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Not far from the urban centre of Belgrade lies Ada Ciganlija, an ecological oasis of sorts, ideal for walking, bathing and recreation.
The largest river peninsula of Belgrade is also one of its largest sports and recreation areas: here you can play football or basketball, test your skills in artificial rock climbing or bungee jumping or simply hike along its many trails beneath the thick foliage of deciduous trees. There is also a cycling trail, which follows the course of the Sava and links this green oasis with Kalemgdan.
Known also as “the Belgrade Sea”, Ada Ciganlija is a favourite retreat from the summer heat for the city’s residents. Its picture-perfect blue flag beaches will make you forget you are practically at the heart of a metropolis with more than a million inhabitants. The banks of the Sava lake, all along Ada Ciganlija, are lined with many cafés and restaurants. Here, you can relax in the shade of umbrellas and taste various cocktails and dishes from their rich menus.
Just 16 kilometres away from the city centre lies Avala mountain, a favourite picnic area of Belgraders and the city’s visitors.
While you can drive to the top of Avala, we suggest that you take the hiking trail that slowly winds to the peak. There, you will be greeted by the Avala Tower, more than 200 metres high, from which you can enjoy the view of the verdant Šumadija region, as it merges with the blue sky on the horizon.
The Monument to the Unknown Hero, a memorial dedicated to Serbian World War I heroes, rises proudly not far from the tower. And when you tire of all the walking, visit one of the restaurants on the mountain’s slopes, where you can take a respite with a cup of coffee and traditional local dishes.
Once a major Austro-Hungarian city on the Danube’s northern bank, Zemun became part of Belgrade after World War I. As you marvel at its classy buildings, built in baroque, classicism, romanticism and secession styles, you will feel you have stepped into a completely different Central European city.
Take a stroll along the Zemun Quay by the Danube and enjoy the view of swans gliding across the river, as you prepare to take on Zemun’s main landmark. You really need to be in shape to climb the Millennium Tower on Gardoš Hill, with its splendid views of the city. This fairy-tale-like tower made of stone and red brick was built by the Austria-Hungary authorities in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of their statehood.
Bojčin Forest, one of the few wetland forests teeming with game animals, lies not far from Belgrade. Between the oak, European hornbeam, linden and poplar trees, you will see wild boars, rabbits and roe deer roaming, joined by numerous visitors enchanted by the surreal surroundings.
Take a walk through Bojčin Forest and pick basketfuls of mushrooms and wild strawberries, which cover this forest every spring. Here you can also find various herbs, including St. John’s wart, primrose, lemon balm, as well as yellow iris, with which the forest positively blooms in May every year.