Review: Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport (BEG) to Belgrade City Center

Introduction: Balkans Trip Report
Review: Al-Maha Transit Lounge, Hamad International Airport, Doha (DOH)
Review: Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport (BEG) to Belgrade City Center
Review: Old Town Belgrade Airbnb Loft
Review: Belgrade Runaround
Review: Belgrade Walking Tours 1
Review: Belgrade Walking Tours 2
Review: Belgrade to Sarajevo; Door-to-Door Minibus Shuttle
Review: Embassies Row Sarajevo Airbnb Apartment
Review: Sarajevo Runaround
Review: Sarajevo Walking Tours
Review: Sarajevo Walkaround
Review: Sarajevo to Zagreb; EuroLine Bus
Review: Old Town Zagreb Airbnb Room
Review: Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Review: Advent in Zagreb
Review: Zagreb Walking Tours
Review: Zagreb to Budapest; Croatia Tours Bus
Review: Budapest Andrassay Street Airbnb Room
Review: Budapest Walkaround
Review: Budapest Bike Tours
Review: Budapest City Center to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD)
Review: Platinum Lounge, Terminal 2B, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD)
Review: Doha, Qatar Drivearound

Getting to Belgrade City from Tesla Airport

IMG_4139.JPG
Air Serbia planes

Google Map estimate the distance from Tesla Airport to Belgrade city center as 18km. I estimate 1km as equal to 1 minute so that would approximate to 20 minutes journey time, give and take.

These were my considerations:

  • because my luggage is light I don’t have problem with walking
  • I arrive early in the morning at 10AM so even if I got lost finding direction because it’s daylight it’ll be okay
  • 10AM is not rush hour so traffic jam isn’t an issue
  • other than a tour scheduled at 3PM I’m not in a rush

Based on interweb findings there are three options to get to Belgrade city from Tesla Airport.

1) Airport Shuttle Bus

Pros: Cheap, 300 Dinar
Cons: They loop the airport one time before heading out of the compound
(I have no idea why)

2) Minibus

Pros: Cheapest, 150 Dinar
Cons: Too many stops which stretched the journey time

3) Taxi or Van

Pros: Door-to-door service
Cons: Not justifiable if you travel with less than 2 in a group, costs 10 Euro

Given that I have time flexibility and that it’s still bright and early I went with Option 1 – Airport Shuttle Bus.

First Impression of Tesla Airport

IMG_4140.JPG
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport

Wow, it’s small.

I’ve been to Brunei International Airport, reportedly one of the well-known small airport in the world. Given its population of only 0.5 million and Royal Brunei’s limited flight network the scale of Brunei Airport makes sense. Tesla airport size could easily be in the similar ballpark of Brunei Airport.

By contrast Serbia has population of 7.1+ million, where Belgrade (the capital) counts for 1.5+ million. That’s almost 3x the population of all of Brunei.

Upon disembarking two officers were waiting at the gate to check each and every passenger’s travel document. I was let go after few questions regarding visa (98% of the passengers were Serbian nationals). Just past the gate is the departure and arrival common area. I took the escalator down to Level 1 where the baggage claim area is.

In any case, I counted there are 5 baggage carousels.

IMG_4141.JPG
Tesla Airport Baggage Claim Area

After baggage claims, walk 10-15 meters and you’re greeted by Serbian immigration officers.

Immigration Check

I travel on Malaysia passport. Just recently Serbia removed visa requirements for Malaysia passport holders.

This liberalization unfortunately is not permanent, in effect starting December 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017 (my friend who attempted to travel to Serbia in 2015 was denied entry and sent back to Croatia*).

I travel 12 days after this agreement takes effect. There seems to be confusion on whether or not I can enter without visa which resulted in me being held at the immigration for over 30 minutes.

Some of the questions asked were:

  • do you have EU residency card?
  • what is your purpose of travel to Serbia?
  • where are you staying in Belgrade?
  • where are you headed after Serbia?
  • how long do you plan on staying in Serbia?

As any seasoned traveler would’ve done, these are basic questions that you should have the script ready and memorized 😉

The officer in charge went into a room presumably to check with his superior. After multiple phone calls and checking with his superior he stamped my passport and allowed me entry to Serbia.

Where To Take Airport Shuttle Bus

Upon exiting Arrival Hall follow the signboard to Bus. It’s a small airport so I quickly made my way out turning left and immediately spotted the bus.

The bus runs in a regular interval of 10 minutes or so. I paid the driver 300 dinar and took a seat. Few minutes after 2 guys joined me. Both are Serbian. We had the bus to ourselves.

IMG_4144.JPG
Inside Belgrade Airport Shuttle Bus

The Journey

It was a quick 20 minute-ish journey to city center. We passed crop lands into Novi Beograd (New Belgrade) and landmarks such as Palace of Serbia. From above Novi Beograd reminded me of Hunger Games – the areas are divided into and labeled as “blocks.”

IMG_4137.JPG
Novi Beograd from above

Passing through Novi Beograd on the ground it looks like a regular planned township – shopping complex, wide sidewalks, bus stops. Trace of communist architecture is visible since this part of town underwent rapid development during the socialist ruling after WW2.

Crossing Gazela Bridge, I am now in central Belgrade. I took my baggage and stepped off the bus.

IMG_4396.JPG
Crossing Gazela Bridge

My stop was Belgrade Central bus station which I’d learn later is the shelter spot for the ongoing refugee crisis… (I’ll write about it more. It’s worth a post of its own)

The Takeaway

Getting to Belgrade city center from Tesla Airport was straight forward, quick, and seamless experience. It also don’t hurt that you can choose the option that suit your budget and preference.


*  he also spent one night in Serbian jail and lived to tell the tale

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s