Belgrade is probably not the first place that comes to your mind for a winter vacation. It is neither a snowy mountain place nor a sunny Mediterranean city. However, the weather in Belgrade in winter is not as bad as you may think. Besides, there are plenty of things to do.
Belgrade hosts beautiful architecture, quirky street art, interesting monuments, and charming neighborhoods. There are all kinds of restaurants with live music and a great atmosphere. Museum-lovers will find a place for them too. As a native of Belgrade, I’m happy to share with you some tips on the best things to do in winter.
- 1 Why you should Visit Belgrade in Winter
- 2 Things to Do in Belgrade in Winter
- 2.1 1 Enjoy the Views from Belgrade Fortress
- 2.2 2 Check out the City’s Giant New Bizzare Monument
- 2.3 3 Explore Belgrade’s Cool Street Art
- 2.4 4 Stroll by the River in Old Zemun
- 2.5 5 Admire Brutalist Architecture
- 2.6 6 Learn About Hyperinflation at the National Bank
- 2.7 7 Eat Traditional Food in the Bohemian Quarter
- 2.8 8 Soak Up All the Gold in a Giant Temple
- 2.9 9 Be a Jedy in an Epic Museum
- 2.10 10 Witness History at Two Bombed Buildings
- 3 Where to Stay in Belgrade
Are you planning your trip to Belgrade last minute?
Top Hotels in Belgrade
Metropol Palace – Modern jewel from the 50s
Hotel Moskva – Art nouveau hotel
Hotel Jugoslavija – Modern beauty by the river
Top Tours and Experiences in Belgrade
2-Hour City Boat Cruise (from 25 eur)
Underground & Dungeons of Belgrade Fortress (from 25 eur)
Novi Sad & Sremski Karlovci Full-Day Tour (from 49 eur)
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Why you should Visit Belgrade in Winter
The Weather is Not So Bad
Compared to most European capitals, Belgrade in winter has mild temperatures. Though it often goes below 0 degrees Celsius (32 F), it can also be sunny. However, it does occasionally snow. No worries! Belgrade is prettier under a blanket of snow. Especially its beautiful fortress! To enjoy the city, all you need is warm clothes.
The average temperature in Belgrade in December, January, and February is between 1 and 3 degrees Celsius (34 – 37 F). With an average temperature of 7.5 degrees Celsius (45.5 F), Belgrade in March is just fine. All four months are pretty dry, with only occasional rain. As you can see, you will be ok. Your pictures too. Belgrade looks great under the snow!
With a population of almost 1.5 million people, Belgrade is one of the biggest cities in the Balkan Peninsula. Besides, over a million people visit the city throughout the year. Thus, the city is free from the perils of mass tourism. However, since temperatures during the summer can exceed 38 degrees Celsius (100 F), it can be hard to enjoy the city.
Don’t get us wrong: any time is a good time to visit Belgrade. So if you are wondering what to do in Belgrade in winter, we’ve got great tips for you. You can shop, eat, walk, rest, visit museums, churches, party, and do just about anything you could do in summer but bathe in the rivers. And all of that with a lot of space!
As you know, fewer visitors mean lower prices all over the world. Belgrade is no exception and offers unbelievable deals during the winter. The latter is especially true for hotels. As mentioned, Belgrade is still off the beaten track. Therefore, hotels lower their prices considerably to attract visitors in winter.
When it comes to food, you will have an endless array of restaurants, street stalls, bakeries, and all types of eateries to choose from. There’s no need to queue to order. Walkabout the city, relax, and choose your favorite place! Skadarlija, Belgrade’s bohemian street, is especially nice without the hordes of tourists.
Things to Do in Belgrade in Winter
1 Enjoy the Views from Belgrade Fortress
Of all the things to do in Belgrade in winter, a visit to the Fortress and Kalemegdan Park is a must. The Celts founded the fortress in the 3rd century BC. Through the centuries, the Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, Serbians, Hungarians, Turks, and Austrians took over the fort. Every empire that wanted Belgrade left a distinct mark on the fortress!
Locals and tourists flock to the fortress to walk through the park, drink in a café, stroll under old gates, play sports, or visit a museum. Since the fortress sits right above the confluence of Belgrade’s two rivers, Danube and Sava, you can enjoy magnificent views from every corner. Note the big island between the rivers, home to thousands of wild birds.
2 Check out the City’s Giant New Bizzare Monument
The city’s newest monument is quite controversial. We are talking about a giant statue of Stefan Nemanja, the founder of Serbia in medieval times. The 75.5 foot (23 meters) and 68-ton statue is a sight to behold! Designed by Russian sculpture Alexander Rukavishnikov, the statue stands proudly on Savski Square, in the center of Belgrade.
Belgrade and Serbia have been through a lot in the past 30 years. First, there were three wars, then a dictatorship, followed by NATO bombs, and a fragile democracy with a despot president. Thus, it’s no surprise the current authorities are erecting statues like this one. Its admirers believe it’s time for a new Serbia, one that’s proud. To its detractors, the statue represents the current Serbian president. Visit it and tell us what you think!
3 Explore Belgrade’s Cool Street Art
Belgrade is home to some of Europe’s coolest street art. Though the street art scene has existed since the early ’70s, it exploded in recent years. From local aspiring artists to big international names, you’ll find it all on the streets of Belgrade. Most of the street art pieces are in downtown Belgrade.
Do not miss the works scattered through Savamala, Cvijiceva (behind Skadarlija), and Dorcol Platz. All three neighborhoods host numerous bars and cafés. What could be better than enjoying art while sipping a beer? If you have more time, venture off to Lower Dorcol, downtown Zemun, or Bezanijska Kosa neighborhoods in search of more art.
4 Stroll by the River in Old Zemun
Belgrade doesn’t have one old town, but two. Apart from downtown Belgrade, Zemun is another century-old neighborhood. What’s similar about Belgrade’s and Zemun’s old towns is that both were border towns for a very long time. But while the former was the border town of the Ottoman Empire, the latter was of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
As soon as you step into Zemun, you’ll notice its distinct charm. Colorful buildings and houses with traditional Austrian decorations line its streets. There are lively baroque churches, and everything seems more orderly and neat. However, what makes Zemun special is the Danube River. Walk along the river bank and watch the locals enjoy life on this beautiful promenade. End your day in one of the restaurants by the Danube.
5 Admire Brutalist Architecture
Belgrade has some of the most impressive 20th-century architecture in the world. After World War II, the city became the capital of Yugoslavia, a socialist country. There was a need for housing too. The government wanted a modern city based on new architectural trends. They assigned an empty plot between Belgrade and Zemun to home a new city. I’m talking about New Belgrade (Novi Beograd). What I love about New Belgrade is its diverse and unique architecture.
Impressive buildings dot the city’s streets. As soon as you exit Belgrade’s old town, the first one you will notice is the Museum of Contemporary Art, in the middle of beautiful Usce Park. Then you will notice the Government Palace on Boulevard Mihajla Pupina. Overlooking the Danube is the lovely Hotel Jugoslavija. My favorite is Genex Tower: two massive buildings joined by a circular spire. If you have time, explore New Belgrade’s superblocks. The best are 21, 22, and 23.
6 Learn About Hyperinflation at the National Bank
My list of cool and weird things to do in Belgrade wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Museum of the National Bank of Serbia. The museum is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings from the late 19th century. It displays the history of money in Serbia through its unique numismatic collection.
The weird part is the exhibit dedicated to hyperinflation in the 1990s. Between 1992 and 1994, Yugoslavia went through the second-longest period of hyperinflation in the history of the world. At its peak, inflation reached 62% in a day. You can see loads of different banknotes, including a 500 billion Dinar banknote. That’s the highest ever for a Serbian note.
7 Eat Traditional Food in the Bohemian Quarter
Though Skadarlija is Belgrade’s most touristic street, it is still a local favorite. In the late 19th century, the street was the center of the city’s bohemian life. Many actors, painters, writers, and poets lived here or spent their nights in its traditional taverns. The house of the renowned Serbian painter and writer Djura Jaksic is here. Today, Skadarlija is bustling with life. Everyone comes here to people-watch, eat, and admire its buildings.
Several historic taverns hiding behind colorful facades and flowery gardens serve delicious food followed by live music. The three most famous ones are Tri Sesira (Three Hats), Dva Jelena (Two Deer), and Zlatni Bokal (The Golden Jug). You won’t go wrong with any of them. But watch out, Serbian people smoke like crazy. You may end up smelling like that smoked ham you just had for dinner!
8 Soak Up All the Gold in a Giant Temple
The landmark that you can see from every corner of Belgrade is the massive Saint Sava Temple. It is the largest church in the country and the fourth largest Orthodox temple in the world. The temple was inspired by Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It is dedicated to Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The church is grand and ethereal at the same time.
Construction of the temple started in 1935 but was interrupted by World War II. After the war, the communist government denied permission to continue the temple until 1985. The exterior of the temple was finished in 2004. However, the interior is still under construction to this day. Enter the church and admire its golden mosaics. Don’t forget to visit the crypt!
9 Be a Jedy in an Epic Museum
Belgrade has incredible museums. My favorite is the one dedicated to Nikola Tesla, Serbia’s most famous son. He is the guy that invented electricity. But that’s not all. The crazy Serb is responsible for other ingenious inventions. For instance, he came up with the first-ever wireless technology. No wonder Elon Musk named his incredible cars after him.
The small museum is both educational and fun. It takes you through Tesla’s life path from his beginnings to his latest achievements. The fun part includes seeing the iconic Tesla coil in action. You’ll be part of an experiment that demonstrates how a coil lights electric bulbs from a close distance. Note that you have to join a tour to participate in the experiments.
10 Witness History at Two Bombed Buildings
This is probably the most controversial of all the things to do in Belgrade, whether you visit in spring, summer, fall, or winter. It may make you a little bit uncomfortable, yet this place is part of Serbia’s recent history. Therefore, I believe it’s important that you take a look. All you have to do is walk to the corner of Nemanjina and Kneza Milosa streets.
You will see two bombed buildings. They used to be Serbia’s Defense Ministry. In fact, there are ministerial offices still in a section of the building. NATO bombed them on the night of April 29th, 1999. Local authorities have not repaired the buildings, and today you can see the impact of the bombs. The buildings were beautiful and resembled Sutjeska Canyon in Bosnia. Prominent Serbian architect Nikola Dobrovic designed them in 1957.
Where to Stay in Belgrade
No matter how much time you’ll spend in Belgrade, stay in a nice hotel in a good location. The public transport network is not especially good in the city, so staying close to important sites makes a lot of sense. Since most of the attractions are in the city center, this should be your first option. That said if you are looking for something authentic yet a bit alternative, stay in Novi Beograd, close to Zemun.
I believe you should stay in a hotel that tells a story. There are two amazing historic hotels in downtown Belgrade. Tito himself commissioned Hotel Metropol Palace, one of the best hotels in the city. He wanted a grand hotel for his new capital. Hotel Moskva is a bit older. It is the most beautiful art nouveau building in the city. Another architectural gem is Hotel Jugoslavija between New Belgrade and Zemun. Book a room with views of the Danube.