Once and island that has been turned into a peninsula, Ada Ciganlija lies not far from the mouth of the Sava river, only 4km from the city center. Covered by thick deciduous forest, and speckled with clearings and meadows, Ada is now the largest, most beautiful and preferred outing area, beach and leisure spot of the Belgrader.
Some authors indicate that the name of the island has its origin in the combination of Celtic words singa (island) and lia (submerged ground), giving one word singalija. Gradually the spelling changed into tzingalia, hence Ciganlija. Ada Ciganlija was appreciated as an unusual natural resource, even back at the time of Karađorđe and prince Miloš Obrenović, and Ada was proclaimed public domain in 1821, preserving this status to present day. In 1967 dams were built on both tips of the island thus giving Belgrade a unique 4,2 km long lake with an the average width of 200 m and the depth of 4-6 m. During the summer, nearly 300.000 come here to swim or engage in other recreational activities. The overall Ada Ciganlija area, which includes the smaller island of Ada Međica and the surrounding waters is 800 hectares.
Ada Ciganlija is undoubtedly one of the central ecological points because, thanks to the salutary combination of the effects of the water areas and complexes of woods, Ada has an unusually specific microclimate, which is marked by increased humidity of air and somewhat lower summer daily temperatures compared to the other parts of the City. The main vegetations of Ada causing such a climate are oak and birch woods. In the middle of the last century, it was significantly enriched with new plants of American poplar and manna ash trees. The wildest parts are covered with uncultivated vegetation, which obstructs passing through it but, on the other hand, challenges the exploring passions and adventuristic spirits on this peninsula. Ada Ciganlija abounds in animal world, whereby the most numerous are the communities of birds, particularly wild ducks and lapwing gulls, but also pheasants and eddish hens. Ada is also one of the rare "urban" places where you can still see a roe or a hare amidst the nature.
The beach on the left bank of the lake is fully equipped with all necessary infrastructure objects. Thus it is one of the largest and most beautiful beaches on artificial lakes in Europe. The lake water is warmer and cleaner than the river water and thus the lake is highly suitable for mass recreational activities. The position, the quality of the water, the existing equipment and the length of the lake make it an ideal site for top rank competitions on calm waters. The lake is suitable for swimming, rowing, kayak, water polo, water diving, sailing competitions, and several national and international championships were held here.
On Ada Ciganlija there are also over 50 different open-air sports grounds, among which there are a golf course and a lift for water-skiing. There are the soccer playing field, tennis, team-handball, volleyball, and basketball courts, as well as fields for baseball, rugby, and field hockey. There are also playing grounds for beach volleyball and aqua soccer and, as to the extreme sports: banji jump, artificial rock wall, and paintball. For anglers, there is also the lake Ada safari.
Ada Ciganlija also serves as a cultural and entertainment center of Belgrade, especially during the summer. Numerous manifestations are organized involving famous writers, actors, singers, cultural societies, choirs, bands and amateur from different fields. The Ade Ciganlija offer is completed by dozens of rustic restaurants, floating restaurants and boat-houses, that preserve the Belgrade bohemian tradition. On the mainland side of the lake, there's a parking lot for about a thousand vehicles as well as the marina in the Čukarica channel for boats, yacht and smaller ships. Ada Ciganlija also has shops, picnic spaces, bowling alleys, mini-golf courts, horse-drawn carriages, a tourist train, "pedal boats and canoes, as well as the environment-friendly electric-powered boat.