General precautions

For an urban metropolis of 1.5 million inhabitants, Belgrade is a very safe city. Violent crimes and gun-related violence rates are low and seldom targeted at visitors. Pickpocketing is also not as ubiquitous as in more touristy capitals of Europe, but common sense should be exercised and due vigilance maintained especially in crowded places. You should keep an eye on your belongings at all times, in restaurants and cafes included. Car theft is a more common crime form, however. Do not leave any valuables, portable navigation devices etc. in your car and make sure to lock it securely. If arriving by car, look for a hotel that has private parking available.

While most visitors are unlikely to encounter any inconvenience during their stay, those intending to experience Belgrade's nightlife or visit a sports event as well as LGBT individuals should exercise additional precautions.

Nightlife in Belgrade offers ample opportunities to have a good time. Bouncers can be heavy-handed but tend to deal with belligerent patrons rather swiftly. Going out and coming back from a night-out, if you avoid confrontation and maintain distance from the more rowdy groups, the likelihood of coming to any harm is marginal. The style of policing in Belgrade can appear somewhat excessive in that police presence is highly visible and stop-and-frisks are not uncommon but both contribute to the safety of the city. Carry a valid ID (a copy of a passport will do) with you, at all times.

LGBT visitors should bear in mind that while most Belgrade's residents are tolerant, the society is largely not forthcoming towards sexual minorities. Public displays of affection should be considered very ill advised as they may expose you do both verbal and physical violence by extremist groups.

Finally, if you're attending a large scale sports event, particularly if it's a football match or a basketball game, it's probably best to travel as part of an organized fan group as this will secure you police escort (if deemed necessary) and is thus the best way of assuring a thoroughly enjoyable stay.

Food safety

Tap water in Belgrade is fit for drinking.

Food hygiene standards tend to be very high, with most seat down restaurants implementing HACCP standards. High summer temperatures favor an occasional food poisoning outbreak which usually gets traced back to takeaways or artisan ice cream shops not following proper food storage protocols. Try to avoid establishment with low turnover as these are more likely to have food seating out too long.

Food allergy and intolerance awareness is improving but few establishment include the relevant information on their menus. Products for the lactose intolerant and coeliac sufferers can easily be found in virtually all supermarkets. Bakery chains tend to keep a record of food allergens in the products they sell in all outlets, so do not hesitate to ask for additional information if needed. 

Outdoor activities

Temperatures in Belgrade during late July and August easily reach 37-40° C with very high UV index reported on most days. If you intend to spend a considerable amount of time outdoors and in particular if going to Ada or Lido beaches, make sure to take all the standard measures - keep hydrated, take regular breaks in the shade and liberally apply skin protection. Despite frequent fumigation, areas near Sava and Danube tend to harbor mosquitoes. They generally do not transmit disease but are simply an annoyance. If you're staying near the waterfront or on one of the floating hostels, insect repellants are useful to have. Sporadic cases of West Nile virus infections transmitted by mosquitoes have been reported in recent years but the virus is not endemic to Serbia and these occurrences remain highly rare. Open green areas and woodlands can also harbor ticks. Inspect your skin thoroughly after outdoor activities in nature. If you do get bit, promptly remove the tick yourself or if unsure how, seek medical assistance.

Swimming in the Sava lake at Ada or Danube at Lido is considered safe within the marked areas where and when lifeguards are on duty. Water quality is also regularly inspected at these sites. Do not be tempted to swim outside the marked areas, in Danube in particular, as the current can be strong and highly unpredictable.

Also note that grass and weed pollen concentrations tend to be high in city so bring your allergy relief medication if sensitive to these.

Seeking medical assistance

Belgrade has an extensive network of pharmacies, most of which open on Sundays as well. There are 24/7 on call pharmacies at several locations in the city. Most pharmacists speak basic English and can offer a variety of safe over-the-counter reliefs for the usual, benign health issues a traveler is likely to experience.

If you need to be examined by a physician, there are numerous state-run health centers, clinics and hospitals in the city, but these tend be overcrowded, have elaborate appointment making policies and are less likely to readily deal with foreign visitors. In case of a medical emergency however, care will be provided promptly and to a high standard. In other instances, it is probably far more convenient to look for medical assistance at one the private-run clinics. GP and specialist appointments can be made the same day as well as most routine diagnostic procedures. It is likely that your travel insurance provider has a preferred partner clinic. Otherwise, ask your accommodation provider or embassy to recommend one that's nearby. Ristić, Jedro, Belmedic, Euromedik and Vizim are notable examples, provide high quality of service and have English-speaking staff. A specialist exam is relatively affordable by Western standards at around 30 euros. Private dental clinics are likewise numerous, and easily reachable.

 If you do visit Belgrade, you will find it to be a very safe city. Happy traveling.