Serbia: My Belgrade Top 5

My Belgrade Top 5

5 fun and slightly geeky things to do in Belgrade

 

With more than 2 million residents, Belgrade is one of the largest cities in the region. The city has a lot to offer her residents and those who pass through. Low-priced museums with first rate exhibitions, an insane night life that lasts well into mid-morning, not to mention plenty of ruins left by a long succession of invading armies make this fun southeastern European Capital a great city-break destination.

Here is a list of my Belgrade top 5 unusual and slightly geeky attractions.

the fortress of Kalemegdan in Belgrade, Serbia
Today, the fortress of Kalemegdan is largely park area crisscrossed with walking paths and even a few formal gardens (Belgrade)

 

 

 

1. Visit the Tesla Museum

 

The suit worn by Nikola Tesla
The suit worn by the great inventor Nikola Tesla on display at the Tesla Museum, Belgrade

This was my absolute favorite experience of my trip to Belgrade. I wasn’t at all prepared for the science-y awesomeness that is the Tesla Museum. I won’t spoil the experience for you by telling you too much of what goes on…just let me say they explain and demonstrate many of Nikola Tesla’s coolest inventions in a way that is exhilarating even for the least science-y tourist.

Admission costs 500 Dinar – a steep price-tag for a museum in a city where half of the museums are free and the other half only cost 200 Dinar. Nevertheless, the experience of the Tesla Museum is worth every Dinar.

Location: The museum is located at 51 Krunska, about 15 minutes’ walk from Republic Square(map).

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 AM – 6 PM, Closed on Mondays.

Read more:

Tesla Museum Website

PBS 8 things you didn’t know about Nikola Tesla

 

 

2. The Underground Tour(s)

 

Belgrade has an underground tour and underground tours are always cool. Actually, to be more accurate, Belgrade has several companies that offer an underground tour. All of the tours take a look at the history from beneath the streets of Belgrade from buried Roman ruins to underground bunkers, to underground wine-tasting.

There is Belgrade Walking Tour’s Underground Secrets tour that runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3pm (meeting at the horse on Republic Square).

If that time doesn’t work for you, you can always take the Mysterious Belgrade walking tour offered by Belgrade Free Tour. This tour offers access to the same major underground locations as the Underground Secrets tour and meets in front of the clock on Republic Square on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 2:30 pm.

Both of these tours cost approximately 10 Euro to cover the cost of admission to the different underground locations. Go2Serbia offers a similar tour for a slightly higher price but they have some tours that go in the morning instead of the afternoon, but they require an advance reservation.

 

 

3. Reflect at the Kula Nebojsa Museum

 

Nebojsa Tower, Belgrade
Nebojsa Tower – once a notorious Ottoman prison – now holds an interactive exhibition about its dark past (Belgrade)

Kula Nebojsa is a tower on the banks of the Danube that was part of the defensive battlements of the Belgrade Fortress.  The tower was used by the Ottomans as a prison and place of execution. Today it is a museum and memorial to the oppression suffered under the Ottoman rule and a place to geek out on history.

The moderately priced (at 200 Dinar) museum is a haunting multi-media experience where photographs of prisoners, peer at you from behind glass magnifiers and where voices speak to you from the dark recesses of the tower. Simultaneously spooky and informative. The tower experience can be a powerful one for the reflective soul.

 

Location: At the very northern edge of historic Belgrade, below the Belgrade Fortress, the tower is best reached through the park (map).

Opening Hours: 11.00 – 19.00h (June – September), and 10.00 – 18.00 (October – May)

Read more:

Kula Nebojsa Website

 

 

4. Exhibition at the National Bank

 

The 1990’s was a difficult time in Serbia’s history. Not only was Serbia embroiled in a series of regional conflicts, she was also mired in unprecedented hyper inflation. The free exhibition at the national bank explores the history of Serbia’s economics.

The geekiest part of the exhibition, though is where you can have your face printed on old Serbian money. There is something about having your face on a note with 10 0’s that is just fun and funky.

 

Location: 12 Kralja Petra St (map)

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm admission is free

Note: Bring ID to leave at the front desk

 

 

5. Explore Kalemegdan and the Belgrade Fortress

 

The clock tower of Kalemegan
The clock tower is open to visitors daily from 10:00-17:00. Admission costs 80 Dinar (Belgrade)

Kalemegdan, the once-white hilltop fortification that inspired invading slavs to shout “white city, white city!” from the opposite side of the Danube river and thus giving the city its name Belgrade.

the Belgrade Fortress is no longer white. The ruins of this once-great fortress have been turned into a sprawling park that is criss-crossed with wide, tree-lined paths. You could spend a good four or five hours wandering across drawbridges, through gates, into tiny churches, or around the artillery of the military museum housed inside the fortress.

 

Location: The fortress is located at the tip of the city – at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. It is hard to miss, but here is a map for those map lovers.

Opening Hours: since Kalemegdan is a park, there is no admission or closing and opening hours, though I did find my way into certain sections of the fortress blocked during a recent festival in the park.

 

Kalemegdon - or Belgrade Fortress - is one of Belgrade's most visited attractions
Built, destroyed, and rebuilt more than 40 times between the 2nd, and 18th centuries, Kalemegdon – or Belgrade Fortress – is one of the city’s most visited attractions

 

 

More (slightly less geeky) things to do in Belgrade:

Belgrade has so much to offer that it was difficult for me to choose what to put in my Belgrade Top 5 There is much, much more to do in Belgrade than can be accomplished in a weekend.

The green market in Belgrade
The green market in Belgrade is a great place to stock up on produce, try some home-made rakija, and shop like a local.

For those who like to try local food and drink, sample some homegrown beer at one of  the Black Turtle locations or at a kafana in the colorful Bohemian district. Alternately you could Grab a Burger made Belgrade style at Loki, or enjoy a meal at the operatic establishment Little Bay (a European franchise).

If history and culture are more your thing you can catch a glimpse of 19th century Belgrade in Princes Ljubica’s Residence or marvel at the size of the new (and still unfinished) Saint Sava Temple (Hram Svetog Save). You can also see works of the modern masters at the Museum of Contemporary Art, or shop in the Green Market.

For the active traveler, you might want to walk or bike the river trail out to old Zemun – once the southernmost outpost of the Austrian empire.

Whatever your interests, you are sure to find something to please your tastes in Belgrade.

Old Zemun and Old Belgrade are linked my way of spacious river walk.
Old Zemun and Old Belgrade are linked my way of spacious river walk.

 

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