About the city
Novi Sad is the capital city of the autonomous province of Vojvodina and also the second largest city in Serbia. The Danube river divides two geographical regions – Bačku and Srem. Fruška Gora mountain is located on the other side of the river.
Novi Sad is a very old and beautiful city. It was founded in 1694. and very soon became a center of Serbian culture of that period, in which it was also known as Serbian Athens. Last year Novi Sad gained the title of European Capital of culture for the year of 2021. along with two other cities from Europe.
There’s something for everybody – everything from cultural and historical monuments (museums, galleries, theatres, old buildings, and churches), nature reserves and parks, to nightlife clubs with all music genres you can imagine.
In this article, I will try to bring you the magic of Novi Sad, listing the 10 must-see places and hoping that’ll make you think twice when choosing a place for your next vacation.
1. The city center
The city center of Novi Sad is probably the first place you’ll visit when you arrive. It’s close to each of the main locations in the town, including the main bus and train station, so it won’t be a problem for you to find it wherever you’re staying at.
In that area, you’ll find many interesting things to see and do so I suggest you take your time and enjoy every second of it!
The first thing you’ll see when you arrive at main – Liberty Square, is The Name of Mary Church. It’s surely one of the most recognizable symbols of Novi Sad. This is a third church built in that place in a course of 200 years (the first one was built in 1719. and the third – this one, was finished in 1892). It 72-meters high bell tower with a golden cross on top will definitely leave a great first impression of this city on you. And this is just a beginning of our tour.
On the square, you will also see a monument of Svetozar Miletić standing right in the center and a City Hall across the cathedral.
If you’re coming in winter time you’ll have a full Christmas spirit experience, the whole square turns into a Winter market, selling hot chocolates, mulled wine, pies, cakes and traditional Serbian barbeque. There are Christmas lights and music everywhere, and even horse-drawn carriages stroll around the center like in old times.
Besides the main square, there are a couple of more things that city center has to offer like National theatre, Zmaj Jovina, and Dunavska streets that are filled with cozy cafes, and lots of shops, City library, Bishop’s court and the street of Laze Telečkog which is by the day street full of beautiful old buildings, definitely worth seeing, and by the night it turns into a nightlife center of Novi Sad, with lots of bars and nightclubs.
2. Danube park
Danube park is located just near the city center so it’ll probably be the next location you’ll visit on your tour. It’s the most popular park in the town, and even though it’s not very big, it definitely doesn’t take away it’s beauty. In the middle of the park, there is a pond, and if you’re visiting in the summer period, you’ll have a chance to feed ducks and swans that live there.
Take a nice walk around the park, sit on the grass, or even better – make a picnic! You won’t regret any minute spent there, enjoying the sun and the sounds of the street musicians playing guitar and singing.
And if you happen to be in Novi Sad during winter, just like a city center, Danube park turns into a magical Ice forest – ice rink with Christmas lighting, music, and food market, for full holiday spirit!
The Synagogue, which is located just a few minutes walk from the city center, is one of the many historical landmarks in Novi Sad. There were four Synagogues on that same place before this one was built in 1909.
When entering the building you’ll see a sign which says: “Ki beti, bet tefila ikara l’kol haamim“ and that means “Let this house be the home of prayers for all nations”.
In 1991. Novi Sad Synagogue was protected by the Republic of Serbia, by being added to Spatial Cultural-Historical Units of Great Importance.
Today it’s not being used for religious ceremonies, but for many cultural events and concerts. If you’re lucky you’ll might get a chance to listen to a rehearsal of Vojvodina Symphonic Orchestra or some other guest orchestra rehearsing there for a concert.
4. Quay along the Danube river
If you’re coming in Novi Sad at spring or summer period, you have to visit Quay. It’s almost five kilometers long, and you’ll get a chance to feel a true spirit of Novi Sad. You can choose how you want to pass through it, because there are three tracks – for walking, running and cycling.
Along the way, you’ll see three bridges (and the fourth one which is currently being built) – Road-Railway Bridge, Varadin Bridge, and Liberty Bridge. You’ll also have a great view on Petrovaradin Fortress which is on the other side of the river. You can enjoy your time chilling on the bench, playing football or basketball on the court or exploring the beaches which are hidden in the trees beside the river. Anyhow, I’m guaranteeing you’ll have a great time!
5. City beach – Štrand
Even though you can basically swim anywhere in the Danube if you don’t want to pay the ticket, there is the main city beach – Štrand, located at the end of the Quay, just under the Liberty Bridge. It has everything from changing cabins, food stands, bars, cafes, playgrounds for kids, mini golf, volleyball, football and basketball courts, and even a beach library.
There are lots of people there during the summer, so I don’t suggest you go there if you’re not a fan of crowded places. Instead, you can find a nice and quiet spot between the trees on one of the beaches next to Štrand, and if you want to bring your dog with you, that’s even better because it’s not allowed for pets to be inside the main beach.
Whatever beach you choose, you’ll sure have a great time, especially if you stay by the river until the sunset, because that’s really an unforgettable experience.
6. Chinese quarter
I know what you’re thinking, but this Chinese quarter might be a little bit different from the ones you’ve visited or heard of before. Novi Sad Chinese quarter is actually just a former factory complex which is now being used for cultural and creative events such as rehearsals, concerts, parties, movie festivals, art shows, different kinds of performances, volunteering center, all sorts of food and beer festivals and many more.
It’s on a great location, too – you can take a 15 minutes bus ride from city center, or just walk a couple of minutes from city beach. Right next to the Chinese quarter complex, there’s a beautiful park, which has playgrounds, separated dog park, and skate park. The first building you’ll see, coming from the park, is Fabrika (Factory), which is now Student Cultural Center. The whole complex looks very alternative and underground, but that’s the whole beauty of it. Take a walk through the small alleys, and explore the cultural center of Novi Sad. If you want the full experience on Chinese quarter, you can always look on the internet if there’re any events during your stay at Novi Sad, you won’t regret it!
Since Novi Sad has been elected as European Cultural Center of the year 2021. the whole Chinese quarter will be going through reconstruction and renovation to gain its full potential in the future.
7. Petrovaradin Fortress
This is an inventable place to visit when you’re in Novi Sad! The Fortress is placed on the other side of the river and you can easily get there by bus which goes across the Varadin bridge, or you could just go by foot, you won’t need more than half an hour from Danube park.
Before entering the walls of Fortress, you’ll have a chance to walk through the old part of Petrovaradin, small alleys and old, but beautiful houses will make you feel like you are in a different century.
Petrovaradin Fortress hides many historical and cultural marks and stories on its territory. Because of how large and dominant it is, the Fortress earned itself a nickname Gibraltar of Danube. It was built by Austrian army from 1692. to 1780. on the foundations of medieval construction. There are few levels of underground tunnels, and when visiting, you can search for a travel guide to walk you through some of them.
On the Fortress, you’ll also see the Clocktower. Don’t get confused because its hands are reversed so fisherman could better see the hour. The clock tower is one of Novi Sad’s major landmarks and symbols.
While there, you’ll also see the Museum and Archive of Novi Sad, astronomical observatory and planetarium, Academy of arts and music, many art galleries and studios, hotel, restaurants, and cafes and many more interesting things. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the marvelous view of the whole city from the viewpoint on the platform under the Clocktower.
8. Park in Sremska Kamenica
This park is on Serbian called Kamenički park, and it’s located on the other side of Liberty bridge. It’s the largest park in Novi Sad and also the largest picnic area of Fruška Gora. It was designed in 1758. as Marcibanji-Karačonji castle gardens. In 1991. both the castle and the park were protected by the Republic of Serbia and declared as a cultural monument.
In spite of the fact that the park has certainly changed a lot since the 18th century, surviving wars and changing owners, it still carries the mystical beauty of that time.
It’s a real city get-away place to go. It has a trim track, football court on the grass, meadows, benches, and some hidden paths in the trees that lead to the river. Bring your picnic basket and blanket, and enjoy your day in nature.