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Belgrade

Belgrade fortress and Kalemegdan, Serbia
Belgrade fortress and Kalemegdan, Serbia

Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start your exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.