ReadyClickAndGo, a travel company specialising in private day trips, spent a few days in Belgrade last week to discover more about this fast-changing city’s latest highlights;
1. Virtual Tourist has recently declared Belgrade’s Ada Ciganlija Island to be the 3rd best island within a city, behind Paris and Prague. Perfect for picnics and watersports, the island is covered by trees that muffle the sounds of the city, and it is also the site of Serbia’s first golf course. The beautifully clean waters of Sava Lake that lap its gravel beaches are home to many varieties of carp, and can reach 24 degrees C in the summer, thanks to the warm microclimate here http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B229Z20101203
2. At the tip of the island you can watch one of Belgrade’s most eye-catching landmarks taking shape, a new bridge across the Sava River that will be the largest asymetric single-pylon cable-stayed bridge in the world. The main span of 376m has no supports actually in the Sava so as not to restrict shipping even during construction, and the deck is anchored by 80 stay cables as thick as a man’s arm and a single pylon 200 metres high – one of the highest points in the city. The whole bridge including the main span will be nearly a kilometre long and 45 metres wide with 6 road traffic lanes, 2 railway lines and 2 cycle and pedestrian paths, and it is due for completion in September 2011. http://www.savabridge.com/project.htm
3. Just a few metres higher than Sava Bridge is Mount Avala’s TV transmitter tower, reopened earlier this year and a popular out-of-town picnic spot for locals. This new tower is almost identical to the original that was bombed by NATO in 1999, and money for its reconstruction was raised by donations from over a million people. It is slightly taller and much better built however, and is one of few built as a tripod anywhere in the world.
4. Another tower in Belgrade has been restored and will re-open any day now, and that is the medieval Nebojsa Tower at the foot of Kalemegdan Fortress. Renovations were partly funded by Greece as one of their revolutionary heroes was executed in the tower when it was a prison, and one of the exhibitions will feature his life. Other exhibitions will be on the shared history of Serbia and Greece under Turkish occupation.
5. The Museum of Yugoslav History is hosting an exhibition of modern art until the 15th February 2011 in the Museum of 25th May, called Beyond the Iron Curtain. Painting and sculpture by Soviet and Polish artists from 1945 to 1989, both official and dissident, is on display, and you can also visit Tito’s tomb, ironically with a great view of the vast new St Sava Church.
Whilst travelling around Belgrade can be straightforward on public transport or on foot if you can master some Cyrillic script first, getting out of the city is often a little more challenging. ReadyClickAndGo offers private day trips and sightseeing excursions throughout Serbia, with your own English-speaking local guide, car and driver. A private day trip from Belgrade city centre to Avala Mountain and the nearby Vinca archaeological site with a private car, driver and English-speaking local guide is £75 per person.
For more information about Serbia please email Tara@ReadyClickAndGo.com