Difference between revisions of "Belgrade"
Revision as of 14:22, 23 September 2010
Belgrade (Serbian: Београд, Beograd)  — meaning 'White City' — is the capital of the Republic of Serbia. Various styles of architecture dominate the city, while its recent resurgence as the leading hub in south-eastern Europe make it a must see destination.
Belgrade is the capital of the Republic of Serbia and is, as such, the country's largest city with a population of about 1.7 million people . It lies on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The city has a long history, dating back to the 4th century BC, when the area was settled by Celtic tribes. Later on, it became the Roman city of Singidunum, and relics of that era can still be seen in the city, particularly at Kalemegdan Fortress. From 7th century it is settled by Serbs. As it entered the Byzantine Empire, Belgrade saw many conflicts, including invasion by the Ottoman Empire, until Serbia finally became independent in the 1800s.
After the First World War, Belgrade became the seat of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (in 1928, the country changed name to Kingdom of Yugoslavia) until its collapse, and it saw violence again in 1999 with NATO's bombing campaign. This often violent history and outside influence has colored much of Belgrade's evolution, which is evident in its culture and architecture. Often caught between the hammer and anvil of clashing empires, the city has taken on a unique character, reminiscent of both Austrian and Turkish influences, with a unique set of Communist elements thrown in as Yugoslavia was expelled from the Eastern Bloc in 1948. Yet, the city has its own spirit, and in it can be found some not only unique features, but also a healthy joie de vivre in its café culture, nightlife and often Mediterranean flavor in its view of life.
Whilst there isn't much by way of ethnic or cultural diversity in Belgrade, in terms of different migrant populations – compared to other European cities – there are minority communities (largely Roma and Chinese), as well as people from other former Yugoslav republics, such as Bosnia, Croatia and Macedonia. There is also a small expat community. Cultural events from round the world, however, are starting to be increasingly common, particularly in the spring and summer months, thanks in no small part to both local arts and culture organizations, as well as foreign embassies/cultural centers. These attract a good deal of local attention, and will help in raising the city's profile as a cultural hotspot.
Belgrade is an energetic city re-discovering its tourism potential. One great new magazine, White City is a must read for anyone who plans on visiting. They call themselves an urban magazine but it's a great lifestyle magazine written in English for both locals and foreigners. It's available at any place that sells magazines in Belgrade.
Belgrade is serviced by Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (IATA: BEG) , about 12 kilometers west of the city center, and is the home base of Jat Airways – Serbia's flag carrier airline – which flies to nearly 40 destinations worldwide. Other major airlines fly to Belgrade, such as Air France, British Airways, Swiss and Lufthansa. Discount and no-frills carriers offer modest number of flights. Wizz Air have direct flights from London, Eindhoven and Dortmund to Belgrade. Germanwings does have a number of less expensive flights to cities across Europe and Norwegian Air is another low cost airline operating to Belgrade. Flyniki  also offers low cost flight from and to Vienna. From 15 April 2010 SpanAir started direct flights from Barcelona and Madrid to Belgrade. From 5 May 2010 airBaltic started direct flights from Riga to Belgrade. Other low cost companies such as Ryanair and EasyJet, however, have yet to make their entrance in the Serbian market, which makes the cost of flying to and from the city a bit higher than other destinations. For a full list of carriers see Serbia#By_plane.
The airport does not offer internet access.
The Central Train station is located, not surprisingly, in the city center. All national and international trains stop here. From the station to Republic Square is 1Km (uphill) - about 15 minutes walk.
There are several international train connections from Budapest – Vienna, Budapest – Bratislava – Prague, Zagreb – Ljubljana – Munich, Zagreb – Ljubljana – Zurich and Zagreb – Ljubljana – Venice. Normally, trains should not be too late (seldom more than 1 hour), and usually are very safe. Expect the overnight train from/to Budapest to be overcrowded in summer.
There are also direct (day and night) trains from Bucharest, Kiev, Moscow, Skopje, Thessaloniki, Istanbul (21h) and Sofia and an overnight train from Bar and Podgorica, Montenegro to Belgrade. It arrives early in the morning (around 7). This is a reasonably comfortable train with sleeper cars and nice views (even at night). Upgrade to the cabins with two beds only for 100% improvement. Prices are pretty reasonable. There is also comfortable day IC train from Bar and Podgorica.
For timetables and all other infos check website of national carrier Serbian Railways 
Belgrade's central bus station  is next-door to the central train station, in Karađorđeva street. Whilst coach service to national and international destinations is frequent, departure times are usually reliable, but arrival times may be not. Timetables aren't clearly posted; the timetables that are there are in Serbian only, so ask for information inside the terminal.
Ticket reservations and purchases are made in the terminal building.
When buying a bus ticket, you will also receive a token to enter the platform area, for national travel. For international travel, you will be given a paper stub to present at the platform gate.
Be aware that most coach drivers will charge you a fee for baggage handling in the cargo compartment, though this is not a uniform practice with international travel. Also be aware that drivers rarely speak English or any other foreign language. Inform yourself about your trip prior to departure as much as you can; if in doubt, ask a fellow passenger for assistance.
Coach travel in Serbia is a hit-and-miss experience; whilst there is a huge number of companies to chose from, not all of them have clean, modern coach fleets, particularly for travel within Serbia or to neighbouring Montenegro. Coaches are more often clean and modern when embarking on trips to Croatia and Western Europe.
For international trips to the rest of Europe, Lasta  is the Eurolines carrier.
For long trips, drivers usually stop for 15 minutes breaks roughly every two hours, though this isn't by any means guaranteed. Pack appropriately with food and bottled water. When disembarking on breaks in the trip, make sure to either secure your belongings, or take them with you.
When you get off the bus, you'll probably be offered a taxi ride or baggage-carrying by some men. Don't accept any offers, no matter how they may insist. They are all illegal and their only intention is to rip you off.
Coming north from Subotica and Novi Sad, the E-75 highway is recommended, as well as driving to Belgrade from the south. There is also a major road called Ibarska magistrala (Ibar highway, M-22), which provides approach from south-west (direction of Montenegro, for example). From the west, use the E-70 highway (from Zagreb, Ljubljana etc.). Major roads can be used coming east and north-east from Vršac and Zrenjanin.
Highways have toll stations, which are moderately priced. As of summer 2007, there is major roadwork on the E-75 highway north, so expect occasional delays. Serbia's only highways are parts of E-70 and E-75 roads and the highway passes right through Belgrade without a bypass, causing large unavoidable traffic jams on the Gazela bridge and at the Mostar junction.
Belgrade lies where the rivers Sava and the Danube meet. Passenger ships enable you to reach every place along the Danube in a very convenient and meditative manner with many fascinating attractions along it, but it is a quite slow and rather expensive way of travelling.
Belgrade is located on European bicycle route Eurovelo 6 which connects Atlantic Ocean and Black Sea.
Belgrade has an extensive public transport network, covering almost all areas of the old city, Novi Beograd, Zemun and other out-lying areas. The network itself consists of a large fleet of buses, trolley buses and trams — 1,000 vehicles to be exact — but even this is not enough, and public transport in Belgrade is always crowded during rush hour.
Tickets for the public transport network cost RSD 42 (~€0.4) when purchased at a kiosk (known locally as a trafika), or RSD 80 (~€0.8) when purchased from the driver. All tickets must be validated in manually-operated punching machines inside the vehicle. Transport authorities routinely check tickets for validation — particularly at peak hours on major lines — and an infraction can land you with an uncomfortable fine, which sets you back about €30. Those tickets are not valid for Minibuses (E1–E8) and BeoVoz commuter rail.
If you are going to spend an extended period in Belgrade, and intend to use public transport a lot, than you can buy passes that range from 15 days to 1 month. Those must be purchased at the public transport department, and can be somewhat difficult for foreigners to acquire, since the process is long (filling out forms with most of your personal information) and attendants do not speak English.
GSP (ГСП in Serbian Cyrillic; ) is responsible for public transportation in the city. There are maps of bus, and tram lines on its website, though these are not available on paper for free while in the city.
There are over 120 urban and over 300 suburban bus lines. There are also several seasonal lines, including Ada1–Ada5, the five lines which can take you to Ada Ciganlija, and one seasonal, weekend-only line (400) which goes to the summit of Mt Avala. As of July 2007, most of the bus fleet is less than five years old. The area around Zeleni Venac is a major bus hub in the city center, with many lines going to and from Novi Beograd and Zemun stopping there.
Daily transport starts at 4:00 and ends at 00:00. Night transportation is sparse and goes aproximetly every one hour. It is best to ask where and when to use it since some of the night lines are modified versions of the daily ones
Trams are mostly old and cramped, with few being restored; some (the green ones) have been donated from the city of Basel, Switzerland, but they are also beyond their serviceable lifespan. There are 12 tram lines in Belgrade, three of which are connected to New Belgrade.
Line 2 is famous in the city with a circular route, running in both directions. The circle is known as krug dvojke (#2's circle) and rings the central city streets.
Line 3 is famous for a beautiful neighborhoods it goes through, particularly Miloš's Konak Park.
Single ticket costs 42 dinars when bought from a cigarette kiosk (August 2010). Buying a ticket from tram driver is possible but more expensive.
Trolleybuses fleet in big majority consist of old soviet made ZiU-9 and new Belarusian made Belkommunmash vehicles AKSM-321 and AKSM-333, and they run only in Old Belgrade, connecting the city center to east and south-east. There are eight trolleybus lines.
There are eight public minibus lines (E1–E8) . Minibuses are all air-conditioned, smaller and generally quicker than regular city buses. However, tickets are bought only inside a minibus and they are more expensive than ordinary ones. Also, in most stops, there is no indication of minibus line routes. This means that one will have to wait for the minibus to come and read the route written on the minibus itself (or just ask the driver).
As of May 2010, minibus fare is RSD 120.
By commuter rail
State-owned BeoVoz commuter rail have six lines connectig Belgrade suburbs with the city:
However, it is very unreliable, and often late. Use it only if you must, and be patient. Very patient.
Taxis are cheap (by European standards) and plentiful, and you can either stop one in the street, or call a taxi company. Ordering a taxi by phone will usually attract a 10–20% discount off the final price. Make sure that you ride only in licensed cabs, which carry a little blue sign with the city coat of arms and a number on it, or you may end up paying too much. Never take a privately owned cab (the ones with the white marker on the top that does not list the name of the company), since you can pay up to four times the normal price.
Throughout 2007, major changes are being implemented in the taxi system, as cars are modernized to include receipt printers and an option to pay by card, though it will take some time for the whole taxi network to include this.
As of June 2010, the flag fall for starting a ride is RSD 140 (€1.5), and the rate is RSD 55 per kilometer (1st tariff) or RSD 70 per kilometer (2nd tariff, at night and weekends).
Take note that a normal 'step' on a taximeter is about 3 dinars a time. For unpleasant situation when you suspect you are being ripped-off see section Arrivals by plane.
Tipping taxi drivers is welcome but not required. You only have to pay the amount displayed on the meter.
Not for the faint of heart, particularly during peak hours. For those who decide to drive anyway, here are the facts. Like in most of the Europe you must keep the right side of the road. Avoid rush hours (8:30–9:30AM, 4:00–6:00PM). Plan you journey if you are going in to the city core, and expect to have hard time finding free parking place on the streets during Friday and Saturday evenings in the center. Garages might be a better choice.
Keep your low beam headlights turned on, during both day and night. Speed limit on the streets of the city is 50 km/h, near schools even less, on the highway is higher. Police is known to wait at places where you might feel comfortable to drive over the limit, but almost never on highway. Take special care while crossing Branko's bridge, and driving on following streets: Bulevar Mihaila Pupina, Jurija Gagarina, Vladimira Popovića, and other big ones. Keep your seat belts fastened. Other passengers must also do the same, even when sitting on the back seat (if there are seat belts installed).
Allowed level of blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.03%, which is roughly equal to one drink. If you do go by car to drink, consider going back using taxi or Safe driver service, +381-64/1746-411. They will come to pick you up on the small, folding motorcycle, pack it in your trunk, and drive you back home in your car. Their charge is modest, and slightly higher than one-way ride with the taxi (~5€ for <5km, ~7€ for <10km, and ~10€ for >10km).
Gazela bridge reconstruction
As of July 2010, one of the capital's major traffic arteries, the Gazela bridge and parts of the E-75 passing through Belgrade are undergoing extensive reconstruction; partial closures cause considerable disruption throughout the city. Expect heavy congestion on roads leading to and from alternative bridges. Leave plenty of extra time for your commute, especially if leaving for the airport.
There are many streets which have yellow lanes. They are reserved for public transport, i.e. buses and taxis, and you are not allowed to use them. The yellow lanes are marked with a yellow line, and are indicated on traffic signs. Some yellow lanes, though, are active only in certain periods of the day, usually during rush hours.
There are spaces for parking in the city center. There is a large parking garage with 500 spaces under the old palace in the city center, across from the parliament building.
Also, take into consideration that in the center almost all of the parking spaces in the central streets have zones marked with green, yellow or red paint on the street (yellow zone spaces are actually marked orange, to avoid confusion with other marks). You can only stay for 3, 2 or 1 hours, respectively, in those spots. You can pay using the machine usually found near the parking spots, buy the parking ticket at a kiosk or by cell phone (just text your car's license plate number (for example: BG123456) to numbers 9111 (red zone), 9112 (yellow) or 9113 (green)). Every message you send is valid for one hour and, some 5 minutes before the hour has passed, you get a text message telling you that you can send another SMS if you want to extend your parking for the next hour. Of course, this only applies in yellow and green zones, in which you can park for more than 1 hour. After the time is up, you'll have to re-park or risk paying a fine (around €15). All of this only applies on weekdays, from 7AM to 9PM and from 7AM to 2PM on Saturdays. After that (Sa 2PM – Mo 7AM) parking is free.
There are also several public parking garages and parking lots where you can park for an unlimited amount of time during day. Fees are charged on an hourly basis (price varies, usually around €0.5/hour). In some non-zoned areas, you also pay for parking depending on the duration of your stay, and this is paid in cash to the parking attendant.
Detailed information can be found on the Parking Service website  available in English and Serbian.
If you park in the city center outside marked parking space your car might be picked up, and you will pay a fine (varies depending of the car size, for regular car around €50). In order to find where your car is you should contact Parking Service.
Old Belgrade is pretty hilly and the bicycle infrastructure is scarce, so bicycle transport isn't in wide use. However, New Belgrade and Zemun are relatively flat and offer enough space for bikes to be used. Bicycle tracks link Zemun, Dorćol, Ada Ciganlija, New Belgrade and Bežanijska kosa. There is a bike lift on Brankov Bridge and the ride is free of charge and there are also some 50 bicycle racks around the city.
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to bring bikes into public transport vehicles.
Bicycle rentals are available mostly at recreational areas like Ada Ciganlija or Zemun quay.
There are several tourist boats which offer day and night cruises along the Sava and Danube.
Belgrade city core is not too big. Everything between Kalemegdan, Knez Mihajlova street and Skadarska street is best viewed by foot. Other than that, it is recommended to use other means of transportation. Note that many of Belgrade's museums are closed on Monday. It may be wise to check before making a visit.
Movies in Serbia are subtitled, not dubbed. Best movie theaters are:
If you prefer theaters in the city core:
While Begrade isn't home to any of the traditional European football giants, the local derby between Partizan Belgrade and Red Star Belgrade(won both European and International Cup in 1991), also known as the Eternal Derby (Вечити дерби), is considered to be one of the most intensive sport event. Even if you do not support either club, watching one of the matches between the two sides is still recommended to experience the atmosphere. Due to the intensity of the rivalry, it is not recommended to wear either team's colours outside the stadium during matchdays between the two sides.
Things you must do before you leave
Serbian courses for foreigners are organized in several places including:
The currency in Serbia is the dinar (RSD). Money can be exchanged at official exchange offices (locally called menjačnica, often carrying the emblem of the National Bank of Serbia outside the building), which are clearly labeled and they are numerous in central Belgrade, or at the airport. Micko (on Vuka Karadzica street) changes all currencies, including rare ones. There are many ATMs, which accept foreign bank and credit cards without a glitch (note: they are new machines so you won’t have any problems with them). Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard and Maestro are widely accepted though there are some shops, restaurants and hotels where cards are not accepted (these are very few nowadays). American Express and Diners Club cards are, on the other hand, rarely accepted. Likewise, traveler's cheques are not a well known form of payment in Serbia and cashing them in could present a challenge. The dinar is not widely convertible outside Serbia; it is advisable to re-convert your remaining dinars to Euros or other major currencies before leaving the country. Old Yugoslavian currency can be purchased from street sellers. A 500 billion dinar note makes an interesting souvenir.
The stores work into late hours during work days while on Saturdays they normally close around 15.00 and most of them are not open on Sundays. Therefore, finding an activity for the weekend must be thought of beforehand. Exception to this rule are shopping malls, usually working every day including Sunday until evening hours (usually 10:00 PM).
At night, there are bars, cafés and discotheques that are open, selling cheaply priced drinks. Belgrade is reputed to have some of the best night life in Europe.
Clothes and Accessories
Import taxes make clothes and shoes in Serbia very expensive. Many items from common European chains can be found for 20% less in neighboring Budapest. Still, Belgrade has many flagship stores, mostly located on Knez Mihailova Street, or the pedestrian zone. They include Escada, Max Mara, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Sweet Years, Paul & Shark, Lacoste, Zara, Gas, Diesel, Miss Sixty, Energie, Tom Tailor, Tally Weil, Springfield, Mango, Cortefiel, Pedro del Hiero, Levi's, and Marella.
There are also many multi-brand stores selling higher class designer clothes and accessories. The most known ones are Artisti (a chain of stores throughout the city) who have the new Gucci, Prada, Bikkembergs, Dior, Tod's, DSquared2, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino collections. The second store chain is Land featuring brands such as Just Cavalli, D&G, CNC by Costume National, Iceberg. New stores include Marks and Spencer, Sephora and New Yorker.
The official distributor of Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans, Versace Jeans Couture is a store Alta Moda in Kralja Petra street. Close to Alta Moda are other designer multi brand stores such as Monobrand and EuroModa. Also, there is a shop called MilModa that is oriented to the younger population. Thus, it features Armani Jeans, Missoni Sport, D&G, Etro, Bogner, La Martina and BluMarine constantly, and (from time to time) fashion brands such as DSquared2, Richmond, Prada, creations of John Galliano and many others (they are official dealers). It is situated near St. Sava`s temple.
Multi-brand store concept is catching on very quickly, so it's not going to be a problem finding all types of clothes. Best concept stores are Buzz (Knez Mihailova street), chain of street-wear stores called Urban and Avanguardia.
Searching for accessories, watches: You can also find a variety of brands, from the affordable (Swatch & Fossil) to the most expensive (Breitling for Bentley, Cartier, Boucheron, Rado...). Accessories can be found everywhere but for the hippest you can see Dve Smizle (Millennium Shopping Mall, Knez Mihailova) and Time Zone feat. Kenzo, Christian Lacroix Bijoux, Miss Sixty Jewelry and others (Makedonska Street, next to Politika newspaper headquarters).
Biggest bookstores in Belgrade selling beside Serbian also foreign (mostly english) books are located near the begining and end of Knez Mihailova street. Those are:
Serbs are very proud of their food, which is heavy on grilled meats and sausages, local cheeses and bread. Salads are primarily tomato, cucumber, and onion, or cabbage. Local produce is fresh and organic.
Belgrade has hundreds of restaurants specializing in local cuisine and a few international restaurants. On the whole, prices are cheap compared to Western Europe with main dishes ranging from €5–20 per person.
Most Serbian restaurants offer rostilj, a large plate of various unseasoned grilled meats, or any possible variety of grilled chicken wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese. It is possible to order fresh salads, plates of grilled vegetables, crepes, or omelets if you are not carnivorous. Serbian cuisine is famous for its heavy use of varied vegetables, fresh or cooked.
Snacking and eating on the go in Belgrade are easy and cheap. Bakeries – called pekara – are ubiquitous in the city center, and you will find a wide assortment of breads, sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches and pizza on offer. A snack or light meal of pastry and drinkable yoghurt (similar to kefir) will give you an added healthy boost when walking about the city center.
Foods that vegetarians and meat eaters alike should try include kajmak (something between cream cheese and butter) and ajvar, a savory spread made out of roasted red peppers. It is also worth visiting a pijaca (green market) to buy some fresh fruit, vegetables and other grocery items. The farmer's market at Zeleni Venac, close to the Hotel Moscow, is not one of the largest, but it is the one with the least expensive merchandise – in the city. Contained in a newly-built complex, it makes for an enjoyable Saturday morning experience, with the lively hustle and bustle of people milling about and stall-owners trying to attract customers. Depending on the season, an amazing assortment of fruit and veg can be found in farmer's markets, including watermelons, olives, wild mushrooms and fresh figs. Take the time to explore the stalls, and compare the quality and prices of the produce. Most produce at the farmer's markets in Belgrade are organic and fresh from the farmer's gardens brought over daily from the villages surrounding the city. You will notice the particularly good taste of this produce.
There is also pljeskavica, the Serbian version of a hamburger which can be purchased from fast food restaurants. You can find your typical McDonalds and Pizza Hut, but most of the fast food restaurants in Belgrade are local and sell baked goods, pizza, sandwiches, and pancakes (crepes). Some may go beyond that, selling Turkish delicacies such as baklava, tulumba and other Greek/Turkish treats. Coffee culture in Belgrade is particularly developed, walking about the central areas of the city you will find sprawling terraces and cafés, serving all types of coffee and sweets, particularly vienese type torts and local specialties. Be sure to try Serbian Turkish style coffee, and chestnut purée with whipped cream, a local specialty especially at the republic square (available mostly during winter).
There are a handful of international restaurants, including Italian, Chinese and Japanese. These are moderately priced to very expensive. Many dine out at:
For those interested in what would be typical Serbian meal, check those places:
Some restaurants are famous not only by the quality, but also the quantity of the meals:
If you prefer a delicious fish meal try fish gourmet restaurants:
Vegetarijanska Gostionica "Joy of the Heart", Svetogorska 18 (center), +381-11/334-5181. Not your typical Serbian meal - as they serve mostly ayyurvedic food for a decent price. Also serves fruit shakes and other non-alcoholic beverages.
Despite the warnings of the US.CDC, tap water in Belgrade is perfectly safe. There is a wide range of bottled waters on offer in grocery stores, supermarkets, and kiosks.
Serbs love beer, and it is possible to buy a variety of domestic beers such as Jelen, Lav, MB, Pils... along with a few imported beers, at very cheap prices. The domestic beers are quite decent. Made in Serbia beers also include Heineken, Amsteel, Tuborg, Stella Artois, and Beck's. Belgrade holds a Beer Festival annually in August.
For the sober crowd, Belgrade has blueberry, raspberry, tomato, peach, apple, strawberry, and any other kind of juice you can think of.
All cafés serve the usual continental coffees, such as espresso and cappuccino. However, regular coffee comes in the form of Turkish coffee, not filtered coffee. If you want a filtered coffee, you need to specify this when ordering, and not all coffee shops have it. Also very popular is whipped instant coffee, commonly referred to simply as 'Nes' (as in, Nescafé). A cafe called Mani Prag (across from the Hotel Prag) is thought by some to offer the best "Serb Coffee" in the world.
There are a couple of places worth visiting if you are a fan of cafe culture. The street best known for its trendy cafes is definitely Strahinjića Bana. On this street, cafes are full even on weekdays. The best atmosphere is on Friday evenings when the trendy youth of Belgrade descend to enjoy the music and each other. Out of numerous cafes, the best ones are:
The second cafe zone is Obilićev Venac (a street parallel to Knez Mihailova). The best cafes there are:
Third cafe zone (also a going out zone) is quay next to hotel Yugoslavia in Zemun. On the quay are numerous river boats (splavovi), many of them are cafes, restaurants and clubs.
Other places worth visiting:
Several hotels have opened up in Belgrade recently, mainly in the center of the city. Some are only open in the summer, but a couple function all year round. There are also several hotels right around the train station that are relatively cheap (€30-40) however the quality varies. Just walk around and you should find one with empty rooms without much difficulty.
Overall, Belgrade is a very safe city, but like anywhere, you should always keep money, mobile phones, travel documents and other valuable personal items in secure places. Pickpockets are known to operate in public transportation, and other crowded places so never wear a backpack or purse on your back and make sure that you have your wallet in one of your front pockets. If you own a car, it is preferable to have a security system. Traffic laws are usually observed, although nervous drivers can change lanes suddenly or make dangerous turns when avoiding traffic during rush hour. The taxi drivers are notorious for swerving in and out of lanes. Pay close attention to the traffic signals as a pedestrian.
Also try to avoid getting into conflicts. If you are staying out late in a bar or a club, there is always a small chance that someone will try to pick a fight. Especially if you are in a group and a single guy is showing hostility. That is a trap by local thugs looking for a brawl. That is not because you are a foreigner, it's just the "law of the streets" - anyone can be the target. Just ignore them and walk away no matter what they say or do. The chances that this will happen are very low, but stay alert. DO NOT try to make fun of the locals in your native language, particularly in English. Almost everyone has at least a basic understanding of it and is familiar with foul words and curses.
In case of an emergency, call 92 (police), 93 (fire) or 94 (ambulance). Always carry the phone number and an address of your embassy with you. In case of injury or illness, the place to go is the Urgentni centar (Emergency center), Pasterova 2 of the Clinical Center of Serbia. Be aware that not all medical facilities have personnel that speak foreign languages, including English. Consult the embassy of your country, if possible.
Pharmacies on duty 00–24:
Gay and lesbian travelers
In Serbia, including Belgrade, violence against gays and lesbians can occur. Gay and lesbian travelers should be discreet. Although it's rare, public displays of affection between two persons of the same sex, particularly men, may be met with verbal abuse, and some cases physical violence. There are several gay bars and clubs all around the city, and they tend to get quite full and fun, but it can occasionally even be unsafe to be seen arriving at or leaving such clubs, although there is always heavy security personnel guarding them. There are quite a few LGBT parties organized periodically by various organizations and at different locations. Avoid football fan crowds at all costs if you think you may be a target because of your appearance, they tend to be extremely violent and homophobic although the government has pushed very hard to control and curb their activity recently. There are several LGBT organizations at your disposal in Belgrade, find them on your internet search engine: Queeria, Gay Serbia, Labris, Gayten, etc.
International telephone code for Serbia is 381. Most cities in Serbia and mobile operators have 2-digit area code. There is only one area code for Belgrade and that is 11. Typical land-line phone number in Belgrade +381-11/xxx-xxxx. Typical mobile phone number is +381-6x/xxx-xxxx. From Serbian land line phone, use 00 prefix for international calls (e.g. 0041-20/xxx-xxxx for Amsterdam, Netherlands), and prefix 0 for calls inside Serbia but outside your area (e.g. 021/xxx-xxxx for Novi Sad, Serbia or 06x/xxx-xxxx for Serbian mobile). If you dial inside the same area, there is no need to use the prefix (just dial xxx-xxxx).
Basically, the whole city is covered with mobile networks of all three Serbian operators. It is easy to buy and charge cheap pre-paid numbers at the kiosks around the city. If you use 064 pre-paid number, use *100# to check the credit, for 063, use *121#.
There is a number of red-colored payphones across the city, operated by telephone cards available at the kiosks.
Free wireless access is available at Student park in Belgrade center. Mobile operators offers pre- and post-paid wireless Internet packages.
When it snows in winter, the streets are covered in sleet the next day, so be careful when walking. The Košava, a notorious Belgrade wind, may give you a cold more quickly than you would expect, particularly in winter - take care and dress appropriately.
Also be mindful of the high number of stray animals roaming streets, particularly dogs, even in the city center. Whilst it is very rare that they demonstrate outward signs of illness or aggression, err on the side of caution and avoid coming in physical contact.
Pharmacies – called 'apoteka' – are found throughout the city center. Look for lit green crosses on building façades. Some, such as the one in Kralja Milana Str, are open twenty-four hours. These will carry a range of prescription medicines, as well as over-the-counter products like pain killers and vitamin supplements.
There are dozens of Gyms around the city, every neighborhood has at least one. Prices range (so as quality) €20–50 per month, or a bit less for 12/16 visits.
In case you need to fix your umbrella you may do that in the last remaining umbrella service in town in Visnjiceva 4.
Embassies and High Commissions
Rent a car agencies: