Sugar-spun art nouveau marvels, a laid-back populace and a delicious sprinkling of Serbian and Hungarian flavours make this quiet town a worthy day trip or stopover destination. Subotica (Hungarian: Szabadka) is a city in northern Vojvodina, Serbia. Formerly the largest city of Vojvodina region, contemporary Subotica is now the second largest city in the province, following Novi Sad.
Home to more than 25 ethnic groups, six languages and the best of Hungarian and Serbian traditions, Vojvodina is a perfect example of harmonious cultural diversity and cohabitation . The first mentioning of Subotica in written documents dates from May 7th 1391; however the settlement has surely been older then that. It has been established that people inhabited these territories even 3000 years ago. Since its first name: Zabatka given in 1391, the city has changed it's name more then 200 times, however the most peculiar ones are Szent – Maria, Maria-Theresiopolis, Maria Theresienstadt, Szabadka and Subotica.
Now a fun fact is that I was born around 20 something years ago right here in this lovely city in a hospital that still operates today. To this day my heart starts to beat just a little bit faster when I see the endless sunflower fields in the distance and I know I'm finally home. When visiting my vintage little home town it is important to know that most of the city's sights are more or less within the walking distance of each other (which is also the best mode of travel through the city for appreciating the architecture and atmosphere). 8km to the east is Palić, an idyllic lakeside town of 6,000 people that is great for family vacations. The parks surrounding the lake are popular with tourists from the region. There's also a very green and well kept Zoo located in the parks (by all accounts the best in Serbia). There's also a big traditional horse farm/stables/range near Kelebija (a couple of kilometers from Subotica) for those interested in experiencing and ridding in traditional horse carriages. There are many large supermarkets scattered around the city as well as smaller shopping malls.
Subotica's beautiful town hall is surrounded with a number of pedestrian-only streets where people gather and meet, especially in the evening, giving the town a Mediterranean feel. The water-fountains and coffee shops in the center of the town are a great spot for 'people watching' as well as for enjoying small desserts, bites and coffee. The townhouse itself is lit up at night with spotlights that highlight the beauty of the building. There are several galleries that are highly recommended for Art lovers and urban history buffs. A tour through the Town Hall is also worth doing. There are also many beautiful religious buildings worth seeing, for example the spectacular Synagogue close to the city center and in 1990 it was designated a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia.. In case you decide you need a cab there are taxi stations on many locations but the easiest ones to find are next to the Town Hall and the train station. Taxi's are very affordable comparing to other European cities or even other cities in Serbia (don't get me started on obnoxious Belgrade taxis).
BossStara PizzeriaCafe PricaThe town comes alive at night with a number of popular bars and restaurants (, , etc.) with crowed enjoying the beautiful summer nights and small street bites around the city center. If you plan to go around the summer season there are many festivals happening around town with the most popular ones being Music, Film and Homemade Food Festival that are great for mingling with the locals. For shopping lovers there is a large market about 2km west of the center called "Buvljak" or "Ocskapiac" (meaning flea market), where a morning can be gone in a flash.
The local dishes are definitely the staple of the region and don't worry there is nothing extravagant or crazy in the mix just simple, delicious food prepared with fresh and homegrown produce. The region's famous fast-food is Burek. It is a pastry with various fillings like cheese, mince, mushroom, etc. It costs about 100 dinars (1 euro), a bit more with "(tekući) jogurt" (a liquid form of savoury yoghurt). Now I'm prepared to put my life on the line and say that Subotica delivers the best Burek in the country hands down. Try LIPA bakery for fresh burek and pastries as well as bread. Most bakeries will have it, as well as specialized shops where it is made in front of you. An experience not to be missed!
Image sourse: foodperestroika.com
Some other domestic dishes to try are pljeskavica (roughly pronounced as plyeskaveetsa; basically a kind of a Serbian hamburger) pancakes (palachinkeh; European pancakes/crêpes) filled with either savory or sweet stuffing, folded in fat/wide rectangles). Also worth seeking out is "ćevapi" (chevapi), small skinless sausages served in a flat bread called "lepinja" and topped with fresh chopped onion or sauces. Grilled or barbecued meats are also a tradition, so they are done masterfully and represent a form of a gourmet dining experience. Look for places displaying the sign "Roštilj" and you wont be disspojnted. Make sure not to leave the city without trying gulaš and paprikaš (traditionally Hungarian type of meat stews) popular among the locals. Fish paprikas prepared with local sweat water fish is the type of soul food a real food connoisseurs needs in his/hers life.
Hotels we recommend for short stay:
Hotel Galleria**** - http://galleria-center.com/en/
Hotel Patria**** - http://www.hotelpatria.rs/
Hotel Best Western - Gloria**** - http://www.hotelgloriasubotica.com/
Hotel Vila Majur**** - http://www.vilamajur.com/en/dobrodosli/
Hostels/Motels on the cheaper side:
Vila Royal Crown**** - http://en.vilaroyal.rs
Aleksander A*** - http://www.aleksandera.rs/
Mali Hotel*** - http://www.malihotelsubotica.com/
Vila Inn** - http://www.vilainn.rs/
The city bus timetables are available here: http://sutrans.rs/Redvoznje.html
Read more about Palic here: (to be continued)