Novi Sad is the second largest city of Serbia and it is in line to be the next European Destination for 2016. Visiting at the start of the year was a great choice. I stayed for two nights to enjoy the parties at night for the Serbian New Year but during the days I enjoyed what the city has to offer. One of my highlights was definitely Petrovaradin Fortress which is named “Gibraltar of Novi Sad”.
Petrovaradin lays on the ground of the Roman Fortress of Cusum and the remains of medieval Petrikon which were demolished in 1690. The Fortress was built sometime between 1692 and 1780 to offer visitors until today an exceptional experience from the top of the Fortress to its 16 km long underground passages.
Crossing the bridge towards the Fortress is already a sweet experience itself. The view is amazing over the Danube and approaching the Fortress brought me a feeling of excitement. I love how the Fortress looks like, standing in harmony with the landscape of the city. And clearly from that point, I understand why they nickname it “Gibraltar of Novi Sad”.
Few minutes after standing over the bridge to take pictures, I’m about to embark on a lengthy set of stairs. Over 200 steps later, I’m at the top facing two Museums. Novi Sad City Museum and Museum Club. That’s right, a museum and a night club are sharing the same building which in my opinion represents the whole spirit of Novi Sad: culture and party!
Since I mention party, Petrovaradin Fortress is the place where EXIT Festival takes places in July every year. This music festival brings people from all over the world and I’m convinced that there is no better setting than this fortress for party on late summer nights. I plan to visit for that occasion next summer!
So let’s get back to the museum, I visited Novi Sad City Museum to enjoy a set of collections from different periods but especially from the Second World War. The museum is small but interesting, I also had the privilege to visit a newly opened exhibition space where an exhibition of all fortresses in Serbia are shown. It was really encouraging to do a big Serbian trip to see them all. I’m wondering if the others would be any better than Petrovaradin Fortress?
Walking around the area is very pleasant especially during the sunny day I was visiting. I came across a building that was used during the Yugoslav era by Tito and apparently King Hassan II of Morocco visited there. It testifies the close relations that Yugoslavia and Morocco had before. Also, one of the prettiest things to see on the fortress (and it is actually quite unmissable) is the Clock Tower. The green colour of its top is simply nice to contemplate. I rarely see that shade of green on buildings and constructions. And an exclusive insider look of the clock tower definitely made my day!
Last but not least, I enjoyed the impressive view over Novi Sad and its bridges, which I like to mention had been all bombed by the NATO aggression in 1999 cutting civilians in Novi Sad with the rest of the country. And more dramatically, cutting Petrovaradin to the rest of the city. A memory most people don’t want to remember… Anyway, that view over Novi Sad, the Danube and beyond is worth a thousand climbs to the fortress. And I did climb the next day to enjoy it again!
To end my day the Serbian way, Novi Sad Tourist Board kindly invited me for a traditional dinner right at the foot of the Fortress and by the Danube at Aqua Doria. I ordered one of my favourite Serbian dishes, Turkey with a thin pastry and lots of cheese. It’s quite heavy meal but yet it feels so light and can be easily enjoyed with a drink, that’s what I love about Serbian food! As I leave the restaurant, I see the bridge illuminated with rainbow colours during the clear star filled sky at night. And that’s when I realised after having a great day in Novi Sad, that I realised it is without any doubt Europe’s Best Destination for 2016. Make sure you vote for it!
Thanks to Novi Sad Tourist Organisation for making my stay in Novi Sad very special. I appreciate their support but all my views on this article are my own!