Straddling the meeting point of the Danube and Sava rivers, Belgrade is an exciting fusion of old and new. The Serbian capital has a long and turbulent history and there's a host of age-old sites to prove it – from the prehistoric Vinča settlement and ancient fortress to Ottoman churches and more modern Yugoslavian buildings. Today, Belgrade has a new draw for travellers in its flourishing nightlife scene, which has earned it a reputation as a city that never sleeps.
Even in the city centre, Belgrade hostels have quiet gardens where you can read, chat or fire up an evening barbecue. Some are styled like traditional local taverns, with wooden beams and exposed stone walls on the inside, while other hostels in Belgrade are like cosy homes, fitted with air con and free Wi-Fi. For a calm spot away from the bustle of the main attractions, book a Belgrade hostel in a floating cabin on the river Danube and tuck into your free continental breakfast with a riverfront view of Belgrade Fortress.
Belgrade is a mosaic of small neighbourhoods, like the quiet and leafy Dorćol in Stari Grad (the old town). Follow the Sava river south and you'll find Savamala – a one-time commercial area filled with abandoned buildings which has become a creative hub. Warehouses and neglected townhouses have been transformed into clubs, jazz bars, art centres and cafés. For the huge Kalenić food market and the massive Sveti Sava church, opt to stay in the Vračar district.
Start your adventure in Belgrade by exploring Skadarska and Strahinjića Bana streets. These are in the bohemian Skadarlija area and have quaint shop fronts and a whole strip of restaurants and bars, as well as artisan kafanas (the local term for coffee house). If you're visiting in the summertime, head to the banks of the Danube and Sava to join a party boat. These play everything from club classics to local folk music and stay open late into the night.
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is a 30-minute bus ride from the city centre via the A1 minibus or the 72 service. To reach the left bank, hop on the 607 line. The city is linked up by a series of buses, trolleybuses and trams that all use a pay-as-you-go 'Bus Plus' card. To have a good look around, jump on the line 2 tram, which circles downtown Belgrade.