Belgrade, or Beograd as it's known locally, means "white city", but to most foreigners if not to the locals themselves, the neglected facades of its many lovely pre-war buildings and the drab, concrete structures built during the communist era make it appear pretty gray, even (or maybe especially?) when the sun's shining.
Serbs are great nature-lovers, even if they don't respect Mother Nature as much as they should, often apparent by doggie-poo and litter. Perhaps for this reason Belgrade boasts many beautiful parks, and has the reputation of one of the greenest capitals in Europe, with large oases of nature both in the center and on the outskirts of the city. In the forests on the outskirts of Belgrade live dozens of species of rare birds, and in Belgrade itself, 182 individual trees have been listed and protected.
Stroll around town a bit upon your arrival, and in addition to the major parks described below, you'll find many tiny parks tucked here and there between buildings, sometimes where you'd least expect to find one. One example is the little park just after Takovska 22 just down from the RTS television building on the right-hand side between Svetogorska and 27. marta streets. In this park on this bustling street stands one of Belgrade's venerable protected trees, which still offers its shade to passers-by. Other examples of smaller parks would include those at Slavija Circle, the Faculty of Economics down by the railroad station, and Student Square on Vasina Street, across from the Philological Faculty.
Because it would be difficult to give directions to the parks described below since each reader may be starting out from a different location, it's a good idea to buy a good map of Belgrade and its vicinity, or better yet, a good guidebook such as Kreativni Centar's "Guide to Belgrade," available in English at most major bookstores. In addition to helping you find these parks, the guidebook will teach you a little history as well. In any case, the parks below can all be accessed by bus, tram, or trolleybus, and in a few cases, very inexpensive shuttleboats.
Let's have a look at Belgrade's major parks. (And by the way, if you have a dog, you'll probably be able to let your dog off leash, though technically it's not allowed. There is a pick-up dog waste law now, but it's mostly ignored. Set an example and scoop it up anyway. This author does!)