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Living in Belgrade for Digital Nomads: The MEGA Guide (2023)

Living in Belgrade for Digital Nomads: The MEGA Guide (2023)

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This guest post was written by Nina, a digital nomad who was living in Belgrade, Serbia for several months, and is planning to come back for more (full bio below).

Are you looking for an awesome place to live abroad for under $2,000 a month, all in? 

If so, you should consider Belgrade, Serbia for your next digital nomad base.

I spent several months living in Belgrade when I met my grandpa’s family. At the time, I was working two of the best digital nomad jobs — freelance writing and travel blogging — while meandering my way across Europe.

One of the reasons I stayed so long in Belgrade was the low cost of living. I could dine out, go on tours, and even get my hair blown out without having to work more than 10 hours a week!

Most people don’t realize how amazing Belgrade is, so I’m here to help you explore this hidden digital nomad gem.

Let’s dive in.

The Belgrade fortress is on the edge of the city center with many benches and rolling grassy areas for outdoor work. It’s a great free thing to do in the city.

My Belgrade digital nomad experience

Belgrade is a stunning city in Eastern Europe. I planned to visit just to see some of my deceased grandfather’s relatives, but I ended up falling so in love with the city that I stayed way longer than I was supposed to.

Serbian people are incredibly friendly and welcoming to foreigners, which made it easy for me to make friends in the city.

Belgrade’s digital nomad scene is great because of its convenient access to cafes, coworking spaces, and outdoor areas that can be used as workspaces. 

I spent many afternoons writing on a bench looking out over the Danube River, taking breaks for coffee and gelato.

It is unique in that there are no McDonalds or Starbucks, so you have to actually ask around at places to find internet cafes. 

Belgrade also has amazing nightlife — I especially loved the music and dancing at the city’s famous floating barges. With a low cost of living, it’s easy to go out every night without breaking the bank.

If you’re planning to spend time as a digital nomad in Belgrade, do yourself a favor and get a SIM card. 

Everyone has hotspots on their phone, so most rentals don’t have WIFI — even Airbnbs.

I stayed at my cousin’s flat initially, and was wifi-less all day while she was at work. but couldn’t use WIFI all day when she was at work. I finally broke down and bought a SIM just before I left for my rental apartment, which didn’t have WIFI either.

Long story short — get a SIM or use one of these other handy internet solutions for travelers

Belgrade is truly a beautiful place to live. Take the Ada Ciganalija, where you can walk around a manmade lake or even swim in the summer.

TL;DR Living in Belgrade pros and cons

Pros

✅ Low cost of living.
✅ Friendly, welcoming locals.
✅ Amazing food.
✅ Beautiful nature and historical locations to explore.
✅ Spring is incredibly beautiful.
✅ Very English-friendly.

Cons

No city is perfect, and I’m not about to sugarcoat things here…

❌ Internet can be spotty (if there even is any to begin with).
❌ Public transportation is not great outside of the main city center (I just walked everywhere).
❌ Serbian drivers are crazy.
❌ Safety in certain neighborhoods can be a concern, especially after dark.

Overall, Belgrade has been my favorite digital nomad destination. From the amazing nightlife to the low cost of living and friendly locals, it’s hard not to love this city.

I’m already planning my return trip!

What type of nomads will like Belgrade: Digital nomads who want to live a low-cost life while enjoying the culture, nature, and nightlife of an Eastern European city will love Belgrade. 

With its diverse attractions, welcoming people, and easy access to cafes and coworking spaces, it’s the perfect place to make your digital nomad base.

What type of nomads should avoid Belgrade: Nomads who are used to fast internet in every cafe and luxurious accommodations may want to avoid Belgrade, as these amenities can be hard to come by in the city. 

Additionally, nomads who are sensitive to pollen will want to avoid Belgrade in the spring or buy some allergy meds.

Living in Belgrade for a month: How much does it cost?

First, let’s cover the “official” cost of living data from Numbeo. This data can be hit and miss depending on your lifestyle, so I’ll also share my own numbers. 

Prices are in Serbian dinar (RSD), and since exchange rates are constantly changing, it’s best to use Google to convert into your currency using today’s rates. 

Monthly Belgrade cost of living (Numbeo)

Rent for 1-bedroom apartment in city center:71,796.36 RSD
Basic monthly utilities (heating, cooling, etc.): 16,675.29 RSD
Internet:2,667.29 RSD
Meal at inexpensive restaurant:900.00 RSD
Domestic beer (0.5 L):250.00 RSD
Public transport ticket:90.00 RSD
Gym membership:3,400.00 RSD

How much my life in Belgrade cost

Rent: I started off staying in a distant cousin’s flat that her family owned. But after a few weeks, I moved to spend a month in a flat of my own in Stari Grad. It cost 650€ per month for 100m2 of space that was partially furnished.

I paid in euros even though that’s not the local currency of Serbia.

This was in a prime location, and I was happy to pay for a small one-bedroom without a ton of furniture if it meant I could be closer to the interesting things in Belgrade.

Internet/data: No one has internet in their apartments in Belgrade for some reason. Instead, they get unlimited data on their phone.

Anyone visiting or living in Serbia can buy a local SIM card.

My SIM cost about 2400 RSD, which comes to roughly 20 euros (at the time of writing). A plan like this typically has 10 to 20GB of data, but I was able to connect to my cousin’s plan and get her unlimited deal for the same price.

Food: I love to cook, so grocery shopping was super fun for me in Serbia, although the Cyrillic alphabet was challenging to figure out at first.

I never just went to one store — an odd habit of mine, where I usually visit 3+ places for my groceries — so I’m not certain of the weekly totals. On average, I spent about 250 euros a month getting fresh produce from markets, local bread from bakeries, and meat from butchers.

Eating out is very inexpensive. Even when I’d have a three-course meal at a mid-level restaurant, it never cost more than $12 USD.

You can find amazing inexpensive restaurants in Skadarlija.

The places in or around the mall tend to be more expensive.

Transportation: I walked everywhere in Belgrade.

There is public transport but 1) I love walking and 2) my Serbian is terrible, so I felt more comfortable wandering on my own.

This made it incredibly inexpensive to get around.

When I did take public transport, I took the bus to a hairdresser’s appointment across the Danube. It was easy to figure out and costs about 89 dinars for the journey one way in zone 1 and 2. 

Health: Belgrade kept me active walking along the rivers of the city, strolling around parks, and venturing into the mountains. I went hiking on weekends when I’d visit distant relatives or when I’d go adventure to new sights across the city.

My cousin attended a gym that looked out over the Danube and I went with her once, but I prefer to do yoga on my own in my flat. Monthly memberships in gyms range from 25 to 100 euros per month, depending on the level of fanciness you’re looking for. 

As always, make sure you have travel insurance when visiting Belgrade. Here’s a comparison of the best insurance options for digital nomads, some cost as little as $1.61 per day

Entertainment: There is loads of things to do in Belgrade. I attended free concerts, visited museums, took boat rides, and explored the city with friends.

I went to the movies once — most of the movies are subtitled instead of dubbed in English — but it was dubbed in Russian at the same time, which made it a bit confusing.

Mostly, I would just take tours of the local sights, go to local markets, and wander the museums which are inexpensive to visit.

This should give you a decent idea of what a budget could look like living in Belgrade, Serbia. But if you need even more help creating a budget, grab this free worksheet:

Best time for nomads to visit Belgrade

I moved to Belgrade in the spring. It is one of the most beautiful places in spring because of all of the flowers and the green rolling hills outside of the city center.

Even the hill of the fortress becomes beautifully green and popular for picnics.

When I arrived, there was still snow on the ground. I got to watch the city transform from 5C to 20C in a matter of two months.

Spring brings with it a lot of pollen. I’d never had allergies like that before and had to get a massive amount of antihistamines because I could barely breathe I was sneezing so much.

Luckily, pharmacists are amazing in Serbia and extremely helpful.

The summer is also a great time to visit. The heat in Belgrade can be quite intense, but there are plenty of places you can find to cool off like the river or park nearby.

If you can only stay for one season, I’d recommend spring — but with some Benadryl on hand!

Zemunksi is a cool place to go for drinks and dinner in Belgrade. Most nomads who live downtown never venture over, so it’s very cheap.

Best places to live in Belgrade for digital nomads

Kneza Mihaila, Dorcol, and Vracar are the best places to stay in Belgrade as a digital nomad.

These are all relatively central parts of the city with plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants. They’re more inexpensive than where I stayed and have lots of locals to make friends with.

They also tend to be pretty safe areas, which is always important when you’re traveling abroad.

I stayed in Stari Grad, right downtown, because I was trying to get the full Belgrade experience by living in the heart of it all.

It’s more expensive than the other areas, but there are plenty of affordable options if you look around.

It is also close to some amazing tourist sites, and I felt like a local with all the cafes and bars nearby.

How to find digital nomad accommodation in Belgrade

When I moved to Belgrade, I chose to stay in a rental apartment. It was the best decision for me as it allowed me to cook my own meals, have some privacy, and feel a bit more at home.

I found my accommodation through a family friend, which meant I didn’t have to go online to hunt it down.

You can find amazing apartments at Srbija, VRBO, or Airbnb.

Hotels are also abundant in Serbia, but they tend to be on the pricier side. If you’re on a budget, I’d recommend looking for an apartment or co-living space. 

They also tend to be quite utilitarian from the communist influence in Eastern Europe, so accommodation doesn’t have the Western Europe luxury some nomads may be used to.

Belgrade has some great co-living spaces like Coliving Belgrade and Impact Hub Belgrade, both of which offer shared living facilities with all the amenities that digital nomads need.

Hostels are also a great option if you don’t mind the shared living spaces and smaller accommodations. They often come with a kitchen, which is great for budget travelers who want to save money.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Couchsurfing or housesitting are both excellent ways to find accommodation in Belgrade. Just make sure you do your research to vet the host!

Best places to work remotely from Belgrade

I worked from my apartment and my cousin’s apartment for the most part. I love working at home in fuzzy socks with no shoes, which isn’t exactly conducive to being in a cafe.

When I did work outside of the house, I’d go in search of cafes. I prefer cafes to co-working spaces because they have amazing food, especially in Serbia.

Serbia has a big cafe culture where men all gather, smoke inside, and have an espresso as they read the newspaper.

I would look for cafes that didn’t have large plumes of smoke billowing around the men. Or I’d find restaurants with free WIFI. They don’t advertise it, so you usually need to ask when you arrive if they have it and what the codes are.

Belgrade has plenty of coworking spaces too if you prefer, like Impact Hub Belgrade.

It’s a great option if you’re looking for a more professional atmosphere and want to join a community where you can easily meet other digital nomads.

Best Belgrade co-working spaces

Impact Hub Belgrade

Impact Hub is located in central Belgrade and is the largest of the coworking spaces.

It has a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of natural light, comfortable seating areas, and a wealth of amenities for digital nomads to use (like a podcast studio!).

Daily, weekly, and monthly memberships are available, depending on your needs.

They are closed on Sundays.

Coworking Beograd Work Space One

This coworking space is located just outside of the city center and offers a variety of amenities for digital nomads.

It has fast WIFI, ample workspace, comfortable seating areas, as well as access to printers, scanners, and other office equipment.

They have options for hot desking or a dedicated desk. You can even rent an office if you need to.

Smart Office Coworking Belgrade

Smart Office is a great place for digital nomads who are looking to meet other like-minded professionals.

It is located in the city center close to all the major attractions, and it has all the typical amenities — high-speed WIFI, private meeting rooms, projectors, and more.

They also have a “no work” zone on the first floor, where you can relax and mingle with other members of the community.

It’s a great place to take breaks from work and just hang out. They even have game nights and other social events.

The atmosphere is relaxed with friendly staff ready to help.

Worcol

This coworking space is located in the heart of Belgrade and offers a great atmosphere for digital nomads to work from.

It has an abundance of natural light, comfortable seating areas, quiet corners, and plenty of space to get your work done.

It’s smaller and cozier, so you won’t feel overwhelmed with hundreds of people around.

Nova Iskram

This coworking space holds a lot of interesting learning sessions. So you can work in a functional office AND learn!

It’s a great place to network and get inspired.

The staff is friendly, their prices are competitive, and the atmosphere is conducive to productivity. 

Nova Iskram is located in different parts of the city so you can find one near your home base.

ICT Hub Playground

In my opinion, ICT Hub Playground is the most fun co-working space in Belgrade. It’s spacious, airy, bright, and spotlessly clean.

Staff are professional, friendly, and go above and beyond to provide whatever it is that you need.

As someone who hates desk chairs, I love that they have bean bags and exercise balls to sit on.

Best Belgrade cafes for work

Zaokret

Zaokret is one of Belgrade’s most popular cafes for digital nomads. It occupies a prime spot in the city and provides an excellent space to work from. 

The coffee is great, the music is low key enough to provide an ambient hum, and there are plenty of comfortable seating areas. Plus, you can always grab a beer if the day isn’t going your way!

Meduza

Meduza is a favorite among digital nomads in Belgrade. It’s located close to the center of town and provides a great atmosphere for anyone looking to get some work done. 

The staff is friendly and helpful, the coffee is top-notch, and there’s plenty of comfortable seating areas. Plus, their baked goods are delish.

Nova Kula

If you’re looking for a unique atmosphere to get work done, Nova Kula is an excellent choice. 

The space has a rustic charm to it, with wooden furniture and lots of natural light. 

The baristas are friendly, the coffee is on point, and there’s plenty of seating areas for you to choose from.

Plus, they serve some amazing cakes that are sure to give you a sugar rush if you’re bogged down with work.

Belgrade digital nomad community

There is an active digital nomad community in Belgrade with plenty of events and activities to get involved in. 

The ICT Hub organizes regular meet-ups, workshops, and seminars that you can join to network with other digital nomads.

I spent my free time with my family and a friend who I met volunteering with Workaway in Prague, so I didn’t go to most of the digital nomad gatherings. But my friend went to some and had a fantastic time.

A definite pro is how easy it is to get everywhere, how cheap it is to eat out and socialize, and the epic nightlife.

My only con was that I’m quite introverted so I didn’t have the stamina to handle going out to meet more people.

Belgrade nightlife

I don’t drink, and I go to bed at 8pm, so nightlife isn’t really my thing.

My friend did Belgrade Nightlife Tours, which is a guided pub crawl. This helped her meet people and get to know good places to go out.

Znak Pitanja is an old tavern, kind of like a pub. My cousin took me there for afternoon drinks, and I’ve been told it comes alive in the evenings.

The Bank Club is a newer club that’s supposed to have great music.

Hype is another trendy club my cousin was raving about before I explained to her that I go to bed before the sun. It has a great dance floor and isn’t just techno music like many Eastern European clubs.

The #1 thing to do in Belgrade is visit the Sava Temple, even if you aren’t religious. It has a fascinating history and the golden mosaic in the ceiling is incredible to see.

Things to do in Belgrade

Belgrade is an amazing city to explore. There are plenty of interesting things to do, from visiting historical sites and museums to exploring street art and having a picnic in one of the many parks.

It’s a city most people skip, yet the fascinating history will forever change everyone who visits.

  • Visit Belgrade Fortress. Located on the banks of the Danube and Sava rivers, this 2,000-year-old fortress has helped Belgrade survive from the Romans to the Ottomans to modern day.
  • Tour Saint Sava Temple. This is the second-largest Orthodox Church in the world, with an incredible gold ceiling.
  • Get shocked at the Nikola Tesla Museum. An interactive tour of this museum is a must in Belgrade.
  • Take a walking tour of Republic Square. Amid malls and businesses, this square is a popular meeting place and commemorates the Balkan independence from the Turkish. Take a walking tour to learn more.
  • Eat and drink on Skadarlija. Filled with Turkish and Serbian restaurants, you can see the remnants of Ottoman rule.
  • Visit the beach of Ada Ciganlija. An island on the Sava that was turned into a peninsula is now a lovely beach getaway for locals within the city.
  • Light a candle at St. Mark’s Church. A Neo-Byzantine church with 1930s art inside.
  • Walk or jog at Zemunski Kej. A beautiful boardwalk along the river that’s perfect to explore in the summer.
  • Learn about Eastern Europe at the Museum of Yugoslavia. As a part of former Yugoslavia, Belgrade is home to a museum that covers the country’s history and ultimate fall.
  • See a show at the National Theatre. This stunning theatre is a must-visit and is very affordable for opera and ballet.
  • Shop for food at Zeleni Venac. My favorite outdoor market.

How to get to Belgrade

The most common ways to arrive in Belgrade are via the international airport, by bus from other cities or countries, and also by train.

I took the train in from Bulgaria after living in Turkey for two months earlier.

There’s an intercity bus network that connects Belgrade with many cities across Serbia and neighboring countries. You can also find direct trains from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Belgrade is also a popular stopping point for many European river cruises. The Danube and Sava rivers both meet in Belgrade, making it an ideal destination for those looking to explore some of the most beautiful parts of Europe.

If you prefer flying, here’s how to find cheap flights:

Getting around Belgrade

Getting around Belgrade is fairly easy. The public transportation system consists of buses, trams, and trolleybuses that cover the entire city. 

You can buy a ticket from any kiosk or newsstand before you board the vehicle, and it’s valid for two hours.

Taxis are also available in Belgrade but can be quite expensive during peak hours.

If you want to explore the city on your own, there are plenty of bike rentals available, and most streets have designated lanes for cyclists. Walking is also an option if you don’t mind exploring the city at a slower pace.

Other handy tips for Belgrade digital nomads

Essential words in Serbian

Hello: Zdravo
How are you?: Kako si
Thank you: Hvala
Goodbye: Zbogom
Bathroom: Kupatilo
How much?: Koliko?
Yes: Da
No: Ne

Yummy foods

While in Belgrade, you have to try:

  • Cheese pita or gibanica
  • Crempita
  • Czevap
  • Ajvar
  • Sarma

Staying safe

Belgrade is generally considered a safe destination. But as with any big city, it has its share of scams and dangers. 

Common scams include overcharging for transportation or restaurants, pickpocketing in crowded places, and pay-as-you-go SIM cards that are sold at much higher prices than usual.

I once saw someone about to pickpocket another person, made eye contact with them, cleared my throat, and they walked away instead.

It’s not a violent city, but people may try to take advantage of tourists, so be careful.

I always felt safe walking alone as a woman in Belgrade, even after dark. That said, it’s always best to use the following safety precautions:

Helpful apps

  • Belgrade Talking. A walking tour app about Belgrade’s history.
  • CityMaps2Go. Download a free map and highlight cool places to visit.
  • Donesi.com. Food delivery app.
  • GoOut. Events in Belgrade.
  • Belgrade City Guide. Full guide to the city for tourists.

Other Belgrade tips

Belgrade is a friendly city and the locals are always eager to meet new people. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations, even if your Serbian isn’t perfect.

Also, make sure you try some local dishes during your stay — you won’t regret it.

And if you’re looking for a more laid-back night, head over to one of the many cafes and bars scattered around the city.

No matter what you decide to do in Belgrade, you’re sure to have a great time.

Living in Belgrade as an expat

Living in Belgrade as an expat is a great experience. Depending on your nationality, you can stay up to 90 days without requiring a visa. 

US citizens are allowed to stay for up to 60 days on a tourist visa, and the same applies to citizens of most EU countries.

If you’re looking for a longer-term stay, there is no digital nomad visa available yet, but it may be possible to apply for a residence permit.

This process can take some time and requires legal documentation in order to be approved.

Border runs are also common in Belgrade, although they require a bit of planning. 

It’s best to check the requirements for your chosen destination before attempting a border run. I know many people who did them though — just cross the border for a night, then return the next day to restart your visa.

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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