My first Burek experience was in southern Hungary. I was visiting some of my distant cousins and for breakfast we ate burek and yogurt, a traditional Serbian breakfast. When I asked about it, one of my cousins confessed that he had woken up at 3 a.m, crossed the border into Serbia, purchased the burek and yogurt from a bakery, crossed the border back into Hungary and subsequently that is how it ended up as breakfast.
Seems like a lot of work but trust me, it was worth it!
Ever since that day I have been wanting to try the cheesy, greasy, delicious pastry in the capital, and this past summer I finally did. Aside from trying Burek, here are some other things to do (for free!) if you ever find yourself in this gritty city for only a day.
Belgrade isn’t an outwardly pretty city. So while the many grey buildings don’t inspire much,the people certainly do. I was shocked at how busy the streets were as we stepped off our train from Budapest at 6 a.m. People everywhere, moving with a purpose. Another thing that surprised me was the abundance of young people, especially women.
Take a Walk
The best way to see more intimate aspects of Belgrade is by walking. Things are compact in the city center so there is no need for public transportation.
The oldest and most historic area of the city also has the best lookout onto the Danube and Sava Rivers. The fortress was built in the year 535 and has belonged to numerous empires, including the Romans, Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Ottomans. It has been rebuilt many times but most recently it suffered damage during both world wars and has been repaired and modernized.
Located next to the fortress, this park is safe and a great place to relax under the shade of the trees.
Relax and Have Lunch in Knez Mihajlova
This is the prettiest neighborhood in the city. It’s pedestrianized, stylish, full of outdoor cafes, and has the best shopping. The prices reflect all of this of course, but it’s still a cheap spot to grab lunch and people watch.
Try to Find a Yugo
While not as common as they once were, these infamous cars can be found scattered throughout the city.
Visit the Train Station
Even if you aren’t catching a train, Belgrade’s train station is small and full of people hanging out, waving goodbye and reuniting after time spent apart. Plus, there is a great bakery to get burek just across the street.
Well, there you have it! A full day in Belgrade.
What do you think? Does it sound like a place you would consider visiting?