Getting to know… Novi Sad

Novi Sad is one of the Balkan’s most accessible and fun places to explore. We met up with VaradInn’s owner, Tijana to get the lowdown on the must do’s on your interrailing stop off exploration of Novi Sad.

Hi Tijana, let’s start with an easy one: tell us why Novi Sad is a great place for young people to visit?

Novi Sad is an up and coming Serbian city. It’s the second biggest university city in Serbia with most young people speaking good English. Its youthful feel is evident with lots of cheap bars and restaurants with nightlife all night, every night! There is always something going on in the city, with festivals and street concerts a common occurrence. Our city is on the Danube, with an awesome city beach, where you can relax in the summer heat just like you are on the coast. Getting around the city is easy with cheap taxis and busses, its also easy to get around by foot.

What makes Novi Sad different to other Serbian cities, for example, Belgrade? 

Novi Sad is different, it’s very much a human tailored city, rather than a huge anonymous metropolitan city, with walking distances to all the major interest points, such as the beautiful Petrovaradin Fortress. It also has a distinctive baroque and medieval European architectural feel. The city is orientated on the Danube river (not the case in Belgrade). There is a big music scene – Novi Sad is also, of course, home to the world famous EXIT festival. We’ve got great nightlife and the city has a relaxed and sociable feel to it.

If you had 2 days in Novi Sad before moving on to another stop on your Euroventure, what would you do with your time?

That’s a hard one! 2 days wouldn’t be enough! Day 1 would be spent exploring the Petrovaradin fortress – take up some wine and food for a picnic and enjoy the huge open spaces and panoramic views of the city across the river, before exploring the multilevel underground military catacombs – if you’re brave enough! The evening would be spent in the city centre, slurping on Jelen beer and going from bar to bar.

Day 2 would start with the famous Serbian hangover cure, a burek (a pastry with mince or cheese inside) or for extreme cases when hair of the dog is the only way forward – rasol (not for light weights) to dust off last nights cobwebs. Once sufficiently back on form, take a canoe down the Danube, seeing the city as you float past. Alternatively, relax on the Štrand beach and soak up the nearly always perfect weather.

In the afternoon take in a bit of Serbian culture at the galleries of Matica Srpska or Pavle Beljanski, have an afternoon coffee with the locals in one of the many outside coffee shops, or even visit the nearby middle age orthodox monasteries of Fruska Gora and meet the monks for whom the place still holds a strong significance to this day.

Sounds like 2 days just won’t be enough! We love to have an authentic experience when we travel – what should we eat and drink in Novi Sad to fit in with the locals? 

There are so many Serbian delicacies so these are just some of my favourites:

  • Pljeskavica – this is the Serbian super burger, grilled to perfection and loaded with condiments. Two hands aren’t enough to hold it!
  • Cevapi – specially seasoned grilled sausage shaped mince.
  • Langos – deep fried dough smothered in garlic dressing and covered with a mound of grated cheese.
  • Fish chorba – fresh fish from the Danube used make a stew – so good it’s said to go straight to your soul and can bring a dead man back to life (those Serbian hangovers are pretty real…)

Add to that the ultimate starter and dessert…. Rakija, rakija, rakija – all different types (cherry, apricot, quince, plum, grape, pear, mulberry…)

We do love a bargain at Euroventure, and we do love a good night out too! How much would we be talking for a drink? And what would you say we should be drinking?

Novi Sad is very affordable for all Euroventurers! For a pint of beer it costs about the equivalent of 70p – yes, really! For rakija, a glass of wine, a coke or a coffee is about the same!

Wow, thanks Tijana! We have to run now as we’ve got to get ourselves booked in for a trip to taste some of that famous rakija! See you soon!

Visit Novi Sad from Belgrade on our Balkan Trail package or alternatively why not add it on to your Iron Curtain interrailing route? It’s a true hidden gem!

Words by Alec Norton|Edits Catherine Livesley

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