JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH JOVANA KVRZIC FROM SUBOTICA, SERBIA!
Jovana Kvržić is a 28 years old passionate traveler. She has a masters degree in pharmacy and is currently finishing her PhD. She has visited over 50 countries so far and shares all her experiences on her blog Jovaninzivotukoferu which means Jovana’s life in a suitcase. Her goal is to help people to travel the world by giving a lots of advices and tips on how to save money and find good deals. She often travels alone and hopes that her story can inspire other women to do the same.
Subotica is the northernmost city of Serbia, located in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. It is the second largest city in the province after the capital Novi Sad.
Being located only ten kilometres away from the Hungarian border the official languages spoken here are Serbian, Hungarian and Croatian.
It’s international style of architecture and decorative arts makes it an ideal destination for visitors. To experience late baroque style architecture visit the Cathedral of Saint Theresa of Avila, the patron saint of Subotica who also appears on the city’s coat of arms.
When is the best time to visit Subotica?
The best time to visit Subotica is anytime. The weather is the best during spring and autumn, but during summer and winter you will find a lots of festivals and events.
In July there is European film festival in Palić when our city becomes European capital of culture.
During Christmas holidays there is Winterfest, held in the main pedestrian street, Korzo. It opens in the beginning of December and closes on the 13th of January (in Serbia that’s the day that we call Serbian New year’s Eve. People in Serbia still use old Gregorian calendar. ). In beautiful wood-carved little houses you can find many hand made products and a lot of good food and drinks. Don’t forget to try mulled wine or hot chocolate. Subotica’s wine scene dates back to three centuries. It’s sandy soil and cool winters makes it ideal for grapes of all varieties.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Subotica?
Subotica is a small city and you can see almost everything without using any type of transport, just by walking. If you aren’t a fan of walking, then you can take a bus, that’s the only type of public transport that we have. The closest airports are in Belgrade and Budapest (around 250 km). To reach Belgrade airport you can use bus from the main bus station to Belgrade, and then use a shuttle bus to the airport. To reach Budapest airport you can take a train to Budapest and then take a shuttle bus to the airport, or go by van (Gea tours and Terra travel are agencies that can bring you from your address directly to the airport) and that’s the most convenient way of transport.
What are the top three must visit places in Subotica?
The City Hall : The symbol of Subotica was built in the beginning of the 20th of Century. It’s almost 80 m high and it was designed by Komor and Jakab, architects from Budapest in Art Nouveau style enriched with a romantic nuance of the Hungarian folklore. The heart of the building is the breathtaking Council Hall and it is used for weddings, Assembly sessions, concerts… It’s truly unique architecture master piece. At noon you can take an English-language tour of the exquisitely done interiors. Also see the observation platform 45 metres above Trg Slobode.
Synagogue : This is the second largest Synagogue in Europe and it also represents the Art Nouveau style. Due to Subotica’s proximity to Hungary, you can see Hungarian style of carnations, peacock feathers and tulip motifs. Hundred years old Synagogue was almost eaten by time, but 10 years ago the work on restoration has started. Now it’s completely renovated and for just 250 dinars (2 euros) you can enter inside of the building. It’s open every day except Monday. (Workdays 10-18, Weekend 10-14).
Raichle Palace : The architect Ferenc Reichle designed this marvelous place to be his home and art studio. He used expensive materials and unusual combination of colors and forms. Again, it represents Art Nouveau style and it hosts the Modern Art Gallery ‘Likovni susret’ today.
Subotica has many interesting sights so make sure not to miss City Library, City museum, Blue fountain, National theatre, Dudova šuma forest, St. Theresa of Avila Cathedral… Also don’t skip Palić, a lake located less than 10 km from the city centre, where you can enjoy in nature and find some great restaurants. There are buses that can bring you to Palić every half an hour or you can take a taxi (it will cost you around 600 dinars-5 euros).
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Subotica?
You should definitely take one day to visit Novi Sad, the largest city in Vojvodina province. You can also check Fruška Gora mountain close to Novi Sad and go for a hike or just relax and make picnic.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Subotica?
There are many, but I can suggest two that I consider the most interesting.
The first is happening in August and it’s called Dužijanca. It was celebrated for more than 100 years and it represents a form of a family celebration when people thank God for successful end of wheat harvest. Now there is an interesting programme in the city centre where you can hear traditional music and see people in traditional clothing.
There is an event in January that is celebrated all over Serbia. It’s Serbian New Year’s Eve, on the 13th of January. On the main square in Subotica there is live music and fireworks in the midnight.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Subotica?
There is a big impact of Hungary on the Subotica’s tradition and culture, so the most famous meal here is gulaš, traditional Hungarian meal. If you are fan of sweets, you should try ,,Kurtoš kolač’’. It looks like a chimney, and it tastes like a sweet bread covered with sugar, cinnamon or chocolate, what ever you prefer.
We don’t have a completely vegetarian restaurant, but in each restaurant you can find something that is suitable for vegetarians.
Where to head for affordable shopping?
There are few smaller shopping malls in the city, but the must visit place for all shopaholics is Buvljak, a big outside market. It is located couple of kilometres west of the city in a big compound and opens from morning six to three in the afternoon. Since you can buy everything at Buvljak, from food, cosmetics, clothes, electronics, you will always find it crammed up with shoppers from Subotica as well as Hungary because they are cheaper and affordable here.
Also, there is a farmers market in the city centre (called Mlečna pijaca) and there you can find a lot of fresh and organic food.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of Subotica?
Just few years ago, Subotica didn’t have a city status, it was still a village in the books because a big part of population is doing agriculture. That’s why the traditional crafts are object made of straw. You will find hats, baskets and even cards, magnets or frames made of straw.
Which are the best streets of Subotica worthy of taking a stroll on?
Korzo is the main street in the city centre and it’s very nice because you can find a lots of cafes and shops, but if you prefer something quieter you should check Radijalac, the longest pedestrian street in the city. It’s surrounded by trees, grass and flowers and there are a lot of benches if you would like to relax after a long walk.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of Subotica city?
You can get very nice views from Hotel Galleria or from the top of the City Hall. The highest spot in the City Hall is 45 m high and you can enter the terrace from Tuesday till Friday at 12 pm.
Would you suggest any shows in Subotica to drama, music or art lovers? Where can one spot street art in Subotica?
If you like to party, check some of the night clubs that we have, like Qbar, Renaissance, Sax… If you’re in the mood for theatre, we have two, but right now only Jadran is working. It used to be children theatre, but now you can find some really interesting shows for adults.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Subotica?
There aren’t any special apps, you can’t use Uber or a similar application in Serbia, but because of Suboticas size, you don’t really need it. Just enjoy walking through beautiful streets surrounded by splendid architecture.
Do you want to give any suggestion/tip to tourists coming to Subotica?
If you are an ice cream lover, try the best ice cream at Avala and Pelivan cafes. Also, check out some of traditional Serbian bars, called Kafana. The oldest one in Subotica is Kafana Majo. Take some time to talk with locals, they would be very happy to find out more about you because we don’t get a lot of tourists.