Off-the-beaten-path of Belgrade

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It's important to note that “best” is subjective and depends on individual preferences. Belgrade has other interesting off-the-beaten-path areas like Vračar, with its street art scene, or Savamala, with its industrial warehouses being transformed into art spaces.

I've selected two options that offer a compelling mix of distinct character, convenience, genuineness, and diversity. These choices are fantastic entry points for discovering Belgrade's lesser-known or hidden treasures.

Belgrade’s less-explored districts offer distinctive features, cultural importance, and diverse experiences, making them essential to explore. Here are some awesome spots you should visit!

two of the best Belgrade off-the-beaten-path districts

Dorćol and Zemun are suggested as the best Belgrade hidden places. Why do they hold special significance for visitors?

Off-the-beaten-path Zemun district
Zemun - view from Gardos Tower
  • Uniqueness and Authenticity – These districts offer experiences distinct from the typical tourist itinerary. They showcase Belgrade's local character, allowing visitors to escape the crowds and experience the city through the lens of its residents.

  • Cultural Immersion – Immerse yourself in Belgrade's rich culture by exploring these vibrant districts. From charming local shops and inviting cafes to captivating historical sites and authentic restaurants, these areas offer an authentic glimpse into the city's vibrant everyday life and rich heritage.

  • Understanding City's Fabric – Discover the heart of Belgrade by venturing into its lesser-known areas. Uncover the rich historical significance of these districts while immersing yourself in their vibrant contemporary energy and artistic essence.

Off-the-beaten-path Dorcol bitef theater
BITEF Theatre in the heart of Dorcol district

Main Characteristics of Belgrade Unexplored Districts

  • Local Focus: These districts cater primarily to residents, offering a more authentic experience than tourist-oriented areas.
  • Unique Character: Each district possesses its distinct charm, whether it's Dorćol's bohemian vibe or Zemun's historical ambiance.
  • Hidden Gems: They often harbor lesser-known attractions, independent shops, and hidden cafes waiting to be explored.
  • Walkable Streets: These districts are often designed for pedestrian exploration, allowing visitors to wander at their own pace and soak in the atmosphere.
  • Slower Pace: They offer a slower pace than the bustling tourist areas, providing a more relaxed experience.

Zemun - Hidden Gem

Zemun might not be as well-known as other districts, but it is a genuinely captivating part of Belgrade. What makes Zemun so different from Belgrade?

Zemun town old cobbled streets

Discover Zemun, a Belgrade district with a unique character that sets it apart from the rest of the city. With its picturesque Austro-Hungarian architectural influence, colorful houses, and cobbled streets, Zemun feels like a charming town within a city.

Nestled along the banks of the mighty Danube River, Zemun offers a peaceful escape from Belgrade's urban bustle. Enjoy scenic walks along the riverside promenade, take a boat cruise on the Danube, or relax in one of the cafes overlooking the water.

Uncover Zemun's hidden treasures beyond its well-known tourist attractions. Immerse yourself in the world of Serbian art at the Madlenianum Museum, or step into the captivating Zemun City Museum, housed in a stunning baroque palace. Wander through the streets to truly experience the local atmosphere.

Where is Zemun district location?

Zemun on the map

Zemun district is situated across the Sava River, northwest of Belgrade's city center, rather than within the city proper. Here's a breakdown of its location:

Zemun, located within the Belgrade City Area, is an independent town with a unique character.

Zemun lies approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) northwest of Belgrade's central point, across the Sava River.

Here are some public buses that connect Belgrade city center to Zemun:

  • Line 704: This bus route operates frequently between Zeleni Venac (Belgrade city center) and Zemun Polje (Zemun). It's a good option for a direct and fast connection.
  • Line 17: This bus travels from Konjarnik (Belgrade) to Gornji Grad (Zemun), offering access to the upper part of Zemun.
  • Line 83: This bus route operates between Zemun (Bačka) and Crveni Krst (Belgrade). While not precisely connecting the city center to Zemun, it might be helpful depending on your starting point in Belgrade.

Zemun Unique Landmark

The Gardos Tower (also known as the Millennium Tower or Sibinjanin Janka Tower) is considered a potent symbol of Zemun.

Gardos tower
Millennium Tower or Sibinjanin Janka Tower

The tower's architectural style and location set it apart from other structures in Zemun, making it a visually striking landmark that defines the town's skyline.

The best Zemun tours from Belgrade

Dorcol - Under-the-radar district

Calling Dorcol as an under-the-radar district implies a place that hasn't received the widespread tourist attention it potentially deserves. 

One reason is that this Belgrade district is adjacent to the Stari Grad zone, creating a mixed area.

It's a big mistake as Docol is Belgrade's bohemian quarter, brimming with a unique atmosphere. Cobbled streets wind past colorful buildings adorned with street art, creating a vibrant yet intimate feel.

Dorcol District

Dorćol boasts a treasure trove of independent shops, antique stores, and vintage clothing boutiques. Here, you can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs, handcrafted jewelry, and unique fashion pieces.

Dorćol teems with trendy cafes and lively bars. Enjoy a Serbian solid coffee at a sidewalk cafe, sip on local craft beers at a microbrewery, or experience Belgrade's alternative nightlife scene at a hidden music bar.

According to Theculturetrip.com, Dorćol is Belgrade’s heart and soul. The small city center district is full of animated cafes and effervescent bars, but hidden within the social side of life are many independent shops that demand your attention.

The district is known for its artistic spirit. Stroll through galleries showcasing works by local artists, admire street art murals that add color to the walls, or attend an impromptu performance by a street musician.

Dorcol Plats Square
Dorcol Platz a cultural center located in the lower part of Dorćol

Dorćol boasts a rich history. Explore the ruins of the Roman castrum (fort), visit the charming Dorćol Platz square, or delve into the past at the Dorćol Synagogue, a testament to the city's Jewish heritage.

Dorcol Synagogue

Where is Dorcol?

Dorcol on the map

Dorćol district is situated in the heart of Belgrade, Serbia. Here's a breakdown of its location:

  • Dorćol belongs to the Stari Grad municipality, Belgrade's historical center.
  • Dorćol starts about 700 meters north of Terazije, Belgrade's central square, making it easily accessible on foot from the main tourist areas.

Dorćol can be roughly divided into two sections:

  • Gornji Dorćol (Upper Dorćol): This area covers the space from Academy Park to Cara Dušana Street.
  • Donji Dorćol (Lower Dorćol): This section occupies the area between Cara Dušana, Bulevar despota Stefana, and the right bank of the Danube River.
Dorcol Danube banks
Dorcol Danube Banks

While Dorćol isn't a precisely defined district with clear-cut borders, it generally overlaps with the neighborhoods of Stari Grad and Jevremovac to the east and south and borders Kalemegdan Fortress to the west.

Choosing Between Dorćol & Zemun

If you have enough time in Belgrade, I advise visiting both districts. Considering your interests, Dorćol caters to those seeking a vibrant artistic scene with trendy cafes and alternative nightlife.

If you have time constraints, Dorćol is easily accessible by foot from Belgrade city center, while Zemun requires a short taxi or bus journey.

However, Dorćol and Zemun offer a potent combination of unique character, accessibility, authenticity, and variety, making them excellent starting points for exploring Belgrade's lesser-known gems.

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Where to stay in Zemune and Dorcol?

Zemun and Dorcol offer some budget-friendly accommodation options compared to Belgrade's city center.

Since these districts cater less to mainstream tourism, there's a chance of finding smaller, family-run guesthouses or hostels with more affordable rates compared to luxury hotels in the city center.

Budget-Friendly Options in Zemun and Dorcol:

  • Hostels: Belgrade has a vibrant hostel scene with options throughout the city, offering dorm beds and private rooms at affordable rates. Find the best hostel offers!
  • Apartments: Renting an apartment, especially for extended stays, can be cost-effective. It allows you to cook your meals and experience a more local feel.
  • Dorcol apartments!
  • Zemun apartments!

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