Zemun town roofs

Although the Zemun town makes a part of today's Belgrade city, it has always had something that distinguished it, from the city on the other side of the Sava River.

From a historical point of view, Zemun used to be a border town between two Empires: Austrian and Ottoman. It isn't surprising that Zemun has that old-town charm, rich local history, and some astonishing historical facts in the town area.

I have always been fascinated by Zemun. Trust me, there is no place like this town. When, in 1976, I got married, I settled in Zemun. It is a town I fell in love with at first sight. It remains an indelible part of my life.

What makes Zemun town so special?

It may seem strange to you if I start from Zemun's geographical location. It's about 20 minutes by car from the Belgrade city center. 

Getting from Belgrade’s city center to Zemun is easy, fast, and rarely takes more than 30 minutes by public transportation.

Zemun town old cobbled streets

Another great advantage of the position of Zemun is that it lies on the banks of the beautiful Danube. Located at the right bank of the mighty Danube river, Zemun has a kind of Mediterranean feeling.

Once you see it for the very first time, you will understand what I am talking about. Zemun has (Zemunski Kej), is a huge promenade that goes along the coast of the Danube in Zemun and it is undeniably considered one of the most beautiful and most astonishing oases in Belgrade city.

Zemun town quay

During the hot Belgrade summers, I have some good news for you. The nearness of the river makes the temperatures much more tolerable as the wonderful breeze brings a little relief.

On the other hand, if you would like to escape from the Belgrade heat and feel less urban, then Zemun Lido beach is the perfect spot for you. 

The only problem with this beach is that during the periods of great floods, remains completely flooded. Still, if you like to feel the intact natural beauty, this is the right spot for you.

What makes Zemun district different from Belgrade

While it is a part of Belgrade, Zemun has a distinct character that sets it apart from other districts in the city. Here are some factors that make Zemun different:

  • Historical Background: Zemun Town has a rich history that predates the incorporation of Belgrade. It was a separate town with a unique identity and cultural heritage. Zemun was under Austro-Hungarian rule for many centuries, which has left a visible influence on its architecture, urban planning, and overall atmosphere. This historical background gives Zemun a different feel compared to other districts in Belgrade.

  • Geographical Location: Zemun is situated on the right bank of the Danube River, while the majority of Belgrade lies on the left bank. This location contributes to its distinctive character, as it offers beautiful waterfront areas, promenades, and scenic views of the river. Zemun's connection to the Danube River has shaped its development and provided unique recreational opportunities.

  • Architecture and Urban Design: Zemun's architecture reflects its Austro-Hungarian heritage, with a mix of styles including Baroque, neoclassical, and Art Nouveau. The town's historical core features narrow streets, charming squares, and preserved buildings that give it a distinct architectural charm. This differs from the more modern and varied architectural styles found in other districts of Belgrade.

  • Cultural Diversity: Zemun has historically been a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities due to its location and historical influences. It has been home to Serbs, Hungarians, Germans, Jews, and other communities. This cultural diversity has left an impact on Zemun's cultural scene, cuisine, and local traditions, making it a unique and vibrant district within Belgrade.

  • Local Atmosphere: Zemun has a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere compared to the bustling city center of Belgrade. It offers a slower pace of life, with cozy cafes, waterfront restaurants, and charming neighborhoods. Zemun's residents often take pride in their district's distinct identity and maintain a sense of community, which contributes to its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

While Zemun is part of the larger city of Belgrade, these factors make it stand out and give it a special character that sets it apart from other districts in the Serbian capital.

8 Things to do and see in Zemun town

1. Zemun Quay (Zemunski Kej)

Zemun Quay is a huge promenade that goes along the coast of the Danube in Zemun and it is unquestionably considered one of the most beautiful and most astonishing oases in Belgrade.

If you are looking for a place for a long walk or a bike ride, then your search is over. Zemun Quay offers the most amazing hiking and biking trails and routes.

Zemun Quay is also the harbor for many ships using the river, which creates the most beautiful sight and makes it one of the most picturesque palaces in Belgrade.

Zemun town boats port
2. Gardos Tower

Gardos Tower is a memorial tower located in the heart of Zemun Town.  It was built in 1986, and it’s a real example of Gothic art. 

This is truly a historical and visual symbol of Zemun. Don't miss climbing to the top of the tower from where takes breathtaking views of the Danube and almost all of Belgrade!

Zemun Gardos Tower
3. Grab a Bite at Cafeteria Gardos

If you love original and real-magic places, with good vibes, you must visit Cafeteria Gardos. Are you looking for a great place to rest from your walking or bike tour in Zemun Town?

This cafeteria will welcome you for a quick tea, coffee, and some yummy food bites.  This place is easy to find. It's located at the end of Zemun Quay, not far from Gardos tower.

Gardos Caffetteria
4. Zemun town cemetery

Many of you will say why this cemetery is interesting to visit. I must say that I know some tourists that spent more than one hour at this cemetery!

Zemun cemetery, however, keeps the memory of the people who helped to build it. The cemetery grounds house the remains of people of all faiths and religions. 

There you'll find Orthodox, Catholic, and Jewish, cemeteries. Zemun Cemetery is a fantastic place for history and architecture buffs and helps us remember all those who shaped this city before us. Read all about this cemetery! 

Zemun town cemetery
5. White Bear Tavern
White Bear tavern

First mentioned in 1658, it is the oldest surviving construction in the territory of modern Belgrade, not counting the Belgrade Fortress.

From the above picture, you may be disappointed, but today, this house is completely abandoned, and it’s under the city’s protection. It was originally a ‘kafana', or a type of community bistro.

Located in the central city center of Zemun in the settlement of Cukovac, more precisely 10 Vasilija Vasilijevica Street, a steep cobbled street near Gardos.

6. Zemun Town Park

As soon as you step from the wide boulevards of New Belgrade into the narrow streets of Zemun Town and head toward the center of the town, you will come across the famous Zemun Park.

At nearly eight hectares proudly boasts one of the top high schools in the country, primary school, college, military barracks, two churches. It's a great place to relax and find silence from the city’s rush. 

Zemun Park
7. Karamata's Family House

The Karamata family house is one of the most important cultural monuments in Zemun Town. The home is located on the same name street at Karamatina 17.

The house consists of three parts: ground floor, one story with a simple roof, and one story with a basement and attic roof. All three parts are connected by a unique facade and have a common main entrance.

In the house of the Karamata family, during the Austro-Turkish War, in 1788, Emperor Joseph II stayed with his staff. In addition to other celebrities, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić also stayed there.

The building is one of the most important monuments of the old town of Zemun.

Zemun Karamata Family house
8. Zemun Green Market

If you don't visit Zemun Greenmarket (Zemunska Pjaca), then your impression of Zemun is not complete. It is the best place to get to know the atmosphere of a city.