Serbia – Chapter 1 – Novi Sad, capital of Vojvodina

Image source:

I’m sure that after my short introduction from last week you couldn’t wait to read more about this breath taking country, so here we are, part one is finally here. The beginnings are always the hardest, and I was wondering a lot whit what topic should I start first, so I decided that this honour should have Novi Sad – capital city of northern part of Serbia – Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

If you truly want to understand the beauty of Vojvodina and Novi Sad, you should know that, located in the Pannonian plain, this province was, throughout the history, a part of Ottoman Empire and Habsburg Monarchy, so nowadays it is a multicultural region with almost 30 ethnic groups and 6 official languages! (Serbian,  Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian, and Rusyn). As a result, it has a great mixture of culture, folk tradition, cuisine and architecture.  A little bit of everything for everyone 🙂

No doubt, the most representative part of Vojvodina actually is Novi Sad itself. It’s like the whole region’s best attributes are concentrated here where you will find oldish, traditional houses dating before 19th century, but also modern, newly built city blocks; here you will also find many rustic ethno bowers that offer traditional food, and as a city with an University, it also offers many cool places and cafes perfect for students (a little hint, don’t miss a great nightlife in Laze Telečkog street, and if you are more into some alternative gathering and music, the clubs in Chinatown are perfect for you.

Laze Telečkog street; Image source:

And when we talk about food, the locals here are really wicked 🙂  because they created a unique cuisine that is based on the best ingredients and recipes from every nation that is inhabited there. So you can taste great Hungarian goulash, German strudel, Rusyn kapuscanjiki or Serbian sarma…. But, I think that a true beauty of one city depends of a beauty of its nature, so a must-have thing to do is to take a slow, nice walk along the riverside of Danube. (I sad slow with intention because everything works really relaxed and chilled here, which is the opposite of the rival city of Belgrade!:)) And during the summer, the city beach called Štrand is open for all visitors, and I’m sure that you would enjoy swimming and sunbathing on this sandy beach.

Štrand beach; Image source:

The people of Novi Sad are so proud and attached to this river that they even named the cutest street in town after it (Dunavska ulica), and just between this street and the riverside is the biggest park in town. You guessed it, It is also named after the Danube! While the city beach Štrand is perfect for summer, I could say that Danube park is really breathtaking in winter because during these cold months, the whole park is transformed into a huge iceskating rink.

Danube park during the winter; Image source: ledenaš

But the story about the Danube doesn’t stop here, because on the other side of the river, there is a Petrovaradin Fortress built up almost 4 centuries ago, known for its beautiful nature, many museums, galleries, underground passages and barracks, and also for the fact that here is held the popular music festival EXIT. And just right there on the terrace of the Fortress, there is a huge Clocktower famous for one funny thing: the big hand tells the hours and the small one minutes! According to the legend, this is done so that the boatmen travelling on the Danube could see the number of hours from long distance. But, another legend, a modern one, tells that calm and relaxed people of Novi Sad don’t hurry anywhere and dont really care about the minutes so that’s the reason why the big hand shows hours. Who knows? I think that both stories have their points 😀

They say that you haven’t been in Novi Sad if you didn’t take a picture near this Tower, and trust me,  here is the best panoramic view of the whole city. Enough reasons to climb up the Fortress 🙂

The Clocktower in Novi Sad; Image source:

And just one more thing: there are few bridges connecting Novi Sad with the Fortress, but I think that the Rainbow Varadin bridge is really special – just look at the picture below – there something magical walking alongside the Danube, watching that explosion of colours that comes from the bridge, while the strange Clocktower of the Fortress is ticking in the background.

Rainbow bridge; image source:

I’m sure that I gave you loads of reasons to visit this colourful and cozy city, but I’m also sure that as a true backpack adventure lover, you want to see more than just one city, so next week I will represent to you the rest of this northern flatland. I’ll give you some hints to tickle your curiosity: what is “European Sahara“? Why everybody thinks that Fruška Gora is the highest point of Vojvodina and why that is not true, and are there any other places in Vojvodina where Danube is as beautiful? Stay tuned and we will discover it together. 🙂