Hello - I am traveling to Hungary at the end of this summer and just discovered my husband's relatives immigrated from Siget, (now Serbia), near the small town of Novi Knezevac, less than 20 miles from the Hungarian border near Szeged. We are not renting a car but will be traveling by train. I have found a train to Szeged from Budapest, and a train to Subotica (far northern Serbia) from Budapest, but once I reach these destinations I am having difficulty finding a route to Novi Knezevac. From the serbian bus website I located a bus route from Subotica to Novi Knezevac and back; however, the bus from Subotica appears to leave in the afternoon only, and the bus back only leaves in the morning, meaning we would have to spend the night in Novi Knezevac. We are fine with this, but a search for accomodations directs us to stay back in Szeged in Hungary. So, I have a few questions: 1) What is the best way to travel from Hungary to Novi Knezevac - even if we could spend just a few hours to see the "homeland" we would be satisfied. 2) Are there hotels/B&Bs/hostels in Novi Knezevac? The town appears to have about 11,000 people. 3) Are there more regular bus routes between Subotica and Novi Knezevac? If there was a morning bus out and an afternoon bus back that would work well for us. 4) Are there buses that run between Szeged and Novi Knezevac that could get us back to Szeged at the end of the day to sleep? 5) Once in Novi Knezevac, are there taxis or local buses that run to Siget, a town of only 250 people to the east? 6) Would it be easier to access this region through Romania? Any thoughts or tips about travel in Serbia would be very appreciated.
Angela, I will try and help the little I can as having dealt with a similar "homeland" experience before in Hungary. If you go to Polazak.com (english button at top) you can input the route Subotica to Novi Knezevac and be sure to change the time to an early time like 8:00 and you can see there are buses almost on the hour. However you say that the village is outside Novi Knezevac, so.... to be honest I wish I had rented a car in Hungary to have more freedom. But if you are just happy to see the town, then..There is probably a local bus to Siget but it did not show up on the Serbian bus website. I believe there are buses that run between Szeged and Novi Knezevac but I can't find international routes at the Hungarian bus website Volan. Def. would not be easier to access through Romania. It may just be easier to hire a driver for the day. Check out the Lonely Planet forum as they are very helpful. A good book on Serbia is the Bradt Guidebook. There may be listings in there for private guides or drivers, I can look for you later. I also have their Hungary one. The Vojvodina region is nice and there are things to see in Szeged and Subotica plus you could always go down to Belgrade. Don't know how helpful that was but pm me if you need anything.
For something like this, you should consider a combination of local and private transport. I would suggest taking a taxi for Subotica to NK rather than wait for an afternoon bus. Or rent a car. You also need to consider that you may not be able to get back to Szeged by night time - you may need to spend the night in Subotica. About 4-5 years ago, we did the Subotica-Szeged journey and the train journey was complicated. We took the bus (there was one leaving in the afternoon around 4 or 5 pm).
How exciting to be seeking out family roots! Our family has made two such trips to Croatia and Sweden. I would strongly recommend renting a car or hiring a driver. Giving yourself some flexibility to go see the family church down the road, or go the see the statue with your name on it that someone tells you about, is worth every penny you spend on the car. You never know where these sorts of excursions will lead, and having the ability to respond in the moment is so valuable. Best wishes for a great trip!