Hidden Belgrade (53): Easy Urban Hikes

Given that this summer it will be more difficult and stressful for Belgraders to leave the city for their preferred coastlines of Greece, Croatia and Montenegro, we will be forced to be creative during our staycations.

Thankfully, thanks to its geography, in Belgrade you are never too far away from places to escape the heat, have a nice hike and even see some of its flora and fauna.

Košutnjak

Former hunting ground of Belgrade’s elite, Košutnjak (meaning doe’s garden) is a large hill offering great views of the city (from its ski slope), as well as plenty of great sights. While the areas around the Hajduk fountain on the bottom and sports centre on top tend to get crowded (especially on May Day), there are enough hiking trails to escape the crowds. In terms of sights, I recommend checking out the monument to Prince Mihailo (erected at the place where he was shot on 10 June 1869) as well as the WWI cemeteries of German soldiers and Serbian soldiers who resisted them.

Ada Mushroom Reserve

While Ada is more famous for its artificial lake and bars, one part to the original river island is actually a state protected mushroom habitat. There are apparently 250 species of mushrooms at Ada, a number comparable to those living on the slopes of Tara and Kopaonik national parks. The „star“ of the habitat is Myriostoma coliforme, a flower shaped mushroom, but there are also many wonderful dragon flies and even larger animals to see, especially in spring. The area is criss-crossed by paths, but given that the muddy, I strongly recommend bringing sturdy hiking shoes and wearing full body cover to avoid ticks.

Banjica (aka Timothy John Byford) Woods

Located in Voždovac, between Autokomanda and Trošarina, Banjica woods are a thin strip of wilderness a stone’s throw from Vračar. They are now named after the most beloved Belgrade British expat and TV personality, Timothy John Byford. While the lower part of the woods by Autokomnada is relatively narrow and gets packed, the further up you the woods widen and get more interesting. There is a wonderful stream (where I spotted a salamander) and even a swing rope for those wanting to feel like Tarzans swinging in urban wilderness.  

Besides these three, I also recommend checking out Beljarica, Great War Island or Zvezdara forest and, if you are up for an urban hike, following the old railroad tracks by the Danube

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