Belgrade, Gritty Capital of Serbia, Is on the Rise

Gritty Capital of Serbia on the Rise

Serbia, Belgrade, Novi Beograd, Savski Venac, Sava River, Party ship and restaurant at riverside
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Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, part of the former Yugoslavia, is relatively unknown thanks to years behind the Iron Curtain under communist rule and the years of civil war that ravaged the Balkans. It's now showing up on travelers' radar as an interesting destination, but where exactly is it? 

Belgrade is an Eastern European capital in the north-central region ​of Serbia at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.

Find that confluence on a map and you'll have your finger right on Belgrade. 

The New York Times wonders in a story from August 2016 if Belgrade is the new Berlin, its grit, and grayness reminiscent of the German capital in decades past. You'll see socialist-style drab architecture in the shadow of art nouveau buildings as its several pasts merge into one future. 

Serbia has history and gorgeous scenery, and Belgrade is becoming known as a hot nightlife, cafe, and cuisine scene, with great coffee and tasty brews daily staples, all played out in its trademark irreverent style against historic architecture and peaceful parks. The travel guide Lonely Planet calls it one of the most happening cities in Europe. The smart money is on getting there and making your own discoveries before it becomes the next avant-garde destination for travelers always on the hunt for new places where nobody's been.

 

 Distances to Other Eastern European Cities

  • 196 miles south of Budapest, Hungary
  • 228 miles east of Zagreb, Croatia
  • 276 miles west of Bucharest, Romania
  • 302 miles east of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 459 miles southeast of Prague

Getting to Belgrade

You can fly nonstop to Belgrade from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Air Serbia.

You can also depart from Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Chicago; and Phoenix on multi-stop flights. Many airlines serve this route, including United, American, Delta, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Air Serbia, Air Berlin, Swiss, Alitalia and British Airways. Those flying to Belgrade from international destinations arrive at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.

If you've flown into another European city, you can travel on to Belgrade on Eurail. The Serbian railway system services European cities such as Vienna, Munich, Budapest, Kiev and Moscow, and you can catch connections to those cities to Belgrade. By the time you arrive in Belgrade, you'll see the city in the context of Serbia and get a broader feel for the country if you make this leg of the journey by train.

If you've flown into Belgrade and if your time frame allows it, go on a train trip through the beautiful Balkans, starting in Belgrade, to get a feel for the entire region. Develop an itinerary that will take you to Dubrovnik, the jewel of Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. Disembark and stay awhile, then hop back on the train and travel to another destination and then finally onto Vienna or Budapest, where you can catch a flight home or a train to a Western European capital.