Novi sad has long charmed visitors with its comely buildings – remnants of Austro-Hungarian rule. But today it’s an emphatically young town – especially in the summer, when thousands of international revellers swarm to Petrovaradin Fortress for the four-day exit festival. The hub of the city is Trg Slobode (Freedom Square), a spacious plaza bounded on either side by the neo-Gothic Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary and the neo-Renaissance town hall. Running east from here is bustling Zmaj Jovina which, together with the adjoining bar-filled alleyway Laze Teleckog and wide, pedestrianized Dunavska, forms the town’s central nexus of streets for eating, drinking and socializing. At the bottom end of Dunavska (nos 35–37) is the excellent Museum of Vojvodina. Spread across two buildings, it delves first into Serbia’s archaeology and ethnography, then comes closer to home with the traumas of two world wars.
Sun-lovers should head for the Strand, a sandy beach on the Danube’s north bank, opposite the fortress, which has bars, cafés and a “school’s out” vibe. You’ll have to pay around 50 din (price may change) for access.Novi Sad has much to boast about. And within easy driving, or cycling, distance there the monasteries of Fruska Gora and the inviting Salasi tourist farms. During the summer months, people pack the Strand, one of the Danube’s finest beaches, and a series of street festivals and other events keep the good vibes going well into the autumn.