When I was researching my trip to Serbia, I was intrigued when I read about a city in Northern Serbia with art nouveau architecture. One of my favorite pastimes when traveling is to find beautiful architecture, so when I decided that I’d visit Serbia, I knew that I had to find my way to Subotica. Keep reasons for reasons to visit Subotica, Serbia and a little miniature guide to Subotica with tips on things to do in Subotica, Serbia.
Subotica is quite different than other places in Serbia. With stunning art nouveau buildings, a large Catholic population, and friendly people, Subotica is a nice change from other Serbian cities. I simply loved walking around the historic center to experience the cheerful atmosphere and dreamy art nouveau architecture. (I did edit the photos, but the buildings look every bit as beautiful in person!) Although I already knew that I’d love Subotica, I truly felt like I was in a dream while walking around…
After choosing to visit Subotica, I spent a while trying to find good information about what you even do once you arrive in Subotica, Serbia besides simply to go. (I completely agree: you should visit Subotica simply for the architecture if it’s up your alley!) I stopped by the tourism board office and ended up chatting with the kind workers who gave me some local recommendations. I also ended up checking out some places recommended by the owner of my hostel in Novi Sad and Serbian followers on Instagram (thank you for the warm welcome!). In this post, I’ll be focusing on the architecture of Subotica, however I include some some recommendations on things to see in Subotica, where to eat, and where to stay below.
The most beautiful buildings in Subotica, in my opinion, are the Subotica City Hall, the Subotica Synagogue, the Raichle Palace, the Former Subotica Savings Bank, the City Library, and the main churches. Most are easily to spot as soon you enter the city. The City Hall is the large tower on the left.
As soon as you walk from the train station, you will spot the Raichie Palace along with some other beautiful buildings. This stunning art nouveau building was built in 1904 by Ferenc Raichl to be used as his home. You can now view modern art inside. Just get there earlier than I did as I was rushed out as I tried to enter too late.
Afterward, follow Korzo to see Subotica’s ornate commercial street. What makes Subotica so unique is that it has the Hungarian separatist style of art deco architecture, which has been influenced by Asian and folk influences.
Architects at this time were concerned that modern art would lose the touches that made culture and beauty unique. Art Nouveau buildings built in this style typically were decorated with ceramics from Pécs, Hungary. Despite quite a bit of time passing, these tiles’ colors have not faded!
The tourist information has a great PDF pamphlet that I’d recommend downloading prior to your visit, so you can enjoy the sights on your own. Be sure to circle the City Hall to see the most beautiful buildings in Subotica and the city hall from all angles. I heard the interior was incredible, but security wasn’t amused by my attempts to enter.
I was unable to visit the Subotica Synagogue, an art nouveau masterpiece that survived WWII as I was unable to obtain an appointment. You must reserve ahead if you’re not visiting during the main tourist season (April to October). Otherwise, you can visit during the day on Saturdays. Historically, Subotica had the largest Jewish population in Serbia, however many perished during World War II. The interior is absolutely beautiful in photos!
A miniature guide to Subotica
For a peak into an authentic art deco interior, consider stepping into Papillon Café (Dimitrije Tucović Street 11). I had considered staying in Subotica, but ended up staying in Novi Sad. Hotel Galleria came highly recommended to me if ended up returning. (You’ll also find lots of affordable guesthouses.)
I ended up having a meal at Gostiona-Vendeglo Gurinovic (Bajski Put 32) as I was interested in trying the regional dishes that are harder to find outside of Vojvodina although an Italian restaurant was also recommended to me by my host. I also had a coffee at Poslasticarnica Ravel because you can never not drink enough coffee in Serbia!
If you have extra time, Palić lake comes highly recommended by locals for relaxing and wine tasting. This easy day trip from Subotica is perfect for a day of relaxing by the lake, biking, and general recreation activities.
The area produces wine as well as rakija (probably not a surprise). I left Serbia with a bottle of quince rakija as I enjoyed it more than I expected as a sipping drink.
How to get to Subotica, Serbia by train or bus
If you’re coming from Belgrade or Novi Sad, you have the option of the train or the bus. The train is about 2-3x as slow as the bus, just ask before you get on the bus if it’s the direct bus that goes on the highway. I ended up taking the train, which every Serbian that I met winced at.
It was about 800 dinars for the direct bus from Subotica to Novi Sad, if I recall correctly. If you’re heading south from Hungary, it’s possible catch the train from Budapest to Subotica. Just be prepared for a delay at the border. Note: The bus station is a ten minute walk from the city center (Glavna Autobuska stanica).
Have you visited Subotica, Serbia?
In case you missed it, the tourist information has a great PDF pamphlet that I’d recommend downloading on your phone prior to your visit, so you can enjoy the sights on your own. Any tips about Subotica welcome!