A visit to the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade (Muzej Nikole Tesle) should be on anyone’s Belgrade itinerary who likes science, being shocked with electricity, lightsabers is young or is young at heart. Dedicated to the life and works of Nikola Tesla, the museum is a great way to explore science history while honoring one of the region’s most important figures.
It’s a small museum (I stayed about an hour), but one that manages to both be educational and truly delightful at the same time. I was a bit hesitant before going since I’d already visited the National Museum in Belgrade and I wanted to avoid museum fatigue, but I thoroughly loved my visit. I can’t recommend this short but super cool museum enough.
Who was Nikola Tesla and Why is He Important in Belgrade?
Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest inventors of the nineteenth and twentieth century. He was an Orthodox Christian Serb born in a town that is now part of Croatia, but he spent most of his life in the United States. Nevertheless, he is considered a Serbian hero by the country, and the airport in Belgrade is named after him. His inventions included the induction engine, which made using alternating current practical. Nearly every machine in your home was influenced greatly by his work.
What are the Nikola Tesla Museum’s Hours?
This might be a strange question, but it’s a must for this list since the museum hours are actually wrong on the plaque outside the museum! The plaque by the gate is much older, and it hasn’t been updated since the museum hours changed. The museum is opened from Tuesdays-Sundays from 10 am until 8 pm every day. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Does the Museum Take Credit Cards?
No, you can only pay for a ticket to the museum with cash. They also do not accept any foreign currency, so you may only pay in Serbian Dinars (RSD). There is a small gift shop area with souvenirs and a few books available in English, so if you’re a huge Nikola Tesla fan, you’ll want to have extra cash with you to shop. Tickets are 500 RSD (about $5 USD). Children under 7 years of age are free. Groups of ten or more can get discounted tickets for 300 RSD (about $3). Groups must be booked in advance.
Is it Required to Go on a Guided Tour to Visit the Museum
Technically, you can tour the museum on your own. However, I highly recommend the tour, which is the only way to see the film which sets up the information you need to appreciate the museum and the electricity experiments, which are the highlight of a trip to the museum.
The guided tours are held in English and Serbian, and they last about 45 minutes. The film is about fifteen minutes, followed by a demonstration of different induction engines, and then about twenty minutes of electricity experiments. Afterward, I browsed the museum on my own for about fifteen minutes before heading out.
The tour is included in the ticket price. To join a tour, you can either show up and check the schedule, or you can email or call ahead of time. Tours are held every hour, but some of them are in Serbian. To find out when the next English tour is, you can check the posted sign on the front door. Otherwise, to book in advance, follow the instructions posted on the museum’s website:
Information about tour schedule visitors can get from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 15:00 by calling +381 11 2433 886 or by sending inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. About tour schedule on Saturdays and Sundays visitors can get information via our web site.
For group visits (more than 10 visitors) reservation is required. For information and group announcements please contact us at email@example.com or by phone +381 11 2433 886 from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 15:00. No booking is required for individual visits
What Kinds of Experiments are Included with the Tour?
After the film and the tour guide explain the science behind Tesla’s inventions, the real fun begins! We played with Tesla coils, made lightbulbs light up like lightsabers, and some people volunteered to get electric shocks!
What Language are the Tours Held in?
The guided tours with the video presentation are available in English and in Serbian.
If I Can’t Go on a Tour, is it Worth Visiting the Museum Anyway?
Honestly, I would not have enjoyed visiting the museum without the tour. I might have paid closer attention to the exhibits, but the film and the experiments were the two best parts of the trip. The exhibits were interesting, but it was the guide’s storytelling and seeing the electricity in action that made the museum trip an awesome one.
Will Families with Children Enjoy Visiting the Museum?
Yes! There were kids on our tour, and they absolutely loved it. One girl got a little scared from the noise made by the giant Tesla coil, but she perked back up later during another experiment. When she left the museum, she was really happy. The guide did a great job getting kids involved with the science experiments.
Because of Safety Concerns with the Science Experiments, is there Anyone Who Should Not Go on a Tour?
If you have a pacemaker, they will ask you to step out during the electricity experiments. This is noted on their website:
Pacemaker wearers are obligated to follow the instructions of our guides.
Someone mentioned on the tour that it’s less than a one in a million chance that something would go wrong with the pacemaker, but they don’t want to risk it for obvious reasons.
What’s the Difference between this one and the Nikola Tesla Museum in Croatia?
The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade and the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb are not related! In fact, there are also Tesla Museums in New York and Colorado in the United States. The Tesla Museum in Zagreb is a technical and science museum, which includes information about Nikola Tesla and his inventions. However, it was already a museum and then it was renamed after Tesla in 2015. The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, on the other hand, is a smaller museum that has Tesla’s papers, patents, etc. and is only devoted to teaching about his life and works.
Tips for Visiting the Nikola Tesla Museum
- Cell reception in the museum is pretty terrible, but there is wifi available free to visitors.
- Do not bring food or drink with you.
- There is no bag or coat check, but if you have a larger bag they may ask you to take it to a holding area.
- Photography is allowed in most places and during the guided tour.
- Do not record the movie, but filming (up to ten-second clips) is allowed for the rest of the tour.
- You can photograph and film short segments of the guided tour.
Where to Stay in Belgrade
Budget: One popular choice is Balkan Soul Hostel, located in Stari Grad close to the National Museum 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: For a hotel in the center near the National Museum, 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!
Planning a Trip to Serbia? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Make sure you always travel to Serbia with a valid travel insurance policy. While the country is safe, accidents can happen anywhere. If you experience an accident or theft, travel insurance will help you recover your costs and enjoy the rest of 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.
Have you visited the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade? Are you researching Belgrade for an upcoming trip? Leave your best Belgrade museum tips and any questions below!
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.