With a staggering figure of 1.235 billion departures globally, traveling around the world is no longer the game of the privileged few, but a real opportunity for many of the fellow earthlings to get to know and feel the distant places they got to see only on screens. Although the countries that top the lists of world tourism trade forums are on top for a good reason, the overwhelming numbers of people flocking there to see them can sometimes be - well, overwhelming. Mass tourism can be quite daunting, and that is why many have decided to look for alternatives. One of the places that have been appearing quite frequently in lists of such less traveled places worth visiting is Serbia’s capital Belgrade. And here are five reasons why you might also want to consider it as your next city break spot.
Belgrade is quite affordable
Serbia, in general, might be regarded a “developing” country, but transitioning might be a far better adjective to use. It’s not starting from scratch – it is just changing from one system to another. Although a European capital, with pretty much all of the facilities you would expect from one, the overall living standard is lower than what you would expect from Europe. Mundane things like food, accommodation and going out might cost you a small portion of what it would be if you went a bit further westwards with uncompromised quality. This is especially the case with apartments for short term rent.
Belgrade has a rich history and a distinct culture
Belgrade has been around for quite some time (first settlements were built nearly 50000 years ago), but it was also fought over quite frequently. History notes that it was razed to the ground more than 44 times, and the city has seen its fair share of wars even in the 20th century (the last one was in 1999, and there are a few grim reminders in the city center that remind the passers-by of the fact. On the other hand, it was also the capital of much bigger countries (from the current one) and the museums scattered around town attest that (National Museum and the Museum of history of Yugoslavia should top the list).
With regards to culture, it is worth noting that if you come from Bulgaria, Bosnia or even Turkey you will feel pretty much at home. But for anyone unacquainted with the Byzantine Heritage, it might appear quite different from what you are accustomed to seeing in the west. The same goes for food - if you are not particularly fond of pastry meat or strong spirits, you might struggle to enjoy the most popular local delicacies ( burek, cevapcici, and rakija).
Belgrade is known for its nightlife
Belgrade is really one of the best places to party on the Danube and the nightlife capital of the Balkans. While the term New Berlin is excessively flattering, it is indeed the best place for a night out and many inhabitants of the neighboring capitals come here for a night out (which only serves to add up the flare). The river barges (locally termed splavs), ancient fortress and the once dilapidated warehouses and abandoned buildings around the Sava Pier in the Savamala quarter have all been turned into nightclubs and they come in all sorts. Cool places of interest for everyone can be found all over the city, and there should be a bit of something for literally everyone’s taste.
Now as much as this thriving nightlife is conditioned by the fact that most of the capital’s youth are unemployed and without much prospects for future, it adds up to another quality that Belgrade is really known for - its people and their hospitality. If there is a place where spontaneous chats turn into friendships easily, it might just be Serbia’s gritty capital.