Belgrade City Break might not be the most relaxing experience on your travel list as this Balkan city is constantly buzzing and is often referred to as the party capital of the Balkans. But nevertheless, Belgrade – which translates as “the white city” – doesn’t lack impressing historic buildings, interesting museums, long shopping strips, trendy bars and traditional restaurants. You will definitely need at least a long weekend to get the true spirit of this exciting place.
Let us help you organise a perfect Balkan escape. We are a local agency specialised in custom-made trips all over south-eastern Europe, including Serbia and its neighbours. Let us find best flights connections with your home town, book the perfect hotel for you and get you a professional (driver) guide who will show you around the city and its surroundings. Belgrade is an amazing and affordable experience that will definitely get under your skin.
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HISTORY OF BELGRADE
The long and fascinating history of Belgrade has been in many ways shaped by its strategic position at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers, which made this Balkan city being fought over in 115 wars and completely destroyed 44 times. After Celts, Romans, Goths and Huns, the Slavic tribes permanently settled here in the 6th century, but were constantly pushed around by larger powers such as the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Bulgarian Empire. During the middle ages Serbians saw different forms of their own kingdom, but Belgrade hasn’t been named their capital until the rule of king Stefan Dragutin (1282–1316).
The Ottoman Turks started invading in the 15th century and finally conquered the city in 1521. Thy didn’t just razed the city to the ground, they also deported its entire Orthodox Christian population to Istanbul. In the centuries to come Belgrade was frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which only meant more wars and destruction. The Serbs, having enough foreign control, staged two uprisings in the beginning of the 19th century and successfully gained more sovereignty which soon led to the formation of the independent Kingdom of Serbia, making Belgrade its capital in 1841. In the following decades the Serbs tried to extend their rule in the Balkans and were quite successful at gaining more territory during the Balkans wars of 1912-1913. When trying to drive the Austro-Hungarians out of the region, Serbian nationalists assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife when they were visiting Sarajevo, which led to a conflict of global dimensions.
Belgrade City Break will give you an insightful look into city’s complex history
Standing on the right site of the combat, Serbians emerged victorious from the WWI and finally got what got what they were trying to get for centuries: a pan-Slavic state to rule over. Belgrade became a capital of the newly established Kingdom of Yugoslavia comprised of several Balkan nations trying to live in harmony with each other. Even after the WWII when Yugoslavia shifted from monarchy to socialism, Belgrade maintained its primal position as the capital. Following the death of its leader Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia found itself in a turmoil of a rising nationalism in its culturally diverse states, ultimately bringing it to a new conflict. Unfortunately the states were too intertwined to be able to separate in a peaceful way, therefore a a horrific war broke out, officially lasting from 1991 to 2001 and resulting in the death of 140.000 people. During that time Belgrade was bombed once again in its history, this time by NATO, after the Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević refused to end the repression of Albanians in Kosovo in 1999.
BELGRADE CITY TOUR
Since the end of the conflicts, Belgrade has been transformed into a modern European capital whose looks are being shaped by the foreign investors. Most talked-about is the new Belgrade Waterfront project which is still in development and will be attracting visitors in the future. In the meantime you are still more than invited to visit Serbia and its vivid capital. Having great airline connections with the entire Europe and some of the world metropolises, Belgrade city break is easy to organise. After arriving to the Nicola Tesla Airport, your personal driver will take you to a hotel in the city centre. Later your private tour guide will show you around this magnificent city that truly has a lot to reveal.
One of the first sights your guide will show you on your private walking tour of Belgrade is definitely the imposing Kalemegdan Fortress. This impressing place above the confluence of Danube and Sava represents the historic heart of Belgrade which has been torn down more than 40 times in its past, but never failed to rise back like a phoenix. Much of what you can see today are 18th-century reconstructions by the Ottomans and Habsburgs. Nicely complemented by numerous cafes, souvenir shops and ice-cream stalls, Kalemegdan is favored by visitors and locals a like. Within the complex you will also find a gunpowder magazine, Military Museum and Gallery of the Natural History Museum. From Kalemegdan park, which surrounds the fortress you can take the pedestrianised Knez Mihailova Street – city’s popular shopping avenue – towards Terazije, the centre of modern-day Belgrade. You guide will point out the most memorable buildings in that area such, as the Serbian parliament, the gorgeous art-nouveau Moskva Hotel and the 19th-century Orthodox cathedral of Archangel Michael.
In the afternoon, your city tour continues with a trip to the past. You can learn all about the fascinating history of Yugoslavia on a visit to the museum dedicated to this interesting period and the attached mausoleum of its legendary figure Josip Broz Tito called The house of flowers. Close by you can visit the enormous temple of St. Sava, world’s second largest orthodox church. It is an impressing site, although its interior is still yet to be finished.
➨ Private cultural & history tours
➨ Balkan gastronomy & wine tours
➨ Vintage car tours of Belgrade
➨ Bike or kayak tour of the city
for your tailor-made Belgrade City Break
Being on of the largest cites in the Balkans, Belgrade will take you more than a day to explore. If you feel like escaping its always noisy streets, your guide can recommend one of the peaceful heavens such as the vast Topčider Park or the beautiful Jevremovac Botanical Gardens with the Victorian-style greenhouse and the tranquil Japanese garden. A bit further out of the city, you can visit Mt. Avala looming over the city and topped with the tallest tower in the Balkan region (204,5 meters). A popular summer escape is Ada Ciganlija, an artificial island on the Sava River, location of the most popular beach in the country. If you feel adventurous, we can organise a kayak tour to another island, named Great War Island due to its strategic position. Nowadays is anything but a war zone as it offers shelter to more than 200 bird species.
Expand your Belgrade experience by taking daily excursions or a complete Balkan Tour
DAILY EXCURSIONS FROM BELGRADE
Since Ekorna Travel Agency specialises in organising tours all over the Balkans, it would be no hustle to expand your city break with daily excursions from Belgrade. As you will see below there are plenty of options you can choose from.
One of the most popular daily trips from Belgrade, also featured in our popular week-long tour of Serbia, is the historic town of Novi Sad in the province of Vojvodina. Often referred to as “the Athens of Serbia”, Novi Sad is a vibrant and creative place packed with galleries and alliterative music bars. No wander it has become the first non-EU city to be awarded the title European Capital of Culture (2021). Besides its Austro-Hungarian architecture, Novi Sad is know for the imposing Petrovaradin Fortress situated on a hill above the Danube. This second-largest fortress in Europe became famous for hosting a popular summer music festival Exit, but it will impress you in any time of year. In the close proximity of Novi Sad lies another picturesque town worth visiting – Sremski Karlovci. It was in this historic place that the round table was first used as a tool of diplomacy.
Driving alongside Danube river from Belgrade you will soon reach Đerdap National Park (the largest one in Serbia). Your driver guide will take you to the striking Golubac Fortress which guards the entrance to the so-called Iron Gate gorge – an impressive natural border with Roumania – which you can further explore on a organised boat tour. History buffs should also take time to visit the important archaeological Lepenski vir, with findings dating back to 7000 BC.
Another popular extension of the Belgrade City Break is the excursion to the Oplenac Royal Complex close to Topola, about an hour from the capital. Among several buildings belonging to the royal house of Karađorđević, the white St George’s Church is the most impressive. Not so much for the outside as for the indoor mosaics made from 40 million pieces of coloured glass. On the way back, your driver guide can make a pit stop at the Kosmaj Memorial, a prime example of socialistic architecture.
Intrigued? As you can see, this magnificent country in the heart of the Balkan peninsula offers enough treasures that should make you consider staying longer. Take a few days and go hiking the areas of Fruška Gora and Zlatibor or explore the amazing Uvac Canyon. You will not believe how much beauty Serbia offers.
DANUBE LUXURY CRUISE
The mighty Danube is the second largest river in Europe. It originates in the Black Forest of Germany and flows for 2850 kilometres through ten countries and four capitals all the way to the Black Sea. Can you imagine a better way to enjoy the scenic landscapes of continental Europe and its historic cities than on board of a luxurious vessel? There are various itineraries that include not only Belgrade, but also Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. River luxury cruise is simply a great addition to your Balkans tour and can easily be incorporated into your tailor-made itinerary of Serbia and/or other countries in the region. Get in touch with us at ➨ email@example.com for more information, availability and rates.
Once here, why not also including Europe’s youngest country – Kosovo – and learn all about its complicated relationships with Serbia on one hand, and Albania on the other. After the cultural tour of the Balkan’s interior, we can extend your travel to Montenegro where you can dip your toes into the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic.
As local experts, we can prepare you a tailor-made a Balkan-wide Tour which includes all countries mentioned and more! How about that? Get in touch with our friendly agents to get more information on travelling in this are. They will be happy to organise everything you need for a great Belgrade City Break and beyond! Trust us, we are the locals and we know all the secrets.
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