Produced by The Local’s Creative Studio in partnership with Novi Sad Cultural Capital of Europe 

A ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture’:
the Balkan gem waiting to be discovered

A ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture’: the Balkan gem waiting to be discovered

With vacation season almost over, is it too soon to start dreaming about the next getaway? Here’s why the fabulous but undiscovered Novi Sad – a European Capital of Culture 2022 – makes a perfect destination for a city break. 

This city on the Danube, spanned by beautiful bridges rebuilt after the Yugoslav Civil War as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, has a wealth of wonders to discover. These delights range from remnants of an ancient past, wine and food, and shopping secrets, to its spectacular arts program as a European Capital of Culture

Novi Sad is only just emerging as a tourist destination – so visitors arriving now get to see the city at its most authentic and vibrant.

Seeking a unique destination for your next European city trip? Here are five reasons why Novi Sad needs to be at the top of your list. 

Photo: Getty Images

A stunning position on the Danube

Located on a curve on the Danube River, and crowned by a bluff upon which the imposing Petrovaradin fortress stands, Novi Sad enjoys an enviable position – one that has attracted newcomers for thousands of years. 

Novi Sad is situated across the river from the Fruška Gora National Park and you can expect a balmy climate, averaging a high of 25 degrees Celsius throughout September and October. The warmth here lasts considerably longer than much of the continent. 

The city’s river banks are lined with terraces, cafes, restaurants and green spaces, so it’s the perfect place to soak up the last warm days of the year. 

Enjoy late-season sun on the banks of the Danube in Novi Sad

A ‘new’ city built on ancient, storied land

Its climate and fertile soil means the land upon which the city of Novi Sad grew has always been a desirable place to settle. 

The oldest traces of human civilization extend back several thousand years, with artefacts unearthed from necropolises on display in the Museum of Vojvodina. 

Also on display in the museum are three brilliantly bejewelled helmets from when Novi Sad was the Roman fortress known as Cusum. Nothing like them has been found anywhere else in Europe – they are so iconic that they’ve become unofficial symbols of the city. 

Having passed through the hands of the Byzantines, Hungarians, Ottomans and Habsburgs, Novi Sad became a city in the eighteenth century, featuring beautiful baroque architecture that today still projects a grand atmosphere. Despite almost being destroyed during nineteenth-century revolutions against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the city still features impressive buildings such as the Name of Mary Church, Bishop’s Palace, Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad Synagogue and many more. 

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Aleksandar Milutinović TONS PROMO

Sensational regional food and wine

Among the treasures brought up from the wreck of the RMS Titanic were bottles of Bermet, one of the many wines produced on the slopes of the mountain facing Novi Sad, Fruška Gora. This sweet dessert wine was once the toast of Europe, featuring on the menu of most royal courts. 

To this day, the vineyards that face the city have been a favourite destination of locals, who enjoy tastings on a weekend afternoon, along with savouring local dishes. 

Novi Sad has distinct delicacies that have drawn gourmands from across Europe for decades. These include pljeskavica, a spicy rissole made from pork and lamb, kulen, minced pork sausage flavoured with fiery paprika, and futoška sarma, a variation on the classic Balkan cabbage-wrapped dumpling. 

All of these dishes are available at eateries throughout the city. And if you’re on the move while exploring, try the Index sandwich – a ham, cheese and mushroom concoction in a crusty bun, perfect for snacking. 

Plan your stay in Novi Sad, with the best of regional food, wine and culture at your fingertips 

A destination for shoppers seeking something unique

In recent years, Novi Sad has become a regional destination for shopping, thanks to several exciting local producers selling their wares. 

Beautiful leather goods that draw on a long tradition of manufacturing in the region can be found at The Manual Co on Zmaj Jovina Street, while over on Pašićeva Street, Misha sells clothing and jewellery inspired by the traditional intricate patterns and bright colours of Serbian folk art.  

For a souvenir you’ll remember, Kovač on Poštanska Street has been making high-quality hats for over a century. If it’s homewares you’re looking for, Werkstatt on Štrosmajerova Street sells pieces with distinct Serbian motifs. 

Perhaps the best way to discover the shopping treasure of Novi Sad is to wander through the city’s districts, easy due to the city being relatively flat. 

Capital of Culture 2022

The most exciting reason to visit Novi Sad in 2022 is its title as a European Capital of Culture for the year. The city is celebrating rich cultural traditions, found both locally and across Europe. Artists have been invited, a number of performance spaces built and a keenly experiential focus woven throughout the city’s districts. 

Running until early 2023, the festival programme is based around a symbolic theme of bridges, in honour of the city’s bridges, and reflecting the idea of building new connections between Serbian artists and organisations and the European cultural scene. The programme is packed with theatre, music, and visual and digital art, with something for every taste. Coming up are two consecutive programs of events under the bridge of ‘Hope’. 

The ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture, running from September 1 to October 7, takes five diverse means of expression – architecture, performing arts, literature, visual arts and applied arts – and reflects the diverse past and present of Novi Sad through a series of events, exhibitions and happenings throughout the city’s districts. 

Following that, ‘Other? Europe’ from October 8 to November 27 examines issues and ideas of European identity through the lens of subcultural rebellion. If counterculture and non-traditional forms of artistic expression resonate with you, this is the season to be exploring Novi Sad, as the underground comes to vivid life around you. 

Like the rebuilt bridges that rose in the aftermath of war, Novi Sad and the cultural bloom taking place throughout 2022 are connecting a city full of delights to the wider world. There’s never been a better time to see what this underrated city has to offer. 

Explore the different faces of Novi Sad during their time as European Capital of Culture

Unless captioned, all images are supplied by the city of Novi Sad. 


‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?


One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”


One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”