Museum and the surrounding complex – it was an informative experience and we really learned a lot about erstwhile Yugoslavia.
- Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Wednesday to Sunday) | Closed on Monday and Tuesday
- Tickets with guided tour in English: Single 800 RSD | Group: 500 RSD
Technically this area is not a part of New Belgrade as it lies further ahead on the Sava River close to the banks of the Danube. Zemun is one of the oldest quarters of Belgrade and is crammed with houses with red rooftops and restaurants with patios and terraces for plenty of eating options.
The gastronomical delights of this place are well known and there is good food everywhere but none better than at Durmitor, especially if you are a meat lover.
One of the most famous landmarks in Zenum is Gardos Tower, accessed by a pleasant walk along the cobbled streets. Climb to the top to get great views of Zemun and the Danube River.
The Genex Tower
Located in New Belgrade, the Genex Tower is also referred to as the Western City Gate and is the third tallest residential building in the Balkans. The half-occupied half-abandoned tower block is an iconic sight and worth a look.
There are numerous bus routes 18,65,70 and 74 which lead to Genex Tower from the Old Town across the Branko or the Gazela bridge.
This interesting tour covers a wide range of the history of the country starting right from the Roman era. At €15 per person and the promise of visiting an underground Yugoslav army bunker, the tour looked promising.
In fact, the guides more than made up for it as the tour visited not only places in the Belgrade Fortress but ended with a complimentary drink at an underground wine cellar.
Bombed Nato buildings
The remains of the former Yugoslav Ministry of Defence on Nemanjina Street were once one of the most iconic buildings of Belgrade before it was targeted by the 1999 NATO bombings.
The crumbling structure can be visited by a walk from downtown Belgrade and is now listed as a protected cultural monument as the still falling debris poses a risk to passing pedestrians.
Pamper yourself on your last evening in Belgrade with dinner at Manufaktura, one of the best restaurants of its kind in Belgrade located in the city center. They offer a wide variety of Balkan dishes and excellent Serbian wine.
They have cute red umbrellas hanging outside so you will easily find them.
Belgrade itinerary 2 days: Alternate tour recommendations
Urban Belgrade tour
You may not find this in any guidebook but this tour will give you a feel of the real urban vibe of the city.
On the way stop at:
- Belgrade Design District, the first shopping mall opened in 1990. The place is a fusion of hip designer shops and art galleries.
- Cetinjska Road to see many coffee shops, bars, and clubs all in one district. This was the site of the former Belgrade Beer industry which was abandoned in the mid-2000s and is now the party hub of Belgrade.
- Kosancicev Venac showcases how Belgrade looked 150 years ago with all the oak trees and street lights which gave the city a special feel.
Riverfront bars and clubs
Belgrade is famous for its vibrant nightlife, so as the sun sets that is what you may want to experience. A unique setting can be enjoyed on the barges lining up the banks of the Sava and Danube rivers.
These vessels are known locally as splavovi and serve as floating clubs with bars and restaurants onboard and provide an exciting approach to nighttime entertainment.
There are a wide variety of boats to choose from and you are bound to find something suitable. The best part is that they are all cheap and affordable.
National Museum of Serbia
If you want to delve deep into Serbian culture, a visit to the National Museum of Serbia is a must.
The institution is crammed with exhibits that give a vivid insight into the history and culture of Serbia as well as archaeological artifacts depicting the influence of the Romans and the Greeks of the past.
Art lovers will have their hands full exploring the various art galleries full of pieces not only from within the country but from other parts of Europe as well.
The visit will take at least a few hours so check beforehand whether it fits into your schedule or you can miss out on some other attraction listed above which does not interest you. Note that if you are there on a Sunday, the entry is free.
Free walking tours
The free walking tour is one of the best ways to explore the important sights around the city center and learn a bit about the history and interesting facts of the area. The guides are good and sympathetic and make that extra effort to show you around.
The tour starts from 14, Republic Square and is free, but if you are satisfied you can tip what you want at the end of the tour.
Day trips from Belgrade: See all in a day
While the capital of Serbia is a charming destination in itself, there are plenty of places within a short distance that can be covered on an enjoyable day trip from Belgrade.
The second largest city in Serbia is a must-visit place on any Serbian itinerary. Known more for its great parties and wild nightlife, there is much more to Novi Sad that anyone could ask for.
Landmarks like the Novi Sad Synagogue, the second largest in Europe, and the vibrant Zmaj Jovina Street, bang in the middle of the city are top tourist attractions. Here lies the oldest house in Novi Sad built in 1720 which is now an Irish pub.
The Museum of Novi Sad offers an opportunity to walk in underground tunnels while the imposing Petrovaradin Fortress and its distinctive clock tower were once used to announce the change of guard.
Fruska Gora National Park
- Travel time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Fruska Gora is the name of the highest mountain and has been a part of the national park scene since 1960. This is one of the ideal places to get away from the hectic city life and spend time in nature, swimming, fishing or hiking the many trails.
During the 16th-18th century period, a number of monasteries were built here, nineteen in all, among which the Vrdnik is the most popular.
There is no public transportation available for Fruska Gora so you will need to rent a car to get there. You can then stop at the Iriski Venac, the badly bombed site of the 1999 NATO attacks.
Located on the banks of the River Danube at the entrance of the Derdap Gorge, the Golubac Fortress dates back to the 14th century. The complex has an impressive number of ten towers and acted as a strategic citadel due to its riverside location.
Failed conquests and recently unearthed artifacts make a visit to this fortress more than worthwhile for a day excursion from Belgrade.
Resava Cave, Manasija Monastery & Lisine Waterfall
Visit some of the most beautiful spots in Serbia on a conducted day trip from Belgrade starting early at 08:00 in the morning.
Your first stop on this enthralling itinerary will be the Manasija Monastery dating back to the 15th century. Here you will come across some of the most significant monuments of Serbia.
Continue to Resava Cave and explore the interiors of this 80 million-year-old grotto. Finally make a stop at the Lisine Waterfall, one of the most impressive and highest cascades in Serbia. By evening time you will be back in Belgrade.
Hiking in the national parks
Hiking in the national parks and the protected areas of Serbia is a revelation. Not only do you get to explore the iconic Iron Gates Gorge or trek on the verdant hiking trails tucked away in Mokra Gora Nature Park, but you also find virtually no one on the way.
What you find in plenty is wildlife and a plethora of village bars selling Rakija or local wine.
Additional travel tips for Belgrade Serbia
Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia. Serbia is not a European Union member yet. Membership processing is still ongoing.
Serbia has different trade and political relationships with many countries that allow visa-free travel to the country (that includes the USA, Canada, and India.)
Their official currency is Serbian Dinar. But many places will accept euros. Most of the shops will not accept euros so keep a sufficient amount of Serbian Dinars on you. Souvenir outlets, however, do accept euros and give any change due in local currency.
Cash is still the king in Serbia.
Fun fact: Did you know you can buy ‘cash’ in Belgrade as a souvenir? I got a 500000 souvenir money that is now devalued!
The railway infrastructure in Serbia is not the greatest and trains usually get delayed. Since you have just a couple of days in hand, use the bus system which is safe, clean, comfortable and very cheap.
Renting a car is also an option if you intend to travel further, else just use only buses.
English is widely spoken, except by cab drivers outside of Belgrade.
Other general traveling advice while planning a trip to Belgrade:
The official currency in Serbia is the Dinar, with one Euro equivalent to roughly 118 Dinars. The most accepted form of money in Serbia is cash and it is convenient to keep some Dinars handy for cabs or to get a bite to eat.
You can travel within Serbia on a budget of $35 per day, from which $10 goes towards accommodation and the rest for cooking meals in a kitchen or eating street food.
Mid-range travelers can have a wonderful time for $50-75 per day, while luxury travelers can have a ball for $109-150 per day.
Belgrade, like most other Serbian cities, is considered safe to travel to, but beyond the strong famous homemade fruit brandy Rakija, there are a few things travelers should be wary of as the country is slowly emerging from years of war and internal strife.
Street crime levels of pickpocketing and purse snatching are prime targets. Never keep your belongings out of sight.Though tourists have never been the target of violent crimes, Mafia-type reprisals have occurred in which innocent bystanders have become unintended victims.
Unexploded landmines leftover from the civil war of the 90s are present in the areas around the borders with Kosovo. Visitors passing through this region are advised to stay on proper roads and paths that are well-used.
Were two days in Belgrade enough
Even if two days in the Serbian capital form a part of your wider Balkans itinerary, be assured it is time and money well spent. This will allow you a full day exploring the attractions around the city center and the second day visiting Zemun.
However you have some extra time, you can do one or two day trips either to Novi Sad or to the wine town of Sremski Karlovci.