How to spend the best day in Novi Sad & tips

View from Petrovaradin fortress

Are you looking for the best day trip to Novi Sad, Serbia? You’re in the right place! Here you will find how to spend your day in Novi Sad and the tips I shared in this post. The city of Novi Sad is an undiscovered gem in Serbia, where modern and historic buildings alternate. Additionally, the culture and history make you fall in love. Did you know that Novi Sad is famous for its Exit festival? the biggest summer festival in Serbia. If you plan to visit Novi Sad, avoid the first week of July, or unless you came for the event.

Is it worth a day trip from Belgrade?

Definitely worth a day trip from Belgrade. Even though I only spent a long weekend in Serbia, I split my time between Belgrade and Novi Sad. Some visitors spend days in Novi Sad because they like the city’s atmosphere better than in Belgrade and I agree.

The historic center of Novi Sad

I wish I could do the same, but if your time is limited, you’ll see the city’s highlights if you plan it well. Keep reading to the bottom of this post and find out how to spend your best day in Novi Sad. By the way, if you haven’t yet figured out things to do in Belgrade, read my separate post.

Belgrade Serbia: How to spend 2-days in the city

Where is Novi Sad and how to get there?

Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia, more than one hour from Belgrade. To get there, you can either take the bus or train. But I recommend taking the bus because it’s cheaper and there’s a frequent service every 15 minutes from Belgrade. The buses start running at 4:00 in the morning, but that will be too early, and probably not a good idea to arrive in the dark. I took the 7:00 am bus, which was an ideal time.

Check the timetable of buses from Belgrade. As you see on the schedule, some buses may take longer, because they stop a few times or take a longer route. 

Tip: When you purchase a ticket at the counter, you ask for a direct bus to Novi Sad – the trip takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. The advantage of buses in Serbia, they run on time even if not filled up. 

How much does a ticket cost to Novi Sad?

The ticket price depends on the company. There are 38 company buses in Belgrade and each of them has a different price. I paid 840 dinars (7.00 euros) for one way trip. And for my return trip, I paid 1062 dinars (9.00 euros).

The freedom square of Novi Sad

Some say you must buy a return ticket, but that would not be a good idea because you’re bound to their schedule. And if you miss the bus, you will have to wait longer for the next one. A one-way ticket is the best option. So anytime you get to the terminal, take the available bus.

Belgrade bus terminal and how to get there

You must be in Belgrade if you plan to visit Novi Sad unless you’re coming from a neighboring country like North Macedonia. Getting to the bus station in Belgrade is complicated because there was some construction work during my visit.

So following my cellphone offline walking navigation, maps.me took me about a 25-30 minute walk from my hotel in the Bohemian neighborhood. Belgrade Central Bus Station is at Zeleznicka 4. However, if you have a big suitcase, you can take the tram line 7 or bus number 37. The ticket costs 150 dinars (1.20 euro) which is available by the bus driver. 

Varadin Bridge the gateway to the Fortress

As for Novi Sad, the bus terminal is at Bulevar Jase Tomica 6, about a 20-minute walk from the city center. In addition, you can get a taxi if you need one. They’re just waiting for a passenger who gets off the bus from Belgrade. I did walk to my hotel as I carried just a daypack.

Tip: If you want to get the most out of Novi Sad, book a hotel room for one night, and take the bus to Belgrade in the morning. The city center of Novi Sad is beautiful to wander in the evening when all lit, and it’s safe.

Where to stay in Novi Sad?

Whatever budget you have, there are plenty of accommodations in Novi Sad, from cheap hostels, and apartments to star hotels. I did not intend to spend the night, a temptation that took my idea when looking at the accommodation prices because they were inexpensive. And believe it or not, it was worth staying a night in Novi Sad.

I stayed at Garni Citi Hotel Veliki, which has everything I need, and the plus point of this place is the location. Compared to other European countries, the accommodations in Serbia are less expensive. So wherever you stay, the tourist attractions are just within walking distance. Just wear your best walking shoes because you really need them.

Novi Sad church

You may have a different plan than I do, but you can switch to whatever you like. I started at the historic center because it was convenient and close to my hotel. Anyways, you can walk around and get to places unexpectedly. Novi sad is compact, and things are not far from each other except the Fortress.

That said, there are hotels near the Fort, which was my first choice, but then I realized I needed to walk across the bridge. Thus, I changed the booking and picked the city center hotel. I visited Novi Sad during Easter weekend, which was quite busy. But enjoyable to witness the local people with their families outdoors.

Novi Sad (freedom) main square 

The beautiful city square

Spend the Best Day in Novi Sad you can’t miss the city center. This is the most beautiful part of the city. A lovely place full of action and old-time beauty lined with centuries-old buildings. Your eye is too short to see what’s around. This was my favorite part of Novi Sad beautiful during the day as well as during the night.

And the one that catches your eye is the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. The impressive structure in neo-Gothic style, with a high bell tower under a sharp spire, dominates Freedom Square so majestic. The city square, for the most part, is pedestrian. At night is a marvelous place and more alive since bars and restaurants are in the area.

Spotting murals in Novi Sad

One of the murals in the city center

Besides its architectural disposition, Novi Sad is a typical Central European town that never stood still. If you spend a day in Novi Sad, you’ll see things unexpectedly. During my walk didn’t anticipate seeing murals. I’ve seen many beautiful wall paintings in the Caribbean. Murals you’ve seen here are different and can be found in hidden alleyways or on the main street. 

Sometimes you will find them atop the buildings, so look up occasionally. The first mural I saw was just beyond the main square. It truly made me stand still to understand the meaning of it. If you love murals like I do, surely see some of them. And believe me, you don’t need to search for it, because you will be bumped into them.

The Bishop’s Palace

One of the historical buildings

Sometimes you don’t search for things you want to see; you discover them unexpectedly. And Novi Sad has been exuding a civic spirit with beautiful architecture. Next to the Orthodox Church, you find the Bishop’s Palace.

No access to the interior, but the singularly beautiful building on a gorgeous square is something you can’t ignore during your walk. It has interesting architecture – the facade represents a symbiosis of Byzantine Eastern cultures. The styles are particularly evident in the exterior decoration that really stands out.

Orthodox church in Novi Sad

 St. George Orthodox Church

I passed here during the day, but a mass was just ended, and it wasn’t the ideal time to take a picture of people standing outside the church. As my hotel lies a few meters away, I returned later in the evening and took some shots.

I have not seen the interior, but the one I visited in Belgrade has a stunning interior as the exterior. Compared to other churches I have seen in Serbia, the structure of Saint George’s Church is simple but has a fascinating bell tower, especially at night truly gets your attention. The original church was built in 1734 and destroyed in 1849. The present church was completed in 1905.

The old fish market 

Old fish market

Despite everything what you discover around a word isn’t enough to describe Novi Sad. This marvelous city of Serbia is such a wonderful place to wander. I can understand why some people want to spend longer, a day trip seems not enough. But if you’re one of the travelers who mostly have to cram everything, I can’t blame you because I may be worse than you, Lol.

If you are coming from the main square, the Outdoor Fish Market at Trg Republike number 18 is less than a ten-minute walk. And from here, you can continue your walk to the Fortress by crossing the bridge. The truth is, I love markets as a place and presentations of local products. Moreover, it’s nice to mingle with the people too. As the name says, it didn’t look like a Fish Market; I have not seen fishmongers. In fact, you find everything in one place, from household stuff to food stalls. It’s called a Fish Market locals kept the old name. 

Walk through Varadin Bridge 

Varadin Bridge

The bridge is the easy way to Petrovaradin Fortress. You probably can’t wait to get on the bridge, as the views are incredible up there. On one side is a city view, and on the other is the aspect of Pertovaradin Fortress and the Danube River. 

Well, take this way – on your way to the Fortress, take the left sidewalk, which gives a city’s momentary view. And walk on the other side on your return for a partial prospect over the Fort…the reason I said this, is because not very safe to cross. Most car drivers are speeding over the bridge. 

Tip: Below the bridge, you have some great views as well. As I came from the market, I walked through Beogradski kej – a long promenade by the Danube River. It’s a nice walk where an appealing view of the Fortress. If you have enough taking photos, then cross the road and get onto the Varadin Bridge.

Petrovaradin Fortress

The view of Pertovaradin Fortress

One of the significant highlights of Novi Sad is the Fortress. A place where the big summer event called EXIT is held every year. As you can see in the distance, the Fort lies uphill, ascent step to the top. As for many if coming from the city center is quite a walk, but truly worth the effort, and it’s something you can’t miss in Novi Sad.

If you loathe walking or climbing, you can take a taxi to the top where the clock is. Nevertheless, if you walk, you can take some photos on your way up. The views from the top were superb! I could stay up there all day gazing at the Danube River and city views. 

Note: It can be busy during the weekend; the local people like to gather here. But it’s a broad area you can walk around. There are some sections you won’t see anyone, so worth walking roundly and seeing a different side of the city. For active travelers, there’s a trail for walking.

Getting around in Novi Sad

On foot is the best mode of getting around for my part. I know not everyone is fun of walking, but that’s the best thing you can do. Novi Sad is a perfect place for roaming on foot because is compact and flat, compared to Belgrade. Anyways, I’m fun of walking when exploring a city because you won’t miss anything. Although can be exhausted by the end of the day, therefore I suggest staying a night in Novi Sad.

However, if you prefer public transport, this takes you anywhere in the city. The city buses are very cheap, for single rides cost 0.60 cents euros. If you plan on taking the buses all day, you better buy a day ticket for 3 euros. But you should know where to get off. I haven’t tried the public buses in Novi Sad, but I have used them in Belgrade, tourist spots in Belgrade are quite spread out.

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