Some would say Belgrade has its own Central Park. Or something even better that goes beyond comparison. The Great War Island, one of most central city’s oasis to beat the heat, is located at the heart of the Danube & Sava confluence.
Actually, it was formed due to the confluence, which has slowed down the water course, and island emerged as a sediment formation. Each late June to September you can reach it on foot from Zemun quay via a temporary bridge, and throughout the year (except winter) you can be taken there on a boat by the locals. Within minutes you’ll go from urban to true jungle, home to numerous birds who nest and spend time there during migration.
Its name came in 18th century, for it was between Austrian Zemun and Turkish Belgrade, and war ships would gather around it before battles. There were attempts to connect it to the land, but the Danube would take away the sand brought by bulldozers.
The stroll around the island is some five kilometers long through the forest from which you can sometimes see the tops of skyscrapers, just to remember you’re still very close to the city center. You can also reach the small ‘beaches’ at some points from which you can have a great, different perspective of Belgrade. The island has its official Lido beach, where locals gather during summer, mostly for relaxing, beach volley or water sports rather than actual swimming – the waters around the island are mostly shallow.