Spotlight on: One day in Novi Sad, Serbia
History in a nutshell: The archaeological remains show that the city was populated even during the Palaeolithic Period. However, the modern history of Novi Sad is associated with 1687, when the Habsburg monarchy took control of the city and its vicinity. It is during this time that Petrovaradin Fortress was constructed and its primary use was to protect in case of Turkish invasion.
Fun fact(s): The city is known as “Serbian Athens” thanks to its rich cultural heritage, but also as the “Gibraltar of the Danube” thanks to the impressive Petrovaradin fortress.
Language and currency: Serbian is the official language, but Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Rusyn, and Croatian are also used. Serbian dinar (1RSD=0,0097USD)
Getting Around Novi Sad
Getting to Novi Sad, Serbia is extremely easy, especially if you intend to visit from Belgrade or Budapest. The closest airport is Nikola Tesla in Belgrade. From Belgrade, you can catch an IC train to Novi Sad. The journey lasts a little bit under two hours. Buses are another option and they depart on an hourly basis. They are faster but also more expensive option. Trains are cheaper, and therefore more suitable for budget-savvy travelers.
Once in Novi Sad, the best way to get around is by walking. The city center is small and compact and you can explore and go everywhere by foot. Alternatively, if you are tired and need to get somewhere more far away, I recommend getting a taxi. It’s a quick and cheap solution.
What To Do in One Day In Novi Sad
Novi Sad is one of Serbia’s most beautiful cities. It’s famous for its beautiful architecture, multiculturalism, and history. And of course, the Exit Festival.
If you are a first time visitor, a day in Novi Sad would be enough to explore the main tourist attractions. If you would like to explore in more detail and perhaps go to Sremski Karlovci, a beautiful town close to Novi Sad, two days is a better option.
Start your sightseeing from the Svetozar Miletic Square which is the central point of the city. This place is always full of life and there is always something happening here. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you, because you will want to capture the beautiful architecture.
The square is famous for being a home to the Roman Catholic cathedral “Name of Mary Church”, but the locals simply refer to it as the cathedral.
From here proceed to Dunavska Street (the Danube Street) which is one of the most famous streets in the city. It is a pedestrian zone and it is always full of people. Admire the beautiful architecture or simply sit down in one of the many cafes and restaurants and enjoy a drink or two.
The street also leads to Danube Park which is a beautiful small oasis in the center of the city. You will appreciate its shade, especially if you are visiting during the summer months.
The park features some rare trees such as hazelnut, poplars, birch trees etc. However, the biggest attraction (from a botanical perspective at least) is an English oak which is protected by law. You will also find a pond with an islet in the central part of the park.
From here you can go to Petrovaradin Fortress which is a walking distance from the park. The fortress was built between 1692 and 1780 and it’s one of the largest in Europe. This is the reason why it was nicknamed Gibraltar of the Danube river.
The fortress is famous for its large underground system which is open for visitors. It is also a home to the Museum of Novi Sad which has a great exhibition called “Petrovaradin in the past” and “Novi Sad from the 18th until the 20th century”. If you are a history buff, a visit to the museum is recommended.
Plan to spend at least an hour exploring the outer parts of the fortress. See the Clock Tower, famous for the reversed clock and enjoy the panorama of Novi Sad.
The fortress is home to the world-famous Exit Festival, which takes place annually every July.
There is a fantastic restaurant on top of the fortress where you can enjoy a meal with the view.
If you have some spare time at the end of the day, you can get a taxi, or walk back to the city center where you can visit The Gallery of Matica Srpska – the richest museum of modern Serbian Art. Their collection has some of the most important art pieces in the Balkans.
Around Novi Sad
Other very beautiful places around Novi Sad are Sremski Karlovci and Fruska Gora National Park. Sremski Karlovci is a beautiful little town, just 12 km away from Novi Sad. It’s famous for the oldest Serbian high school which was founded in 1791 and one of the oldest pharmacies in Vojvodina. The pharmacy was founded in 1880 and since then it remained unchanged.
Another fantastic place in the vicinity is Fruska Gora National Park, famous for its many monasteries and a marathon that takes place each year.