Secluded in the far north of Serbia lies the small city of Subotica. Nestled by the Hungarian border, this quiet city is home to its fair share of beautiful sights. From its ornate architecture to its relaxed, verdant streets, Subotica is the perfect kind of destination to simply stroll about. Although it’s not a well-known destination quite yet, I can see that changing as Serbia grows ever more popular. Below are some of the sights travellers can be treated to in this devastatingly adorable city.
Subotica Town Hall
For such a small city, the main square in Subotica is surprisingly large and that’s to say nothing of the city’s immense Town Hall. Whereas other European cities may centre on a cathedral or castle, the heart of this Serbian city is its vibrant and ornate Town Hall. Dating from the early 20th century, this art nouveau masterpiece dominates the cityscape. Even if it weren’t for its size, passersby would be captivated by its bold, ornate details. I do believe you can climb its tower, however it appeared to be closed the Sunday I was there.
Filling out the rest of the Main Square are a series of gardens, statues and large fountain, all surrounded by the city’s signature trees. In fact, the trees did a great job obscuring the Town Hall and I can only imagine how different the view would be in autumn or winter.
As I indicated above, the streets of the city centre are lined with great, big shady trees. This lends Subotica a very peaceful atmosphere and makes for a pleasant place to walk even in the heat of summer. Often under these leafy trees you can also find row after row of outdoor tables for the local cafes. Just like in the rest of the Balkans, cafe culture is alive and well in Subotica.
Beyond the specific landmarks mentioned here, there are plenty of other detailed buildings to admire in the city’s streets. Simply walking around the Main Square, facing away from the Town Hall should show you that. One particularly out-of-place building however is the city’s National Theatre, with its alabaster n-classical columns and front. By the theatre you’ll find Branislava Nušića, a pedestrian street with a good deal more interesting buildings to admire. Occasionally you’ll also find other ornate buildings, which really encourages you to wander and explore for them.
A visit to Subotica is incomplete without laying your eyes on the exquisite Raichle Palace. With its vivid facade, it may well be one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Europe. This building alone was my reason for Subotica and it definitely delivered. Built as his home and studio, local architect Ferenc Raichle had it constructed in 1904. It now hosts a modern art gallery, but admiring its exterior is more than enough.
One of the pleasures of visiting Europe during the warmer months is all the outdoor seating areas for restaurants and cafes. This is certainly the case for Subotica as well. Scattered all around the Main Square are umbrellas and tables for various cafes and ice cream parlours. Likewise, in Matije Korvina street rows of tables can be found under the shade for some of the city’s most popular restaurants. I visited here multiple times and it was always lively with locals. Both Boss Caffe and Stara Picerija delivered good food and coffee, so the street is a pretty safe bet for tourists.
Given its small size and location, Subotica is a pretty straightforward destination to visit. For starters, all the main sights can easily be explored on foot in a matter of hours. Allowing a day to see the city’s sights should be plenty as well.
Subotica is connected by both bus and train to Szeged just across the border in Hungary and the larger Serbian city of Novi Sad to the south. It’s worth noting that crossing the border by bus can take longer than expected due to queues.
As for finding somewhere to stay, Subotica actually has quite a lot of accommodation options considering its size. During my visit I stayed at the Rooms Gat, which while great value for money, was a fair walk from the city centre.
Have you had the good fortune of visiting Subotica before? Would its sights entice you to add it to your next visit to Serbia or Europe? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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