EduWiki Conference 2023/Travel

EduWiki Conference 2023
Belgrade, Serbia
May 26–28, 2023

Welcome to Belgrade!

Below you can find some information about how to get to Belgrade as well as some practical advice about public transportation in the city.

Information about venue (hotel) can be found here.

Travelling to Belgrade edit

Nikola Tesla Airport

By plane edit

The main entry route into Belgrade and Serbia is Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, part of the VINCI Airports group. It's the hub for Air Serbia and has flights to most European capitals, but especially to Balkan cities such as Ljubljana, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Tivat and Zagreb. Near-east destinations include Abu Dhabi, Baku, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Tianjin. There are direct flights to New York JFK and Chicago (from May 2023). Arriving, you pass through the airside lounge before passport control and baggage reclaim. Currency exchange offices here give rates within 5% of official rate. Departing, passport control comes straight after check-in then you enter the airside lounge. You can find a lot of restaurants and shops within the airport.

Transport to & from the city:

  • Bus 72 runs every 30 mins to Zeleni Venac, close to the inter-city bus station and Republic Square. The ticket price is RSD 89.00 (if purchased on the kiosk) and RSD 150.00 (if purchased on the bus). Don't forget to get some small notes at the currency exchange. It's a 40-50 min ride into town, zigzagging through the shopping malls of the western burbs. Buses run daily 04:40-23:40. The bus runs from outside Departures. At Zeleni Venac the stop for the 72 is the furthest uphill, or most easterly, on the main platform with all the fast food outlets.
  • Minibus A1 runs between the airport and Slavija Square, stopping at Fontana (Novi Beograd) and the former main railway station. The buses are comfortable and air-conditioned. The fare is RSD 400.00, pay the driver and state your destination before departure. The trip takes 30 minutes. This bus also runs at night, with a short break from around 02:00-04:00.
  • If you prefer to take a taxi, read the precautions described below. Secretariat for Public Transport of the City of Belgrade, in cooperation with airport, has again put into operation a counter for issuing certificates of fixed price (vouchers) for taxi transport, which is located in the international arrivals area. The price is around RSD 2,500.00 to the center (~22 EUR or 23 USD) and RSD 3,600.00 (~31 EUR or 33 USD) to the suburbs, and includes luggage. You can order a taxi by phone or simply go upstairs to Departures and catch one of the taxis dropping off passengers.
  • You can also use Car:Go, an Uber-like app. You can only pay for their services by credit/debit card in the app.

By bus edit

This is the best overland option from western Europe while the railway is being dug up. There are buses at least daily to Budapest (6-7 hours), Sarajevo (7 hours), Sofia (11 hours) and Thessaloniki (10 hours via Nis and Skopje). Belgrade Bus Station (BAS, Београдска аутобуска станица) is just north of the derelict former railway station on Karađorđeva street. Timetables aren't clearly posted, or only in Serbian, so ask inside the terminal building. Various cafes and kiosks here. There's a charge of RSD 180 to enter the platform area, normally included in the fare and you receive a plastic token or paper stub to get through the gate. If you bought your ticket online, then it might not be included and you'd have to buy a platform card in the terminal. You might also have to pay the bus driver an extra RSD 100.00 per bag placed in the cargo compartment.

Local buses don't use BAS, but the bus stands adjacent south. There are no gates or charges to enter this area.

By car edit

Coming north from Subotica and Novi Sad, the E-75 highway is recommended, as well as driving to Belgrade from the south. There is also a major road called Ibarska magistrala (Ibar highway, M-22), which provides approach from south-west (direction of Montenegro, for example). From the west, use the E-70 highway (from Zagreb, Ljubljana, etc.) Major roads can be used coming east and north-east from Vršac and Zrenjanin.

Highways have toll stations, which are moderately priced. Serbia's only highways are parts of E-70 and E-75 roads and the highway passes right through Belgrade, causing traffic jams on the Gazela bridge and at the Mostar interchange. These jams have been reduced somewhat in recent years by redirecting heavy goods vehicles to the Belgrade Bypass and by the new Ada Bridge.

If you want to get around edit

A Belgrade tram
A Belgrade trolleybus

By public transport edit

GSP Beograde (ГСП in Serbian Cyrillic) operates an extensive public transport network of buses, trolleybuses, and trams in the city and its suburbs. Maps are available via Google Maps, EasyWay and Moovit. There is a BusPlus android app, useful for navigating all the lines and the stops on a map. There is a paid option to check how many stops away the next vehicle is.

Buses edit

Buses are the backbone of Belgrade's public transport, and you can get almost anywhere on them. Buses get very full at peak times, and some are full all day. Their quality varies: those around the city centre or serving posh neighbourhoods are usually newer air-conditioned vehicles. Further out you may encounter some elderly specimens, eg the 30 year old Ikarbus with wooden benches for seats.

Trams edit

There are 11 tram lines in Belgrade. All lines converge in the Slavija-Vukov Spomenik area (except 11 and 13 which go to Novi Beograd from Kalemegdan and Banovo Brdo, respectively).

The most notable line is line nr. 2, which goes around the city centre in a circular route (krug dvojke). Another notable line is the nr. 3, which goes through scenic park area of Topčider.

Several tram lines are served only by new CAF Urbos trams (7 and 12, also 13), while most of the other ones are serviced by old Tatra KT4 and Basel donated trams (some of them more than 50 years old, but in a better state than Tatras, as those trams were left to decay for years during the 1990s and 2000s).

Trolleybuses edit

Belgrade's trolleybuses have 7 lines serving two main corridors. One corridor is from Studentski trg (near Trg Republike) over Crveni Krst to Konjarnik and Medaković 3. The other is from Zvezdara to Banjica, plied by lines 40 (Banjica-Zvezdara), 41 (Studentski trg - Banjica) and 28 (Studentski trg - Zvezdara). The trolleybuses are mostly newer Belarusian vehicles.

Fares edit

As of May 17th, 2023, Belgrade introduced its new city transportation system called "Belgrade Plus," offering affordable ticket options to simplify public transport for locals. Since this is a new system, ticket control is not yet in place. Therefore, we strongly believe that you can use public transport without buying tickets (except in the case of “A1 transport shuttle” from the airport which is paid 400 RSD on the spot). If you decide to buy tickets: The ticket purchase system is based on sending SMS messages (only for local mobile service providers). By sending a message to 9011, you can specify the desired ticket type. Here are the available options:

  • 90-minute ticket validity (During this time, feel free to hop on and off as many buses, trams, and trolleys as you like within the same zone - almost all of the urban city territory) - type in text code A90, price RSD 50
  • Daily ticket (1 day ticket, valid until 23.59) - type in text code A1, price RSD 120
  • Daily ticket (7 days ticket) - type text code A7, price RSD 800

Minibuses connect the suburbs and are generally faster and more comfortable than regular buses. A single ride costs RSD150, pay the driver. Daily tickets are not valid on these lines.

Day transport starts at 04:00 and ends at midnight. Night transport is only by bus, with a limited number of lines running every 30-60 mins, and it is free of charge. Here is a map of night lines. The lines are all prefixed N so these rules apply even if the ride started just before midnight, conversely they don't apply to other buses where you were still aboard after midnight.

By train edit

The suburban railway system is called BG:Voz (BG:Train). One line runs from Batajnica in the west through Zemun and Novi Beograd to Beograd Centar then swings north through Karađorđev Park and Vukov Spomenik to Ovča across the river. The other line runs south from Beograd Center via Rakovica to Resnik. Trains run every 30 minutes, 15 mins in rush hour. Fares are the same as for buses: RSD150 single ride, RSD89 per journey on a card.

By taxi edit

Taxis are cheap by European standards, though far more expensive than anywhere else in Serbia. You can also use Car:Go, an Uber-like app, and you can only pay by entering your debit/credit card number in the app. The app is available for setup only within Serbia.

Taxi scams are common in Belgrade. It is always best to order taxis by phone since your order will be saved in the operator database or by an official taxi app. Here are a few apps you can use to order a taxi:

In most Naxis Taxi and Pink Taxi vehicles you can pay for the taxi fares by debit/credit card, however, it is recommended to have cash (dinars) with you to pay taxi fares in case the taxi driver can not accept the debit/credit card.

Fares are regulated by the government and are RSD 270 to start a ride, RSD 96-130 per km (depending on time of day). If they want to charge you more than RSD 4,000 (or EUR 35) for a ride from the airport to the Hotel M, or vice versa, know that they want to rip you off.

Only take a taxi with a roof sign with the city coat of arms and a number, indicating it's a city-regulated radio taxi. Anything else is a private unregulated cab that may charge four times as much. Also, legal taxis must have license plates ending with TX (eg BG-1234-TX).

Insist that the trip be metered; the only exception is if you take a taxi from the airport and buy a voucher with a fixed price. Tips to drivers are welcome but not required and your luggage is included in the metered price.

If you believe that the driver is trying to rip you off, call the operator of that taxi association to check if the price is regular for the specified distance. You can report the incident to city inspection (+381 11 3227-000) and if you are going from or to the airport, report it also to airport inspection (+381 11 2097-373, taxi@beg.aero). If the driver is aggressive towards you, call the police.

By car edit

As in most of Europe you must keep to the right side of the road. Driving in Belgrade can be stressful. Avoid rush hours (08:30–9:30, 16:00-18:00). Expect to have a hard time finding a free parking place on the streets during Friday and Saturday evenings in the center. Garages might be a better choice.

Yellow lanes are reserved for public transport, i.e. buses and taxis, and private vehicles may not use them. They're marked with a yellow line and on traffic signs. Some only apply during rush hours.

Parking edit

Best option is to avoid bringing a car into the centre, next best is to use a parking garage. Street parking is difficult. There are four zones, clearly marked.

There are several large public garages for extended parking, eg there's one with 500 spaces under the old palace, across from the parliament building.

Parking violations in the centre are swiftly pounced upon. Failure to pay in a marked spot results in a fine. With illegally parked vehicles, the traffic police are obliged to wait 15 minutes for the return of the driver, who'll have to pay a fine of €50. When 15 minutes are up, the car gets towed to one of four designated lots in the city, which you can locate using the online service. At the lot, you will be required to present a valid form of ID and the vehicle registration documents, and pay the fine and towing expenses, €90 in total.

By bicycle edit

Old Belgrade is pretty hilly and the cycling infrastructure is scarce, so bicycle transport isn't in wide use. However, New Belgrade and Zemun are relatively flat and offer enough space for bikes to be used. Bicycle tracks link Zemun, Dorćol, Ada Ciganlija, New Belgrade and Bežanijska kosa.

Riding a bike on the same roads with cars and buses is considered too dangerous, although on smaller streets it can be reasonably safe. You are not allowed to bring bikes into public transport vehicles.

Bicycle rentals are available mostly at recreational areas like Ada Ciganlija or Zemun quay. Average price is around €1.5/hour and €4/day.

By walk edit

Belgrade city core is not too big. Everything between Kalemegdan, Knez Mihailova street and Skadarska street is best viewed on foot, and most major sights can be found in Stari Grad (Old Town) district. You might need the bus for sights further out. Note that many of Belgrade's museums are closed on Monday.