The “Wild Taxi’s” Of Belgrade Airport

The recently announced Air Serbia BEG-JFK direct flight has me thinking about wild taxi’s.


As a Serbian ex-pat who has spent the last 21 years in the United States, I have spent some time in airports of the former Yugoslavia en-route to visit family and friends. All of my trips are typically routed to Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. My aunt and uncle live in Belgrade so I have the convenience of being picked up via car but that was not always the case. When my aunt and uncle settled in the area, they did not own a car so all of my travels were either via bus or taxi.

These taxi’s are not what you might find at a cab stand at JFK but are more of the ultimate rendition of a gypsy cab. The Belgrade airport is known for having what is termed as “divlji taksisti” in Serbian, or wild taxi drivers. These are individuals that pose as taxi drivers outside of the arrivals hall and typically approach people as they exist offering them services to the city, at what they say are very affordable rates. They play the part well, and typically have their car outfitted in some shape or form to resemble a taxi and will have a taxi-meter.

The transaction starts out amicably enough where the driver will take your bags and properly store them away in his early 80s diesel Mercedes. Once you are out on the highway the driver will likely be driving close to twice the posted speed limit since his schedule trumps your safety. Once you arrive at your destination, the driver will give you a price in dinars that might match his rigged taxi-meter. Once you get your cash out, he will likely make throw a sob story out and make a please for a tip to try and trick you out of a couple hundred more dinars. Finishing up the transaction and exiting the car, you notice that you have arrived in lovely Belgrade, one of my favorite cities on the planet.

The main lesson here is that the wild taxi’s will overcharge you by a substantial amount (I rather you spend that extra money on good Serbian food) while not obeying traffic laws and driving recklessly, and even if they quote you by the kilometer, their taxi-meter is most likely rigged and will skip around a few times.

If you have the need to use a taxi when arriving at Nikola Tesla Airport, please utilize the following link for a list of legitimate taxi associations, taxi fares in Belgrade and how to reach a legitimate taxi service at the airport:

If you prefer to use public transportation, you can catch a bus to city center:

The city government is working to curb the problem, but I cannot attest to any success right now, but hopefully soon we will see an end to the issue.   My goal is to provide travelers a pleasant first experience when visiting Belgrade and not feel cheated. I hope this article helps! Serbia can’t wait to have you, you will fall in love with Belgrade.

Image Credit: [neverending september/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]