Belgrade’s street art is everywhere. You’ll find it everywhere from the sides of new commercial buildings to Communist-era modernist buildings to architecture dating back to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Some artwork is political, some commemorate people who have passed, and some is meant to beautify the city.
All of the various styles, mediums, and intentions blend together, helping give Belgrade the cosmopolitan, vibrant feel that reigns over the city. After returning to the city, these are our favorite pieces of Belgrade street art we spotted during the last few weeks.
Grupa JNA is a street art collective and punk band active mostly in Dorcol. These murals were some of the first pieces we ran into (probably because so many of them are near some of our favorite restaurants in Belgrade). You can see more examples of their work on their Facebook page, which includes the quote, “the Beauty of the partisans will save the world.”
The street art collective GTR stands for ‘the Grobarski (gravediggers) Trash Romanticism.” While it’s not an elegant name when translated into English, you can just remember GTR for short. The group sometimes works with Grupa JNA, and sometimes produces works on their own. This mural is part of a series on the Belgrade football rivalries, which, to be honest, I barely understand. Check out this article on Yahoo Sports to see exactly who supports whom and why when it comes to the intersection of Belgrade street art and football.
They also create portrait murals of different individuals. According to Yahoo:
The GTR frescoes have become part of a Belgrade tradition. The city is sprinkled with portraits of young men, often hooligans or members of criminal milieu some of them commissioned by relatives in honour of those deceased.
Most of the time the GTR artist works with onlookers and sometimes even in front of the police.
One day, “a police car passed by, slowed down. They said ‘Good job’. And left,” Lovric says.
The Western City Gate
The Western City Gate was built in the 1970’s as a marvel of modernist architecture. Today it is far from the ideals of architecture in the 2010’s, but it stands proudly above the city regardless. It has attracted street artists who come out to tag the landmark, as well as having some handpainted murals.
Novi Beograd (New Belgrade) Street Art
There’s a ton of excellent street art in Novi Beograd. The concrete high rises and industrial feel of the area lend themselves well to the art form in addition to providing a number of excellent and interesting surfaces.
Welcome to Belgrade
Next to Distribucija, Višnjićeva 10, is a cool mural complex. While there are multiple pieces of street art here, we think that the Welcome to Belgrade sign (translated from the Serbian “Dobrodosli u Beograd”) is the top spot for Instagram in Belgrade.
Murals the Size of Buildings
Belgrade has its share of beautiful murals that are as tall as the buildings they’re painted on. Here’s a great primer on the famous murals in Belgrade, but this one we spotted off Knez Mihaila is one of my favorites.
To be honest, this one is confusing to me. I don’t know if the clothing store Moj Krojac commissioned it or if it’s an act of subterfuge. Either way, it looks super cool.
If you’re looking to learn more about Belgrade street art, a great way to do so is to join a street art tour or another alternative tour.
Where to Stay in Belgrade
Budget: If you want a cozy feeling hostel, Hostel Home Sweet Home in the Savamala neighborhood of Belgrade is a fantastic choice. Its central location close to Knez Mihailova Street and other Belgrade must-sees makes staying here ultra-convenient. It’s sunny and open, with options for dorm rooms as well as affordable single and double rooms for travelers who want a little more privacy without paying a fortune. It’s one of the best-rated options in town, so we recommend you check out availability and book in advance here.
Another popular choice is Balkan Soul Hostel, located in Stari Grad and a convenient walk from all the hot spots like Kalemegdan Park, Belgrade Fortress, and the splavovi on the Sava River. Every bed has its own charging area and lights, which are essential to me when picking a hostel. It has a social atmosphere and friendly staff who can make your stay in Belgrade even more charming. Check out availability and reviews here.
Mid-Range: There are so many great options in this price-range — Belgrade really excels at providing great value when it comes to accommodations in this price tier. One fun option is a floating hotel on the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers, San Art Floating Hostel & Apartments. While it’s located in Novi Beograd and therefore a little out of the action, I love the floating deck where you can have sunset drinks, and I like the that the décor is a little bit nostalgic, with details like rotary phones and old radios. You can check it out here.
If you want a more traditional accommodation option, we recommend the affordable four-star Zepter Hotelon Terazije, one of our favorite streets in all of Belgrade. It has all the amenities you’d expect from a 4-star hotel, like a gym room, in-room coffee machine, and a fantastic daily breakfast. Rooms sell out often, so check out availability and book in advance.
Luxury: We’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest the classic luxury option in Belgrade, Hotel Moskva – one of our favorite buildings in the city and a classic haunt of famous politicians, musicians, actors, and other celebrities who pass through Belgrade. It’s also surprisingly affordable for its caliber! With a renowned spa, delicious restaurant (don’t miss the moskva schnit cake – we love it!), and beautifully designed rooms, it’s one of our favorite places in Belgrade and the location is unbeatable. However, it’s almost always sold out, so be sure to check availability and book well in advance and hope you get lucky!
If you want a more modern take on luxury, in a beautiful boutique hotel that is classy to the nines, we recommend Boutique Garni Hotel Townhouse 27. This hotel is beautifully designed in rich colors, with key details like fresh flowers in the rooms and a gorgeously-presented breakfast. The staff is helpful and courteous and you’ll love the location just off Knez Mihailova in Stari Grad. Check out availability here.
Don’t Leave without Travel Insurance!
Finally, make sure you always travel to Serbia with a valid travel insurance policy. The country is a very safe place to travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses. Recently my aunt fell on a train in France and needed surgery, but luckily her travel insurance covered the costs in full. Thank goodness!
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.