Since the coronavirus outbreak, I have been thinking about making a short trip somewhere outside Belgrade but inside the borders of Serbia. So, my dilemma has started….should I book two nights in a brand new 4-star hotel on Divcibare which is on a mountain, or visit Avala and Kosmaj mountains near Belgrade and have a craft beer tasting with a lunch in the Kabinet brewery, or should I book some nice hotel in Vrnjacka Banja and go for a spa weekend, or maybe kayaking in Uvac meander should be much more fun. Anyway, I had a lot of ideas. However, if you don’t feel like driving a car and train is not an option since Serbia, unfortunately, did not invest in its railways, you have just two more options a) buy a bus ticket and b) book a seat in a van which is a very popular transport option in the Balkans. And yes, I went for the second option, because I traveled before with Tera travel agency. Nevertheless, I had to bear in mind that vans are not going to all destinations in Serbia, and that my preferred destination needs to be a stop in the itinerary. For example, the final destination is Budapest, so they can leave me at one of the stops, which was in my case the Palic lake.
The idea of visiting Palic lake has crossed my mind while writing about bike tourism in Vojvodina. The photos from the tourist brochure seemed very appealing. So, I found one small, but very comfortable 4-star hotel on Booking (Hotel Garni Palic Resort), made a call directly to a hotel and asked for a price, and finally made a reservation and decided to go for a 3-day trip. So, this is where my short, but very comfortable trip has started.
The hotel I chose was an actually amazing place and since the situation with tourism is not so bright there haven’t been many guests, and that have left a space for privacy, and if you ask me the privacy (next to offline) is a new luxury, especially when we speak about traveling. I and a friend of mine had a hydro-massage pool just for ourselves. When we felt like catching the sun we went to a rooftop where guests can sunbathe on easy chairs, enjoy nature and the view of the lake and listen to the chirping of birds.
Before I dwell deeper into the description of this nature resort I would like to share several facts that can be worth knowing. Palic is a natural lake that stands in a nature resort located 8 km from the city of Subotica- which is next to the border of Hungary. According to geology, this lake is a natural relict of the Pannonian Sea that existed 600.000 years ago. The nature around the lake is picturesque. A good option is to walk or to rent a bike and ride around the forest and lake. Another great option is to rent a pedal boat, which I finally did after more than 15 years.
Electric scooters or bikes are not on the offer, so I can say that this natural resort has a bit of retro appeal.
Architecture is from the beginning of the 20 century, in the so-called Hungarian Secession style. The famous events that you can visit in Palic are Palic Film Festival and the Theatre Festival. However, at this time of the year and considering the situation with the Coronavirus outbreak there weren’t any events happening. However, there are other super cool options, such as drinking coffee on a Zenski strand raft, having a perfect lunch for a very affordable price, and eating Chestnut puree for a dessert (also very retro), or renting a bike and visiting the popular Zvonko Bogdan winery.
The winery stands in the middle of the vineyards, inside the house that appears like it’s from the beginning of the 20th century, so it fits the surroundings and architectural whole of Palic. It bears the name of Zvonko Bogdan, who is a friend of the owner and a famous singer from Sombor. Thus, Zvonko Bogdan served as an inspiration due to the fact that he is a trademark of Vojvodina, and even the wines from the standard line red, white, and rose (i.e. the one you can buy in the shops) are named after three popular Zvonko’s songs.
The winery is open every day so prior to coming guests can book a short tour and get insights into the origin of Zvonko Bogdan wines and the wine production and at the end do a tasting. A wine lover can choose between 3 glasses of standard wines for 800 RSD per person, or 3 glasses of premium wine for 1200 RSD.
Since I am a fine art, architecture, and design lover it would be good to mention interior design. There is a library that can be reached only with a ladder since it’s incorporated into the design of the space itself and a collection of paintings from international and Serbian artists. Among Hungarian (local) artists, there is a good portion of artworks by a Sombor-born painter Eugen Kocis III.
The mentioned artist also designed the labels from the premium line of wines that can be found only in selected restaurants in Serbia and worldwide.
Next to the visit to the Zvonko Bogdan winery, you can bike to Subotica which is located nearby. This city is famous for its stunning architecture from the end of the 19 century and the first decades of the 20 century. And when you come back to your hotel you can do a bit of exercise in a gym, have 2 hours of spa treatments in the sauna and jacuzzi and have another glass of wine on your terrace.
To conclude, beautiful nature, super delicious and affordable food, great hotel for relaxation, biking, pedaling, a visit to a local winery, wine tasting and a visit to Hungarian secession pearl-Subotica make Palic a great destination for a 2/3 day trip with your partner, family or even a friend. And yes, Serbian and Hungarian hosts are super nice and friendly.
The most interesting fact is that Palic nature resort feels like a liminal space from the perspective of somebody who lives in the city, and it can be reached in 2h if you are traveling from Belgrade!