Thursday, June 25, 2015

Belgrade - 2015


National Theatre and last Russian czar Nicholas II
  • Belgrade is a beautiful city and easily covered by walking around.
  • Language is not an issue in Belgrade and people are friendly.  They come out of their way to help you.
  • You should try borek and yogurt. It is very filling and tasty.
  • If you have time, checkout the National Theatre and go for a concert/play or whatever happening that day.  The ticket prices are about $3 for awesome plays.
  • You don’t need to buy the tickets to get in the fort unless you are going to visit particular attractions.  So don't get over excited and buy tickets to all of the places when you enter, wait to go to that particular place and you can buy tickets there too. 

Getting to Belgrade

Belgrade Train Station
The train station at the Zagreb is small and clean but there’re some sketchy characters hanging around outside the train station.  The train arrived and left on time (@1150pm).  The seats are comfortable in the train but they did not turn off the lights in the compartment, so if you are traveling in the train, please carry an eye mask to have a good sleep.  

One of my daughters, Sharada, couldn't sleep much because of the lights and constant waking up for the immigration check.  During the six hour train ride, we got woken up four times (2x for
immigration and 2x for ticket check).  Overall the train is clean and safe, arrived at Belgrade one hour late after moving through different stations very slowly.  The landscape is pretty flat and most farming areas.  

First Impression

As we approached the city, we could see dilapidated buildings and trash piled up on the sides.  We could feel the clear contrast between the stations or localities in Croatia and in Belgrade, wherein Croatian cities looked like more modern, western European cities but Belgrade looked like old East European city.  The Belgrade train station is pretty
small and looked like an old Indian train station plus a couple old rusting train compartments on the side.  Even with this, we felt pretty safe and the tourist information center at the train station was very helpful, and people could speak good English in the information center.  There’re cloak rooms in both the train and the bus stations.

Knez Mihailova Street

Old City

The weather was cloudy and showers, when we were in Belgrade but we managed to go around the city and enjoy.  The walk from the train station to the city center (old town) gave us a good idea of unmanaged old parts of the town and well-maintained old town where the touristy places are.  There’re not many places open for breakfast at 7am, so we had some coffee and strudels before walking around the city center.  Since the number of intersections that we had to pass and street names not written in English made finding our apartment was little challenging.  People are very helpful, for example, there’s a guy near the apartment, walked around with us to show us the place, when we asked for the direction (unfortunately it was the wrong place but we appreciated the effort that he made :-) ).  After calling our host who came over to get us from the street corner to take us the right place.  
So in addition to the address, get some other landmarks to meet or identify the place which makes life easier if you are staying with airbnb or
The host is a really friendly person, and talked about how she born as Yugoslavian but now identify as Serbian and the sadness comes with it because a  number of her family members are of different nationalities now (e.g. Croatians, Slovenians, etc.).

After having an awesome lunch near the Princess’s residence, spent most of the afternoon/evening in the castle/fort are in the old town.  Before going to the castle, I stuffed myself with borek and yogurt on the way to fort.   

In the Fortress and Ballet

We heard about the possibility of a lot of street dogs in Belgrade but we didn’t see many but there’s one German Shepard started following us everywhere in the castle walk.  The audio guide for the fort was good with a lot of information and after sometime I got tired of hearing the same kind of information.  After some conflict drama within our family, we decided to celebrate our peaceful conflict resolution by getting the ballet tickets, cheapest is about $2, in the national theatre.  The ballet was amazing and heard that it’s a black comedy about people stuck in a bus during Belgrade bombing.  We couldn’t understand what’s going on in the
stage but the music and the dance was really amazing.  We grabbed gyros for dinner and rushed to the apartment because I had to catch my bus to Sarajevo at 1030pm.  The apartment host provided the service to drop my daughters in the airport the next day for a reasonable fee.


  1. Hi--I found you through tripadvisor--this really helps, as I'm going to the Balkans next month! Thank you for sharing your suggestions and practical experiences.
    --Brooke (also from Seattle)