8 must-see things to do in Novi Sad

Visiting Novi Sad: what are the best things to do and see in this city, nicknamed by some the « Serbian Athens »?

Would you like to get off the beaten track and discover a country and, above all, a little-known city? Head for Novi Sad, a city in northern Serbia on the banks of the Danube. With just over 307,000 inhabitants, Novi Sad is the capital of Vojvodina and Serbia’s second-largest city after Belgrade. It is 1 hour from Belgrade. Don’t be fooled by the bad image or reputation of this country, which is by no means dangerous and has so much to offer! The only advantage to this bad reputation? The absence of mass tourism!

Quite different from other Serbian cities, especially Belgrade, with its strong Austro-Hungarian influence giving the city its special charm, Novi Sad offers an authentic and exotic setting. Shady alleyways, ornate temples, parks and remarkable museums are just some of the things you can expect! Wondering what to do in Novi Sad? You’ll find it here.

Also read in the Novi Sad guide :

1 Petrovaradin Fortress

If you’re visiting Novi Sad, then the Petrovaradin fortress is a must-see, if only because of its cliff-top location, offering a magnificent view of the Danube, the city and the mountains in the background. Built between 1247 and 1252, this masterpiece has undergone numerous modifications due to influences, notably Turkish. Spread over 112 hectares, the fortress boasts a network of 16 km of tunnels and 13 bridges. This system has earned it the name « Gibraltar of the Danube ».

For the record, the clock at the top of the fortress is nicknamed the Drunken Clock. This is because the mechanism doesn’t cope well with temperature changes, causing it to slow down in winter when it’s cold, and advance in summer when it’s hot.

2. The historic center

Trg Slobode, Place, Novi Sad

Photo credit: Flickr – Felix Montino

Wondering what to do in Novi Sad? The historic center is another of the city’s must-sees. Mostly pedestrianized, it’s a great place to take a stroll and admire the 19th-century buildings and their architectural details, which give the city a very special charm. It is built around the main square, Slobode, where the Austro-Hungarian influence is very much in evidence. The town hall is a prime example!

Zmaj Jovina Street is the main thoroughfare, with numerous stores and restaurants, while Dunavska Street is probably the most charming. It leads straight to a pleasant green area. And don’t miss Pasiceva, one of the city’s oldest streets. This is the historic center of Novi Sad, which has earned it the nickname « Serbian Athens » for its heritage of different styles.

3. The Church of the Name of Mary in Novi Sad

Located on Freedom Square, theŽupna Imena Marijana church, also known as the Church of the Name of Mary, is called a « cathedral » by the locals. It’s a must-see if you’re looking for something to do in Novi Sad.

Completely rebuilt in 1894, this sublime neo-Gothic church has three naves and measures almost 52m in length. The bell tower at the entrance rises to a height of 72m. The interior is decorated with various portraits of saints and features four altars. Unlike Orthodox churches, this Catholic church features an organ and stained glass windows. Its colorful roof is remarkable!

4. Museum of Vojvodina

Founded in 1847, the Museum of Vojvodina houses a permanent collection devoted to Serbian culture and life in Vojvodina throughout history. You’ll discover amazing collections of archaeology, history and ethnology. The main building in which it is housed, at 35 Dunavska Street, is listed as one of Serbia’s protected cultural monuments.

5. Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art was inaugurated in 1966. The museum’s collection consists of a standard exhibition featuring important works by Serbian contemporary artists and performers, and also extends to the whole Balkan region, including works by post-Yugoslav artists, and even wider by presenting several world-renowned artists. The Museum’s colorful holdings include paintings, new media, sculptures, installations and drawings, numbering over 2,500 works of art.

6. Kovije and Petrovaradin reserves

Kovilj-Petrovaradin Wetlands, Novi Sad

Photo credit: Facebook – Budjism

If you’re wondering what to do in Novi Sad to discover its natural surroundings, head for the reserves. Easily accessible by bike, the Kovije and Petrovaradin marshes are nature reserves where you can observe some 380 species of birds. Every year, at the beginning of June, a photo safari is organized to meet these sometimes little-known inhabitants.

7. Fruska Gora National Park

Parc national de Fruska Gora, Serbie

Photo credit: Flickr – Budjism

Follow the river for twenty kilometers and you’ll find the Fruska Gora National Park, full of surprises! You’ll fall under the spell of this vast area covered with forests and lakes, a favorite nesting place for certain species of birds, offering numerous places for excursions and allowing you to visit its famous monasteries, some of which date back to the 15th century.

8. Exit Festival

If you’re visiting Novi Sad in summer, then don’t miss the biggest music festival in the country, and indeed in Europe. Created in 2000, theExit Festival was crowned « Best European Festival » in 2007 by the UK Festival Awards. This award is probably due to the quality and diversity of the artists from all walks of life who perform here every July.

How to get to Novi Sad

If you want to get to Novi Sad, there are no direct flights from France. You’ll need to take a flight to Belgrade, which is reputed to be very inexpensive if you book in advance, especially via our partner Ulysse.

To reach Novi Sad, go to the center of Belgrade and take either a bus or a train, which will take you to Novi Sad in about 1h30/2h. Alternatively, as soon as you arrive at Belgrade airport, you can rent a car to take you to Novi Sad, giving you greater freedom of movement during your stay, especially for sightseeing.

Where to stay in Novi Sad

If you choose to visit Novi Sad, you can read our article on where to stay in Novi Sad. From the city center to the banks of the Danube, accommodation in Novi Sad is relatively affordable, as the cost of living is lower than in France. So, fromAirbnb to B&Bs, hotels (you’ll find the best hotel deals on this hotel comparator) or even youth hostels, Novi Sad has a great range of accommodation to suit every traveler’s profile.

Still wondering what to do in Novi Sad?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Novi Sad,rs