In a word, Belgrade is freaking cool. I don’t know what it is about this city – the gorgeous architecture, the ridiculously fashionable Belgradians, the hip bars and cafés opening up on seemingly every street corner, the blooming street art scene – but every time I come back, I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with it.
Like Bucharest, Belgrade is a city that is best loved for its hidden gems rather than its top 10. Sometimes it can be hard to see what is so special about Belgrade with your own eyes; this is exactly why I recommend people explore the variety of Belgrade tours available in the city, so they can discover a piece of the city through a lens that speaks to them.
For example, I’m not much into history before the 20th century — anything that happened before Franz Ferdinand was assassinated is basically something that happened on another planet, as far as I’m concerned. However, I absolutely love 20th century history, especially communist and WWII history, and therefore these are incredible avenues into discovering Belgrade through tours and guides who know the city better than I could ever hope to Google.
Whatever your passion – whether it be street art, craft beer, history, or nature – there are tours in Belgrade perfect to helping you start your relationship with this beautiful city off on the right foot.
Communist Belgrade Tour
One of the most popular tours in Belgrade, the Red Belgrade Tour includes some of Belgrade’s most interesting sights related to the Yugoslav era. I didn’t personally do this Belgrade day tour but I have seen all of the sights on the itinerary and let me tell you, they are all worth it.
The tour begins in the heart of Belgrade, Republic Square, where you’ll get a brief interview of the 50 years of Yugoslavia before its downfall and messy breakup. As you walk around Stari Grad, your guide will point out monuments from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Finally, you’ll go by tram to Dedinje, which has gorgeous views over the city, including Saint Sava (which looks tiny from this vantage point but is actually the largest Orthodox church in the Balkans).
You’ll end your trip at the incredible House of Flowers, the mausoleum and museum where Josip Broz Tito was laid to rest, where you’ll find memoranda related to his rule such as the relay batons that youth would use on their parades and memorabilia related to Tito’s famed “Blue Train.” This mausoleum is connected to the Yugoslav History Museum, a fantastic museum well worth your time during your time in Belgrade, and you’ll get to see both during this Red Belgrade Tour.
The tour lasts three hours and begins at noon. It runs Tuesdays through Saturdays with no tours on either Mondays or Sundays, so plan in advance if this is key to your Belgrade experience (and it should be!)
Dinner & Folklore Tour
If you really like to get into the nitty-gritty of culture while you travel, a dinner and folklore Belgrade tour is perfect for you! This tour combines two essential elements of Serbian tradition – its cuisine and its song and dance – into one fantastic evening out on the town, great for adding on to a jam-packed day of independently exploring all the great things to do in Belgrade there are.
This tour provides a traditional Serbian dinner, which is all but guaranteed to leave you full of grilled meats, local cheeses, and traditional dips like kajmak and ajvar. Following a
This folk dance is presented with an accordion and drum and involves a group of dancers wearing beautifully hand-embroidered garments singing and dancing (you may even get dragged into it). You’ll have the opportunity to learn about this tradition and ask questions to your expert English-speaking guide.
Please note that drinks and gratuities are not included in the tour price. It’s available Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at 7:30 PM, but a group of six people is required.
Avala and Rakia Belgrade Tour
Two of the most essential symbols of Serbian culture, the Avala TV tower and a visit to the Rakia Museum (with tastings, naturally) are the perfect off the beaten path Belgrade tour if you feel like you’ve seen it all already.
The impressive Avala Tower is located quite a bit out of the city center of Belgrade, making it a bit of a pain to get to (though possible) with public transportation. As a result, coming here on a guided Belgrade day tour is an excellent option.
This Belgrade tour includes hotel pickup and brings you the beautiful Topcider hill, which offers a stunning view of Belgrade from Dedinje, the poshest part of Belgrade (which you may have already seen if you did the Red
You’ll have the chance to ascend the beautiful communist-era Avala Tower, which stands a massive 122 meters high and offers you an incredible view over all of Belgrade. At the foot of Avala Tower, you can see the Monument to the Unknown Hero, a mausoleum dedicated to unnamed soldiers who lost their lives in various battles for Serbian independence.
This tour lasts five hours, runs from 10 AM to 3 PM, and does not include lunch, so eat a hearty breakfast and bring some snacks along or be prepared for a wicked hangover. The tour is only available on weekdays, and a minimum of two people must sign up for the tour to run.
Food Tour of Belgrade
One of the best ways to discover a country’s culture is through its cuisine and Belgrade is no different! While after spending three years living and traveling the Balkans I can admit that Balkan cuisine is not my favorite, if you are visiting the region for a short time you should definitely get a sense of what the region’s cuisine includes.
I recommend doing a food tour in basically every city I visit, and I recommend doing it on the first day of your trip. Why? That way, you can ask your guide for restaurant recommendations and be sure that you won’t accidentally double-up on a restaurant (which has happened to me on a number of occasions when I took a food tour later in my trip).
There are two food tours of Belgrade I can recommend: the first is called Taste Belgrade. It is a little more expensive, but it covers far more, lasting five hours and including traditional Serbian coffee, a visit to a local green market, a stop at a local bakery, a cheese tasting, and a sweets tasting at a pastry shop… and then finally ending with a big sit down lunch, literally an 8-course meal where the chef visits the table and explains each dish and its inspiration. Given all that you get, the price is quite reasonable, but it is not the cheapest option.
If you’re on a tighter budget but still want to explore the Belgrade food scene, there is an option for you. This Belgrade food tour includes more snacks than a full-on
If you can afford it, I’d opt for the first tour as the second tour is quite easy to replicate yourself, but
Belgrade Food & Walking “Mash Up” Tour
One of my favorite tour companies in Europe is Urban Adventures – I’ve never taken a tour with them that disappoints! They always focus on getting slightly off the beaten path, yet not getting so obscure that you find things that frankly aren’t worth seeing.
You’ll hear quite a bit about Serbian history from the 19th century to present day, explained through its architecture, while also getting to sample some traditional Serbian foods. You’ll get coffee (with a shot of rakia to really wake you up) before talking a stroll through the heart of Belgrade, learning more about Serbian life “between the wars” – referring to the period between WWII and the tumultuous post-Yugoslavia years – before making your way to a local green market in Dorcol where you can try kaymak, a clotted cream (I’d describe it as being somewhere between cottage cheese and sour cream) often served with sausages or other Serbian delights.
Finally, you’ll walk down pretty bohemian Skadarska Street, the heart of bohemian Belgrade, before popping into a local sausage shop for the best cevapi in town. Personally, I love the idea of this tour because it combines the information of a walking tour with the deliciousness of a food tour… without the subsequent food
Craft Beer Tour
Serbia was never known for its beer but I suspect that will change soon! Serbia is quickly developing its craft beer scene and a number of amazing breweries are popping up in and around Belgrade. Personally, I love Dogma (they sell it at my favorite coffee shop in Sofia so I drink it often) but other Serbian craft beers I’ve tried have also been quite delicious!
If you want a little more guidance than simply heading to a Belgrade craft beer bar, this awesome beer-focused Belgrade tour is for you! On this affordable craft beer tour, you’ll get to taste 7 (!) different craft beers and explore three distinct breweries. These breweries are often headed by young people who want to shake up the beer brewing scene, often mixing in interesting flavor combinations and ingredients to create unique brews the likes of which are hard to find elsewhere!
While you certainly could simply stop in a handful of bars and breweries around Belgrade and DIY this beer tour, I think its a great way to learn about the best places to drink in Belgrade and socialize with fellow beer-loving travelers without the grossness of a pub crawl (though if you do want to do a pub crawl, this one is less awful than others).
Free Belgrade Walking Tour
Nearly every city has a free walking tour and Belgrade is no exception! We have both taken free walking tours in Belgrade and often recommend these tours to budget-minded travelers and really, anyone who is interested in exploring the city more deeply!
Two caveats when thinking of doing the Belgrade free walking tour. One, it is not really free – you will need to tip, and we recommend tipping at a minimum 500 dinar ($5 USD) and better yet 1,000 ($10 USD). These guides live off tips, so please don’t be a d@(*.
Two, when people hear the word free they tend to go a bit… crazy… and as a result, these walking tours can become quite crowded. In one instance I was in a walking tour of nearly 50 people and I got so
If you don’t mind the occasional crowd or know that you are traveling in the low season and likely won’t have to travel with such a large group, a free Belgrade walking tour can be a great option.
We have gone with Experience Belgrade’s free walking tour (back in the age of Snapchat Spectacles – that doesn’t date the photo at all, does it?) and loved it, but sometimes we prefer the atmosphere of a smaller group, so pick what is right for you!
Belgrade Walking Tour (Paid)
However, if crowds stress you out OR if you are traveling in the peak season and want a smaller group and a more personalized experience, I recommend paying for a tour such as this affordable Belgrade walking tour option.
It’ll cover pretty much all of the same stuff but you’ll have easier access to your guide and the fact that people are paying for the tour means that you’re less likely to get a$$holes who just want to talk over your guide on your tour. These days I tend to prefer well-reviewed paid tours but of course, it depends on your budget and the tour guide.
Underground & Dungeons Belgrade Tour
There’s much more to Belgrade than meets the eye – literally, as a lot of its history is underground! Head to the Belgrade Fortress and do this underground walking tour that explores the dark side of beautiful Belgrade Fortress.
This interesting underground tour includes four stops in Belgrade Fortress: an old army bunker, the former gunpowder warehouse, the so-called Roman well, and a former dungeon.
First, you’ll visit the Roman Well – which is not Roman, in fact, some quick math will show you as it was built in the 18th century by the Austrian occupiers. There are many mysteries associated with the well and you’ll hear many of them on this tour.
Next, you’ll visit an army bunker dating back to the Yugoslav era, near the beginning of the Cold War. It was a crucial part of the communist party’s functioning, and you’ll learn why on this tour. Afterwards, you’ll visit the gunpowder warehouse, which is now a
Finally, you’ll end in the dungeons, learning about the darker ages of Serbia’s past and, what else, how prisoners were tortured here during the medieval ages. All in all, the tour lasts two hours, includes all entrance fees, and departs daily at 10 AM with a minimum of two people.
Zemun is fascinating as now it’s part of Belgrade city, but in the
Zemun is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Belgrade and you’ll explore several of its most important sights on this two-hour walking tour. Those sights include Magistar’s Square, Gospodska Street and Masarik’s Square, the beautiful river walk where you’ll see islands in the confluence of the two rivers, Karamata’s house and Nikolajevska Church, the oldest house in Zemun, and my favorite: Gardos Hill and its eponymous tower.
You’ll also see one of the most important cultural sights in modern-day Zemun, Madlenianum, the gate of the old fortress, the Franciscan Monastery, St. John Church, the Town
Belgrade Boat Cruise
I try to take a boat cruise in every city I visit that has a river worth floating down (sorry Sofia, your ‘stream’ doesn’t count). A Belgrade boat cruise is no exception. I love seeing a city from the water: it gives me a new perspective both literally, but also figuratively in terms of understanding why the city was built where it was from a historical perspective.
With two beautiful rivers, the Sava and the Danube, coming together in a beautiful dance in front of the Belgrade Fortress, it’d be ridiculous not to spend the time to take a boat cruise at some point during your trip to Belgrade.
A sightseeing cruise is very relaxing and a great way to rest your feet while you still take in the beauty of Belgrade and its history through an audio guide, spending 90 minutes up and down this beautiful set of waterways and getting to take in the beauty of Belgrade from a fresh set of eyes.
This specific boat cruise departs every day except Mondays from the beginning May until the first of October at 3:30 PM, and it requires two people when making a booking.
Where to Stay in Belgrade
I’ve written an ultra-comprehensive guide to Belgrade neighborhoods and where to stay in Belgrade here, so take a look at that if you haven’t booked your stay yet! If you just want a cheat sheet, here are our top picks in each budget category.
$ – BUDGET – AVERAGE UNDER $50 PER NIGHT
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 book early if you have your heart set on it.
$$ – MID-RANGE – AVERAGE $50-100 PER NIGHT
For an affordable yet beautiful place to stay in Dorćol, check out Passpartù Home, a gorgeous boutique hotel in the heart of Belgrade’s hippiest quarter. The lounge areas are endlessly inviting, with plush leather couches and books for you to peruse. The rooms are warmly and richly decorated with unique touches that make the hotel feel not so generic. But best of all is the beautiful spa center, which makes you think the hotel should be much more expensive than it is. It features an indoor pool, sauna, spa, hot tub, and hammam for an affordable extra charge.
$$$ – LUXURY – AVERAGE $100+ PER NIGHT
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 in advance if possible and hope you get lucky!
PS: Remember to get travel insurance for Belgrade!
Make sure you always travel to Belgrade with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here includes outdoor activities and travel to highly touristed sites. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or fall victim to theft. Travel insurance will help you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.
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.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.