The northern Serbian city of Novi is perhaps most renowned for the EXIT festival, a grand musical extravaganza, which is held in the Danube-side fortress called Petrovaradin Citadel, and is a dream come true for any true party reveler.
The EXIT festival is quite unique as the concert stage is set up in the city’s enormous rampart ruins. Access to the festival venue is through ancient tunnels and stone bridges, and at the bottom of the ramparts lies the ever flowing Danube River. In the distance, the center of the Novi Sad looms. The EXIT setting creates a very distinct concert and party atmosphere that merges the past and the present. This electrifying festival runs its course for four nights. Every day, the party starts when the sun comes down, and continue well into the late night and early morning after!
But aside from being a festival venue, Petrovaradin Citadel is actually an important historical monument built during the latter 17th century. Although the citadel makes the perfect spot for booming bass sounds and the rowdy festival goers, it once had a more practical use. The citadel’s underground tunnels, locally known as katacombes, are first and foremost used for military purposes. But over the centuries, the tunnels have been the subject of stories and speculation involving treasure keeping, strange reptile creatures and enduring ghosts. Fortunately, you have the chance to hear about the history and mysteries surrounding Petrovaradin Citadel and its tunnels when you sign up for a guided tour offered by the fortress staff.
If you are already at the fortress area, don’t miss the chance to explore the Museum of Vojvodina, which boasts a collection of a staggering 400,000 artifacts, and reflects several centuries of Serbia’s Northern Province history. Take the opportunity to also enjoy the Danube as it’s definitely more than just a backdrop for the EXIT festival. It is a beautiful river that offers not only natural delights but also fun recreational activities.
To begin with, the Danube is home to a lovely 700- meter long stretch of sand called the Strand. This beach has become quite popular among families and sun worshippers, especially during summer when riverside cafes and bars are in full swing. Sitting in one these bars, and perhaps, listening to live music at the same time, is one of the many relaxing things to do in Danube.
But if you want to sweat it out a bit, you always have some viable and exciting options like renting a canoe or kayak and heading for the ultimate paddling adventure. On dry land, you can opt to cycle part of the over 2000 kilometer Danube Bike Path that follows the river through not one or two, but nine countries! Of course, you are not expected to ride the path all the way, but the Novi Sad section covers enough distance to burn some calories and have a pleasant ride at the same time. What’s more, renting bicycles in Novi Sad is very affordable, and there are even established stations across the town for picking up and dropping off bicycles.
If you think strolling along the river shoreline is pleasant enough for you, try to wait until the tide is low, and you will be able to cross from the western side of the Strand to the wonderful peninsula of Ribarsko Ostrvo. Known as the Fisherman’s Island, Ribarsko Ostrvo is a favorite spot for picnic lovers and fans of seafood restaurants.