An Austrian student who asks for advise in balkanfile blog inspired me to think about 5 things to absolutely do in Belgrade. Because Belgrade is such an interesting and wonderful city, it was pretty difficult to just choose 5 things.
But here are my favorites:
1) To visit the old bohemian quarter of Belgrade: Skadarlija
Skadarska Street where traffic has been deverted and the cobblestone surface has been renewed, is a charming pedestrian zone with lots of typical Serbian kafane (taverns and restaurants). This taverns were a meeting place for many of the greatest figures of the cultural scene of the late 19th and early 20th century. My favorite place is the "Sesir moj" kafana at Skadarska 27 with his typical bohemian style interiors and its sugestfull plates of cold hor d'oeuvres (meze). Try it!
2) Make a walk through Vračar quarter and visit the Cathedral of Saint Sava
Occupying the area of almost 3 square km, Vračar is the most heavily populated municipality of Belgrade. A walk from Srpskih Vladara to Slavija Circle will show you some interesting buildings (Student Cultural center, Jugoslovensko dramsko Theater, Beogradjanka Tower) some lively bars and coffee shops on Njegoseva Street and Svetog Save Street. At the end of this street you reach St. Sava Memorial Cathedral. The construction preparations have lasted for a very long time, ever since 1894. Although still under construction, this monumental temple is a symbol of the Serbian Orthodoxy and major peculiarity of Vračar and Belgrad.
Across the Temple, there is another beautiful architectural institution built up on the ashes of the previous one the National Library of Serbia.
3) To visit the landmark of Belgrade: Kalemegdan Fortress
OK, you would think about this yourself, it's THE landmark of the city. But it would be kind of weird not to recommend to see this enormous fortress who rightly deserves to be the central motive of BG. The view from there is amazing (where the Sava River flows into the Danube, Banat and Srem Plains, Hills of Sumadija....)
It's worth to take a good walk inside the fortress and let me just point to a little attraction that is quiet impressing:
The Great or Roman Well (just a little after the West Gate Entrance under the Sculpture -Pobednik).
It's a well made of brick with diameter of 3.4 m and the spiral staircase descends 30 meters, and the depht of the well is 62 meters, putting it 10 meters below the Sava River.
4) To have coffee at Hotel Moskva in the Old City
The Moskva Hotel was built in 1906 for Rossija Fonsijer, an insurance company from St.Petersburg, as an office building with hotel. Today it considered a valuable architectural monument under government protection as well as a favorite meeting place of Belgradians. After looking around in the halls it's very nice to have a coffee (kafa) in the recently renovated (nicely done!) coffee shop.
To compare: On the opposite side of the Terazije street there is Hotel Kasina (the oldest hotel in Belgrade...since 1856). A lovely place with a restaurant Hall (in the first floor) that deserves to be put in the category of stylish items! (look at the chandeliers!)
From the webpage of Hotel kasina: The well and modernly equiped banquet room represents an unique gatherment of tradition and quality.
It's worth also to visit the Beer House in the ground floor, where they serve the Bavarian HBH beer brewed in their own mini-brewery.
5) To visit the Museum of Aviation near the Airport
The Museum of Aviation was founded in 1957 and is housed in an architecturally noteworthy geodesic-based glass building, with aircraft displayed on the surrounding grounds.
It's not easy to reach by public transport, but a taxi or friends with a car will help. (Public transport goes to the airport and from there it's quiet a walk...)
The museum owns over 200 aircraft that have been operated by the Yugoslav Air Force, from gliders to helicopters to jet fighters. A few of the aircraft on display are the only surviving examples of their type. The museum also displays relics of US and NATO aircraft shot down during the 1990s Balkans conflicts, including wreckage from a US F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. (source wikipedia)
By the way, klick on the F-117 Nighthawk, there is some interesting trivia :-)