Novi Sad is the second biggest city in Serbia and that automatically elevates it to an important place in the country’s map and history. Besides its positioning on the banks of River Danube, it is rich with beautiful architecture and a rich legacy of the Habsburg Monarchy – the traces of which can be seen in the details of the houses. Not to mention its rich coffee culture, laid back attitude and excellent shopping!
I arrived by the bus from Belgrade, hoping to spend only a few hours before returning on a train. But as I walked down the main street (right opposite the bus station), I was surprised to see how lively the city was – there was no way I was going to absorb the city in such a short time! Suddenly I wished I had more time! I loved the pretty houses, the random street art and so many cafes! Well, okay, I stopped at three in total, just for the experience! The weather was fortunately on my side!
I soon boarded a bus to the city centre, not very big, but bustling with shoppers and people with their dogs, generally adding to that charm otherwise highlighted by church tops kissing the blue skies. The feel here was very “multi-cultural” and happy. Yes, happy is the word to describe the people I met in passing – happy and proud.
The first thing that you notice as you near the bridge is the brooding Petrovaradin Fortress dominating the cityscape.
Petrovaradin Fortress (currently a museum and houses restaurants and a hotel) is one fortress that has never been taken by the enemy! You can wander about on the vast fortress grounds, climb the walls and admire the beautiful scenery around – including that of the Old Quarters sitting in the shadows of the fortress and the thriving city on the other side of Danube. There are two entry points into the fort – if you are driving, take the longer route and the shorter, walking route brings you straight up from the road via a series of tunnels and stone steps below the Clock Tower.
If you looked at this above image – you will notice what is unique about this clock – on it, the minute and hour hands are reversed! The small hand shows minutes and the big hand shows hours. It was created as such so that fishermen on the Danube could see time from a long distance. It is also called the “Reversed clock” and is one of the landmarks of Petrovaradin fortress.
- Novi Sad is well connected to the rest of Serbia. From Belgrade you could take the train or bus, which run every hour. You can board the bus / train from the main station.
- Total distance is 90 (100) kms and takes about two hours.
- The closest airport is Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade.
- It is a good city to walk, although it would be a good idea to find transport to the fortress.
- There are many interesting churches, namely The Church of Virgin’s name, the synagogue and the Church of Martyr St George.
- The bus and the train station are located next to each other.
If you love shopping, well, remember in Novi Sad, you can get some fabulous leather goods! If you intend to stay overnight, you have the option of budget, luxury and mid range hotels as well. There is a Chinese restaurant (opposite the bus station) too – I know it because I lunched there!