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Introducing Belgrade

Belgrade is not a beautiful city - even Belgraders agree on that - but it is an interesting city that's full of hedonism, passion and finesse. Architecturally, it's a mishmash of two centuries of grandiose buildings and ugly Soviet-style concrete blocks.

Regardless, the city holds some real gems. Perched between the Danube and Sava Rivers, the ancient Kalemegdan Citadel has always sought (not always successfully) to protect the city. Leading from it into the city heart is the princely Knez Mihailova, a street of restaurants, bookshops, galleries and shops full of pretty things. Belgraders love to shop and party, which probably developed as an antidote to the numbness of the Milošević years.

'Does anyone work here?' you wonder, as you roam streets full of people. Every day seems to be Saturday; and if every day is Saturday, then every night is Friday night, with plenty happening. Belgrade's ultimate appeal is its nightlife. There's always another place to go to: underground clubs, apartment bars, and floating bars and clubs on the rivers. Everyone is ready to party at any time, dance the night away and go straight to work the next day.

Cheap food and drink, plus a distinctive national cuisine, make for a host of decent restaurants bursting with lively eaters. Just check out the bohemian quarter of Skadarska. When it all gets too much, there are places to escape to and relax. Ada Ciganlija swarms with swimmers during hot summer days, and the nearby park has forests to walk in.