12 Things to Do in Sombor, Serbia

Sombor is one of the most-visited cities in Vojvodina for good reason. It’s rich in culture, history, and carries a unique charm.

Lately, it’s become even more popular, thanks partly to Nikola Jokić and the famous Sombor Shuffle. The city’s current style is heavily influenced by its Austro-Hungarian past, evident in its well-kept architecture, which gives it a classy vibe. Sombor is also known for its greenery, with seven squares and four parks.

It’s especially famous for its long tree-lined streets, including the iconic Bodhi trees planted in 1903 and brought over from Mississippi, along with chestnuts, lindens, ginkgos, plane trees, and sequoias.

Where is Sombor Located?

This beautiful green city of Sombor is located in Bačka, in the northwest part of the region. The Danube River flows on its western side, forming a natural border with Croatia. To the east of the city lies the Telečka highland. Sombor is about an hour’s drive from Novi Sad, two hours from Belgrade, and three hours from Budapest.

You can easily get to Sombor from any of these cities by car or bus. The nearest airport is in Osijek, which is about a half-hour drive away, but it’s a small airport. For more flight options, international travelers choose Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport.

Is Sombor Safe?

Sombor is really safe. The crime rate is super low, and even things like pickpocketing are rare because it’s not too crowded with tourists.

You can comfortably walk around at night, even as a solo female traveler, without worrying. People here often say it’s so safe that you could even spend the night sleeping on a park bench.

Things to See in Sombor

The Main Street

When I got to Sombor, I started by walking down the main street, Kralja Petra, and really enjoyed being in the greenest city in the region. 

This street is where you can find the Bodhi tree, brought over from the Mississippi Valley. The buildings here are mostly low and colorful, and the Serbian Reading Room is particularly notable. 

This street is full of cafes and restaurants, which was great for enjoying the fresh air, green surroundings, and traditional Vojvodina music. In addition to lovely buildings like the Serbian Reading Room from 1882, there are also two interesting statues. 

One shows Veljko Petrović, a writer from Sombor, holding a book with a bird flying out of its pages. The other is of Ernest Bošnjak, who started Yugoslav cinematography and built the Zvezda cinema.

The County Building

The county building, built in 1808, was made for the Bač-Bodrog County’s administrative needs. It got its current look in 1882 when they added side towers and a rear part. Inside, there’s a huge painting named “The Battle of Senta” by Ferenc Eisenhut. 

It’s known as the biggest single-piece canvas in the area of the former Yugoslavia. Painted in 1898, it shows Austrian soldiers and features Prince Eugene of Savoy on a white horse in the middle. It’s a pretty detailed and lively scene of a historical battle.

If you’re visiting, you can ask at the reception to see the painting. It’s free to enter.

Also, in the building’s hall, there’s a drawing titled “Sombor as Seen Through the Eyes of a Bird” by Branislav Jovin, an architect. This drawing is a mix of city planning, engineering, and art, showing 15,000 buildings in Sombor. It’s like a snapshot of the city for future generations to see.

Park Heroja and the Carmelite Church

Right next to the county building, you’ll find Park Heroja, the largest city park in Sombor. It’s home to an interesting ethno restaurant called Fijaker. Right beside the park, there’s also the Carmelite Church of King Saint Stephen with its associated convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

The church’s construction started because the local Bunjevci people needed more space since the existing Holy Trinity Church was getting too cramped. They chose the location near the county building because county meetings would start with a service. 

The construction took a few decades due to funding issues and was finally consecrated in 1904, on the day of King Stephen, who introduced Catholicism to the Magyars. The church and convent were given to the Carmelite Order.

This church is notable for being the tallest building in Sombor. Services are still held there in Croatian, Hungarian, and German. An interesting fact I heard from a college friend who lives in Sombor is that in the church is the largest organ in the Balkans and the second-largest in Europe.

The Holy Trinity Square (Trg Svetog Trojstva)

Also known by locals as “Ćelavi trg” or “Bald Square,” got its first name from the Holy Trinity monument erected in 1774.

This monument, a symbol of gratitude for the subsiding of a plague epidemic, is a fine example of Baroque art, gracefully and elegantly designed atop a column. In 1947, the monument was removed and damaged, leading to the nickname “Bald Square.” 

It is located close to the main street, is where you can find the town hall. This building was constructed on the foundations of a palace that once served as the home of Count Jovan Branković.

The City Hall

The central architectural symbol of Sombor is the former palace of the Sombor captain, Jovan Branković, built in 1718. After his death, the castle was sold to the city administration.

In 1749, it became the home of the Magistrate. The building reached its final appearance in 1842, becoming the most representative structure in the neoclassical style in the area. The City Hall is recognized as a cultural asset of great importance.

The City Museum

The City Museum of Sombor was established in 1945. It’s in a building constructed in 1870 by the wealthy merchant Anton Fernbah, designed in an eclectic style. Today, the Sombor City Museum is a regional museum of a complex type.

It has various departments: archaeological, numismatic, ethnological, historical, a department of local art history, and a collection of contemporary art. The museum also has a specialized library with valuable editions from the 18th to the 20th century.

The Contemporary Art Gallery of the Sombor City Museum features an art collection that includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and tapestries. These were acquired from the annual exhibitions of the event “Likovna Jesen,” which took place from 1961 to 1995.

Grašalkovićeva Palace 

A Baroque-style building, was constructed in 1763 by Antun Grašalković. Initially, it served as a quarantine for German immigrants and an immigration center.

Up until 1863, it was a telegraph station, and between the World Wars, it was used by the tax administration. After World War II, it became the police headquarters.

The “Milan Konjović” Gallery

Opened in 1966, located in a building constructed in 1838 in the Biedermeier style. Milan Konjović, a renowned Sombor painter, bequeathed a legacy of 500 works to his hometown, which has since grown through additional donations.

The legacy now comprises 1,084 artworks, including paintings, pastels, watercolors, tempera paintings, drawings, and tapestries. Milan Konjović (1898-1993), with an opus of 6,000 works, is considered a pinnacle of Serbian art, known for his unique style as an impassioned colorist with an expressionistic temperament.

The Serbian Reading Room, established in 1845, was accommodated in an eclectic-style building constructed in 1882. Famous Serbian poet Laza Kostić, after marrying Julijana Palanački from Sombor, became a member and later the president of the Reading Room in 1901, a position he held until his death in 1910. Today, the Serbian Reading Room is named in his honor.

Kronić Palace

This is one of the most beautiful buildings in Sombor, showcasing the eclectic style. It was built in 1906 by Dr. Stean Kronić, a wealthy Sombor lawyer.

Due to financial difficulties, his heirs sold the building in 1938. After World War II, the state took ownership, and today it is the Commercial Court.

National Theatre

The Sombor Theater building, constructed in 1882, is a classic example of classicist style with elements of eclecticism. That same year, the theater hosted its first performance.

The National Theater boasts a large stage with 324 seats and a smaller stage with 80 seats. A significant feature of the theater is its interior, which reflects a typical chamber theater style, along with a modern, movable stage.

Since 1993, each theater season in Sombor concludes with the “Pozorišni maraton” festival.

The Great Bačka Canal

The Great Bačka Canal is a part of the Danube-Tisa-Danube system, stretching an impressive 118 km and remarkably excavated by hand. We took a boat ride on “Tatjana,” boarding near the charming “Café de Sol.” Our friendly host informed us that the canal is also known as “Kišov Canal,” with a width of 35m. 

I noticed the water was incredibly clear, evidenced by the presence of white water lily flowers and river crabs. Our host explained that the section we sailed had depths reaching up to 8m, although the average depth of the canal is 3m.

Here, you can also rent a canoe or kayak to experience a sunset on the water and capture some of the most beautiful photographs.

Carriage Ride

If you’re a fan of Nikola Jokić, you definitely shouldn’t miss a carriage ride. Behind the Trg Svetog Trojstva, continue down a small street and you’ll come across a carriage stand.

There are rides available in zone A and a larger circuit in zone B, which includes more streets of Sombor. The ride costs 2 euros per person.

You will love: 18 Awesome Day Trip Ideas from Belgrade