I visited the city back in 2008 for the Exit music festival, which is the biggest annual event here. I spent most of the time at the fest and the camp site, so I did not explore much of the city. This time I had the opportunity to do so.
Novi Sad is the second biggest city in Serbia and my personal favorite over Belgrade. It’s the administrative center and the largest city in the Vojvodina region. I find it a more charming, clean and calm place than Belgrade. Or maybe the fact that I’ve been to Belgrade so many times makes me think so.
Novi Sad is the European Youth Capital for 2019 and will be the European Capital of Culture for 2021. As you will find for yourselves, Novi Sad is a lively, exciting and vibrant place.
The Old town
The Old town or Stari grad is a large pedestrian zone starting in the city center of Novi Sad. It starts with the Freedom Square/Trg Slobode and the catholic cathedral of Virgin Mary. Wandering around the main street and the many smaller narrow streets is one of the best and most charming experiences in Novi Sad.
The Old town is a vibrant place with all kinds of characters. Families, children, young, elderly people – everyone seems to be here enjoying the atmosphere.
The Petrovaradin fortress
The absolute must-see of Novi Sad is the proudly standing at the Danube River Petrovadarin fortress. Built in the 17th century, the fortress is quite large and impressive. To get to know its story and the famous tunnels inside, you’ll have to visit the museum at the top of the fortress.
Make sure you do a proper photo session at the Reversed clock, which is one of the symbols of the city. This clock was made with the small clock hand showing the minutes and the big hand showing the hours, so that fishermen on the Danube river can see what time it is from a long distance.
You could also stay and sleep at the Leopold hotel, which is located at the building on the top of the fortress. The view over Danube is really cool, but you will be away from the old town, where all the action happens. We decided to stay in the heart of the city and could not be happier with our choice.
National park Fruška gora
When there is a national park around, I have to visit it! I was quite excited to check out the Serbian national park Fruška gora (Fruska gora in English, pronounced Frushka), only to be left a bit disappointed.
Fruška gora is a mountain in Serbia and the oldest national park in the country. It consists of 15 monasteries and many unexpected sites. The park is actually a great escape from the city life. Since I want to share some advice, I prepared a separate blog post with all the details.
Food and drinks
Serbians know how to cook their well-known pleskavica and cevapi, which I love! Most of the restaurants, bars and cafes at the Novi Sad city center look very nice and inviting.
I especially liked the food and atmosphere in a colorful restaurant named Лазин Салаш.
Pivnica Gusan was fine, but nothing special. We had to wait a bit too long for the meals.
I enjoyed very much our one visit at coffee and food bar Loft. The staff noticed me taking pics of the place and posed. Thanks, guys!
How long to stay in Novi Sad?
You’ll be able to explore Novi Sad in just a day. Staying for a day and a half is also a good option and you will have more time to go out and enjoy the nice restaurants here.
If you are coming for the Exit festival, you’ll have enough time to explore the city when not being at concerts. In 2019 the event will happen between 4 and 7 July.
Connections to other cities
The highway between Belgrade and Novi Sad is in excellent condition as of March 2019. The drive is about an hour or less. Timisoara in Romania is a two-hour-long drive, while Zagreb in Croatia is four hours away.
There is an airport close to the city, Čenej Airport, but it does not support civil flights for now. The closest airport is the one in the capital Belgrade.
Visiting Novi Sad with children or pregnant
Novi Sad is a fine city to visit if traveling with children or pregnant.
There are plenty of pedestrian zones, especially in the city center and the old town. The parks around the Danube River are clean, well maintained and promise a nice family time experience.
Make sure you visit the Petrovaradin Fortress by a car since there is some climbing up. Going up will be quite difficult with a baby stroller, small children or while being pregnant.
Also, check out the temperatures and hide away from the hot sun. Visiting in March, I got a mild sunburn. Visiting in July in 2008, I remember the weather was hot and dry and there was no sign of a much desired summer rain J.
Planning a trip to Novi Sad? Let me know if I covered all you need to know!