Belgrade Serbia Guide
About Serbia Tourism, Belgrade Travel, Belgrade Accommodation and Belgrade Tours + Serbia Map
Serbia and Belgrade (Beograd), its capital, are popular medical tourism destinations. Many patients travel to Serbia for reconstructive surgery abroad by the Sava Perovic Foundation Surgical Team. However, many of our medical tourists visit Serbia for the absolute minimum amount of time required by the surgeon.
Because a Belgrade flight costs the same even if you stay a few extra days, we recommend you consider including some Serbia attractions and some Belgrade travel in your visit. Sava Perovic Foundation Chairman Dr Rados Djinovic advises patients that: “Urogenital surgery is not fast food. It takes time to heal. And both surgeons and patient must respect the person's healing rules.” In other words, give yourself and your body a break. Consider visiting Belgrade longer and at a more relaxed pace.
Belgrade, Serbia has been inhabited for more than 6,000 years. That makes it one of the very oldest & most enduring cities in Europe — despite having been burned to the ground 44 times. It has been an important, strategic city for many hundreds of years and dominated by the Serbs for more than 200 years. Combatants have battled for supremacy over Belgrade in 115 wars. Five Roman emperors were born in what is now Serbia.
Comprised of 30 hills and six river islands, Belgrade has an autonomous city government and is a separate territorial unit in Serbia. It is divided into 17 municipalities which each have their own local council. Although Belgrade is a very small part of Republic Serbia, nearly 25% of the country's people live there. The University of Belgrade, established in 1808, is one of Europe's largest universities with over 90,000 students.
The medical facilities most often used by the Sava Perovic Foundation surgical specialists are in the southern part of Belgrade, not the historical core of Belgrade, southeast of the confluence of the Sava River and Danube River — today's “Kalemegdan”.
Belgrade has a four-season, moderate, continental climate with rainfall evenly spread throughout the year. Temperatures ranges from a high of 27.3° C (81.1° F) in the summer to a low of -2.3° C (27.9° F) in the winter. An excellent, 5-day Belgrade weather forecast for Serbia can be found at Weather Underground.
Hungary is north of Serbia, Romania to the east, Bulgaria to the southeast, Macedonia and Kosovo to the south, Montenegro to the southwest, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia to the west. Immediately across the Adriatic Sea to the west is Italy. Belgrade is on almost the same latitude as the Italian cities of Bologna and Milan as well as the French cities of Lyon and Bordeaux. Greece is directly south of Macedonia and Serbia.
Serbia has an 8% Value Added Tax (VAT) and also a Belgrade city/tourist tax. Don't be surprised if these pop up on a bill (or not).
Only the buyer of a plane ticket can determine the cost because there are multiple classes of passengers on a plane, dozens of airlines, and scores of ways to get from point A to point B on any given day. It takes careful research and many decisions by the buyer.
Main details to study are:
- number of stops?
- number of plane changes?
- time between connecting flights?
- departure times?
- arrival times?
- flight duration?
- plane used?
- wide-body or narrow-body?
- cost of the ticket?
- price include taxes & fees?
- any "codesharing" used?
"Code share" means the airline may appear to be the famous international one you know, the final leg of the journey into Belgrade is actually a JAT Airways plane. What appears to be a Lufthansa flight may actually be Thai International.
Tickets from the same Point A to the same Point B can vary tremendously. Economy fare for the most expensive ticket can cost 12 times that of the cheapest ticket.
Always get a FLEXIBLE return ticket if at all possible.If you recover slower than the average person and need to stay longer, or merely want to return home at a more leisurely pace, it will avoid the airline imposing a change penalty on you.
In addition to those in the chart above, there are many other web sites offering airfare comparisons such as 1) Ebookers, 2) Orbitz (seems to practice 'Bait & Switch' — promise cheap, deliver expensive at checkout), 3) Vayama, 4) Travelocity, 5) Expedia, 6) FlightNetwork (up to US$382 less than Obitz for same itinerary), 7) Rumbo (more expensive than most) and 8) BookingPoint (which may arbitrarily refuse to service you).
Fares quoted by some of the bigger and older ones tend to be quite expensive or at least not very competitive.
In our experience, fares on the sites in our chart tend to have the most affordable prices with the most comprehensive comparisons. Sometimes one site has one quote lower than all the others although it may only be US$10 less.
Sometimes the very best price is available directly from an airline itself. Why pay more unless you have other reasons for choosing a particular airline?
A good flight ticketing web site will allow you to compare and filter proposals by all the things mentioned above as well as:
- cabin class;
- global alliance;
- available seats;
- fare code; and
- distance to be travelled.
WARNING #1: The city of Frankfurt, Germany has made it illegal for any plane to land or take off after 11 pm. Do NOT arrange any flight that takes off or lands at or later than 10:30 pm or you may find yourself grounded on the runway by the curfew and spending an unwanted night at a Frankfurt hotel.
WARNING #2: Frankfurt airport security is excessive to an extreme with dozens of staff with little to do. Although always polite, they will screen, scan, inspect and inconvenience you multiple times between arriving flight and departing flight. Anyone who has a camcorder is red flagged for additional excessive tests, inspections and inconvenience — regardless of race or nationality or whether you are travelling with your entire family, including small children. Everyone is suspected of being an enemy of Germany.
WARNING #3: Frankport passengers leaving any “C” gate can expect to walk a kilometer or two to catch a connecting flight. As their information desk will tell you: “It's very far.” Avoid Frankfurt if you can.
Although a visit to Serbia for medical tourism may limit your physical activities, there are many things you can do which are not strenuous. By using one of the convenient Belgrade tours available, you can check out the unique blend of Gothic, Byzantine and Romanesque architecture in Belgrade such as St. Sava Orthodox Church.
Your Belgrade tour could include Kalemegdan Fortress, the Royal Palace, the Nikola Tesla Museum as well as some of the four art museums, 16 historical and cultural museums, seven technical and natural history museums and 12 memorial museums. And don't forget:
- The Car Museum on Majke Jevrosime Street
- The 300-year-old house on Cara Dusana Street
- The black market at Zeleni Venac Pedestrian Passage
- Mitrovicev Prolaz, the shortest street in Belgrade
- Kinoteka, an enormous movie collection with a weekly program
- The archaeological dig at Vincha (creators of earliest writing system??)
Belgrade is a member of the “Global Greeter Network” which means you can get a free, 2-4 hour introductory tour of the city. They tend to propose tours at their convenience, not yours, and notify you of their proposal at the last minute. For an unguided tour of the city center, ride Tram #2 (Krug Dvojke).
In the evening, you could catch an opera at the National Theatre or Madlenianum Opera House. And you probably won't tear any stitches at the Grand Casino Belgrade, not far from Hotel Yugoslavia, which has Texas Hold' Em Poker Tournaments daily from 6:30 pm along with Blackjack, American Roulette, Three Card Poker and slot machines.
In Belgrade, it's TGIF every night of the week with cheap drinks, friendly atmosphere, great ambiance, warm hospitality, charm — and few regulatory restrictions. It's difficult to determine who first called Belgrade the “New York of the Balkans” or “Little Paris” but Belgrade is certainly a continually changing regional nightlife hub regarded as the “the-place-to-be”.
The Times of London says “Belgrade has the best nightlife in Europe” and has become “Europe's new capital of cool”. And the New York Times reports that “Serbian capacity for night life is nothing short of amazing!” … and that the night clubs, pubs, cocktail bars and “Splavs” (barges converted into floating river clubs) are the “greatest pleasure of Belgrade”. Lonely Planet includes Belgrade in its “1000 Ultimate Experiences”. The guidebook concludes “Belgrade rocks!” and calls it one of the best places to party in the world.
Why stay in a medical tourism hospital any more than you need to while in Serbia? If you are feeling better, consider checking out some of the fun places in Belgrade. Prime clubbing areas, in addition to the river banks, are Ada Ciganlija, the area around Republic Square, and the Makiš side of Ada Ciganlija Lake in the summer. Whether you are into Hip-Hop, R&B, Drum n' Bass, Turbofolk*, Underground Electronica, Techno or House, there is a trendy, fun place for you, such as:
- Plato Café
- Bitef Art Café
- Oh, Cinema!
- Amsterdam River Club
- Acapulco (live music nightly)
- Bar Central
- The Federal Association of Globe Trotters
- Cocktail Bar Cruise
- Bar Baltazar
- The Tube Club
- The Underground Club (Andergraund)
- Insomnia Café, … and the huge
- Club Magacin 3
Turbo folk: controversial, extremely popular, Serbian sub-genre that blends six types of music: rock-and-roll, electronic dance, Roma, Serbian brass band, Turkish ‘Arabesque’ & Greek pop folk. It's usually performed by provocative, leggy, very well-endowed, young women in minimal, tight, undersized outfits who skillfully merge risqué lyrics. It's NOT for everyone.
You can get some good food at Tri Sesira, Dva Jelena or Big Bull, Indonesian food at the Ginger Restaurant, Moroccan, Arabic and Andalusion food at the Chameleon Restaurant and the Pomodoro Café Pizzaria serves real Italian pizza prepared in wooden oven and top quality espresso. Expect main courses in good restaurants to cost €6-12. Cocktails in a popular bar will cost about €3-6. Expect a beer to range from €1.20 up to €1.80.
Medical tourists may not be inclined to dance until sunrise but Belgrade organizes many annual cultural events and special events throughout the year (except December?) which are often suitable for a person visiting Serbia for health tourism such as:
- FEST (Belgrade Film Festival);
- BITEF (Belgrade Theatre Festival);
- BELEF (Belgrade Summer Festival);
- BEMUS (Belgrade Music Festival);
- Belgrade Book Fair, and
- Belgrade Beer Festival (more details below).
Do your own research about the details of what is happening where and when. Sometimes events organized by the private sector are not announced far in advance and appear only on the organizer's web site. For example, in September 2010, Guns N' Roses performed at Belgrade Arena which can seat 23,000 fans. In August 2009, Madonna's 58-concert "Sticky & Sweet" world tour performed in Belgrade and was attended by more than 30,000 fans. The Police, Nick Cave, The Chemical Brothers and José Carreras have all performed in Belgrade.
Eurovision Song Contest is the most watched non-sporting show in the world with 100 million viewers. In 2008, fans saw the performances of the 25 finalists broadcast live from Belgrade Arena. English is the unofficial common language of Europe, including Serbia, and 15 of the Eurovision finalists sang in English — including the winner from Russia whose producer was American rapper Timbaland.
Here's an overview of some annual events:
- Serbian Christmas
- Belgrade International Film Festival
- International Music Youth Competition — artists 30 or younger compete for 15 days in categories of: vocal art, composition, instrumental soloists and chamber orchestras
- Festival of Amateur Choirs
- Belgrade Festival of Documentary and Short Film — 5-day competition of five genres: documentary, short feature film, animated and experimental film, film and video production in technique
- Guitar Art Festival
- Regional festival of alternative culture
- Harp Festival
- Festival of Belgrade Amateur Theaters
- Museum Night — an annual one-night event in mid-May: concerts, performances, fashion shows and thematic exhibitions
- International Festival of New Music "Ring-Ring"
- Little Fest — Festival of Children’s Theatres
- Festival of Choreographic Miniatures (ballet competition)
- International Theatrical Belgrade Adventure — 10-day international competition of professional theatres for children
- Kalemegdan’s Twilights — popular classic music presentation
- Choirs among Frescos — choral sacred music presentation
- Monodrama and Pantomime Festival
- Film Festival Sopot — local film festival
- Belgrade Summer Festival — international festival of innovative theatre, dance, visual arts and music
- Belgrade Beer Fest — this 5-day event with 40 performers had 990,000 visitors in 2010. Beer lovers compete in: men's individual speed beer drinking; women's individual speed beer drinking; team speed beer drinking; men's beer stein (3.2 kg) holding; women's beer stein holding. Awards given for: best festival beer; best promotional campaign; kindest personnel of the festival; most beautiful stand at the festival. Here's a really great 3D-panorama of the Belgrade Beer Fest!
- Belgrade International Theater Festival — 15-day competition of new theatre trends
- Urban Demo Fest
- Belgrade Jazz Festival — 5-day series of concerts by local and foreign performers
- October Salon — 25-day exhibition of significant recent achievements by domestic authors in fields of fine and applied arts and design
- Belgrade Music Festivities — 15 days of performances of classical, artistic, contemporary and ethno music by music ensembles and soloists
- Auteur Film Festival
- Belgrade Book Fair
- Ice skating is popular in winter at several locations around Belgrade.
A medical tourist may not feel up to any sports but relatives or loved ones accompanying a patient might. Serbia sports are popular and Serbians are quite sports-minded — football, basketball, tennis and even Belgrade golf is easily accessible. Golf Klub Beograd, 4 km from the city center and about 10 minutes away from Hyatt Regency Hotel, has a 9-hole, Par 68 course and a driving range that can accommodate up to 50 golfers. Water skiing is available at the end of Ada Ciganlija Lake.
Belgrade is among the greenest capitals in Europe. It's four major green areas span 4,000 hectares (about 9,900 acres) with 182 species of tall trees dominated primarily by maple, chestnut, sycamore, acacia, poplar, ash, birch, pine and fir. Topčider Park is a favorite picnic site. Great War Island (Veliko Ratno Ostrvo) is actually a protected area of the only remaining wetlands of the Danube River. Košutnjak Hill is a forest and park. Jevremovac is a botanical garden and the pre-Roman Kalemegdan Fortress is also a park. Kosutnjak Park is huge. It has skiing in the winter and hiking the rest of the year. There is also Park Prijateljstva.
Interested in going outside Belgrade? One fairly close cultural monument is the Oplenac Royal Mausoleum of the Karadordevic Dynasty at St. George Church on a hill overlooking the town of Topola about 65 km southeast of Belgrade.
Slightly further away is the Serbia Pyramid under Mt. Rtanj in Šumadija, 150 km southeast of Belgrade. Three great underground rivers are reported to flow under the three-sided, 170 meter tall, natural stone pyramid called "Spike Peak". The Belgrade Center for Research and Ecology wants to excavate in the area and investigate reports of paranormal activity, UFOs, strange markings on the south side seen by satellite, unique plant life and unusual electromagnetic radiation. Arthur C. Clark supported the theory that an actual pyramid lies below with structures and subterranean passages.
“The Devil's Town” (Đavolja Varoš), 288 km south of Belgrade, is a rare collection of more than 200 rock towers ranging from 2-25 meters tall and one meter in diameter topped by dark gray andesit stone caps. This protected, centuries-old, 67-hectare natural monument is in two ravines in the village of Đake located 27 km south of Kuršumlija where Dr Rados Djinovic grew up.
Record numbers of tourists are visiting this bizarre landmark with eerie sounds and surrounded by forested hills and mountains. The water from the site's two springs has a unique smell, extremely low pH (1.5) and extremely high mineral content (15 gm/l). To encourage night visits, multi-colored illumination of the rock formations, caves and valleys has been installed.
There is also a nearby campground, a souvenir shop, and an ethnic restaurant providing local cuisine and mineral water from Prolom Spa. Prolom can be reached by a 9 km hike through the Prolomske Mountains. Many legends compete to explain the creation of “The Devil's Town”. The most popular one says the strangely sculpted figures were formed when God petrified the entire wedding party of the incestuous brother and sister newlyweds.
Wizz Air Hungary Airlines offers low-cost flights 3-4 days per week from London Luton to Belgrade. Belgrade to London flight prices cover a wider range. Round trip cost is simply the two flights added together.
Air Serbia flies from most capital cities in Europe to Belgrade. Some combinations of Air Serbia flights cost less than Wizz so do your homework. Wizz's highest fares exceed Jat's lowest. Flights booked months in advance cost the least. Wizz also hasconnections to Rome, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Malmo, Eindhoven, Dortmund and Memmingen.
Belgrade offers the best surgical solutions in the world for any serious urogenital problem and excellent value-for-money medical tourism packages. At the same time, it has “the best nightlife in Europe!”
We hope this makes clear to all our friends & patients around the world that the “Belgrade” in which we operate is the large, popular, safe, beautiful, friendly, trendy, stylish, scenic, historic, cultural, peaceful, strategic capital of Serbia in Europe.
We're not in the tiny American town of Belgrade, Montana with 5,728 people in Gallatin County. We're not in Belgrade, Texas, USA, which is smaller than the tiny town in Montana and ranks only as a “populated place” without even an official name. And were not in “Belgrade Lakes” in the American state of Maine — but Belgrade does have very nice lakes as well as the beautiful Blue Danube!