Outspoken, adventurous, proud and audacious: Belgrade is by no means a 'pretty' capital, but its gritty exuberance makes it one of the most happening cities in Europe. While it hurtles towards a brighter future, its chaotic past unfolds before your eyes: socialist blocks are squeezed between art nouveau masterpieces, and remnants of the Habsburg legacy contrast with Ottoman relics.
It is here where the Sava River meets the Danube (Dunav), contemplative parkland nudges hectic urban sprawl, and old-world culture gives way to new-world nightlife.
Grandiose coffee houses, quirky sidewalk ice-creameries and smoky dens all find rightful place along Knez Mihailova, a lively pedestrian boulevard flanked by historical buildings all the way to the ancient Kalemegdan Citadel, crown of the city. Deeper in Belgrade's bowels are museums guarding the cultural, religious and military heritage of the country. Josip Broz Tito and other ghosts of the past have been laid to rest here.
'Belgrade' literally translates as 'White City', but Serbia's colourful capital is red hot.
Best places to stay in Belgrade
Ultimate party cities
Looking to bodyswerve the predictable party cities in favour of something a little more unexpected? Right this way. Belgrade, Serbia Back in 1999, Belgraders held outdoor concerts while undergoing NATO bombardment, a feat that bewildered many outsiders.
Belgrade destination guides
A beginner's guide to Serbia
Picture everything you want from a classic European country, then add a level of quirk that you won’t find anywhere but the Balkans. Serbia is one of Europe’s more sizeable countries, and yet it remains largely overlooked by travellers who tend westward rather than venturing east.
Croatia and the Balkans
The Balkans are just getting noticed as a great European travel destination - we can’t believe it took so long! Situated on the balmy shores of the Adriatic and home to some of the most wondrous landscapes, monuments and villages you’ll ever see, this part of the world still feels like a well-kept secret.
Belgrade to Bucharest
A unique cycle journey along the Danube from Belgrade in Serbia to Romania
The 10 greatest comeback cities
Toss aside your preconceptions, and come with us on a tour of the greatest comeback cities in the world, with this excerpt from Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011. Once deep down in the urban dumps, these cities have bounced back from the brink of becoming no-go destinations, turning tumultuous pasts into tourist drawcards. 1.