The charming capital city of Serbia, Belgrade is an enchanting place to visit in the winter months.
Located on a crossroad between Europe and Asia, Belgrade has been under both western and eastern influence for centuries, thus becoming a perfect mixture of different cultures, architecture and cuisine.
The city is a prime tourist destination in the Balkans, and the best thing is that it offers an endless list of activities all year round.
If you want to enjoy picturesque scenery while avoiding the inconvenience brought by the crowds or high temperatures, then winter might be the best time for you to visit Belgrade.
Plus, there’s festive magic to the city in this season too. Although Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, the Christmas spirit is present in Belgrade all winter long.
Here’s all you need to know about a winter city break in Belgrade!
The best things to do in Belgrade in winter
Try ice skating at some of the outdoor rinks
Winters in Belgrade can be very chilly, but what better way to warm yourself up than to try ice-skating at one of the many open-air rinks?
Two of the biggest rinks in Belgrade include one in Republic Square and on at the Tasmajdan stadium.
Or, if you want a more secluded spot, then opt for the Ada Ciganlija rink.
If you’re starting in Novi Beograd, I suggest visiting SC “Pingving”.
The tickets usually cost around 300 dinars (€2.50), including equipment rental.
Working hours can be very specific, so check them in advance.
Check out the Belgrade Christmas market
During the Christmas months, virtually every part of Belgrade takes on a new form.
The Republic square turns into an ice-skating rink and the neighbouring street of Knez Mihailova transforms into a huge Christmas market, which carries a beautiful name – The Open-Heart square.
Endless stands with different kinds of souvenirs, snacks, and knick-knacks occupy almost every part of the pedestrian zone.
And the Christmas market wouldn’t be what it is without delicious Serbian food, like genuine Leskovac barbecue and cooked vine.
Explore the snow-covered Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade Fortress, also known as Kalemegdan Fortress, stands as one of the most significant monuments not only in Belgrade but in the whole country of Serbia.
In fact, it’s one of the best places to visit in Serbia in winter – click here to see them all!
Constructed in the age of the Roman Empire, and rebuilt in the 15th century, Kalemegdan Fortress portrays the history of this city, while preserving the spirit of medieval times.
And it’s even more magical in the winter. When the snow covers the walls of the fortress, you’ll witness real fairy-tale scenery.
The fortress also encompasses Kalemegdan Park, a wonderful place for a winter stroll.
The complex is all located on a 125-meter-high ridge, providing a breathtaking view of the Great War Island, the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, Novi Beograd, and even some parts of Zemun.
Belgrade Underground Tour
This 2.5 hour tour (check it out on Get Your Guide!) shows you Belgrade, but in a completely different way. Learn about the fascinating stories of the city from underground, visiting the Roman Hall, Roman Well, an army bunker and gunpowder warehouse.
Along the way, you’ll learn all about the city of Belgrade, with tales from the Roman times to Tito. The last stop on the tour is a Belgrade wine cellar, where you can digest everything you’ve learned with a traditional Serbian drink!
Visit the best museums in Belgrade
If you get tired of outdoor activities and cold weather, visit some of the famous museums Belgrade has to offer:
- National Museum: This has a permanent exhibition, displaying artifacts from various eras, from the paleolithic period to the 20th century. Ticket price: €2.50 (300 dinars).
- Nikola Tesla Museum: Get a new insight into Nikola Tesla’s inventions and his personal life. The collection contains working models of Tesla’s machines! Guided tour (English): approximatley €6.5 euros (800 dinars).
- Ivo Andrić Museum: Nobel prize-winning writer’s apartment was turned into a museum. Various personal belongings, a study room, handwritings, etc. provide a vivid description of Ivo Andrić’s life. Ticket price: approximatley €1.60 (200 dinars).
Ticket prices above refer to individual entrances. All museums have some sort of group, students or children discount.
Watch an opera or a ballet at the National Theatre
There is no better way to spend a peaceful winter night out in Belgrade than enjoying a ballet or opera performance at the National Theatre.
The best Serbian artists work together to present a memorable performance of famous pieces such as La Traviata and Don Quixote operas, or Giselle ballet.
Tickets, however, sell very quickly, so you might want to purchase them a few days in advance.
Prices vary from performance to performance, but there is usually a 20% discount.
Visit the Bohemian Quarter
If there is one place in Belgrade that guarantees an unforgettable time, it’s Skadarska street, also known as Skadarlija.
Whether you fancy a peaceful dinner next to the fireplace, watching snowflakes with a glass of good wine, or cheerful traditional tambura music, you can find it all at some of the best Serbian taverns (like Dva Jelena, Šešir Moj, Tri Šešira, etc.), located in the bohemian quarter.
The food is delicious, and you can try rakija!
A traditional Serbian drink, this alcohol is made of various fruit and leaves.
All types are served regularly at Skadarlija, sometimes for free!
Be careful, however, since the street is steep and gets slippery in winter, especially after a few glasses of rakija!
Enjoy wonderful Christmas decorations and lighting
The main streets in Belgrade glow differently during the Christmas months. And I mean literally.
Although the whole city shines in different colours, the biggest attraction is the city centre, especially the pedestrian zones like Knez Mihailova, Obilićev Venac, and Republic Square.
What’s more, Knez Mihailova happens to be Belgrade’s main shopping street, so you’ll be more than inspired if you plan to bring home some Christmas presents.
Obilićev Venac is full of wonderful cafes and restaurants which also never disappoint with their Christmas decoration, and provide a cosy ambience with blankets and fireplaces.
Belgrade receives entirely new decorations every winter, so it’s worth strolling around these areas even if you’ve been to the city in the festive season before!
Relax at one of the luxurious spa centres in Belgrade
Once you have visited all of Belgrade’s best winter attractions, it’s time for a well-deserved rest. So why not warm yourself up at some of the best spa centres in Belgrade?
Centres like Papillon Spa & Wellness, Royal wellness centre and Saruna all offer a wide variety of services.
Be that salt rooms, Turkish and Roman baths, hot tubs, swimming pools, all kinds of massages, or anything else you enjoy, it is probably available at one of the many spa centres.
Winter day trips from Belgrade
If you want to see more of Serbia in winter, take a look at these incredible winter day trips!
Novi Sad and Sremski Karlovci Full-Day Tour
This tour is a really comprehensive look at northern Serbia, taking you around the main highlights! You’ll see Krušedol Monastery, the gorgeous Sremski Karlovci with baroque architecture, wine from Bermet (which you can’t find anywhere else in the world!) and Novi Sad, Serbia’s second city.
It’s a great way to see another side of this country, and you’ll be taken around by a knowledgeable guide who will detail plenty of interesting facts throughout the day! The tour also includes entrance fees and transport – lunch is available at extra cost.
Full-Day Guided Tour of West Serbia
From the north to the west! This guided tour explores some of Serbia’s best nature. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Drina River, travel on the historic Šargan 8 Railway and take in the wonderful scenes at Wooden Town.
You’ll be joined by a friendly local guide, who will detail all you need to know about this region. The tour also includes transport. Lunch and entrance fees (approximately €11) are extra.
What is the weather like in Belgrade in winter?
Winters in Belgrade can be harsh, mainly due to the Košava wind which blows from the east. However, it doesn’t have quite as extreme temperatures as other locations in Europe!
November is the wettest month with tons of rain, but bring an umbrella or a raincoat no matter when you are visiting, since rain is common throughout the year – particularly in winter!
Icy temperatures and snow commonly arrive in January, and it comes and goes during February and March.
However, heavy snowfall in the city centre is rare.
Still, keep snow in mind when travelling, especially if you’re seeing other parts of Serbia, as snowstorms manage to catch the road keepers off-guard even in the middle of winter.
Average temperatures are usually 0-10°C (32-50°F), slightly higher in November, and sometimes slightly lower in January.
Just make sure that you pack plenty of warm clothes, and you’ll be comfortable enough to enjoy all of Belgrade’s best winter attractions!
What to eat in Belgrade in winter
People come from far and wide to get a taste of Serbia’s delicious cuisine.
Belgrade, being the centre of Serbia, offers specialities from every part of the country.
Typical seasonal winter dishes (like sarma, prebranac, sour cabbage, and more) are served in almost every tavern.
Given that Orthodox Christians fast (they don’t eat animal products) from November 28th to January 7th, vegetarian versions of almost all of these specialities are regularly prepared.
And they are equally tasty!
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the signature main course when it comes to the Christmas table – a baked pig.
For all the meat-lovers, this dish is guaranteed to fulfil your heart. And your stomach.
How to get to Belgrade
Most tourists arrive in Belgrade (and all of Serbia!) via Belgrade airport, otherwise called Nikola Tesla Airport.
It’s about a 20 minute drive (around 18 kilometres or 11 miles) to Belgrade city from here.
Belgrade is also connected to other cities in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. There are rail links to Zagreb (about eight hours) and Ljubljana (about ten hours); the train ride to Sofia doesn’t run during winter.
If you want to travel from countries like Montenegro, Bosnia or Albania, bus routes are available.
How to travel around Belgrade
Due to the substantial growth that Belgrade has undergone during the past two decades, traffic is often overwhelmed, especially during the winter holidays.
So, if you intend to drive, it might be stressful during rush hours, and finding parking can be a nightmare.
I wouldn’t recommend relying on taxi services either, since they are overpriced and often hard to find.
However, public transport is very efficient. It covers the whole city, it is cheap, and it is relatively easy to use, which makes it perfect for tourists.
Buses and trollies are the quickest options, but they can be overcrowded. Trams are, on the other hand, a much more comfortable option, although they can be slightly slower.
However, if you’ve got time, walk whenever and wherever you can, since you might discover beautiful buildings, lovely parks, and vivid streets which you would have missed if you had chosen a different kind of transport.
Unfortunately, bike rental isn’t fully developed in Belgrade the way it is in other European capitals, but you can try electrical scooters, which give you the freedom you would have on foot, but faster!
What to pack for Belgrade in the winter
Considering the windy, chilly, and wet weather you may encounter during your stay in Belgrade, include some winter woollies on your packing list!
Things like a raincoat, winter jacket, sweaters, long underpants, and winter shoes or boots are necessary.
Accessories such as umbrellas, gloves, scarves, and hats are also recommended, especially if you plan on going ice skating (staff usually ask you to wear gloves).
Don’t forget a camera and sat nav if you are travelling by car – or at least a decent mobile phone that you can use to replace either gadget!
An extremely useful app is Moovit, which helps you get around with public transport.
It plans a whole route for you, tells you which buses/trollies/trams to take, and informs you if some of the lines change the regular route or schedule.
Where to stay in Belgrade
Hotel Moskva: The historic Hotel Moskva is a landmark in Belgrade, built in a gorgeous Empire style. All rooms boast comfy beds, flat screen TVs and en-suite bedrooms. There’s also a sauna and hammam on site! Click here to read more about it.
Sky Hotel: Sky Hotel is close to all of the main attractions of Belgrade, with plush modern facilities like comfortable beds and deluxe carpets. Also, enjoy features like a minibar and balconies (in some rooms). Click here for more information.
Green House Hostel: If you’re backpacking around the Balkans, this is a great Belgrade hostel! In a prime position over the river, this hostel offers a terrace and private rooms, all with their own en-suite. Click here to learn more and see rates.
Belgrade in winter: all you need to know!
This blog post should have detailed everything you need to know about visiting Belgrade in winter!
It’s a magical city to visit at Christmas time and has plenty of indoor attractions to enjoy throughout the rest of the cooler months as well.
Whether you’re visiting in December, January or February, Begrade has so much to offer!