Subotica, Serbia – the art nouveau pearl of Europe

(Last Updated On: )

I bet many of you haven’t heard about Subotica, Serbia before. I have no idea how I learnt about this city, as I know maybe one person who have been there. Just somehow deep down in my mind I knew I have to go this Serbian city as some wonders might be hidden in there. When the opportunity came and I was planning my latest Balkans trip I managed to include Subotica, Serbia in my itinerary. And that was the best decision ever as the city turned out to be just stunning and the art nouveau architecture there looks like from the fairy tale!

Subotica Serbia

Subotica, Serbia in the past

Subotica is the fifth biggest city in Serbia, located right at the border with Hungary. This results in the perfect mix of cultures, styles and languages that can be widely experienced on every step. Even if Subotica, Serbia dates back to 6th or so century the city got its distinctive charm at the end of 19th and beginning of 20th centuries, when it was under the Austria-Hungary rule. That’s when the art nouveau style spread all over Europe and changed the look of numerous places, including this Serbian town. Subotica used to shine then! It was one of the biggest and most important cities in the region, most of the grand buildings come from that period, being a wonderful showcase of the place and a great welcome to Serbia for people coming from the north.

Subotica Serbia

Sleepy Subotica, Serbia

These days however only the incredible architecture is left from the golden days of Subotica. The city lost its significant position, now being just the sleepy border town. And I loved it, how the incredible past collides with the everyday reality of Central European province. I was in Subotica, Serbia on gloomy Sunday morning, the city was really empty but still extremely charming. From the moment I steped outside of my hotel I loved it and I knew coming here was the best idea!

Subotica Serbia

Subotica – another amazing Central European city

Subotica is mostly know for its art nouveau architecture but the city is yet another example of amazing Central European town and a great legacy to the Austria-Hungary past. Just like in Brno Czech Republic, Graz Austria or Zagreb Croatia this place was also full of cobbled street, magnificent official buildings (such as the gymnasium), houses with beautiful details and red roof tiles and this unique bohemian vibe that is so hard to find elsewhere.

Subotica Serbia

Monuments of Subotica, Serbia

I had some 2 hours to explore Subotica before catching the train onwards to Budapest and I was so sure it’s more than enough to see the center of the town with all the important landmarks. Well, the reality proved me how wrong I was! Even if the place was fairly small the number of interesting buildings was outstanding! I marked on the map all the places I wanted to see and together they made a perfect walking tour around Subotica, Serbia.

Subotica, Serbia

I could admire all the incredible places – the Synagogue with the toulips, carnations and peacock feathers details; the Domotor Palace, now home of the City Museum; the splendid City Hall in the heart of the center (with the McDonald’s restaurant on the ground floor, also designed in the art nouveau style); the former Golden Lamb Hotel and the former Subotica Saving Bank with symbols of squirrel, beehive or the owl on the facade. After seeing each of them I was falling in love more and more with the city. 

Subotica Serbia

Subotica Serbia

But the true gem was waiting for me at the very end, few steps aways from the train station. Raichle Palace was built in 1904 to be a home and a design studio to the architect Ferenc Raichle. It’s outstanding with the incredible combination of vibrant colours and very rich details. I just couldn’t get my eyes out of it, couldn’t stop taking pictures, this building looked like taken from some Disney movie! These days the Raichle Palace serves at the Modern Art Gallery, I wish I could have visited it as I bet the place has an equally beautiful interior!

Subotica Serbia

Subotica, Serbia was one of the most surprising places I’ve ever visited, it was just stunning! I’m really surprised that, even if it made it to the NY Times’ list of 52 places to go in 2014,  still not that many people visit this Serbian city. Too bad as walking around and admiring the beautiful architecture is such a treat! I really wish I had more time to explore the city properly and visit the nearby Palic (with even more art nouveau pearls!) but I’m sure I will return there sooner or later as Subotica was a place that you just want to spend time in!

Subotica Serbia

And if you happen to go there (highly recommended!) you might find my walking route useful!

Is Subotica a place you’d like to visit? What was the most surprising place you’ve visited? Do you like art nouveau architecture?

Are you looking for a place to stay in Subotica, Serbia? Look no further! Book your accommodation in Subotica here!

Are you planning a trip to Serbia? Do you like the Balkans as much as I do? I’ve created a Facebook group where you can look for advise or inspiration and share your travel stories and pictures from the Balkans and beyond. Join now!


If you think of visiting Serbia or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:

If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.


subotica art nouveau pin (1)       subotica art nouveau pin (4)

love, kami 2

If you enjoyed that post why don't you share it with your friends? That would mean so much to me! Also be sure to join 30.000+ fellow travelers and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for travel updates and even more pictures! If you don't want to miss new posts sign up to my newsletter or follow on Bloglovin!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • Reply
    Subotica – The Art Nouveau Pearl Of Europe - Serbia's Ambassador to the World
    06/01/2015 at 01:06

    […] border with Hungary. Subotica was one of the most surprising places she has ever visited. “The art nouveau pearl of Europe” is the title of her blog post about Subotica. She […]

  • Reply
    03/02/2015 at 12:04

    This looks amazing! I wanted to go when I was in Szeged but there were no direct trains and there was heavy snow so I decided against it. I’ll definitely visit another time!

    • Reply
      08/02/2015 at 22:33

      you really should! It’s such a lovely town and the are nouveau there looks incredible!

  • Reply
    Nick's 5 Travel Obsessions - July 2015
    18/07/2015 at 17:46

    […] A style of art nouveau originating in Hungary that supposedly incorporates traditional Hungarian architectural elements, I am captivated by the curved lines and bold colors incorporated in buildings of this style.  Other influences are said to be Indian and Syrian architecture.  And while I find the style in its entirety interesting, I have fallen down the rabbit hole especially after reading about and looking at pictures of examples in the Serbian town of Subotica – actually named one of the New York Times’ 52 places to go in 2014 (not because of the architecture, but because of wine).  There isn’t a lot of bloggerly work on Subotica out there, but Kami at Kami and the Rest of the World wrote a great piece about it here. […]

  • Reply
    James Vance
    08/09/2015 at 18:50

    Hey Kami. We’re traveling in the Balkans now and recently visited Subotica. Luckily, we discovered your post and walking tour before we arrived. We love Art Nouveau and really looked forward to our visit. Strangely, we couldn’t find much info until your post. It was perfect for us and we thank you. Subotica is such a pleasant city, I’m surprised that it doesn’t get more publicity. With the refugee crisis, the train and bus stations were packed, and I’m sure that city officials are struggling with how to deal with the crush of people. BTW, if you like Art Nouveau, Riga, Latvia is absolutely wonderful. Thanks again. ~James

    • Reply
      14/09/2015 at 15:34

      I’m glad you find it useful and you liked the place, James! I loved Subotica, it was such a surprise!! And funny, how media in the refugees crisis focus on Budapest and Hungary but we don’t really get news on what’s happening across the border in Serbia!
      But back to art nouveaut: I’m actually in Riga right now (waiting for my flight back home) and you are right, this city really is an art nouveau gem!

  • Reply
    Bitchin' Balkans 2.0: Activate! - concrete and kitsch - offbeat destinations from an offbeat traveler
    24/12/2015 at 14:43

    […] We’re also planning on taking a day trip up to Subotica to see some Hungarian Seccesionist architecture – this town caught my eye way back in July, and was one of the reasons for booking the trip in the first place.  The town houses some truly fantastical examples of the Hungarian style of art nouveau that I’m keen on photographing – especially the Raichle Palace and the Subotica Synagogue.  We’ll be touring the town with a local, thanks to the Subotica Greeters program.  Kami at Kami and the Rest of the World has covered the town in an article you can find here. […]

  • Reply
    10/03/2016 at 11:37

    The architecture is really impressive! I’m also art nouveau fan :)

    • Reply
      18/03/2016 at 22:33

      then you should definitely go to Subotica one day, you’ll love it for sure!!

  • Reply
    28/05/2016 at 04:42

    I had plans to stop in Subotica but had to change them at the last minute because there are so few connections to Belgrade/Budapest. But it’s on my radar for future rail trips.

    • Reply
      03/06/2016 at 22:04

      very good, you will love it, it’s such a stunning little town! And I’m sure you will end up in the area soon again!

Leave a Reply

Let’s become friends!

Join me on Facebook for even more travel updates!