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Novi Sad Travel Guide

Exploring Ancient Catacombs, Austrian Architecture, and Night Market Shopping

Novi Sad is Serbia’s second-largest city, just an hour’s drive from Belgrade, and has been dubbed the new capital of Serbian culture. This designation includes not only ancient heritage but also modern aspects. Photographs from Marina Abramović’s performances are as valued here as a gilded Roman legionary helmet.

Founded on the banks of the Danube in 1694, Novi Sad became home to Orthodox Serbian merchants who were prohibited from living within the Catholic fortress of Petrovaradin. The merchants continued their trade, and by the mid-18th century, the city had transformed into the economic and cultural center of the region, earning the nickname “Serbian Athens” for its high level of culture and education. However, little of the 18th-century architectural heritage has survived today, largely due to the failed revolution of 1848 when Hungarians demanded autonomy within the Austrian Empire. The uprising was suppressed, but the grand appearance of Novi Sad was destroyed by hundreds of cannons from the Petrovaradin Fortress.

Over 50 years, the city was rebuilt, reflecting cultural diversity in its architecture: a Catholic church was erected next to Orthodox churches, and a synagogue was built just a few steps from the bishop’s palace. Starting from scratch was not new to the area: the territory of future Novi Sad had belonged at different times to Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and the Habsburg Empire.

Today, Novi Sad is the capital of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, which borders Hungary and Croatia. The city is home to several ethnic groups, and six languages are official: Serbian, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak, Romanian, and Rusyn. The city blends neatly trimmed green streets with bike lanes and the decaying grotesque of Austrian architecture, futuristic high-rises covered in graffiti, and church services in Old Church Slavonic.

Attractions

To leisurely explore all the main attractions of Novi Sad, three days should suffice. On the first day, you can stroll through the historical center between King Lazar Boulevard and Liberty Boulevard, and along Matica Srpska Street, Jewish Street, and Jovan Subotic Street. You’ll see the usual attributes of a medieval city with a touch of post-Soviet aesthetics: a Catholic church, a cobblestone square, pedestrian streets with summer cafes, ruins of once luxurious buildings painted with communist slogans, and gaudy souvenir shops. The second day can be reserved for the medieval Petrovaradin Fortress and the Hungarian part of the city. On the third day, head out on a trip to the ancient Christian monasteries of Fruska Gora (according to Turkish annals, there were no fewer than 35 of them). You can follow one of the hiking trails to Sremski Karlovci, where you can end the day at a local winery.

Liberty Square

Liberty Square always makes its way onto tourist postcards—it’s where the most famous buildings are located. This includes the Catholic church, a monument to the renowned Serbian poet Svetozar Miletic, and the Erste Bank building with a knight figure in the arch of the decorative dome. Streets filled with restaurants and shops branch off from the square, and you can turn down any to explore the city further. The interiors of the H&M store near Liberty Square retain beautiful stucco and ceiling frescoes.

The square began to take shape concurrently with the construction of the city, but until the mid-19th century, it was a market place, so the buildings here are no older than 150 years. In the warmer months, street musicians play in the evenings, magicians perform, and festivals and concerts are held. In December, a Christmas market unfolds here, where local mulled wine, called “kuvano vino,” is served. It usually doesn’t differ from the traditional beverage, except perhaps for the addition of more fruit.

Freedom Square always makes it onto tourist postcards—it's where the most famous buildings are located. Photo: Mksfca / Flickr.com
Freedom Square always makes it onto tourist postcards—it’s where the most famous buildings are located. Photo: Mksfca / Flickr.com

Pedestrian Street

The pedestrian street Zmaj Jovina, just 350 meters long, is lined with cafes and restaurants on the ground floors of its low-rise buildings, offering cuisines from nearly every part of the world—Arab, Serbian, Irish, American. Among the popular ones are Toster Bar, known for its sandwiches and steaks, Irish Pub with Irish ale and gin, and Maša restaurant serving classic Serbian and European dishes. If you stray a bit from the main path, you’ll come across the dumpling place Lepo Lepim and a spot for halal street food called Edeb. The average bill at these establishments is quite reasonable—not more than 1,000 dinars (8.54 euros).

The pedestrian street Zmaj Jovina, spanning just 350 meters, houses cafes and restaurants offering cuisines from almost every corner of the world on the ground floors of its low-rise buildings. Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Wikimedia.org
The pedestrian street Zmaj Jovina, spanning just 350 meters, houses cafes and restaurants offering cuisines from almost every corner of the world on the ground floors of its low-rise buildings. Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Wikimedia.org
The city’s tourist information center has developed several walking routes through the main city attractions. If there’s no time to prepare for the trip, this is the perfect way to see the most important sights in Novi Sad.

Club Street

Laze Teleckog Street is the center of the city’s nightlife. Bars, clubs, and restaurants are found in nearly every building—from traditional Serbian cafes to modern clubs with live music and DJs. Club Lazino Tele is known for its Latin American music and dance parties that happen every night. The Quarter plays music ranging from hip-hop to techno, while Cuba Libre and Marta Pub are go-to places for live music from local indie and rock performers. CK13 is a club with underground concerts and a bookshop specializing in feminist literature.

Club Lazino Tele is renowned for its Latin American music and dance parties that take place every night. Photo: Pub Lazino Tele
Club Lazino Tele is renowned for its Latin American music and dance parties that take place every night. Photo: Pub Lazino Tele

Petrovaradin Fortress

Petrovaradin Fortress is a UNESCO cultural heritage site, the largest fortification in Europe, and the venue for the international music festival Exit. It features 12,000 cannons on its walls, 16 kilometers of underground tunnels, stands 125 meters above sea level, has ten entrance gates, and covers an area of 112 hectares. The fortress was laid down in 1692 to defend against the Ottoman Empire, but by the time construction finished, the border had moved far to the south. However, military fortifications have existed here since the beginning of our era: a Byzantine fortress called Petrikon once stood in this place. In 1914, the fortress held the future President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, as a prisoner.

Petrovaradin Fortress is a UNESCO cultural heritage monument, the largest fortification in Europe. Photo: Magalie L’Abbé / Flickr.com
Petrovaradin Fortress is a UNESCO cultural heritage monument, the largest fortification in Europe. Photo: Magalie L’Abbé / Flickr.com

Within the fortress and its bastions, there’s a planetarium, the city archive, the Leopold hotel, an art gallery, the Terasa restaurant, and the Novi Sad museum. The planetarium offers interactive tours and projects a map of the starry sky onto a transparent dome, making celestial bodies appear very close. Access is available only on Saturdays, but on any clear day, you can observe the sky from the observatory. The “Art Circle” gallery in the Maria Theresa bastion displays graphics and sculptures by local artists.

The highest point of the fortress is the plateau by the Sahat (Clock) Tower, which offers an excellent view of Novi Sad. The hour hand on the tower clock is longer than the minute hand—this was designed so that it could be seen by fishermen on the Danube.

The hour hand on the tower clock is longer than the minute hand—this was done so it could be seen by fishermen on the Danube. Photo: Budjism / Flickr.com
The hour hand on the tower clock is longer than the minute hand—this was done so it could be seen by fishermen on the Danube. Photo: Budjism / Flickr.com

Come to the fortress in the morning, and spend the hot part of the day underground—tours of the catacombs and underground passages are conducted for just 100 dinars (0.85 euros).

If the sun is not too strong, set off to explore the left bank of the Danube and marvel at how strikingly the houses with tiled roofs differ from the architecture of Novi Sad. This is no coincidence, as this riverbank was populated by Austrians and Hungarians, while the opposite side was inhabited by Orthodox Serbs.

If the sun isn't too strong, head out to explore the left side of the Danube and marvel at how the houses with tiled roofs strikingly differ from the architecture of Novi Sad. Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr.com
If the sun isn’t too strong, head out to explore the left side of the Danube and marvel at how the houses with tiled roofs strikingly differ from the architecture of Novi Sad. Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr.com

City Hall

The neorenaissance-style city hall was designed by the fashionable Hungarian architect Farkas Molnar. It’s not possible to enter: the city’s government convenes there, and tourists are not allowed inside the city hall.

The neorenaissance-style city hall was built by the fashionable Hungarian architect Farkas Molnar. Photo: Pucarevic / Wikimedia.org
The neorenaissance-style city hall was built by the fashionable Hungarian architect Farkas Molnar. Photo: Pucarevic / Wikimedia.org

Catholic Cathedral of the Virgin Mary

The cathedral, built in the neo-Gothic style in 1895, was also designed by Molnar. The roof is covered with colorful enameled tiles, the altar is made of wood (and has been preserved to this day), and a mechanical organ is installed inside. Almost immediately, the church became the main attraction of the city—the spire reaches 72 meters and is visible from different corners of Novi Sad. Sometimes, baptisms or weddings can be witnessed in the church. Holidays here are celebrated with particular splendor, and the ceremony will even differ slightly from the traditional Catholic rite.

The cathedral, built in the neo-Gothic style in 1895, was also designed by Molnar. The roof is covered with colorful enameled tiles, the altar is made of wood, and a mechanical organ is installed inside. Photo: Vacant0 / Wikimedia.org
The cathedral, built in the neo-Gothic style in 1895, was also designed by Molnar. The roof is covered with colorful enameled tiles, the altar is made of wood, and a mechanical organ is installed inside. Photo: Vacant0 / Wikimedia.org

Catholic Cemetery

The old Catholic cemetery serves as an open-air museum of medieval Gothic art—featuring sculptures of angels, the Mourning Virgin Mary, and other architectural compositions on 19th-century tombstones. Here, Catholics, Calvinist reformers, and Lutherans are buried together. However, the Catholic section appears more ceremonial and is distinguished by a triumphal arch. In the central part of the cemetery, there is a neo-Gothic chapel—built with funds from the artist Leopold Böcker in memory of his deceased wife, Elizabeth. If you approach the cemetery from the direction of Futoska Street (where a charming park is located), you will notice preserved colorful bas-reliefs with biblical themes on some parts of the old fence.

The old Catholic cemetery serves as an open-air museum of medieval Gothic art—with sculptures of angels, the Mourning Virgin Mary, and other architectural compositions on 19th-century tombstones. Photo: Pucarevic / Wikimedia.org
The old Catholic cemetery serves as an open-air museum of medieval Gothic art—with sculptures of angels, the Mourning Virgin Mary, and other architectural compositions on 19th-century tombstones. Photo: Pucarevic / Wikimedia.org

Bishop’s Palace

Ornate decor, relief walls, and a scorching orange color make the building resemble the quarters of an Eastern khan. The palace was erected in 1901 as a replacement for the residence lost during the revolution. Architect Vladimir Nikolic combined Byzantine and Moorish features in the design, along with elements typical for medieval Serbian monasteries. In front of the residence, there’s a monument to the Serbian poet Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, who translated Pushkin into Serbian. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to enter the building.

Architect Vladimir Nikolic combined Byzantine and Moorish features, as well as elements typical for medieval Serbian monasteries in the building's design. Photo: jean françois bonachera / Flickr.com
Architect Vladimir Nikolic combined Byzantine and Moorish features, as well as elements typical for medieval Serbian monasteries in the building’s design. Photo: jean françois bonachera / Flickr.com

Synagogue

The century-old synagogue is located just 600 meters from the Catholic church. Nowadays, it serves more as a concert venue than a religious building. It opens for Jewish holidays, and classical music is performed at other times: the acoustics remain perfect even after 100 years. It’s not possible to enter outside of concerts and events, but admiring the stained-glass windows, massive facade, and three domes is definitely worthwhile. However, if you find a guard, he might open the doors of the synagogue for you.

The building was designed by Hungarian architect Leopold Baumhorn, the most famous synagogue architect of the early 20th century. His works can be found in every country that was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This synagogue became the fifth center of the Jewish community in Novi Sad at this address: the first synagogue here was built in the early 18th century. The building’s exterior combines elements of an Orthodox temple, a Catholic basilica, and a Jewish synagogue.

The century-old synagogue is located just 600 meters from the Catholic church. Nowadays, it serves more as a concert venue than a religious building. Photo: Nter25 / Wikimedia.org
The century-old synagogue is located just 600 meters from the Catholic church. Nowadays, it serves more as a concert venue than a religious building. Photo: Nter25 / Wikimedia.org

St. George’s Cathedral

The church surprises with its unusual figure-shaped dome for Orthodox tradition, on which the construction completion date—1905—is engraved. The baroque aesthetic is also supported by the church’s interior with 33 icons in the iconostasis. Some of them were painted by the realist artist Paja Jovanović.

The church surprises with its dome, unusual for Orthodox tradition, which features the date of construction completion—1905. Photo: Mister No / Wikimedia.org
The church surprises with its dome, unusual for Orthodox tradition, which features the date of construction completion—1905. Photo: Mister No / Wikimedia.org

Danube Park

Founded in the century before last, it remains the most fashionable spot for strolls among the city’s residents. Interestingly, the park is not even located on the Danube riverbank. It’s wonderful to come here in the morning, spread out a blanket in the shade of the trees, and meditate—the rose bushes and swans on the pond only add to the relaxed atmosphere. By noon, the park becomes noisy and crowded. Hidden in the grove of trees is a sculpture of Sergius of Radonezh.

Founded in the century before last, it remains the most fashionable spot for strolls among the city's residents. Interestingly, the park is not even located on the Danube riverbank. Photo: Rudolf Getel / Wikimedia.org
Founded in the century before last, it remains the most fashionable spot for strolls among the city’s residents. Interestingly, the park is not even located on the Danube riverbank. Photo: Rudolf Getel / Wikimedia.org

Culture

Novi Sad City Museum

The museum’s exhibition is divided into several sections and buildings. The central unit is located in the Mamula barracks. The “Past of the Petrovaradin Fortress” exhibit shows how the fortress developed and its fortifications grew from prehistoric times until World War I. In the Department of Culture’s exhibition, one can learn about the peaceful life of Novi Sad from the mid-18th century to the second half of the 20th century. In addition to historical furniture and objects of applied art, works by renowned artists such as Sava Šumanović, Đorđe Jovanović, Boško Petrović, Milenko Šerban, and others are displayed. Guides speak Serbian and English, but tours in English are more expensive. The entrance ticket costs 300 dinars (2.56 euros).

In the Department of Culture's exhibition, one can learn about the peaceful life of Novi Sad from the mid-18th century to the second half of the 20th century. Photo: City Museum of Novi Sad
In the Department of Culture’s exhibition, one can learn about the peaceful life of Novi Sad from the mid-18th century to the second half of the 20th century. Photo: City Museum of Novi Sad

Matica Srpska Gallery

In 1847, the gallery was organized by members of the eponymous intellectual society to preserve and popularize Serbian culture and art. Today, the gallery’s collection includes around ten thousand works from the 16th to the 20th centuries by popular Serbian artists such as Hristofor Žefarović, Teodor Kračun, Katarina Ivanović, Paja Jovanović, and others. An adult ticket costs 200 dinars (1.71 euros), and information on working hours can be found on the website.

Today, the Matica Srpska Gallery's collection includes around ten thousand works from the 16th to the 20th centuries by popular Serbian artists. Photo: Galerija Matice srpske
Today, the Matica Srpska Gallery’s collection includes around ten thousand works from the 16th to the 20th centuries by popular Serbian artists. Photo: Galerija Matice srpske

Cultural Cluster Fabrika

Fabrika is a trendy spot for hangouts, garage sales, and lectures, located in the space of a former brick factory. If you’re lucky, you can listen to local musicians, visit a contemporary art exhibition, and shop for souvenirs from local artisans.

Fabrika is a trendy spot for parties, garage sales, and lectures, located in the space of a former brick factory. Photo: SKC Novi Sad
Fabrika is a trendy spot for parties, garage sales, and lectures, located in the space of a former brick factory. Photo: SKC Novi Sad

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina is the largest museum of contemporary art in the Balkans, founded in 1965. The collection boasts over 8000 exhibits: paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations in various styles—from abstractionism to pop art. However, the museum’s collection is more catered to regulars of bohemian gatherings and might not impress classical art lovers. The authors of the works include not only Serbs but also Germans, Croats, and Hungarians who have created in the territory of Vojvodina. Entry to the museum is free, but as of December 2023, it is under renovation.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina is the largest museum of contemporary art in the Balkans, founded in 1965. The collection comprises over 8,000 exhibits. Photo: Muzej savremene umetnosti Vojvodine
Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina is the largest museum of contemporary art in the Balkans, founded in 1965. The collection comprises over 8,000 exhibits. Photo: Muzej savremene umetnosti Vojvodine

Vojvodina Museum

It’s the largest museum in Serbia, encompassing collections in archaeology, ethnology, history, and even botany. It houses three gilded helmets of Roman legionnaires from the 4th century, as well as archaeological finds from the territory of Serbia—ancient jewelry, pottery, and remains of rare animals. A full ticket to the museum costs 200 dinars (1.71 euros).

In the Vojvodina Museum, there are three gilded helmets of Roman legionnaires from the 4th century, as well as archaeological finds from the territory of Serbia. Photo: Muzej Vojvodine
In the Vojvodina Museum, there are three gilded helmets of Roman legionnaires from the 4th century, as well as archaeological finds from the territory of Serbia. Photo: Muzej Vojvodine

Serbian National Theatre

Theatrical life in Novi Sad began even before it did in the capital, Belgrade. The first performance here was in 1861, under the direction of Jovan Đorđević. Six years later, he left to open a theatre in Belgrade. Since 1956, the theatre in Novi Sad organizes an annual festival of Serbian drama, and also creates plays in collaboration with other companies as part of the European Theatre Convention. The theatre is one of the founders of the “Quartet” association, which includes the “Théâtre de l’Unité” from France, “Géza Gárdonyi” Theatre from Hungary, and “HaDivadlo” Theatre from the Czech Republic. Dramatic performances here are in Serbian, and on two other stages, there are opera and ballet. The schedule is published on the website, and tickets cost up to 1200 dinars (10.25 euros).

Theatrical life in Novi Sad began even before it did in the capital, Belgrade. The first performance here was in 1861, under the direction of Jovan Đorđević. Photo: Serbian National Theatre
Theatrical life in Novi Sad began even before it did in the capital, Belgrade. The first performance here was in 1861, under the direction of Jovan Đorđević. Photo: Serbian National Theatre

Surroundings

There are many cool sites around Novi Sad. Primarily, Fruska Gora with its hiking routes and medieval monasteries, and secondly, the Fisherman’s Island with restaurants and a hotel by the water. Bus routes pass through the city to Sremski Karlovci—the wine capital of Serbia. You can visit a winery or explore an authentic cellar.

Ribarsko Island

Five kilometers from Novi Sad

This peninsula on the Danube is known for its summer floating houses. From a distance, they resemble Asian huts in the Pacific Ocean. You can stay at the hotel Ribarsko Ostrvo, try dishes made from catfish that were swimming in the Danube just that morning, and embark on a leisurely journey along the bay—at sunset, it will be a magnificent sight.

The names of restaurants and cafes on the peninsula start with the word “splavi” (meaning “rafts” in Serbian). Choose any such place, and you won’t be disappointed if you want to try fish and relax on the water. From the Strand beach during low tide, you can walk or take a boat taxi, which costs about 3000 dinars (25.61 euros).

Ribarsko Peninsula on the banks of the Danube is known for its summer floating houses. From a distance, they resemble Asian huts in the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Micki / Wikimedia.org
Ribarsko Peninsula on the banks of the Danube is known for its summer floating houses. From a distance, they resemble Asian huts in the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Micki / Wikimedia.org

Sremski Karlovci

15 kilometers from Novi Sad

This city of wine, education, and Serbian baroque is situated exactly midway between Novi Sad and Fruška Gora. Tourists come here to taste century-old homemade wines in authentic cellars, listen to the oldest organ in Vojvodina at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and stroll through the streets where the creation of the Serbian Principality was declared in 1848, and a century earlier, the Treaty of Karlowitz was signed.

The development of this tranquil place began after the Serbian Patriarch moved to Sremski Karlovci in 1713. His residence still serves as a summer palace, where the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church is located. In 1791, a gymnasium that still operates today was founded here. It houses the oldest herbarium in the Balkans, over 220 years old, with plants collected from various corners of Europe.

Sremski Karlovci is a city of wine, education, and Serbian baroque, located exactly midway between Novi Sad and Fruška Gora. Photo: Vanilica / Wikimedia.org
Sremski Karlovci is a city of wine, education, and Serbian baroque, located exactly midway between Novi Sad and Fruška Gora. Photo: Vanilica / Wikimedia.org

Unlike Novi Sad, buildings in Sremski Karlovci have survived both the Hungarian Revolution and the military events of the 20th century. Therefore, one can fully enjoy the baroque architecture here. The city is literally an open-air museum, consisting of houses with tile roofs, temples, and residences. The city’s symbol is the Four Lions fountain. In 1799, Italian architect Giuseppe Aprile adorned the central Branko Radičević Square with it.

A few steps from the fountain is Bermet Villa restaurant, where they conduct tastings of national dishes and play the Balkan tamburica. Here you can also try the dessert wine bermet, which has become one of the city’s brands. According to legend, drinks from local vineyards were served on the “Titanic.” You can also taste homemade wine in a medieval atmosphere—in real cellars, of which there are many in Sremski Karlovci: Podrum Bajilo or Zivanovic Wine Cellar, where you can then stay for a tour of the beekeeping museum with a 300-year history.

You can also taste homemade wine in a medieval atmosphere—in real cellars, of which there are many in Sremski Karlovci. Photo: Zivanovic Wine Cellar
You can also taste homemade wine in a medieval atmosphere—in real cellars, of which there are many in Sremski Karlovci. Photo: Zivanovic Wine Cellar

Fruška Gora

20 kilometers from Novi Sad

This is the largest Serbian national park, sometimes referred to as the local Athos—between the 15th and 17th centuries, 35 monasteries were founded in its forests. Sixteen of these monasteries have survived to this day and continue to operate. It’s best to allocate two days for visiting the mountain: this way, you can fully appreciate the ancient frescoes, wander among the ruins, enjoy the urban landscapes, and taste drinks at local wineries and country estates. Even those who are not fans of Christian culture will find it appealing.

This is the largest Serbian national park, sometimes referred to as the local Athos—between the 15th and 17th centuries, 35 monasteries were founded in its forests. Photo: Petar Milošević / Wikimedia.org
This is the largest Serbian national park, sometimes referred to as the local Athos—between the 15th and 17th centuries, 35 monasteries were founded in its forests. Photo: Petar Milošević / Wikimedia.org

90 million years ago, the slopes of the Serbian mountain were the shores of the ancient Pannonian Sea, and later became a bastion of Christian Serbian culture amidst the Islamic world. In the forest, one can find the ruins of ancient churches and even admire ancient frescoes and try monastic honey.

Today, Fruška Gora is crisscrossed with tourist trails and routes for mountain biking, there’s a riding school, and you can dine in one of the farm restaurants. A map with all the interesting places can be viewed on the national park’s website, marking even good spots for picnics.

Today, Fruška Gora is crisscrossed with tourist trails and mountain biking routes, and there is a horse riding school. Photo: Jovancavic / Wikimedia.org
Today, Fruška Gora is crisscrossed with tourist trails and mountain biking routes, and there is a horse riding school. Photo: Jovancavic / Wikimedia.org

Novo Hopovo Monastery

20 kilometers from Novi Sad

Of all the monasteries on Fruška Gora, this one is the easiest to reach—the road ends right at the gates of the monastery. It is the largest monastery on Fruška Gora. It was founded in the 14th century by George Branković, a political figure and diplomat. Almost 100 years later, the relics of the Christian saint Theodore Tyro were brought here—his remains are still a relic of the monastery.

The main attraction of Novo Hopovo today is the Church of Saint Nicholas. It is distinguished not only by its elegant Baroque frescoes but also by its architecture. Photo: Pudelek / Wikimedia.org
The main attraction of Novo Hopovo today is the Church of Saint Nicholas. It is distinguished not only by its elegant Baroque frescoes but also by its architecture. Photo: Pudelek / Wikimedia.org

The Minister of Education and Serbian reformer Dositej Obradović lived within the monastery’s walls for three years and significantly raised the level of education during this time. The monastery’s library was even known in Russia. The monastery also had strong connections with Russian princes and rulers—Mikhail Romanov sent a donation from the royal treasury here.

Today’s main feature of the monastery is the Church of Saint Nicholas. It stands out not only for its elegant Baroque frescoes (worked on by the renowned Serbian artist Teodor Kračun) but also for its architecture. Built in the Morava style, the church has rectangular spaces in the eastern part that are unusual for Orthodox tradition and combines elements of the Morava architectural school with European and Islamic sacred culture. After World War II, out of 61 icons in the monastery, only 19 survived. The depiction of “The Massacre of the Innocents” is almost a direct copy of a fresco from the Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos.

The elegant baroque paintings in the Church of St. Nicholas were worked on by the renowned Serbian artist Teodor Kračun. Photo: Vanilica / Wikimedia.org
The elegant baroque paintings in the Church of St. Nicholas were worked on by the renowned Serbian artist Teodor Kračun. Photo: Vanilica / Wikimedia.org

Eat and Drink

To briefly describe Serbian cuisine, it’s as if Turkish cuisine collided with Greek. Coffee brewed in a cezve (Turkish coffee pot) here is not a trend but a tradition dating back to the Ottoman Empire—such a long-standing gastronomic tradition, with basil, oregano, and thyme generously added to every dish.

Fans of Mexican and Serbian cuisine no longer have to make a tough choice, as Dobri Dim serves dishes from both these cuisines. The heart of the restaurant Sokace is forever devoted to traditional Serbian cuisine. Besides pljeskavica and sarma, you can also try pepper stew here. For the best burgers, head straight to Toster Bar. Here, they cook not only the familiar cheeseburgers and hamburgers but also traditional Serbian pljeskavica.

The heart of Sokace restaurant is forever devoted to traditional Serbian cuisine. Besides pljeskavica and sarma, you can also try pepper stew here. Photo: Sokace
The heart of Sokace restaurant is forever devoted to traditional Serbian cuisine. Besides pljeskavica and sarma, you can also try pepper stew here. Photo: Sokace

Restaurant Project 72 specializes in French cuisine, offering guests a rich wine list and meat in various sauces. The price tag here is above average—about 1500 dinars (12.81 euros) for dinner with drinks.

Kafeterija not only prepares coffee but also hearty Instagram-worthy breakfasts. If you’re missing scrambled eggs, cheese pancakes, toasts, and porridges—head here confidently. Zenit Books is a book store, specialty coffee shop, and bar all in one place.

At Shamrock bar, you can try real Serbian rakija paired with signature snacks. A local hit—sausages in honey sauce.

Zenit Books is a book store, specialty coffee shop, and bar all in one place. Photo: Zenit
Zenit Books is a book store, specialty coffee shop, and bar all in one place. Photo: Zenit

Where to Stay

Novi Sad is diverse: on one street, you may find familiar Soviet-style panel buildings, and around the corner—masterpieces of Austrian architecture. Here are places where it’s best for tourists to rent accommodation.

Old Town

In the historic center (Stari Grad) of Novi Sad, there are buildings in the Hungarian style, medieval narrow streets, tourist spots, and official institutions of the Vojvodina region. Living here is convenient: there’s no need to navigate the city’s public transport system or spend time traveling to museums and other attractions. A room in Hotel Zenit or Centar will cost about 76 euros per night. Minor downsides—there aren’t many supermarkets and pharmacies in the center, and some streets can be quite noisy.

Prezident is a five-star hotel with spacious rooms offering city or Danube views, as well as restaurants, a swimming pool, and a spa center. A night in the simplest room costs about 129 euros.

Vojvodina is a hotel in a historic building on Freedom Square. It’s the oldest hotel in the city, founded in 1854. The rooms offer views of the Catholic church and the square. The cost per night starts from 65 euros.

Pupin is a five-star hotel near the Vojvodina Museum and the Serbian National Theatre. It houses two restaurants. Rooms from 141 euros.

In the historic center of Novi Sad, there are buildings in the Hungarian style, medieval narrow streets, tourist spots, and official institutions of the Vojvodina region.
In the historic center of Novi Sad, there are buildings in the Hungarian style, medieval narrow streets, tourist spots, and official institutions of the Vojvodina region.

Limans

Historically, this name referred to all the areas of Novi Sad located in the coastal zone, separated from the rest of the city by a railway line. Now, there are five different “Limans” in Novi Sad, all forming a single Liman district.

These are panel districts, yet they boast many beaches, parks, and green areas. Walking through Liman Park, waiting out the midday sun in Central, and taking a breath of fresh air before bedtime in Medenica Park is a typical day for a resident of the Liman district.

At Stari Krovovi hotel, windows overlook the city or a quiet courtyard. Another option is the Vigor hotel, offering similar amenities. The price per night in both is approximately the same—55–65 euros.

Limans are panel districts, yet they boast many beaches, parks, and green areas. Photo: Lucianf / Flickr.com
Limans are panel districts, yet they boast many beaches, parks, and green areas. Photo: Lucianf / Flickr.com

Petrovaradin

This district is where the fortress of the same name is located. It’s great to wander between the low-rise houses with tile roofs and wake up to views of the Danube. Historically, this area was not part of Novi Sad: it was settled by Catholics, and therefore even the architecture differs from the rest of the city.

Leopold I Hotel is situated at the top of the fortress. The rooms offer great views of the Danube and the city. A night in a room costs from 357 euros. At Varad Inn, a night in an eight-bed dorm costs 61 euros.

Leopold I Hotel is located at the top of the fortress. The rooms offer great views of the Danube and the city. A night in a room costs from 7200 RUB. Photo: Hotel Leopold I
Leopold I Hotel is located at the top of the fortress. The rooms offer great views of the Danube and the city. A night in a room costs from 357 euros. Photo: Hotel Leopold I

For long-term apartment rentals, it’s more convenient to search on local resources like cityexpert.rs, Halooglasi.com, and kupujemprodajem.com.

What to Bring Home

In Novi Sad, there are many markets, and prices there are lower than in stores.

Fish Market and Night Bazaar

This is what the Central Market of Novi Sad is called, but not only fish is sold here. Here you can stock up on pekmez—Serbian jam, more like a jelly, made from all kinds of fruits that grow in the warm climate. Also, soft goat cheese, dried plums, and basil. There aren’t many handmade stalls here.

About once a month on Fridays, night markets are held here from 18:00 to 23:00. It’s a bustling place with live music, many tasting zones for sausages, cheeses, cookies, and other food. The schedule of night markets is published on the website.

The Fish Market is what the Central Market of Novi Sad is called, but it's not only fish that's sold here. Here you can stock up on pekmez—Serbian jam, more like a jelly, made from all kinds of fruits that grow in the warm climate. Photo: Trg preduzetništva
The Fish Market is what the Central Market of Novi Sad is called, but it’s not only fish that’s sold here. Here you can stock up on pekmez—Serbian jam, more like a jelly, made from all kinds of fruits that grow in the warm climate. Photo: Trg preduzetništva

Futoški Market

A large farmers’ market appeared on Jewish Street a hundred years ago and is still popular today. Every morning, farmers from nearby towns and villages arrive, loaded with vegetables, fruits, fresh meat, and cheeses. Try ajvar—vegetable caviar, smoked pršut—similar to hamon, with freshly baked bread. It’s the perfect snack during a walk.

Flea Market

Nylon Pijaca is the most popular flea market in Novi Sad, operating since the mid-last century. On Fridays and Saturdays, jewelry, dishes, and other antiques are sold here. And on weekdays, they sell everything, making it easy to leave with a sofa, suitcase, travel bag, painting, basket, cardboard, and a little dog! Real finds (for example, film cameras or necklaces with copper patterns) often hide in boxes with unsightly junk, so you’ll have to work hard to find something valuable for a few dinars.

Bookstores

Nublu is the best place to stock up on postcards with city views and works of local authors. Here you can not only buy a book but also, settling down on soft sofas and armchairs, read it without leaving the store. The interior features a wrought stove, radio from the last century, lamps worn by years, and polished candlesticks.

Nublu is the best place for stocking up on postcards with city views and works by local authors. Here, you can not only purchase a book but also, nestled into soft sofas and armchairs, enjoy reading it right in the store
Nublu is the best place for stocking up on postcards with city views and works by local authors. Here, you can not only purchase a book but also, nestled into soft sofas and armchairs, enjoy reading it right in the store

Bulevar Books – At this bookstore, you’re welcome to sit at a table and read your chosen book for as long as you like. The venue’s concept merges literature with drinks, hence there’s a small menu of tea, coffee, wine, and beer available. Literary evenings are hosted here on the second floor. Additionally, smoking is not permitted, making it a valuable rarity in Serbia.

Dunavska Street

This street is worth turning onto if you’re in search of attire in vivid Balkan style or leather goods crafted by local artisans. In its unassuming, post-Soviet style shops, opanci—summer footwear with curled toes, durable for more than one season—are sold. Also, look for the brand Otadzbina Srbija, producing clothing with national symbols. Prices here are lower than in Belgrade. Many establishments manage their social media carelessly, so it’s advisable to verify current information on Google Maps.

Photo: Byron Howes / Flickr.com
Photo: Byron Howes / Flickr.com

Transport in the City

Buses. In Novi Sad, buses are the only form of public transport. They run from early morning until midnight, and schedules are published on the website. A ticket costs 65 dinars (0.55 euros). Tickets can be bought from the driver, or you can purchase passes with unlimited travel for a week or a month. They are sold near the railway station, at the stop near Futoška Pijaca, and on Šafarikova Street from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Discounts are available for certain eligible categories.

In Novi Sad, buses are the only form of public transport. They run from early morning until midnight. Photo: Aktron / Wikimedia.org
In Novi Sad, buses are the only form of public transport. They run from early morning until midnight. Photo: Aktron / Wikimedia.org

Bicycles. In Novi Sad, it’s common to see not only the youth but also the elderly on bicycles, and office workers often commute by bike in almost any weather. The city provides all the necessary facilities: bike parking, spacious lanes with non-slip surfaces, and an extensive network that makes it convenient to reach even remote locations. The international bike route EuroVelo 6 also passes through the city. However, this is more of a name than a track distinguished by quality. But there is a great ten-kilometer path to Futog.

Renting a bike is best done through the NS Bike service. The app shows the nearest rental point and how many bikes are available. You’ll need to register in the system and make a deposit. The rental cost starts at 30 dinars (0.26 euros) per hour.

Taxi. To hail a taxi in Novi Sad, you can service Yandex.Go. City rides cost from 300 dinars (2.56 euros). Local taxi firms Pan Taxi and City Taxi offer less service: it’s not possible to pay by card, and there are no fixed trip prices. Taxis can also be ordered through Viber, it’s popular here.

How to get there

To Belgrad. Traveling to Novi Sad, Serbia, from major European cities is straightforward, with various airlines offering routes that typically connect through Belgrade, Serbia’s capital. From there, Novi Sad is easily accessible by bus, car, or train.

From London, you can fly with Air Serbia or Wizz Air to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Air Serbia offers direct flights from London Heathrow, providing comfort and convenience.

Passengers from Paris can board Air France or Air Serbia flights to Belgrade. Both airlines ensure a comfortable journey from Charles de Gaulle Airport directly to Belgrade.

For travelers departing from Berlin, easyJet and Air Serbia provide direct flights to Belgrade. These airlines operate from Berlin Brandenburg Airport, ensuring a smooth journey to Serbia.

Visitors from Amsterdam can choose KLM or Air Serbia for their travel to Belgrade. Flights depart from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and land in Belgrade.

From Belgrad to Novi Sad. Belgrade is connected to neighboring countries by buses. Flixbus operates from Zagreb and Budapest, while local companies run from Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia. From most neighboring countries and Greece, it’s possible to travel on minibuses that offer door-to-door service (for example, Gea Tours, Terra Travel, Pexon). From Podgorica and Bar in Montenegro to Belgrade, there is a train that travels through scenic mountains, aqueducts, and tunnels.

From Belgrade to Novi Sad. From Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport to “Tošin Bunar” railway station, bus number 72 operates, with tickets starting from 200 dinars (1.71 euros). From there, you can take a train to Novi Sad for 373 dinars (3.18 euros), with the journey taking about an hour. The easiest way to buy a ticket is through the app. Trains run every hour. The schedule can be viewed on the railway’s website.

To get to the railway station from the airport, the A1 bus runs, with a fare starting from 400 dinars (3.42 euros), payable to the driver.

There are also high-speed trains – Soko. They depart from the “Novi Beograd” railway station. The journey takes half an hour, and a ticket costs 573 dinars (4.89 euros). However, to get from the airport to “Novi Beograd”, you will need to take a taxi.

The main BAS Beograd bus station is located in the center. Buses from the airport to the center run every 20 minutes. The fare on route A1 will cost 300 dinars (2.56 euros), on 72 — about 200 (1.71 euros). The schedule for bus 72 can be viewed here. From the main BAS Beograd bus station, buses to Novi Sad depart every hour. Ticket prices are around 1200 dinars (10.25 euros).

Visa Requirements

European citizens enjoy relatively straightforward access to Serbia, reflecting Serbia’s hospitable and open approach to visitors. As of my last update, citizens from European Union countries can enter Serbia without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This visa-free regime applies to both tourism and business visits, making Serbia an accessible destination for a wide range of European travelers.

Upon arrival, visitors are expected to register their stay with the local police within 24 hours if staying in private accommodation, though this is typically handled by hotels or registered accommodations. It’s important for travelers to carry a valid passport, which should be valid for the duration of the stay.

For longer visits or specific purposes beyond tourism or short business trips, such as work or study, Europeans may need to apply for a visa or residence permit, aligning with Serbia’s immigration requirements.

As of my last update, citizens from European Union countries can enter Serbia without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period
As of my last update, citizens from European Union countries can enter Serbia without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period

When to Go

To leisurely stroll around the city without having to seek shade every 20 minutes, visit Novi Sad in spring or autumn: then, the average temperature here stays around plus 25 degrees Celsius, and the wind from the Danube will be gentle. In March-April, pink-red buds of Japanese quince bloom, and cherries blossom in April. If you come in September, you can catch the celebrations in honor of the new harvest and taste fresh fruits. The entire summer in Novi Sad can be hot, with temperatures reaching plus 30-40 degrees Celsius, and June is the rainy season.

A lot of tourists come to Novi Sad in July during the EXIT Festival. Therefore, if you do not plan to attend the festival, it’s better to visit Novi Sad on other dates. Over the years, EXIT has featured performances by David Guetta, The Prodigy, Moby. The lineup caters to all tastes: from rock and synth-pop to techno and house. In 2007, the festival won the British Festival Award in the category “Best European Festival.” In 2024, EXIT is planned to be held from July 11-14, traditionally at the Petrovaradin Fortress.

A lot of tourists come to Novi Sad in July during the EXIT Festival. Therefore, if you do not plan to attend the festival, it is better to visit Novi Sad at other times. Photo: Exit Festival
A lot of tourists come to Novi Sad in July during the EXIT Festival. Therefore, if you do not plan to attend the festival, it is better to visit Novi Sad at other times. Photo: Exit Festival

Tips

Tourist information centers are located at Jevrejska 10 and Bulevar Mihajlo Pupin 9. There, you can get a city map, help with purchasing museum tickets, and they can also conduct tours. Popular walking routes are published on the Novi Sad Tourist Organization’s website.

To save on a guide, download the Novi Sad Talking app, which will tell you about the main attractions of the city and recommend interesting places.

The oldest summer school of the Serbian language operates at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Novi Sad. In three weeks, participants learn the basics of the language, get acquainted with the city’s culture, and go on excursions throughout the country. The cost of such a program includes meals, accommodation, and tuition. In 2023, the total cost was about 1000 euros. If you don’t need excursions, accommodation, and entertainment, the program will cost 360 euros.

Novi Sad is a very dog-friendly city. People take their pets to concerts, dine in upscale restaurants, and relax in parks.

To save money on a guide, download the Novi Sad Talking app, which will tell you about the main attractions of the city and recommend interesting places. Photo: Antti T. Nissinen / Flickr.com

To save money on a guide, download the Novi Sad Talking app, which will tell you about the main attractions of the city and recommend interesting places. Photo: Antti T. Nissinen / Flickr.com

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