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15 Best Things to Do in Niš (Serbia)

Since the days of the Roman Empire the city of Niš has been at an unofficial boundary between East and West. One man who bestrode that divide was the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was born right here in ancient Naissus and went on to found a “New Rome” at Constantinople. The Ottomans had control of Niš from the middle ages to the 19th century, and left an imperious fortress that still has a 16th century mosque inside.

There are also a few eye-opening memorials to violent episodes in the city’s past, like a tower of skulls built by the Ottomans to warn against uprisings, and a Second World War concentration camp, left undisturbed as a memorial. On the lighter side there’s sumptuous nature outside Niš at river gorges, the Suva Planina mountain and the city’s hot springs.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Niš :

1. Niš Fortress

Niš Fortress

Right on the Nišava River is the daunting Ottoman fort that was completed in 1723. This encloses an ancient citadel and has been settled since a Roman camp was founded here more than 2,000 years ago.

The new fortress was a massive undertaking: It covers 22 hectares and comprises more than two kilometres of walls.

You’ll arrive via the ceremonious Stambol gate, and there are lots of intriguing old details among the parkland inside.

One is the Turkish hamam, near the gate from 1498. There’s also mosque, Bali-Behy, dating to 1521, a lapidarium with Roman tombstones, a powder magazine and a monument to the liberation of Niš from 1902.

2. Skull Tower

Skull Tower, Nis

A grisly reminder of the bloodshed of the First Serbian Uprising is a tower literally made of rows of human skulls in quicklime.

The story goes that during the Battle of Čegar, the Serbian trenches were being overrun by attacking Ottomans.

So the commander Stevan Sinđelić personally detonated the powder magazine, obliterating his position on Čegar Hill to avoid being taken prisoner by Vizier Hurshid Pasha.

Some 952 Serbian skulls were collected from the battlefield and became the material for this tower in 1809 to deter another uprising.

After the Ottoman withdrawal in 1878, most of these were removed and buried.

But a 4.5-metre remnant of the tower is housed in a chapel and contains 54 skulls.

Mediana, Niš

Niš, or Naissus, was taken by the Romans in 75 BC and became a camp on the Via Militaris, a road across southeastern Europe from what is now Belgrade to Constantinople.

As it happens, Emperor Constantine was born in Naissus in 272 AD, and you can visit his birthplace at the Mediana archaeological site.

Southeast of the city, this villa the most complete Roman vestige in Niš.

You can make out the remnants of a grand peristyle (open fountain surrounded by a colonnade). Beside the peristyle under a canopy are the ruins of marble columns, mosaics and traces of frescoes, as well as the heating system for the villa’s baths.

4. Archaeological Hall

Archaeological Hall, Niš

Like Skull Tower and Mediana, the Archaeological Hall belongs to the National Museum of Niš.

Many of the artefacts unearthed in this ancient city are on show here.

These go back long before the Romans arrived, to when Niš was a Bronze Age settlement in the 6th century BC. From this time there are Celtic swords, ceramics, items of jewellery, bronze hairpins and male and female figurines.

And from the Roman days you can see sculptures discovered at Mediana, representing Dioysus and Satyr, the Greek God Asclepius and his daughter Hygia and finally Jupiter on his throne.

There’s also a life-sized statue of Emperor Constantine, which is one of three imperial portrait sculptures on show.

5. Tinkers’ Alley

Tinkers' Alley

On Kopitareva Street, opposite the glass facade of the Kalča shopping mall you can dive into the city’s last surviving craftsman’s quarter.

This street is from the time of Ottoman rule and was plotted in the first half of the 18th century.

The main livelihood was tinsmithing, and it’s a trade that continued here right up to the 1990s.

Since then the quaint cobblestone alley has opened up to tourists and tinkers have been replaced by the cafes and restaurants that now occupy these 18th and 19th century buildings.

6. Crveni Krst Concentration Camp

Crveni Krst Concentration Camp

After the Second World War ended this concentration camp was preserved as a poignant memorial to the Jewish, Serbian and Romani people imprisoned here.

The Crveni Krst (Red Cross) camp has been left alone since the war and feels eerily like it has only just been abandoned.

You’ll be given an introduction to the camp at the entrance and there are information panels dotted around the site to fill you in.

After the first mass executions began in 1942 there was a breakout in which 15 prisoners managed to escape, an act met with a brutal response by the Nazis.

7. Bubanj Memorial Site

Bubanj Memorial Site

During the Second World War those mass executions took place on Mount Bubanj just to the west of the city.

It is estimated that 10,000 prisoners from the Crveni Krst camp were killed on this hilltop.

Right after the war the hill was turned into a memorial park.

And before long a sculpture was erected in the clearing at the crest.

It was the work of Yugolsav artist Ivan Sabolić and depicts three clenched fists to symbolise the defiance of the children, women and men who died here.

8. Latin Church in Gornji Matejevac

Latin Church in Gornji Matejevac

With a scenic location on Metoh Hill above the village of Gornji Matejevac is a Byzantine church that built in the 1000s.

It’s one of only a few monuments in the region to predate the Nemanjić Dynasty, which ruled Serbia and much of southeastern Europe in the middle ages.

The church has a condensed cross floor plan, and bears the classic Byzantine method of white stone alternating with red brick.

Although none of the medieval decoration remains, the church’s brick dome is marvellous from the inside.

The name “Latin Church” actually refers to merchants from Dubrovnik, known as “Latins”, who worshipped at the church in the 17th century.

9. Officers House

Officers House

Facing the fortress ramparts across the Nišava is a stately building from 1890 with an interesting past.

This first opened as a restaurant but was soon purchased by the army as an officers mess, and during the First World War it became the temporary seat of the Serbian parliament.

Numerous resolutions were passed here that would have a lasting impact on Serbia and the region.

The one that would truly transform this part of the world was the Niš Declaration in 1915, more or less the birth of Yugoslavia as an idea.

It stated Serbia’s aim to unite the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes under one nation, a move that still has repercussions today.

10. Holy Trinity Cathedral

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Nis

The city’s cathedral is a product of the Treaty of Paris in 1856, in which the Ottomans pledged to recognise the rights of Christians in their empire.

Construction took place over the next few decades and the church was consecrated after the liberation of Niš in 1878. The design is an engaging mishmash of Serbian-Byzantine, Neo-Renaissance and Baroque styles.

At the altar the illustrious 19th-century Realist painter Đorđe Krstić was hired to compose the 48 icons in the iconostasis.

Sadly the originals were lost in a fire in 2001, but the building and its decoration have been completely restored.

11. King Milan Square

King Milan Square, Nis

Also just across the water from the fortress, this square came about in the 1720s during its construction.

Shops and khans (merchant inns) were set up here as the city grew along the riverbank.

A little later there was a market on this square, where the local landowners would sell the leftover goods they had accumulated from their tenants as tax.

When Niš was liberated the old Turkish-style townscape was swept aside and this square was given a fresh Central European air.

Despite the 20th-century tower blocks on the west side there’s still a pleasing row of 19th-century houses on the square’s eastern edge, with cafe terraces in front.

12. Niška Banja

Niška Banja

A few kilometres to the southeast is the city’s spa, which has traces of Neolithic civilisation going back 3,300 years.

Naturally the Romans were fond of Niška Banja and built an ancient resort around its five springs.

The Roman bath and its two pools, clad with mosaics hark back to this time.

Thousands of years later, people still visit to bathe in the water and soak in the mineral-rich mud.

The water comes out at between 36-38°C, and is actually mildly and harmlessly radioactive due to the natural presence of radon! It is claimed to be most beneficial for coronary issues, cellulite and to rehabilitate orthopaedic injuries.

To the south is the stirring sight of the Suva Planina mountain, cresting at more than 1,800 metres and with fragments of the Via Militaris Roman road on its slopes.

13. Jelašnica Gorge

Jelašnica Gorge

Carry on east and you’ll find yourself at a bewitching nature reserve.

You can pass through the two-kilometre Jelašnica Gorge by car on a winding road to get a good look at the walls of dolomite that culminate with jagged, teeth-like rocks.

There are few places to park up, and set up camp or just stop for picnic.

All have views of the gorge’s ghostly rock formations and abundant foliage.

There are also caves in the cliffs, the ruins of a Roman fort are still visible in beside the gorge, as well as the Ripalijka waterfall, which is enchanting.

The Sicevo Gorge on the Nišava River is also in reach, and has walking trails and two hydroelectricity plants from the early 1900s.

14. The Nišville Jazz Festival

Nišville Jazz Festival

For four days in the middle of August the city’s fortress puts on the biggest jazz festival in the Balkans.

Nišville began in 1995 and was the first music festival in Serbia to be recognised by the Ministry of Culture as a national cultural event.

The festival books leading jazz, blues and soul artists, but also has a broad church, inviting fusion bands that blend jazz with Balkan folk.

In 2017 Patti Austin, Al Foster and Candy Dulfer were in the lineup, while previous editions have welcomed Ginger Baker, Solomon Burke and Osibisa to the stage.

15. Traditional Food


Now, a meal at a kafana (typical Balkan tavern) is something you have to try at least once in Niš.

Kafanas are much more than just somewhere to eat, as meals come with live entertainment and a host of time-honoured customs.

One of these is toasts with rakija, a powerful fruit brandy and Serbia’s national drink.

Eating at a Kafana is a multi-course event, beginning with a meze and ending with coffee.

Out and about there are a few delicacies that Niš does better than anywhere else: Burek is a phyllo dough pastry filled with meat or cheese, while pljeskavica, is a grilled patty from seasoned beef, lamb and pork in a pita or a bun with a spicy cheese filling (urnebes).

15 Best Things to Do in Niš (Serbia):

  • Niš Fortress
  • Skull Tower
  • Archaeological Hall
  • Tinkers' Alley
  • Crveni Krst Concentration Camp
  • Bubanj Memorial Site
  • Latin Church in Gornji Matejevac
  • Officers House
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral
  • King Milan Square
  • Niška Banja
  • Jelašnica Gorge
  • The Nišville Jazz Festival
  • Traditional Food

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10 Best things to do in Niš in one day

Welcome to Niš, a city known for its dark history, archaeological sites, superb jazz festival, and delicious food. One of the oldest cities in Europe, it is definitely a place I love coming back to. Both history lovers and culture vultures will immediately fall in love with Niš.  

The third-largest city in Serbia, Niš is the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great . So, it comes as no surprise that Niš has great historical wealth. You will find archaeological sites, museums, historical buildings, and churches connected with the Roman and Byzantine periods scattered across the city.

With a stone tower embedded with human skulls and a WW2 concentration camp memorial, the city of Niš is also known for its violent past. These morbid attractions serve as reminders of the region’s dark past. But these are not the only attractions in town you can visit.

In this guide, I’ve put together a list of what I feel are the best and most important places to visit in Niš. I’ve organized it in a way that you can visit all the places in this list during a one-day itinerary in Niš.

Niš 3

1. Admire the beauty of Tinkers Alley

If you have one day in Niš, I recommend starting your travel adventure with a visit to the city’s last surviving craftsman’s quarter . 

A quaint little alley packed with coppersmiths and other metal workers, Tinkers Alley dates back to the first half of the 18th century. It played an important role in the city’s economy and culture. For example, tinsmithing was the most popular trade on this quaint cobblestone alley.

Nowadays, Tinkers Alley is one of the most popular places to visit in Niš. The original tinkers have been replaced by tourists who come here to eat and drink in bars and restaurants which are situated inside beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings. It will take you about an hour to enjoy Tinkers Alley.

Tinkers alley Niš

2. Explore the Niš Fortress

Built during the 18th century by Ottoman Turks, Niš Fortress is the center of tourist life in the city. Here, both locals and tourists gather and explore a veritable maze of sights. This monumental stone structure is actually one of the best-preserved fortresses in the region. 

An interesting fact about the Niš Fortress is that Bulgarians used it as a prison during World War I.

You can see it from the outside or also visit it inside. If you choose the latter, you will need approximately 2 hours to tour this fortress. 

Built around a Roman citadel, the fortress is packed with historical remnants from the old times. Visitors will have an opportunity to see everything from a powder room and a Turkish steam bath to well-preserved walls and gates. The fortress is also a giant green park where locals like to relax in summer when the weather is nice.

Niš fortress

3. See the Skull Tower

The Skull Tower (Ćele Kula) is one of the most morbid structures that you will find in this part of Europe. It is exactly what the name indicates- a 4-meter-high stone tower embedded with human skulls. The tower was built in 1809 right after the battle between Serbian revolutionaries and Ottoman soldiers.

You will find this morbid attraction just a short drive from the city center. Surrounded by a small park, the tower is situated inside a building that resembles a chapel. The structure was built using the skulls of 952 fallen Serbian rebels, but less than 60 of the heads remain today. The rest of the skulls are either buried somewhere or lost.

The Skull Tower (Ćele Kula) is, without a doubt, one of the most unusual things to see in Niš.

Skull tower Niš

4. Learn about history at the National Museum of Niš

If you wish to learn more about the history of the city, pay a visit to the National Museum of Niš. Situated inside a charming building, the museum is on the smaller side and consists of just one room. Although you could walk through the entire museum in less than a minute, the museum is really interesting and you can easily spend an hour here.

Most of the things you will see are actually archeological exhibits. Some of these exhibits date back to the Bronze Age. The most interesting exhibits are related to a luxurious villa built by Constantine the Great called “Mediana”. My favorite exhibit at the National Museum Niš is the model of this posh villa.

Visiting the National Museum is one of the best things to do in Niš when it’s raining outside.

5. Visit the Bubanj Memorial Site

Venture outside the city gates to find the Bubanj Memorial Site. Also known as the Monument to fallen Yugoslav World War II fighters , the memorial site is another interesting place to visit in the city of Niš. 

Mount Bubanj is the place where 10,000 prisoners from the Crveni Krst camp were taken and killed. Right after the war, the hilltop was turned into a memorial park to honor the victims.

The monument has the shape of three clenched fists . If you look closely, you will notice that each fist has a different shape and size. This is because the three clenched fists symbolize the defiance of the children, women, and men who died here. The sculpture is the work of Yugoslavian artist, Ivan Sabolić.

Bubanj Niš

6. Go on a tour of the Red Cross Camp

Although Serbia is definitely not the first place that comes to mind when talking about WWII concentration camps , Niš is home to one of the Nazi horror factories. 

Red Cross Camp (Crveni Krst) was named after a Red Cross station which was located nearby. The camp was initially intended to be just a transit camp, but in the end, out of 30,000 people who passed through it during the war, 12,000 were tortured and killed.

Today, you will find a memorial museum that stands right on the site of the concentration camp. The ticket booth actually served as a guard tower in the past. You will also notice a SS symbol and a Nazi swastika on the sign right above the windows.

The Red Cross Camp may be a hard place to see live, but it is an important place to visit in Niš, especially for people who are interested in historical sites.

7. Discover the ruins of Mediana

Located just outside the city gates, the Ruins of Mediana is an important archeological site in Serbia. 

Dating back to the late Roman period when Constantine the Great was the ruler of the empire, the site offers some well-preserved archeological remains of the Villa of Emperor Constantine the Great. For those who don’t know, Niš, or Naissus, is one of the oldest cities in Europe . The Romans took it in 75 BC and the city became a camp on the ancient Roman road, the Via Militaris.

The ruins of Mediana have been closed for years, but the site started welcoming visitors again in 2023. Although some sections are still in progress and you can only pay for entrance with cash, this archaeological site is a place definitely worth visiting while you are in Niš. 

You can expect to see remnants of a grand peristyle, as well as ruins of marble columns, a heating system for the baths in the villa, and traces of frescoes.  

Mediana Niš

8. See the beautiful Holy Trinity Cathedral

No one-day itinerary to Niš is complete without stopping by the beautiful Holy Trinity Cathedral. This cathedral was built in 1878, as a by-product of the treaty in Paris in 1856 when the Ottomans needed to recognize Christianity in their empire.

With a mix of Serbian-Byzantine, Neo-Renaissance, and Baroque-style designs, it is one of the most amazing historical buildings in Niš . I like the icons which were made by the illustrious 19th-century Realist painter, Đorđe Krstić. It will take you around 30 minutes to explore the church.

9. Try authentic Serbian foods

Foodies visiting Niš are in for a treat. Southern Serbia is famous for its cuisine and the city of Niš is one of the best destinations to enjoy authentic Serbian dishes . 

For breakfast, you’ll be able to choose between Anton and Rajko, two of the most famous bakeries in the city where burek is the most popular dish to order. For those who don’t know, burek is a special dough pastry filled with meat or cheese beloved all across the Balkan Peninsula.

For lunch and dinner, I recommend reserving a table at a kafana (typical old-school Serbian tavern) to try local food delicacies and drink a powerful fruit brandy called rakija. Below you will find a short list of my favorite old-school kafanas in Niš where you can have a memorable dining experience.

  • Nišlijska Mehana
  • Kafana Mrak
  • Stambolijski
  • Kafana Brka
  • Kafana Galija
  • Etno Kafana Biser

10. Niška Banja

Located just a short drive from the city, Niška Banja is the city’s spa center with natural springs . The Romans discovered five springs in this location and decided to build an ancient resort around them with a giant Roman bath and two pools.

Today, Niška Banja is a popular spa resort among the elderly who come here for medicinal purposes. These hot springs are known to have a natural presence of radon which is known to rehabilitate orthopedic injuries and coronary issues.

If you are looking for a relaxing time, a visit to Niška Banja is a must-do during your one-day visit to Niš.

Banja Niš

Where to stay in Niš

You can visit Niš in one day following this itinerary, but if you will have more time, you can also sleep in the city. If you decide on this option, here are my recommendations for places to stay in Niš:

  • Ambasador Hotel : the only 5-star hotel in Niš, the Ambasador is the best place to stay if you are looking for luxury and comfort at a great price! In the off-season, you can find rooms for 200 euros, which is an excellent value for the service and facilities you get.
  • Garni Hotel Consul : If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, Hotel Consul is a great option place to stay as you can still benefit from a great location and service at a more affordable price.

FAQ: Popular questions about the best things to do in Niš

What is niš in serbia known for.

The city is best known for being the birthplace of Constantine the Great . It is a great historical city with a lot of things to see and do.

Personally, I would also add that Niš is home to some of the best restaurants in Serbia.

Is Niš worth visiting while in Serbia?

Being one of the oldest cities in Europe, Niš is definitely worth visiting for its historical attractions.

What is the old name of Niš?

The Romans used to call the city Naissus.

Is one day enough to visit Niš?

I think that you can visit the most popular tourist attractions in Niš in one day. But to make the most of your time there, I recommend driving your car to Niš simply because some of the attractions are located outside the city center.

If you need to rent a car for your trip, check the deals at Discover Cars . You can also read our guide about driving in Serbia as a tourist .

Niš is not always the first place that comes to mind when talking about popular tourist destinations in Serbia. However, I think that this city in southern Serbia is definitely worth a visit. 

From archaeological ruins to cool monuments and a few museums, there are enough attractions to keep you entertained for Niš one or two days. The locals are friendly, rakija is always served cold, and the food is amazing. What more can you ask for?

Other articles about Serbia

  • Serbia 5-7 Days Road Trip Itinerary
  • 3 Days in Belgrade: A Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
  • 14 Free Things to Do in Belgrade – by a Local
  • Visiting Novi Sad: a full guide
  • Exploring Tara National Park
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Serbia
  • The best hiking destinations in Serbia

Organizing your trip

To help you plan your trip to Serbia, we have put together our favorite planning resources: 

  • Flights : Get affordable flights to Serbia on . 
  • Travel insurance : Make sure you are protected during your trip. We use  VisitorsCoverage  whenever we are traveling abroad. 
  • Renting a car : We always use  Discover Cars  to get the best car deals. 
  • Accommodation : Find the best hotels and apartments on . 
  • Activities : Get fun ideas of what to do and buy unique activities with  Get Your Guide.  
  • SIM Card : Stay connected during your trip with  Airalo.  

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that we get a small commission from any purchase you make, at no additional cost to you!

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Nis to meet you

The Serbian city of Nis is one of the oldest in Europe and so it is full of history. There is plenty to see and do as a tourist.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

Updated: August 5, 2023

Nis, Serbia

“Can I ask you a question?”

The woman is polite and seems almost a bit embarrassed to bring this up me with.

“Of course,” I reply with an openness that thinly hides my concern about what the question could be.

“Why are you here?”

Ah, this old query. I have yet to be somewhere in Serbia where someone hasn’t asked me this. I am definitely getting the impression there aren’t too many tourists around these parts.

The woman has been showing me around the Archaeological Hall of The National Museum in the city of Nis. She is the only person working here and I am the only visitor, so she’s following me around as I look at the exhibits.

She tries to tell me what things are but her English isn’t too good. She explains that she doesn’t normally work at the museum – she’s actually a banker but she’s filling in for a friend.

“This is Serbia. Anything is possible!” is the answer when I give her a confused look.

The woman makes a phone call at one point and about ten minutes later a young man who speaks excellent English arrives. He introduces himself as someone who used to work at the museum and then gives me a 30 minute tour of all the items on display.

The tour takes a lot longer than the 60 seconds it would take to walk through the hall, which is really just one room. But it’s much appreciated and very interesting. Anything is possible in Serbia – especially such helpful kindness.

Things to see in Nis

The city of Nis, in the southeast of Serbia, is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has long been an important bridge between East and West.

Two millennia ago, it was used as a link between modern-day Belgrade and Istanbul. In a historical sense, it is most famous for being the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

By the standards of Serbian cities I’ve visited, it has quite a few things to see and is worth a day or two. Here are the highlights.

A grand Roman residence from the time of Constantine the Great and the best-preserved part of the ancient city of Naissus. It’s an important archaeological site that is still being explored and restored.

When I visited, a woman kindly walked around with me and explained everything in very good English. She also told me that when the restoration is finished, you’ll be able to see excellent examples of floor mosaics.

Archaeological Hall of The National Museum

This is probably not the best thing in town but is pretty easy to pop into while you’re passing by. It is a large room with a collection of replicas of important statues and other artefacts found in the Nis region. It gives you a good sense of how long this land has been occupied.

Skull Tower

I wrote in a more detail about Skull Tower in a previous post and it’s definitely somewhere worth visiting.

The large tower was made from almost 1000 skulls of Serbians killed during a battle in 1809 with Ottoman forces who controlled Nis. It was put on the road into town to warn any would-be attackers.

Now there are just 58 skulls remaining and a chapel has been built over it.

Red Cross Concentration Camp

With so much attention on the famous concentration camps like Auschwitz and Dachau, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Nazis built their horror factories all across Europe.

This camp, named for the Red Cross station which was nearby, had about 30,000 people brought through it during the war and it’s estimated about 12,000 of those were killed.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the site to turn it into a museum but you can’t escape the awful feeling here.

Bubanj Memorial Park

The executions of the inmates from the Red Cross Concentration Camp took place at a nearby hill called Bubanj. Several memorials have been built there to honour the victims of one of the largest execution sites in former Yugoslavia.

The most striking element is the statue representing three fists – a man’s, a woman’s and a child’s. The site is not easy to get to without a car but is somewhere you should try to visit.

And so, although much of the history of Nis is not pleasant, it is long and deep.

There is a lot to see in the city and next time a local asks “Why are you here?”, hopefully a tourist will have a better answer than me.

I just muttered something about having nowhere else to be.

More stories about Serbia

  • My top tips for travelling in Serbia
  • The best things to do in Belgrade
  • Discovering the meaning behind Belgrade's street art
  • The electrifying Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade
  • What to do in Nis
  • Is Skull Tower as horrific as it sounds? (Spoiler: yes!)
  • Things to do in Novi Sad
  • The Roman ruins of Felix Romuliana
  • Visiting the charming Studenica Monastery

12 thoughts on “Nis to meet you”

RE: people from the region always asking why you are there, but nevertheless being super friendly.

I ran into this a LOT while living in Bulgaria and delving into the countries surrounding. There’s so few tourists that come there the people are genuinely curious!

Also: one of the best parts about this section of the world is the fact that you can stumble across Roman, Byzantine, Thracian and Ottoman relics and ruins every fifteen feet! Love the shots as usual 🙂

Haha, that opening line. Yes! Had the same question in Poprad Tarty in Slovakia. At the bus station “Dude, what are you doing here?” Tried explaining how we wanted to hike the High Tatras Mountains. He just shook his head and walked off.

Serbia definitely isn’t a spot most tourists probably consider, so I’m sure it is a bit odd for them to have tourists. At least these museums are even open with virtually no tourism, from the sounds of your posts.

They ask you that question not because there aren’t much tourists, they ask you that because people here aren’t aware of beauty, culture and rich history their country have.

I keep hearing such great things about Serbia…cannot wait until I get the chance to visit for myself! Love going places that are not absolutely saturated with tourists. Thanks for sharing 🙂

I love that there’s so much Roman history! But I had no idea there were concentration camps all the way in Serbia, I’ve only ever heard about Germany and Poland.

Yes there is concentration camp here in Nis. It’s called Red Cross or February 12, because this is the only concentration camp that couple of people managed to escape from on that day…

Beautifully documented article! Such wonderful, resilient people with such a painful and complex history.

They’ve got more history in Nis than your average Balkans city… although it’s been a very quiet time for them the past couple of centuries. Still definitely worth a visit, though!

The graffiti you photographed at Bubanj says “I love you.” Well specifically Marko is saying that to Andela. I thought that was rather odd spot for a such a declaration, given what the monuments are there for.

Yeah… I guess people who scribble graffiti on monuments aren’t inherently the most considerate people. It is nice of Marko to profess his love to Andela… but maybe not so nice to do it on a memorial for thousands of dead people.

Now, This is good!

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Home > Top Things To Do In Niš On A Weekend – Nis Serbia Guide

Top Things To Do In Niš On A Weekend – Nis Serbia Guide

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Written by our local expert Guru

Written by a local specialist we know and trust to bring you the most up-to-date travel information.

History, culture, great food, and fun are available in spades in Niš, Serbia. Here is your guide to the best things to do in Niš this year.

Serbia Travel Blog_Best Things To Do In Nis Serbia

Things To Do In Nis

We know you’ll enjoy your time in Serbia’s third largest city – the city of Niš, as there is so much to do, such as:

  • Andonović Palace
  • Čair Fountain
  • Crveni Krst Concentration Camp
  • Explore the complex history of Niš
  • Indulge in the diverse gastronomic scene
  • King Milan Square
  • Medijana archaeological site
  • National Museum
  • Niš Fortress
  • Nišville Jazz Festival
  • Religious sites 
  • Skull Tower
  • Tinkers’ Alley
  • Visit the birthplace of Roman emperors
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral

If you opt for a trip to Serbia , you will be in for a delightful surprise. The country is full of friendly people, great food, and fascinating sights, with Belgrade standing as its crown jewel .

However, do not think other cities are worth your attention because you will be making a big mistake. Niš, for example, is a popular spot you really should make a part of your itinerary when traveling through the country.

History, culture, great food, and fun are available in spades, so if possible, try to stay in the city for at least a few days. And if you do, you should plan ahead of what to visit.

Here are a few suggestions of things to do in Niš that will help you make the most of your time there:

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

What To See & Best Things To Do In Niš

Given the city’s long history, there are plenty of sights to look forward to here. Different periods brought distinctly different styles as a consequence of various cultural influences. Because of that, you could tour the city for days and still not see everything worth noting. Therefore, if possible, try to spend as much time here as you can. Here are just some of the reasons why.

1. Ancient Niš Fortress

Best Things To Do In Serbia - Fortress

The Niš Fortress is arguably the city’s most important thing to see . The Ottomans created its current iteration in the early 18th century. Still, pretty much every culture that ruled this area had a fort in this exact place – the Romans, the Bulgarians, the Serbs.

It is located on the northern shore of the Nišava and boasts fantastically preserved walls and gates, leaving me in awe when I first saw them.

Perfectly preserved, while at the Nis Fortress, you can imagine the battles taking place around it. Inside, you can see loads of interesting pieces from the city’s history, which adds to the experience and helps you get a clear picture of just how tumultuous the city’s history was. It’s a great place to visit , no doubt about that!

2. Skull Tower

Best Things To Do In Serbia - Skull Tower

Sounds spooky. Well, it really is! The Skull Tower (Ćele kula in Serbian) is a relatively unique piece of architecture built by the Ottomans in the early 19th century. Its purpose was to scare the local population into submission after the First Serbian Uprising had failed. And let me tell you something – these are real human skulls, which still work.

Into the tower’s sides are embedded the skulls of Serbian rebels who fought against Ottoman rule. Seeing that they are being overrun, the rebels’ leader, Stevan Sinđelić, initiated a huge explosion, killing himself, his soldiers, and many enemies in the process.

Yes, seeing the remains of those people like that may shock you a little, but the place also gave me a lot to think about, and I sincerely recommend you visit it.

3. Tinkers Alley

What was once a street filled with artisans and merchants is today a great place to relax and unwind in the very heart of Niš. Another relict of Ottoman rule, Tinkers Alley (Kazandžijsko sokače), was built in the 18th century. However, the merchants were slowly pushed out of there as time passed, with the last ones leaving in the late 20th century.

However, they were replaced by numerous bars, restaurants, and even hotels, so if you’re looking for a place to do some people-watching, this is absolutely it.

Niš is also quite famous for its gastronomy, which you can also experience here, and staying in a hotel in this alley really is something special. I went through it in the evening and instantly fell in love with the place. It’s vibrant, romantic, and hip, all simultaneously, and the locals are extremely friendly.

And since I was here in the evening, some dinner was in order. We ended up in “Kafana Galija,” and my God was that dinner good! A spectacular array of traditional meat dishes was served to us, everything very reasonably priced. The food here really is something special, so a trip to this alley should be an obligatory part of your Niš visit!

4. Andonović Palace

Also in the city center, in Obrenovićeva Street, is Andonović Palace. Now, this was not a place used by any king or anything of the sort. No, instead, it was the home of a wealthy merchant. Built in the period between World War I and World War II, this is an exquisite example of neoclassical architecture that is very much worth at least a minute of your time when you’re walking through the city center.

Seeing something like this makes you wonder what living in a mansion like this feels like — it puts my one-bedroom apartment into perspective. Nevertheless, the front of the house was spectacular, and I’m certainly glad I stopped by it.

5. National Museum

Balkan Flags_Serbia 1

Slightly west of Obrenovićeva is the city’s National Museum , i.e., its Archaeology Hall. Now, you can see a whole lot of things here, and the objects cover the period from the Neolithic all the way to the Middle Ages.

There are some fascinating pieces of jewelry inside and tons of ancient art. If you don’t know anything about the city’s history, you will be very pleasantly surprised by the size of the collection here, just like I was. It paints a vivid picture of the history of this place.

6. Religious Objects

The only mosque still in use in Niš today, Islam-aga’s mosque, is the last public building the Ottoman Empire built in the city. Once upon a time, there were no less than 19 mosques in the city, but this one is the only one that has preserved its original function.

Many other mosques can be found inside the fortress, but they have either been repurposed and today serve as museums or abandoned altogether.

But that’s not all; it is interesting to see the church known as The Catholic Church (close to the National Museum) because this is the first Roman-Catholic parish in Serbia (people here are predominantly Orthodox Christians). I must say it’s a stunning piece of architecture, especially on the inside.

Add to that the fact that there is also a synagogue in the city, which now serves as the National Museum’s gallery, and you will realize how diverse Niš’s history is. It is a fascinating story, but unfortunately, the Jewish community here did not survive the horrors of WW II.

7. Čair Fountain

Just up Obrenovićeva Street, towards the river, is the Čair fountain. In my honest opinion, it is a beautiful place because of all the greenery and flowers around the fountain, and a great place to snap a few pictures for your social network accounts.

The fountain itself was moved several times, but the current location is also its original one. Made of granite and with lion’s heads spewing out water from their throats, it is quite an exciting site, definitely, something architecture fans will want to see.

8. King Milan Square

Monument to Liberators of Nis on King Milan square. Serbia

The fountain stands opposite King Milan’s Square, which is the main city square and really a lovely place if you want to spend a sunny day out in the open. The brick-colored covering of the square left quite an impression on me because they somehow looked quite inviting and relaxing. It’s really a great place to sit down for a chat with a friend.

But on the square is also a beautiful statue dedicated to the city’s liberators, both from the Ottoman Turks and from WW I. As a matter of fact, I learned later that this is one of the most important Yugoslavian sculptures, and I could clearly see why. It brings the whole square to an entirely new level. Check it out!

9. The Mayor’s Office

Yes, it may sound a bit strange, but the mayor’s office in Niš is a pretty impressive sight to behold. As a matter of fact, this is considered to be one of the most beautiful, if not THE most beautiful, public buildings in Serbia . I can’t imagine a prettier office and could see myself working in a building such as this one.

Located next to King Milans Square, it was built in 1925 and is another excellent example of neoclassical architecture in the city. Loads of ornaments, grandiose entrances, vast staircases, and many other remarkable features all make this public office very special indeed. Another beautiful building to check out – yes, there will be a lot of walking in this part of Niš, but it will be well worth it.

10. Medijana

Best Things To Do In Serbia - Park

You might say that I’ve saved the best for last with this one because Medijana is a vast archaeological park dedicated to the ancient town of Naissus (today’s Niš). There is plenty to see here, from luxurious villas to infantry barracks, but I couldn’t get to it because the park was closed for renovation.

Still, because this was all built during the reign of Constantine the Great, with whom the city has an inextricable link, you really should make it a part of your itinerary. You will have to pay for a ticket and travel to the city’s eastern outskirts, but it will be well worth the money and effort.

11. Crveni Krst Concentration Camp – Red Cross Concentration Camp

The Crveni Krst Concentration Camp, located in Niš, Serbia, holds a significant place in history as a reminder of the atrocities committed by German soldiers during the Second World War. Established by Nazi Germany in 1941, this nazi concentration camp served as a detention and execution site for thousands of innocent civilians, Serbian revolutionaries, resistance fighters, and political opponents.

The prisoners endured unbearable conditions by the German Gestapo, including overcrowding, torture, and malnutrition. The camp’s dark legacy is symbolized by the chilling presence of the crematorium chimney, where countless lives were tragically lost.

Today, the Crveni Krst Concentration Camp stands as a somber memorial site, allowing visitors to remember and honor the victims while fostering an understanding of the importance of human rights and peace.

12. Holy Trinity Cathedral

Niš, Serbia, boasts a remarkable cathedral that is not to be missed.

Built following the Treaty of Paris in 1856, the cathedral stands as a testament to the Ottomans’ commitment to recognizing the rights of Christians in their empire. Its architectural style is a captivating blend of Serbian-Byzantine, Neo-Renaissance, and Baroque influences, creating a visual feast for visitors.

Inside, the cathedral’s beauty unfolds with the meticulously restored interior, featuring 48 icons in the iconostasis, originally painted by the renowned Realist artist Đorđe Krstić.

Although the original icons were tragically lost in a fire in 2001, the cathedral stands proudly with its restored splendor. Marvel at the craftsmanship and immerse yourself in the rich history as you explore this architectural gem in the heart of Niš.

14. Mediana Archaeological Site

The Mediana archaeological site is a captivating destination that beckons history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

This ancient Roman estate offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the past, showcasing the lavish lifestyle of the Roman elite—Marvel at the well-preserved remains of luxurious villas, including the impressive residence of Emperor Constantine the Great.

As you wander through the intricate mosaics and intricate ruins, you’ll be transported back in time, imagining the vibrant social gatherings and opulent feasts that once took place here.

The site also features a museum where you can further immerse yourself in the rich historical context and unearthed treasures. Savor the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans and discover the secrets of Mediana, an archaeological marvel that tells the story of a bygone era.

15. Nišville Jazz Festival

Prepare to be swept away by the infectious rhythms and soulful melodies at the Nišville Jazz Festival in Niš, Serbia – held every August.

This vibrant musical extravaganza is a must-visit for jazz fans and music lovers from around the world. Set against the backdrop of the city’s historical charm, the festival brings together internationally acclaimed jazz artists and local talent, creating an unforgettable experience for all.

From smooth jazz to lively improvisations, the festival offers a diverse lineup that caters to all musical preferences. Immerse yourself in the captivating performances, soak up the electric atmosphere, and let the enchanting beats ignite your passion for music.

Whether you’re a seasoned jazz enthusiast or just looking for an unforgettable cultural experience, the Nišville Jazz Festival promises a dazzling celebration of music that will leave you spellbound.

Brands We Use And Trust

Where to stay in niš.

Serbia Travel Blog_Where to Stay in Nis_Artloft Garni Hotel

Hostel Day’ N’ Night.   Its central location, comfortable beds, and friendly staff make this one of the most highly rated hostels in Niš.

ArtLoft Hotel.   Located in the heart of Niš, this quirky hotel features modern rooms with paintings from local artists and has numerous bars and restaurants nearby.

Good Night.   Just 300 meters from the bus station, Good Night’s minimalist design and cozy rooms make it a top pick for mid-range hotels .

Best Western Hotel My Place.   Located right on the Nišava River and facing the fortress, My Place is the place to stay if you’re looking for affordable luxury. Its restaurant has panoramic views, and breakfast is included in the room rate. With plenty of urban attractions, a bustling café and bar scene, and picturesque towns, Serbia is still one the cheapest destinations in the Balkans and a place not to be missed.

What You Need To Know About Niš

Niš is the third-largest city in Serbia, right after Novi Sad and Belgrade, with approximately a quarter of a million people. If you have the time, spend at least one day in Belgrade ; you’ll love it! It is the industrial center of the country’s south and holds immense value for the whole of Serbia both in terms of history and culture.

Niš is one of the oldest cities on the Balkan Peninsula , and its layout is defined by the Nišava, the river that flows through the city. Given the numerous historical sites in and around the city , some of which date back to ancient times, Niš is a popular tourist destination.

In contrast, the locals appreciate it immensely for its gastronomy. Trust me; you won’t be hungry here. But since the history of this city is such a big deal, it deserves a part of its own in this text, so let’s get to it.

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How To Get To Nis From Within The Balkans

Getting to Niš, a significant city in southern Serbia known for its historical importance and vibrant culture, can be conveniently managed from various points within the Balkans. Here are some of the common ways to reach Niš:

Niš Constantine the Great Airport (INI) serves the city. Although it’s smaller and has fewer connections compared to Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport, it offers direct flights to several European destinations, mainly operated by low-cost airlines. Depending on your starting point, flying to Niš might require a connection, potentially in Belgrade or another regional hub.

Buses are a popular and efficient way to travel within the Balkans, and Niš is well-connected by international and domestic bus routes. Direct buses run from many Balkan cities, including Belgrade, Skopje, Sofia, and others. The central bus station in Niš is located near the city center, making it convenient for travelers.

Niš is on the railway line connecting Belgrade with Sofia, Thessaloniki, and beyond, making it accessible by train from several locations in the Balkans. While train travel can offer scenic views and a unique experience, it’s worth noting that trains in this region are be slower and less frequent than buses.

Driving to Niš is another viable option. The city is accessible via the E-75 and E-80 European highways, which are part of the Pan-European Corridors. These roads make Niš easily reachable from neighboring countries. If you’re renting a car, ensure you’re familiar with the local driving laws and have the necessary documents to cross the border.

A Brief History Of Niš, Serbia

Balkan Flags_Serbia 2

The history of Niš is a long and interesting one. While people have been living around here for thousands of years, the settlement that would become modern-day Niš was founded in the early 3rd century BC by a Celtic tribe called Scordisci. Later, it became a part of the Roman (and Byzantine) Empire, with medieval Serbia taking control of it in the 12th century.

However, in the mid-15th century, the city became part of the Ottoman Empire and remained there for more than 400 years. That’s why you can not see the influence of Islam in the city, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

The city is also notable in world history because three different Roman emperors were born here: Justin I, Constantine III, and Constantine the Great. The latter was actually the first Christian Roman emperor. The city is so proud of the fact it was the birthplace of the Roman emperor Constantine that it named the city’s airport is named after him. With that short history lesson over, let’s take a look at the sights you need to visit while visiting Niš.

So, tell us, what will be the first thing you see in Niš when you arrive?

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  • A Guide To Bring Your Pet To Serbia.
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  • Travel Itineraries For A Weekend Trip To Serbia

Thank you for the detailed description of the city’s sights! We enjoyed visiting them!

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Simpatična mediteranska Nica drugi je grad u Francuskoj po broju turista koji je godišnje posete, posle Pariza. Ovaj lučki grad smešten je nedaleko od italijanske granice, između Kana i Monaka. Smatra se glavnim gradom Azurne obale.

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Grad je poznat po prelepim trgovima. Glavni trg je Massena koji je prostran i ukrašen zgradama u italijanskom stilu, sa palmama i borovima. Na ovom trgu uglavnom se održavaju razlilite manifestacije i festivali. Trg Garibaldi datira iz XVIII veku i u njegovom centru nalazi se Garibaldijev spomenik po kome je trg i dobio ime. Spomenik je izgrađen u čast ujedinjenja Nice sa Italijom. U centru starog dela grada nalazi se trg Rossetti. Najdominantnija na ovom trgu je katedrala St Reoarata i fontana. Mnogi restorani i poslastičarnice nalaze se na ovom trgu.

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Prelepa cvetna pijaca nalazi se na trgu Saleya. I ovde možete ručati u nekom prijatnom restoranu ili popiti kafu u nekom bistrou. Trg Palate je popularan kod mlađih ljudi a ovde se neretko održavaju i koncerti.

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Manastir Notre Dame od Simijea iz 17. veka je još jedna atrakcija Nice. Ovde možete čuti zanimljive priče o životu monaha koji su boravili ovde ali i pogledati nekoliko remek dela slikarstva. Najveća crkva u Nici je bazilika koja je izgrađena u gotičkom stilu 1868. godine.

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Palata Lascaris je takođe zgrada koju morate videti. Najlepši pogled na Nicu pruža se sa tvrđave Mon Alban iz 16. veka. Akropolj u Nici danas je mesto koje služi kao multimedijski i konferencijski centar i otvoren je za znatiželjne turiste. U njemu se održavaju izložbe, a poseduje i bioskop i kuglanu.

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Simbol Nice je luk Venet i delo je Bernarda Veneta. Nalazi se u bašti Alberta I. Stara luka je takođe mesto koje odiše lepotom. Luka je manja ali je i centar Francuske rivijere i mami uzdahe turista zbog velikih luksuznih jahti koje su usidrenje u nju. Na obali se nalaze zanimljive zgrade koje potiču iz XVIII veka, crvenih fasada.

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Nica je mesto sa bogatim istorijskim i kulturnim nasleđem pa je samim tim i puno muzeja čiji sadržaj svedoči o njenoj prošlosti. Arheološko nalazište pretvoreno u muzej Terra Amata jedno je takvo mesto. Sadrži bogatu zbirku predmeta koji svedoče o životu praistorijskog čoveka. Muzej arheologije Nica Simije je još jedan muzej velike važnosti. U njemu se nalaze zbirke predmeta koji su iskopani na području grada i koji datiraju iz rimskog doba. Posebno su zanimljivi ostaci kupatila iz 3. veka.

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Regionalni muzej azijske umetnosti je novijeg datuma i nalazi se u prelepoj zgradi sagrađenoj u azijskom stilu, u parku Feniks. Muzej Biblique Marc Chagall sadrži 17 dela  koja predstavljaju Šagalovu biblijsku poruku i koja su stvorena u periodu između 1956. godine i 1966. godine. Umetnik Henri Matis živeo je nekih tridesetak godina u Nici. Njegova dela izložena su u sedamnaestovekovnoj zgradi zanimljive crvene fasade. Dela francuske i američke avangardne umetnosti možete pogledati u muzeju MAMAC. Tu su izložena dela Vorhola i Amana. U vili iz 19. veka nalazi se Muzej lepe umetnosti i sadrži dela iz perioda od 15. do 20. veka. U zamku Sent Elen nalazi se Nacionalni muzej Anatol Jakovski koji sadrži oko 600 umetničkih dela autora poput Vivena, Rimbera i Bušana.

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Na 3 hektara prostire se Botanička bašta u Nici i bogata je različitim vrstama biljaka i mediteranskim vrstama drveća. Još jedno mesto na kome možete uživati u lepom ambijentu i prirodi je Edenova bašta koja je poznata po velikim brojem egzotičnih ptica koje je nastanjuju. Bašta Alberta I je mesto koje odiše harmonijom i nalazi se u centru grada. Ovaj najstariji park u Nici ima veliki broj fontana, a na podijumu u parku se često održavaju i koncerti bendova i različite muzičke manifestacije.

Restorani / Kafići / Noćni provod

Ulica Massena i deo grada Cour Saleya su najpoznatije po velikom broju restorana i bistroa. Ipak u ovim delovima cene u restoranima su skuplje u odnosu na malo zabačenije i ne tako prometne delove. Najbolji restorani u Nici su Le Serao, La Bodeguita del Havana, La Havane, Le Palais Jamai, Luc Salsedo i Sapore. Neki od najposećenijih barova i noćnih klubova su Puzzle Bar, Freds bar, Le Volume, u kome često nastupaji poznati bendovi, Cave 35, Jam i Le Glam.

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Shopping / Marketi

U Francuskoj ulici nalaze se luksuzni butici, ali i mnogo restorana i kafea u kojima možete predahnuti od celodnevnog obilaska radnji. U blizini glavnog aerodroma smešten je veliki tržni centar Cap 3000 gde u januaru i julu možete naići na velike sezonske rasprodaje. Na aveniji Žan Medesen nalaze  se još neki tržni centri i mnogobrojni butici svetskih brendova. Tržni centar Nice Etoal je takođe tržni centar sa čestim rasprodajama. Glavna gradska pijaca nalazi se na Cour Saleya i tu možete kupiti, osim svežeg povrća i voća, i različite rukotvorine i lepe suvenire. Riblja pijaca nalazi se na trgu St Fransoa.

Ostale aktivnosti

Nica se može pohvaliti lepim, uređenim i kamenitim plažama na kojima se nalaze i lepo uređeni i prijatni kafići. Većina je nagrađena plavim zastavicama za čistoću i uređenost, a najveće gužve na plažama su u julu i avgustu kada je i najviše turista u Nici.

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Na oko 6 kilometara od Nice nalazi se odmaralište Vilfranš koje je poznato po tome što je ugostilo čuvenu Tinu Tarner i pisca Aldousa Hakslija. Srednjevekovne uličice i prelepe peščane plaže prepoznatljiv su simbol ovog mirnog mesta. Selo Vens smešteno je među planinama južne Francusku i odiše srednjevekovnim duhom zahvaljujući očuvanim zgradama. Nazivaju ga još i gradom umetnosti i to zbog toga što su tu često boravili Matis i Šagal.

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Još jedan biser francuske rivijere je Kan poznat po filmskom festivalu koji se tu održava. Luksuzni hoteli, velelepne palate sa pogledom na obalu i nezaboravan shopping najpoznatije su atrakcije ovog bisera Azurne obale. U blizini je i selo Vilnev Lube u kome se nalaze i dve poznate banje. Osim toga, oduševiće vas i čarobni srednjevekovni zamak koji se nalazi u ovom malom mestu.

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Nikako ne biste smeli da propustite Monako. Pored lepe i uređene prirode i parkova ovde možete oprobati sreću u nekom od kazina. Šoping je takođe još jedna stvar po kojom je ovo mesto poznato. I nikako ne propustite smenu straže na trgu Palate.

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Cene putovanja u Nicu možete proveriti u našoj ponudi.

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    Skull Tower. I wrote in a more detail about Skull Tower in a previous post and it's definitely somewhere worth visiting. The large tower was made from almost 1000 skulls of Serbians killed during a battle in 1809 with Ottoman forces who controlled Nis. It was put on the road into town to warn any would-be attackers.

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  16. Akcije

    Obrenovićeva bb, TPC Gorča, lokal M-20, 18000 Niš. 018 / 415 0 444. 062 / 492 001. 065 / 215 0 444. 018 / 35 05 900 [email protected] [email protected] Facebook. FunTravel Nis. Putno osiguranje. Newsletter. Prijavite se na našu mailing listu. Prijatelj sajta:


    Turistička agencija Fun Travel. (0 recenzija) Obrenovićeva 10 /lokal M20, 18105 Niš (Medijana) 018/415-0444. 062/492-001. Otvara se u 10:00. Nepotvrđen profil. Idi na veb-sajt Napiši recenziju Vidi na mapi Podeli.

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