Belgrade is a fantastic city to use as a home base to explore more of Serbia, and whenever we are in town we never run out of things to do here. We find that one of the biggest travel mistakes people make when coming to Serbia is not giving themselves enough time to explore deeply. You definitely want to give the country more than just a day or two. These are our favorite day trips from Belgrade, although some of them certainly deserve more than just a day if you’re able to manage it!
One of the best things about traveling in Serbia is that there’s so much to see within just a few hours of Belgrade. So while we know that travel time can be precious, we’ve included some options that could really be their own two or three-day adventure, but can be achieved in a day from Belgrade when your time is scarce. At the bottom, we’ve also included a few international day trip options for those truly pressed for time.
Where to Stay in Belgrade
Belgrade is spread across two rivers, with multiple neighborhoods providing good options for accommodations. Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Belgrade. Because transportation is generally very economical, there’s no one place we recommend you stay to be able to access the day trips easier.
Generally, budget means hostel beds for around $10 a night and singles/doubles for around $30, mid-range is from about $40-100 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night. However, note that availability, time of year, and how much in advance you book will play a role in how much accommodations cost 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 Hotel on 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.
Map of The Best Day Trips from Belgrade
One hour north of Belgrade, if you only do one day trip from Serbia, let it be this! Nicknamed the “Serbian Athens,” Novi Sad has been a site of culture and learning for centuries.
Novi Sad is culturally distinct from Belgrade, as it is part of (and capital of) the autonomous province of Vojvodina. Vojvodina is the part of Serbia that historically was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and is home to six official languages: Serbian, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Rusyn (a Slavic language similar to Ukrainian), and Croatian. It’s set to be one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2021.
Novi Sad is home to many exciting things to do but chief among them is Petrovaradin Fortress, the beautiful fortress that overlooks the Danube. This is the site of the world-famous EXIT music festival each year — yes, you can actually go to a music festival inside a fortress!
Another must-see is The Name of Mary Church, often called “the Cathedral” although this is technically a misnomer as it is not actually a cathedral but rather just a church. It is unique for Serbia, as it is a Roman Catholic church done in the Austrian style, colorfully tiled roof and all — meanwhile, most churches in Serbia are Eastern Orthodox. There is also a large and important synagogue.
Don’t miss Liberty Square, which is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in Novi Sad, and also you should be sure to visit Dunavksa Street which is home to several kafanas and some of the most colorful buildings in Novi Sad.
We have visited Novi Sad as an independent destination and as a day trip from Belgrade. To visit, you can take a bus, rent a car and drive, or book an organized tour. We went on this tour which includes a wine tasting and a visit to Sremski Karlovci. It was a delightful day, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. You can check prices and reviews here.
If you’re looking for a day trip from Belgrade that gets you out into nature, Fruška Gora is a great choice. Not far from Novi Sad is Fruška Gora, one of the most beautiful parts of Serbia. Fruška Gora is a National Park, but it’s also a wonderful wine region and is also home to 12 monasteries in the region. One of those monasteries is Krušedol Monastery, called a “second Studenica” – Serbia’s most famous UNESCO-listed monastery. It has a beautiful bright reddish-pink entry gate that is simply beautiful and a beautiful statement against the green lush surroundings of the region.
I recommend renting a car to drive around Fruška Gora. Start by driving through the national park, stopping at the interesting TV tower on Iriški Venac which was badly bombed in the 1999 NATO bombings. Afterward, you can monastery hop and stop at a few vineyards along the way, though of course, you should sample in extreme moderation (if at all) if you are driving. Serbia has a very low threshold for drunk driving – 0.02%, a quarter of the U.S.’s and U.K.’s 0.08% threshold.
Serbian wine doesn’t have much of an international reputation but I truly think that’s a shame! Serbian wine is delightful and full of character, and I’ve had the chance to try several wines around the Balkan region and I’ve never been disappointed. I’m a big fan of white wine and therefore one of my favorites is Temjanika, a varietal that you’ll find in Serbia and Macedonia. It’s been growing in the region for over 500 years and is delightfully floral on the nose and mineral in body – one of my favorite Balkan wines.
We went on a combined tour of Fruska Gora and Novi Sad. To get there, you can take a bus, rent a car and drive, or book an organized tour. We went on this tour which includes a wine tasting and a visit to Sremski Karlovci. It was a delightful day, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. You can check prices and reviews here.
This charming city sits in far northern Serbia, right on the border with Hungary. The architecture is what makes this town unique. It’s one of the best cities in Europe to visit to appreciate art nouveau architecture. My personal favorite building in Subotica is the Synagogue, which is hauntingly beautiful and includes a small memorial to the local victims of the Holocaust. Other highlights included the baroque Orthodox Church and the marvelously decorated town hall in Subotica’s center.
We visited Subotica by renting a car and driving. It’s about two hours by car each way. You can also take a bus from Belgrade each way.
Another option for those who don’t want to try driving in Serbia is to hire a private driver for the day. I have hired private drivers twice in Serbia, and I paid about one hundred euros for the day both times. If you can get a rate around this price, it will cost you just slightly more than renting a car will.
If you plan to take a day trip from Belgrade to Subotica, you really must add a stop at Lake Palic to your day’s itinerary. This peaceful lake is one of my favorite spots in Serbia. The drive from the town is about twenty minutes, maybe longer if you stop to visit the friendly farm dogs who live along the road out to the water.
Locals fish or hike here, and there’s even a movie festival held out here annually. However, it’s worth a stop even if you only have thirty minutes to walk around, especially if you catch it at sunset.
Technically a municipality of Belgrade on the outskirts of the city, there’s enough to do here (and you’ll feel far enough removed from Belgrade’s bustling streets) that it’s worth it to come out and spend a day in this gorgeous and sleepy corner of Belgrade. Just don’t remind locals that it’s a part of the city, as they are fiercely proud of Zemun and don’t appreciate it being conflated with Belgrade.
Highlights here include climbing the Gardoš Tower (Serbian: Кула на Гардошу) or Millennium Tower, (Serbian: Миленијумска кула), exploring the charmingly colorful houses, and walking the solemn aisles at Zemun’s cemetery next to the cheery yellow Orthodox Church. Hapsburg influence can be seen throughout Zemun, as there are multiple church spires that looked like they were plucked directly out of the Sound of Music.
You can reach Zemun from central Belgrade via the public transportation system or in a taxi. A taxi from almost anywhere in the city will be less than 700 RSD (or about $7 USD).
I visited Zemun independently on my last trip, but we also stopped here on our organized tour on the way to Fruska Gora and Novi Sad. If you want to combine a quick stop in Zemun with a tour of the region, this is a great way to do it. You won’t get to see Gardos, but you’ll get a quick taste of what the area is like. You can check prices and reviews here.
The Palace of Emperor Galerius at Gamzigrad-Romuliana
A three-hour drive east of Belgrade, seeing the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Gamzigrad is a little out of the way but an important stop for any history lovers. Nearly two thousand years ago, the palace at what is now modern Gamzigrad was known as Felix Romuliana. Emperor Galerius named the site after his mother.
Emperor Galerius was born near Serdica (modern Sofia, Bulgaria) and was part of the first tetrarchy, headed by Diocletian. After Diocletian stepped down, Galerius succeeded him as the Emperor. Visiting the site, you can see the fortifications around the palace, a preserved mosaic, some remaining columns, and Magura hill. This hill is where Galerius and his mother Romula underwent apotheosis after their deaths, the process by which a mortal ruler becomes a god. Dating to the third and fourth centuries AD, this is one of the most important ancient Roman sites from the time period.
I visited by hiring a private taxi for the day, which cost about one hundred euros. However, you can also rent a car. I love driving in Serbia! The roads were pleasant the entire way, and we didn’t run into any significant traffic. The drive is about two and a half hours each way, which gives you plenty of time to explore the site.
Sadly, I haven’t made it out to Golubac yet, but this beautiful castle on the Danube is high on my list for my next visit to Serbia! A Serbian Instagram dream, the fortress also has some amazing history which you can learn about on a guided tour from Belgrade that will also include stops at Viminacium and Lepenski (more below). My Serbian tour guide said this is one of his favorite tours to do, so while I haven’t been on it personally, I can’t wait to go back and go! You can check tour prices and reviews here.
You can also get to the fortress by renting a car and driving. Each way is under two hours. There is also the option to take a public bus, which is less than three hours each way. Alternatively, you can hire a driver.
Viminacium & Lepenski Vir
For history and archaeology lovers, combining a day trip to Golubac with stops at Viminacium & Lepenski Vir offers a look into the deep past. Viminacium was an important ancient Roman city, while Lepenski Vir is an archeological site with evidence from the earliest days of humans in Europe. You need a car to visit them, so either rent a car in Belgrade or go on an organized tour that also stops at Golubac. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Panchevo & Jabuka Memorial Park
If you have access to a car while in Belgrade, a stop at the Jabuka Memorial Park to see the Stratište Memorial Complex. It’s just thirty minutes northeast of the city outside of Panchevo, but you can see the beginnings of the Serbian countryside as you approach the monument.
The memorial is one of the former Yugoslav spomeniks, this one dedicated to the Pančevo Holocaust. It is estimated that 10,000 Jews, Serbs, and Roma were executed here by the Nazis and the Hungarian fascists between 1941 and 1945. The Holocaust in Vojvodina was especially brutal. The Nazi’s labeled their invasion of Yugoslavia “Operation Punishment,” and the Germans and Hungarians carried out this sentiment with thorough brutality.
The monument to this experience, which is currently roped off with orange construction barriers, is also a sign of the tension in Serbia with preserving these vestiges of their Yugoslav past. Don’t worry, the construction doesn’t currently block you from entering the monument, but nevertheless is a sign that preservation is badly needed if these Yugoslav spomeniks are going to be around for future visitors to appreciate.
Another highlight in this area is the Church of the Transfiguration, one of the most unique Orthodox churches in Serbia. The nineteenth-century church combines Byzantine, Serbian, and Rennaisance styles and looks closer to a church from Milan than your typical Balkan Orthodox chapels. Seen from the road on the way to the Jabuka Memorial Park, give yourself an extra few minutes to appreciate this Pancevo landmark.
To visit, you’ll need a car or you can hire a taxi in Belgrade or Panchevo. The monument is outside of town and inaccessible by public transit.
Boasting over one hundred thousand visitors annually, most of them local Serbians, Topola isn’t exactly a well-guarded secret. However, it’s not nearly as popular with foreign tourists as it should be! Called Serbia’s “royal heart and soul,” this is where the Karađorđevic dynasty’s family mausoleum is. Nearly thirty Serbian royals are buried here.
You can also visit the house of King Peter, who was the king on the eve of World War I. However, the highlight for many will be the Karađorđevic family wineries. Topola has been an important wine region in Serbia since Roman times, earning the more recent nickname “Provence in the middle of Šumadija.”
To visit Topola, you can drive about seventy-five minutes each way or take a ninety-minute bus ride. For those who want to learn along the way, and avoid needing to hire a taxi once there, you can go on an organized tour of Topola and Oplenac. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Studenica and Sopocani Monasteries
If you want to see some of the most beautiful monasteries in Serbia from Belgrade, you’ll need to get up early! While these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites are situated in the south near Kosovo and Novi Pazar, they are an ambitious but feasible day trip from Belgrade.
I visited both when staying in Novi Pazar by hiring a private driver who took me to Belgrade at the end of the day, so I know that it’s a long day but you can accomplish visiting from Belgrade if you rent a car or hire a driver. I paid sixty euro for the taxi for the entire day, but if you start in Belgrade and then return, you will obviously pay more. I’ve also paid one hundred euro for a private driver for the day when I visited Gamzigrad. Renting a car for the day might be less expensive, but not by much since driving in Serbia can get expensive.
Sopocani Monastery is four and a half hours from Belgrade by car. Studenica is there and a half hours. Total drive time from Belgrade to both monasteries and back is a little over nine hours, so if you give yourself about an hour at each monastery and an hour for lunch, you’re looking at a very long but manageable day.
I would not recommend doing this as a day trip via public transportation.
The Sargan 8, Mokra Gora, and Drvengrad
The Sargan 8 Railroad leaves from Mokra Gora and is said to be one of the most beautiful train rides in Europe. While many tourists head to Mokra Gora to enjoy a few days of peaceful relaxation or, in the winter, to enjoy the Balkan ski resort of Zlatibor, you can also visit as a day trip from Belgrade. The train ride is on a narrow gauge track, and the trains have a historic look and feel. Make sure to also stop by the Ethno village of Drvengrad.
You can drive from Belgrade to Mokra Gora in about four hours or take a five-hour bus ride. However, because you’ll be coordinating your arrival times with the Sargan 8 train schedule, we recommend going on an organized tour. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Sitting near the border of Kosovo in southern Serbia, Novi Pazar has a very different look and feel to other Serbian cities. This is the cultural center for Serbian Bosniaks, and this is one of the few places in Serbia where sightseeing lists will include historic mosques and other important Islamic sites.
When I visited Novi Pazar, I was coming from Pristina in Kosovo, so I didn’t appreciate yet how different the city is from the rest of the country. Now that I’ve explored the country more in-depth, I have a real love for Novi Pazar and how it displays its multiculturalism proudly.
To visit Novi Pazar as a day trip, your best bet is to rent a car or hire a driver. The trip takes about four hours if you drive, but the bus can take four and a half hours or longer each way.
NisThe third-largest city in Serbia, Nis is underrated but definitely worth a visit. Nis is home to several interesting sights, including the creepy Skull Tower – a stone tower embedded with real human skulls dating back to 1809. The Nis Fortress is also worth a visit.
Also in Nis, you can visit the Crveni Krst Concentration Camp, where Jews, Romani, communists, and anti-fascist activists were imprisoned and killed during the Nazi occupation of Serbia.
If you drive, the trip from Belgrade to Nis is about two and a half hours each way. There are also pretty frequent buses. Each is about three hours of travel time.
Tourists who take a day trip to Resava usually go to explore Resava cave, as well as the nearby monasteries of Ravanica and Manasija. It’s no secret we love a good cave! While we’ve explored many caves in Bulgaria, we’re still seeking out Serbia’s caves for future adventures.
If you choose to DIY your day trip, you can drive to Resava Cave in about two hours or you can take the bus that will last about three. Alternatively, you can join an organized tour of this part of Serbia. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Are you looking to enjoy a dash of European bath culture while you’re in Serbia? The most popular spa town in Serbia due to its seven natural hot springs, Vrnjačka Banja is an amazing place to relax. While we recommend giving yourself two or three days to truly unwind, it is possible to visit as a day trip from Belgrade by renting a car or hiring a driver. The drive is about four hours each way.
We do not advise trying to visit Vrnjačka Banja as a day trip by public transportation.
While Kragujevac is charming and interesting on its own right, the most relevant thing for travelers is the Šumarice Memorial Park. Here, you can find the excellent October 21st Memorial Museum, a red-brick museum giving context to the Memorial Park and recounting the tragic massacre on October 21st, 1941. On this day, Nazis murdered somewhere in between 3,000 and 7,000 Serbian civilians as retaliation for a clash with Serbian soldiers during the occupation.
The Šumarice Memorial Park is composed of a driveable circuit of some dozen or so monuments (also called spomeniks) that testify to the loss and resilience of the Serbian people. There is also a beautiful lake in the park that is worth visiting, as well as a pleasant lake-side restaurant.
If your goal is to visit Šumarice, you’ll want to visit either by renting a car or hiring a driver so that you can drive through the circuit. Kragujevac is about one and a half hours south of Belgrade.
Zasavica Nature ReserveDo you love cheese? Do you want to try the most expensive cheese in the world? Zasavica Nature Reserve is famous both for its natural beauty and for the local cheese produced here. Made from donkey’s milk, this cheese is a Serbian specialty!
You can visit Zasavica by car. The drive is about an hour west of Belgrade. You can also reach it by bus, which takes a little over an hour and a half.
If you want to explore more of Vojvodina and see Zasavica in the same day, this tour combines Fruska Gora with Zasavica as well as stopping at the ancient Roman city of Sirmium. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Uvac Special Nature Reserve
Located near Novi Pazar in southwestern Serbia, Uvac Special Nature Reserve is renowned worldwide for its beauty and for the ecological work done there. Highlights of a day trip to Uvac include relaxing on the river, boating, and bird watching. The rare Gryffin Vulture is native to this part of Serbia, and getting to see it is a delight for bird lovers.
There are two options for visiting Uvac from Belgrade. The first is to rent a car or hire a driver since the reserve is four hours southwest of Belgrade. There is also an organized tour that includes transportation, a guide, and an organized boat ride on the lake. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Visiting Zagreb as a DIY day trip wouldn’t normally be feasible. The bus and trains are over eight hours each way. I visited Zagreb after taking the overnight train from Belgrade, and that was exhausting! However, if you’re dying to get a taste of Croatia’s capital, then I suggest you explore going on this guided day tour. The price is extremely reasonable (cheaper than renting a car), and they’ll transport you door-to-door.
If you do choose to drive, the trip takes about four hours. Because you’ll be crossing a border, make sure to pre-arrange with your rental company to get the green card to cross the border.
I highly recommend going the tour route, though. Even though I’ve already been to Zagreb, if I had to do it as a day tour from Belgrade I would go on the tour. It would just be too hectic and time-consuming to try to do on my own. You can check prices and reviews here.
If you’re dying to see Budapest, you have two options for making this into a day trip. The drive time each way is about four hours, but if you’re renting a car you’ll need to get clearance ahead of time to cross the border. Since the buses and trains take over six hours each way, I would not recommend going to Budapest from Belgrade via public transportation unless you have at least two days.
The second option is to go on an organized tour. While we think there’s much more to explore in Budapest than you can possibly do in a single day, we understand that you might only have enough time to see it as a day trip. Like I stated for Zagreb, if you want to do this as a day trip I would advise going with a company who will handle everything for you so that you can enjoy your day. You can check tour prices and reviews here.
Don’t Travel to Belgrade without Travel Insurance
Finally, make sure you always travel to Belgrade with a valid travel insurance policy. While the city is a very safe place to travel these days, you want to make sure you have your possessions covered if they’re stolen and your medical bills covered if you get sick or injured. This is especially true if you plan on enjoying the city’s nightlife or doing any outdoor activities.
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.
Do you have any tips for which day trip from Belgrade to choose? Do you have questions about an upcoming trip to Serbia? Leave your best tips and any questions below!
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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.