Serbian people have many things to be proud of – successful athletes, famous and acknowledged scientists, beautiful nature, but also the officially best music festival in Europe.
EXIT won this flattering title back in 2014 and again in 2018. During its twenty years of life, this festival has reached the top, not only of European but also of global music events.
Fans of drum and bass, electro, dance, pop, rock music from all over the world can hardly wait for summer when this music event takes place at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad.
People who want an active vacation and find themselves in Serbia at the beginning of July, need to read these tips to visit the EXIT Festival (if they are lucky enough to get tickets, as these are usually sold out long before the festival begins).
Interestingly, the visitors to this festival are not only music fans and clubbers but also curious people who want to feel the unbridled spirit of festival gatherings. With so many stages and performers, and all kinds of activities organized for, everyone can find their cup of tea at EXIT.
If you still didn’t think about going to EXIT, maybe some interesting facts about this festival and its host town, Novi Sad, can make you change your mind.
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Where to Stay in Novi Sad
Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Novi Sad. Generally, budget means hostel beds for around $10 a night and singles/doubles for around $30, mid-range is from about $40-100 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.
Luxury: Since Novi Sad in winter is definitely the offseason, we wouldn’t be surprised if you could snag a fantastic deal on one of these top luxury hotels in Novi Sad: Prezident Hotel or Hotel Leopold I.
Planning to visit Belgrade as well on your trip? We’ve curated a list of all the best Belgrade hotels and hostels.
Everything You Need to Know About EXIT
Check these curious things about the EXIT Music Festival
It All Started with Zero EXIT
Because it all began during a period of significant political turbulence in Serbia, the EXIT Festival is remembered as one crucial event for this Balkan country. The zero-point of the festival is 2000.
During the 100 days of summer, a large number of concerts featuring local musicians, various audio and visual performances, and parties took place all over the Novi Sad. These were supposed to animate the youth to change the political scene of the former Yugoslavia.
Twenty years later, EXIT is no longer only a symbol of pure rebellion. Its primary goal today is to introduce people from all around the world to the modern and globally-oriented Serbia. So it’s no wonder why this festival attracts so many foreign tourists year after year.
Musicians Really Enjoy Performing at EXIT
David Guetta, Prodigy, Snoop Dog, Rudimental, Billy Idol are just some of the names that play in Novi Sad every few years.
The band Prodigy holds the record in the number of EXIT performances. They return to Serbia about every two or three years, and so far, they have taken part in the EXIT Festival a total of 6 times. And every time, their show has been a blast!
EXIT Didn’t Attract Much Attention at First
As a country that is becoming increasingly popular among foreign tourists, Serbia, in every way, has been trying to build a better image in the world.
The unpopular political events from previous decades generally gave a bad name to this country. So most foreigners had prejudices about Serbia and avoided this part of Europe.
For the first couple of years, foreign tourists were quite skeptical about Serbia and EXIT. Luckily, the situation has changed.
Thanks to good organization and, above all, good marketing, the EXIT Festival became a synonym for having a good time, and certainly one of the reasons to give Serbia a chance to be your next travel destination.
There’s a Growing Number of Stages
The Main Stage, Fusion, Dance Arena, and Explosive Stage, has been featured in well-known locations at the EXIT festival for over a decade.
The number of supporting stages varies each year, depending on the interest of sponsors. What makes this festival unique, are the areas where the audience can see young, non-affirmed performers and musicians playing in Serbia for the first time.
Dance Arena is a Lifetime Experience
We were told that the most breathtaking sunsets and sunrises are the ones you can witness at the Petrovaradin Fortress, particularly, at the Dance Arena.
The party here lasts literally all night. You spend time there until 10 PM, then go back to the campsite and take a nap, and then come back to the fortress around 5 AM to continue partying.
If you are a party enthusiast, you won’t miss the chance to rock all night long. Headliners at Dance Arena are pretty famous and craft terrific parties.
Some unofficial sources claim that David Guetta held a record attracting visitors to this stage – nearly 30,000 people at the time got themselves ‘dancin’ and cryin’, rollin’ and flyin’.
In the State of EXIT, the Currency is Token
Visitors buy EXIT tickets regularly, at ticket offices, or online. But you can find people who often re-sell tickets over ads or on social media.
If you have a set of tickets for the EXIT festival, before entering the Petrovaradin Fortress for the first time, you have to exchange them for the wristband.
Take good care of it. it’s the most valuable thing you own. At that moment, it is.
The wristband represents your door money to the state of EXIT, so make sure not to lose it, as you will literally go through hell to get yourself another wristband (don’t ask how I know).
You pay for drinks and snacks with tokens, or with the ‘EXIT Card,’ which you previously top up with money as you need.
Open Youth Fair, the Announcement of EXIT
A few days before EXIT opens, Novi Sad is the host of the only youth outdoor tourism fair in Europe. This event is a prelude to the music festival and an excellent opportunity for tourists to see what they can expect from Novi Sad and the rest of Serbia as well.
This fair is also a great way for locals to present the tourism of Serbia and the region to young people from all over the world. They have the chance to spread the word about other events and festivals that are part of Serbia’s tourist offer.
The mountain of Fruška Gora and the Danube River are popular locations near Novi Sad. While waiting for the next party to start, why not making most of your stay in Novi Sad?
Mixing Fun and Culture
The festival organizers strive to be culturally engaged in raising the visitors’ awareness of important social topics. For example, the EXIT organization once donated money for the reconstruction of the Petrovaradin Fortress, thus increasing its tourist potential.
Every year, the EXIT organization also helps nearby cultural sites, such as Matica Srpska (the oldest cultural institution in Serbia) and the Serbian National Theater in Novi Sad.
Although culture and partying don’t seem to go well together, they are actually a pretty good combination.
All the Fun is at the EXIT Village
The town of Novi Sad is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Serbia, so the possibility of finding accommodation during the EXIT festival should not be a problem. Locals are well-prepared to welcome tourists.
You can find a place to stay, depending on your budget and mood. Many people arrive at Novi Sad at the end of June, so to avoid any torments, book the accommodation online as soon as you buy tickets.
The sooner you do that, the cheaper your stay in Novi Sad will be.
There are numerous hotels, hostels, private apartments, cottages available, and in recent years, it has become increasingly popular to stay at the EXIT Village.
Looking for a place to stay in Novi Sad? Read reviews and find availability here.
For those who want to experience the true meaning of EXIT, this improvised settlement is the place to be. Staying in the village actually means camping.
The organizers settle a well-equipped and, above all, affordable campsite (around $30 for all the days of your stay) on the right side of the Danube River, near the city beach Štrand.
In addition to regular camping, there is also glamping, some kind of glamorous stay in luxury tents.
Štrand beach is a gathering place for many cultural events during the summer. During the EXIT camp (which lasts for about a week), many activities are organized for visitors.
You can take part in yoga classes or all kinds of workshops – this comes in handy to fill in the gap during the daytime between the exciting festival nights.
The EXIT Festival’s Baby Brother
In 2014, the EXIT Festival went through a transformation phase and became known as the EXIT Adventure. The concept of this musical event changed.
In addition to the festival at Petrovaradin, EXIT representatives came up with a thrilling idea: organizing the same kind of, only by the sea. That’s how the Sea Dance Festival came to be. An exciting festival taking place on the beaches of Montenegro.
For the first three years, Sea Dance was held just a few days after the EXIT, which meant that the entire EXIT adventure lasted for more than ten days.
However, as of 2018, the organizers decided to give the visitors a little break.
They rescheduled the dates for the Sea Dance festival to the end of August – just enough time for party lovers to get a rest and prepare for a new festival adventure.
Take a Chance to Explore the Gibraltar of the Danube
Petrovaradin Fortress is a cultural property of Serbia, known as the Gibraltar of the Danube, as it stands on the rock, just like the real Gibraltar.
Originally, Petrovaradin is a remnant of a Roman settlement, then it was dominated by the Turkish, to finally become an Austrian military fort.
After the demilitarization, in the mid-20th century, it became one of the most popular tourist attractions, not only in Novi Sad but in the entire of Serbia.
From the period of Turkish rule, numerous catacombs remained deep under the Petrovaradin Fortress these today represent unique attractions for tourists.
Fans of mysterious stuff, there are official tours through the catacombs. Wandering the fortress on your own is not possible during the festival, but if you prolong your stay in Novi Sad for at least two or three days, this is something you should not miss.
The Petrovaradin experience can be enriched with a tour of the Museum and Archive of Novi Sad. But also visiting various hotels and restaurants, galleries of fine artists, the astronomical observatory, and so on.
So why wouldn’t you take a chance to explore this cultural wealth?
After-Party? Yes, Please!
If you are likely to continue partying right after waking up (which means that you’re not a fan of touring around), EXIT organizes official after-party events every day of the festival.
They take place at the Bastion Club, not far from the fortress, in fact, the Dance Arena is practically behind the wall.
But if you intend to move a little further from the Petrovaradin Fortress, you can hang out under the bridge at Štrand beach or the nearby floating club on the Danube.
There you can find an excellent line-up of performers. And the view of the river is a kind of rest for the eyes after a long night.
EXIT Festival, Connecting People
This could even be an excellent tagline for the next EXIT edition. Music does bring people together. And when combined with summertime, a unique location, and the overall atmosphere at Petrovaradin Fortress during the festival, enjoyment and lifetime memories are guaranteed.
It is common for all EXIT visitors to enjoy music and have fun. Large amounts of alcohol certainly contribute to a positive atmosphere. But let’s be honest, no one comes to the festival to drink cranberry juice.
During these few days, people develop a great sense of belonging to the collective community.
Although this festival is a combination of different cultures, musical tastes, and people who come from all over the world, these differences become irrelevant. EXIT is definitely a place to meet new friends, especially if you decide to stay at the campsite.
Organizing a mass event like the EXIT Festival is not an easy thing. In the past, mistakes and lapses in the organization occurred. Since then, security has been raised to a much higher level.
Due to a large number of EXIT visitors from different parts of the world (and gallons of alcohol), some minor problems can occur. But members of the safety department make sure that no big incidents take place.
Are you ready for the experience?
More Novi Sad & Serbia Travel Resources
Hopefully, you already have a good idea of what to do in Novi Sad, but if you want more inspiration, we have a guide of the best Instagram spots in Novi Sad, a guide to where to eat in Novi Sad, and a Novi Sad in winter guide.
Most people to visit Novi Sad also allocate some time for Belgrade – where we have tons of resources. We have this mega-guide to 101 things to do in Belgrade, the most Instagrammable spots in Belgrade, and the best Belgrade street art. We also have a Serbian souvenir guide if you want to do some shopping.
If you love guided tours, here are eleven great Belgrade tours to pick from. If you want to get out of the city for a day, here are our guide to Belgrade day trips and what you should know before renting a car in Serbia. We also have lists of our favorite places to visit in Serbia and the best Serbian towns and cities if you need more day trip inspiration.
5 Things You Shouldn’t Forget to Pack for Novi Sad
What you should pack depends greatly on the time of year. We have some packing lists that we’ll add soon to help you plan for your trip to Serbia, but for now, here are five things we don’t recommend you visit without!
- A Lonely Planet guidebook, to help you plan when on the ground
- Your swimsuit if you’re headed there during the warm months
- An unlocked smartphone, so you can buy a cheap Serbian SIM card and stay connected
- Wet wipes and hand sanitizer, in case of a poorly stocked bathroom
- Comfortable walking and/or hiking shoes, so you can make the most of Serbia’s cities and national parks
Headed to Serbia? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
If you’re planning a trip to Serbia, it’s a good idea to travel with a valid travel insurance policy, so that you will be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident, fall (a big winter risk!), or cancellation or trip interruption.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.