Backpacking Serbia Itinerary With Public Transport (+ Map)

Author Carina Klein
Carina
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TL;DR

Our backpacking Serbia itinerary explains the best way to spend 5 days in Serbia without a car.

We travelled Serbia with public transport. In our Serbia travel blog, we show you how to create your own Serbia itinerary using only buses and trains.

Serbia Backpacking Without a Rental Car

Many travellers choose to rent a car in Serbia. This is by no means necessary. We found the public transport in Serbia amazing. Big and small cities are well connected by buses and trains. It’s super easy to move around as well as go on day trips with public transport.

Picture of Belgrade train station
Belgrade train station

Serbia Itinerary 5 Days

Serbia Itinerary Day 1 – Belgrade

Picture of Belgrade Skadarska Street
Belgrade Skadarska Street

What to Do in Belgrade Day 1 – City Centre & Kalemegdan Fortress

Belgrade is the capital of Serbia and a must-see!

The highlights of central Belgrade include:

  • Republic Square with the National Theatre and the National Museum of Serbia.
  • The main pedestrian street Knez Mihailova.
  • Kalemegdan Fortress.
  • The Bohemian Skadarska Street.

We have written a complete blogpost detailing the best 2-day Belgrade itinerary with map.

Where to Stay in Belgrade

We stayed at Up Hostel. The location right on Skadarska Street was amazing. The bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms were clean and the beds with curtains were very sturdy and private.

Serbia Itinerary Day 2 – Belgrade & Zemun

Picture of Zemun
Zemun

What to Do in Belgrade Day 2 – Saint Sava and Zemun

In the morning, your itinerary brings you to the Church of Saint Sava, the largest Orthodox Church currently in use. Make sure to also check out the crypt.

On the way, there are plenty of sights like the Ruins of the Radio Television of Serbia HQ from the 1999 NATO bombing.

In the afternoon, the former Hungarian border town of Zemun is worth a visit. Notice how it is completely different from Belgrade. The highlight is the Millenium Tower with its amazing view.

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Bucketlist2life tip: How to Get from Belgrade to Zemun?

Buses from Belgrade to Zemun leave at Zeleni Venac (marked on map). There are a ton of bus lines going down Bulevar Nikole Tesle and you can take either of them. Google Maps is very reliable here.

Serbia Itinerary Day 3 – Novi Sad

Picture of Novi Sad
Novi Sad

What to Do in Novi Sad

Novi Sad is our favourite city in Serbia. It’s colourful, walkable, and full of nice bars and restaurants. The second-largest city in Serbia was declared the European Capital of Culture in 2022 for a reason!

The best things to do in Novi Sad are:

  1. Strolling through the city centre. Dunavska is the prettiest street, and Zmaj Jovina is the main street.
  2. Liberty Square with the Monument to Svetozar Miletić, the Roman Catholic Church of the Name of Mary, and the Town Hall.
  3. Find street art in the back alleys around Liberty Square and Kombinat.
  4. Look for Art Nouveau – don’t miss checking out the H&M from inside.
  5. Hunt palaces. We liked Menrat’s Palace, Tomin Palace, and of course the Bishop's Palace.
  6. Stroll along the Danube waterfront and pay homage to the Monument to the Victims of the Raid before visiting the city beach Strand.
  7. Cross the Varadinska Duga Bridge to get to Petrovaradin Fortress.
  8. Enjoy the views, the clock tower and the art at Petrovaradin Fortress.
  9. Visit the Museum of Vojvodina and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
  10. Check out the Synagogue (personal recommendation: We wouldn’t pay to go inside again as it was very plain).
  11. Have a craft beer at Gradska Pivnica.
  12. Hit the bars in Laze Telečkog.

How to Get from Belgrade to Novi Sad

You can either take buses or trains. There are loads of options during the day. We took the train because a local told us it’s cheaper and more scenic but there’s one caveat: Belgrade moved its train station to the middle of nowhere – we walked and we still have MAJOR regrets.

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Bucketlist2life tip: How to get from Belgrade city centre to Belgrade train station with public transport:
According to Google Maps, bus line 41 leaves at Trg Republike and goes all the way to the train station (Železnička Stanica BGD Centar). It leaves every couple of minutes and takes 17 minutes.

Where to Stay in Novi Sad

We stayed at Hostel Stari Grad. The location is a 10/10: It’s on the way from the bus and train station to the city centre and very close to the centre. To be honest, though, the feeling was a bit off. There were many men living long term which resulted in a different vibe than a traveller vibe where you can meet other people. If you only look for a place to stay it’s perfect though.

Serbia Itinerary Day 4 – Novi Sad & Sremski Karlovci

Picture of Sremski Karlovci
Sremski Karlovci

What to Do in Sremski Karlovci

Sremski Karlovci is mainly known for two things: The former seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church and wine. These are the main things to do:

  1. Explore around the main square.

  2. Have a wine tasting.

  3. Hike to the viewpoint.

  4. Roam around a bit.

We have written a complete blogpost about what to do and see in Sremski Karlovci.

How to Get from Novi Sad to Sremski Karlovci

Sremski Karlovci is only 10 km (6 mi) away from Novi Sad. Buses and trains leave regularly.

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Bucketlist2life tip: If you travel light like us, you can also visit Sremski Karlovci on your way from Belgrade to Novi Sad. There are no lockers or facilities at the train station so you need to carry your luggage with you in that case.

Serbia Itinerary Day 5 – Subotica & Palic

Picture of Subotica
Subotica

What to Do in Subotica and Palic

Subotica is super close to the Hungarian border. It is known for its Hungarian architecture (mostly Art Nouveau). The best thing to do in Subotica is to hunt down architectonic gems like

  • Raichle Palace
  • Subotica Synagogue
  • Subotica City Library
  • McDonald’s (yes, you heard right).

Palic is a spa town close to Subotica. It is mostly known for its lake, its spa architecture as well as its wineries.

We have written a complete blogpost about Subotica and Palic.

How to Get from Novi Sad to Subotica

While there are two daily trains from Novi Sad to Subotica, buses are the more frequent and convenient option.

Where to Stay in Subotica

We stayed at Hostel Put Svile and could not recommend it more. The location at the bus station is extremely convenient, it’s spotless clean, and the owners are super friendly and helpful. Additionally, it is amazing value for money for a private room.

 

Is Serbia Worth Visiting

Last but not least: Do we think Serbia is worth visiting? Yes, Serbia is absolutely worth a visit be it on its own or as part of a bigger Balkans backpacking trip.

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