Niš is an important crossroad between central Europe and the middle East, and assumes the central position in the Balkan peninsula. It is situated in southeast Serbia, with the coordinates - Latitude: 43° 19' 29 N, Longitude: 21° 54' 12 E. It is located in Niš Valley and surrounded by a number of mountains, two rivers, two beautiful gorges, and numerous sites of historical importance from various periods. Some approximate distances: Niš - Belgrade 240km, Niš - Sofia 150km, Niš - Skopje 200km, Niš - Thessaloniki - 400km. Niš is a must see historical city for any traveler passing through on his way to Greece or the Middle East.
The streets of this 1/4 million University city are buzzing with life.
While you might not need a visa ...
Foreigners are required by law to register themselves with the police station in their district within 24 hours of receiving a Serbian entry stamp at a border crossing or airport. Registration is done automatically by hotel staff upon check-in, however if you are staying with friends in a private dwelling, the responsibility falls on you and your host to register yourself with the police in the district in which you are staying. In case the police station does not provide the form you will need to buy a Foreigner Registration Form from a nearby newsagent or bookstore (these usually cost 15 dinars/approx. €0.12). With completed form in hand, your host and you should submit your passport and your host's Serbian ID card along with the Registration Form. You will receive the bottom half of the Form to carry with you; when exiting the country, you will be required to present it to the Border Police. Most times they will not ask for it, and you can keep it as an administrative memento. Never forget, though, that failure to register and obtain the bottom half of the Registration Form can result in prosecution and a large fine (minimum 50 €) (also for your host).
The European motorway E75 routes through Niš. From the north, you may use any highway from the Hungarian border over Novi Sad and Belgrade to Niš. From the northwest, you can travel over Austria, via Slovenia and Croatia to Belgrade and then to Niš. These are all modern highways, including the section Belgrade-Niš. It is a fast road with six lanes and 120km/h speed limit, which locals seldom observe as the road is in a pretty good shape. Beware of the police, though. At this speed, travel time from Belgrade is usually two hours.
The highway continues for another 10km towards the Bulgarian border, and then turns into a narrower mountainous road to Sofia. Caution is advised here, especially along the 20 kilometers of the beautiful Gorge of Sicevo, starting just after the end of the highway on the outskirts of the city. The other extension of the highway branches to the south, towards Macedonia and Greece. The fine motorway continues for another 60km south of Niš and then narrows down into a normal road, entering the Gorge of Grdelica, where caution is also advised.
Tolls are paid for highways Niš - Belgrade and Niš - Leskovac (south towards Macedonia and on to Greece), while using the road to Sofia is free of charge.
Almost all buses traveling from the northwest into Bulgaria or further southeast to Turkey will stop in Niš. All buses traveling between Belgrade and Greece or Macedonia will stop in Niš. An average bus ride from Belgrade will take three hours, but make sure you opt for a 'direct' bus from Belgrade central bus station, as some buses will stop in a dozen towns on the way, sometimes getting out of the highway, and prolong the ride considerably.
The bus station is just a couple of blocks north of the river. The quickest route from the bus station to the main square (Trg Kralja Milana) is to go left down the side road past all the market stalls and the covered market. This takes you to the fortress entrance from where you can cross the river and head towards the obvious Ambassador hotel.
Railway links include international trains from Skopje, Macedonia to Ljubljana, Slovenia, via Niš, Belgrade and Zagreb, as well as Istanbul, Turkey - Vienna, Austria via Sofia, Niš, Belgrade and Budapest. Another important railway link is the one to Bar, Montenegro, which connects Niš with the Adriatic sea. The trains are slow, not very clean, and still in the seventies style, but tickets are cheap, the scenery is sometimes beautiful, and sleeping cars are usually an option.
The train station is 2Km east of the main square, a good half hour's walk.
Niš has an international airport named after Constantine the Great (international code: INI). Currently there is one plane a day to Podgorica (Montenegro), which can be used to connect to major European capitals. Seasonal flights to Turkish, Montenegrin and Greek resorts are offered during the summer.
The airport is 5km away from the city center (much closer to the town than in most European cities, but still not suitable for walking to your hotel). Apart from taxis, there are buses taking passengers from the airport to the city on regular basis (every 15 minutes from early morning till midnight on workdays).
Downtown area is easily accessible on foot from the bus or train stations, and most hotels and hostels. For a walk across the whole city in any direction, be prepared to spend at least two or three hours. Note that Niš is located in a small valley, but is surrounded by hills. It is not as bad as in Belgrade, whose central part virtually lies on a number of hills, but in Niš, too, as soon as you get away from broader downtown area, you may find yourself climbing.
If you decide to use city buses, Niš has well established bus lines. Most buses have clear signs stating their directions, and almost all will at one point stop at the central city square, near the Fortress, or five minutes from it, at the King Alexander Square, near the School of Law and Army Headquarters building. Have in mind that you will be obliged to pay the fare, as there are ticket sellers in the buses. A single ticket, valid for one ride from point A to point B, inside the city zone now costs 40 Serbian dinars. Weekly and monthly tickets are also available at discount prices in small ticket shops near most bus stops.
There are a number of small taxi companies. Expect the fare of between 150 and 300 dinars, depending on distance (start - 95 dinars + 45 dinars per km). Make sure the taxi driver turns on the taximeter, just in case. Taxis are available practically on every street, and are also reachable by phone - the local 'taxi' phone numbers cover the range from 9701 to 9721 - if you call from your cell phone, don't forget the country and area code +381 18. Pay phones with instructions in five languages are available throughout the town - a phone card must be purchased in any newspaper shop if these are to be used. Most drivers will speak at least basic English. If not, just write the name of the place/site/hotel/street you are going to and it will be fine. Niš is relatively small and all taxi drivers know all the streets by heart and do not need to consult maps. Taxi rides out of the town (including to Belgrade airport) may be agreed on with the taxi driver (sometimes in a private arrangement, at a much reduced price), but some caution is advised here.
If you come by car, using hotel or hostel parking lots is advised. Car theft is not very common, but foreign license plates and unsecured vehicles parked downtown may be attractive to petty criminals, especially at night. Parking is charged in two zones in downtown area, at about €0.25-0.35/hour. There are clear traffic signs marking the two zones (red - Zone 1, up to 1 hour; green - Zone 2, up to 3 hours, Monday-Friday 7AM-9PM, Saturday 7AM-2PM). This can be paid with a small card purchased in any newspaper shop, where the driver is expected to tick the date and time and leave the card under the windshield of the car so that the traffic warden can see it. Alternatively, you may pay using your cellphone (send an SMS with your license plate number to 9181 for Zone 1 or 9182 for Zone 2 - for instance, NI123456). Failure to pay may result in a €12 fine.
There are a few rent-a-car services in the city. You may check out Euroturs Nis (http://www.euroturs-nis.co.yu/english.php?page=4),Inter Rent-a-car (http://www.rentacarnis.rs) or http://rentalex-rentacar.com/ Rentalex rent a car Nis.Rentalex - Rent a car Nis is a young agency to rent a car from Nis. Currently in its offer at attractive prices, we offer cars from the Volkswagen family. Cars have gasoline engines from 1.2 liters to provide extremely low power costs to be more economical. Expect prices ranging from €20-50 a day, depending on the car type and length of lease. The cars are usually fully ensured, but make sure the clerks you talk to have made this clear prior to any arrangement. Rent-a-car is a good option for sightseeing, as there are many interesting things to visit in the 100km vicinity of Niš in all directions. The roads are getting increasingly better, but be prepared for possible surprises outside main highways leading to Belgrade, Thessaloniki, or Sofia.
Young people usually speak enough English to communicate. Some speak it extremely well. Professionals, such as hotel personnel, speak English and another foreign language. As Niš is a university center, if you run into some of its 30,000 students, you will have no problems talking to them.
Other officials, such as police officers, have had some basic English lessons recently, but do not expect miracles.
There can be more problems communicating with the elderly. Still, if you encounter a group of four or five persons, there is a good chance one will know enough English to help you get by.
There are now many signposts all around the city in Serbian Cyrilic script followed by English translation which should help you find your way to hotels, central city institutions and sites. Familiarization with basic Cyrilic script would be a good idea, because, following recent Serbian national laws, this traditional script is encouraged, and Latin script, once all-present in the former Yugoslavia, is getting more rare. The Latin script is dominant on advertisements and in shops, though.
Occasionally, you may encounter individuals speaking German, French or Russian, sometimes Italian or Spanish, but this is not very common.
Niš is packed with historical sites worth visiting, dating from various periods.
- Mediana (4th cent.)- Birthplace of Emperor Constantine the Great. This ancient historical site on the road Niš - Niška Banja (Spa) is a testimony of the wealth and glory of the imperial Naissus . The remains of imperial palace, together with peristyle (range of surrounding columns) have been discovered. Luxury villas with mosaic floors, sacral objects (baptistery room), farming buildings with pithos, Roman bathrooms, water tanks, fort remains etc testify about Naissus culture and wealth from the times of Emperor Constantine the Great, who was born in Nis. Constantine is best remembered in modern times for the Edict of Milan in 313, which fully legalized Christianity in the Empire, and the Council of Nicaea in 325. These actions are now considered major contributions to the spread of the Christian religion.
- Skull Tower (19th cent.). Skull Tower (Cele kula) was built by the Turks from the skulls of the Serbs killed in the battle of Cegar, near Nis, in May 1809. It is of rectangular shape, about 3 m high and was built from quicklime, sand and the skinned skulls, upon the order of Khurshid Pasha who had first sent the skulls filled with cotton to the Sultan in Istanbul. Each side of the Tower has 14 rows with 17 openings where the skulls were embedded. There were 952 skulls, but today only 58 have remained. The rest were pulled out to be buried or were lost in time. In 1892 a chapel was built around the Tower, according to the design of the Belgrade architect Dimitrie T. Leko. The skulls are situated inside the small chapel consisting of four glass walls.
Europe came to know about this horrible monument of Serbian martyrdom from the work "Voyage to the East" by the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine (1790 - 1869).
- Niš Fortress (18th cent.). On the Nišava riverbank, over the remains of a Roman military camp, then Roman town called Naissus, and finally the remains of a destroyed Byzantine fortification, the Turks built a strong fortress at the beginning of 18th century. The construction of this fortress lasted from 1719 to 1723.
It was built with the help of local laborers, Istanbul stonecutters and bricklayers. Beside those well saved walls and gates, numerous facilities remain from various periods, such as the armory, Turkish steam bath, Turkish post station, Bali-mosque, powderroom and prison.
- Rusalia Church (11th cent.). Church of Holy Trinity of Rusalia is located above the village of Gornji Matejevac. Rusalia is the most attractive ancient structure in Niš. The church was built after the order of a local Byzantine dignitary in the first half of 11th century.
- Kazandzijsko sokace (Tinkers alley-18th cent.). This is an old urban quarter in what is today Kopitareva Street. It was built in the first half of 18th century. It was a street full of tinkers and other craftsmen, together with their houses coming from Turkish period. Unfortunately, only some of those are preserved today and protected by the state. The street has recently become packed with cafes, a favorite site for the visitors.
- Serbian Wartime Parliament Building - Birthplace of Yugoslavia. The building of the "Youth Home" Restaurant was erected in 1890. At first, the "Bulevar" restaurant was situated in the building. The Army General Staff bought the building in 1903 and turned it into an Officers' Home, which remained there until 1941. At the beginning of World War I this building was in the focus of public attention as the center of the political life of Serbia. On December 7, 1914 a war session of the National Assembly was held there. On that occasion the Assembly made the "Niš Declaration", which explicitly stated the military objectives of Serbia - to fight for the liberation and unification of the Balkan peoples. On May 6, 1915 the Yugoslav Congress was held in this building. The Congress issued the "Niš Resolution" which once again emphasized the need for national unity.
- Mausoleum of Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky - lover of Anna Karenina (19th cent.). The Holy Trinity Church in Gornji Adrovac (municipality of Aleksinac) near Nis was built in commemoration of the death of Nikolai Rayevsky. Rayevsky was celebrated as Count Vronsky in Tolstoy's famous novel Anna Karenina.
- Niška Banja or "Niš Spa" is located a couple of kilometers to the southeast. There is a large park and some restaurants to accompany the nice view out over the valley. The spa is famous for its mildly radioactive hot water springs which help treat rheumatic disorders. Heart conditions are also successfully treated in the vicinity. 5km away from the spa, one reaches Sicevacka and Jelasnicka Gorges, state-protected natural reserves with intact scenery, ancient monasteries, and endemic species.
- Villa of the "ill" Prince George. In 1926, the heir to the Serbian throne, Prince George Karadjordjevic, was committed to the mental hospital on grounds of insanity by his younger brother, Alexander, who was then crowned king. The prince was kept in the spacious villa locked within the mental hospital in Gornja Toponica near Nis for 15 years. After World War Two his family were declared state enemies by the communist regime but George was allowed to retire in Belgrade as the only member of the Royal family in the country.
- Red Cross Concentration Camp. The first Nazi concentration camp in the former Yugoslavia, constructed in 1941. One of the few fully preserved concentration camps in Europe, almost intact since 1944, 'Lager Nis' was the venue of the dramatic escape in February 1942 when about 100 prisoners managed to flee . It is located in the city center, close to the central bus station.
- Holocaust memorial on Bubanj hill. On the hill of Bubanj, south of the city center, a monumental sculpture representing three enormous fists was erected in honor of 10,000 people, mostly Serbs and Romanies, but also about 1,100 Jews, executed in this place during World War Two. The monument is the work of sculptor Ivan Sabolic and was erected in 1963.
- Market. Between the fortress and the bus station, the lively market is worth a visit. You can get almost anything you can imagine, and hundreds of local smallholders sell their fruit and veg in the covered market. Also farm made soft cheese.
Niš is the venue of a number of national and international festivals.
- Nisville international jazz festival is held every August on the Summer Stage of the Fortress. With numerous international participants, it has been the trademark of the city for two decades, and has become especially prominent in recent years. (http://www.nisville.com/)
- Nis Choral Festival is an international festival of choral music, held on the Summer Stage biennially (in July).
- Nis Acting Festival is an international festival of film acting, once the biggest film festival in the former Yugoslavia (along with the Pula festival, now Croatia), today with a growing international reputation. It is traditionally organized in the last week of August, every year. (http://www.fsnis.org.yu/ - in Serbian)
- Nimus is the classical music festival held in late autumn (October-November). Nis is also a centre of classical music in this part of Serbia, with the growing Academy of Arts and the second-by-size Philharmonic Orchestra in the country. The classical music festival includes performances in the Symphony Orchestra building and the National Theater building, with concerts, chamber, symphonic music, and opera. (http://www.nimusfest.com/, in Serbian)
- Nisomnia popular music international festival is organized in September.
Forum is the biggest shopping mall in Niš. It is a huge, three-storey building, with virtually all kinds of shops: clothes, shoes, music, stationery, computer equipment, unlocked mobile phones... you name it. There are also several bars, coffee shops and one or two restaurants where you can refresh yourself after your spending spree.
About 2km from the city centre there is Mercator Centar which has a nice selection of shops and supermarket with a lot of foreign food products. Your best option is to catch a taxi to get there. Since the opening of Forum some shows had to close in Mercator due to competition.
There is also an 'underground passage', another trademark of Niš, virtually an entire street under the central city promenade. It throngs with small shops of all kinds. They can be a bit cheaper since they often fail to pay VAT.
Following the fashion in all Europe, the Balkans, and Serbia, Niš now hosts a variety of grand shopping malls and hypermarkets located on all outskirts of the city, where practically all goods can be purchased. The malls are usually a bit cheaper than small shops and visiting them is advisable if you should need supplies for a longer period of time (food, clothing, stationery, equipment...). Major streets contain numerous signs directing a traveler to one of these (Mercator Center, Tempo, Metro, Interex, Impex Mega Market).
Souvenirs are available in small shops in the Fortress,in the central squares of the city, or in shops near historical locations.
The local currency is dinar (€1 = approx. 110 dinars). The Serbian law does not allow that you pay in euros, dollars or any other currency in the shops, so, if you use cash, you must convert the money into dinars. Fortunately, this may be done in any bank or exchange office, and there are many in the city center (including some automatic exchange machines in the very core of the city). In addition, a variety of credit cards are now welcome in most city shops. Vendors are legally obliged to provide fiscal stubs after any transaction. In practice, many places such as hotels will accept euro notes (often at a nominal rate of €1=110 dinars) and give change in dinars.
Niš is a food paradise. It is said that Niš produces the best Burek, a sort of greasy, phyllo dough pastry filled with cheese or ground meat that is popular throughout the Balkan peninsula. It resembles a cheese pie, but contains more fat and has stronger flavour. Also, by general consent, it is much more delicious. Some vendors sell other varieties such as apple, spinach or pizza burek (frequently just a combination between the meat and cheese Burek). Traditionally, you eat burek with yoghurt.
The Shopska salad is another phenomenal, yet simple, dish to be found in Niš. It consists of chopped up tomato, cucumber, onion, oil, a little salt and a generous topping of a domestic feta-like cheese. The local feta is usually less sharp than feta typically found in the west by a considerable margin. Most websites with recipes simply call it a brined sheep cheese and the French are known to make a similar feta. Another local trademark is the 'Urnebes' salad, literally translated as 'chaos' or 'pandemonium' - basically cream cheese in oil mixed with ground peppers, garlic and sometimes sesame.
Pljeskavica, sometimes referred to as the "Balkans Burger," is ubiquitous. Typically it contains a concoction of spiced ground beef, pork and lamb. It may be served in a bun, pita bread or by itself on a plate depending on where you get one. It usually is accompanied by onions, a paprika based sauce and in the case of the fast-food-esque vendors you'll have a variety of sauces and toppings to accompany it.
Chevapchichi (usually spelt with accented "c" instead of "ch", i.e. ćevapčići) is similarly made from spiced ground beef, pork and lamb. The mixture is formed into a 2-to-3 inch long sausage and served with onions and a paprika based sauce. Sometimes it will be served in a pita bread for easy, "on-the-go" consumption.
Other favorites include pizza, of which the Serbs do a splendid job, and various pasta dishes.
For those who do not wish to experiment too much, there are numerous traditional bakeries and pastry shops, and the inevitable McDonald's on the central city square.
Vegetarians had been almost totally neglected in Serbia until recently, but now most restaurants will have some options for them, too. Vegans might encounter more problems, although most are usually solved with the help of kind local restaurant owners. Note the traditional fasting periods, especially in April before Orthodox Easter holidays, when many restaurants offer fish and non-animal food, including some specialties.
Tap water is drinkable in Niš. Locals like to boast that, in addition to Vienna, Niš has the best water in central and southeast Europe. Although this claim can probably be contested, the water from the central supply system is drunk by most residents. More cautious visitors are advised to buy bottled water in any shop: a variety of brands are available, and Serbian mineral waters are very good, especially Knjaz Miloš, Vlasinska Rosa, Mivela and Heba. You can also try Jamnica and Jana which are imported from Croatia.
There is a throng of cafes in downtown Niš, most of which serve various coffee drinks, beers and liquors. Some specialty bars serve a more limited scope of beverages. There is also a branch of Costa Coffee on the central square.
Local wines are usually not the best of quality. The more expensive the better. International brands are offered in most bars.
Rakija, a powerful brandy made from various fruits (usually plum or apricot), is a local favorite. Attention: some kinds may be pretty strong for a newbie.
Niška Banja (the Spa) has a couple of older but decent hotels, such as Ozren, with prices from €24 for a single room incl breakfast. Alternatively, it may be possible to arrange a home-stay in Niška Banja. In November 2006, usual price per person per bed per night, was 500 dinars (about €6). Still, the Spa is a few kilometers away from the town, so a bus or taxi ride to the center is inevitable.
- The Ambassador Hotel. The tallest building on the central square, dominates the downtown area, and is one of the few options for visitors on a budget. The rooms are not as cheap as one might expect and feel a little outdated but they are comfortable enough and the hotel is in a great location. If you want a real Yugo experience, try this hotel, dark brown formica fittings, appliances that might or might not work, and an amazing restaurant with retro sculptures and chandeliers, a flashback to the 60s. €42 for an apartment with en-suite. Expect ~€30 breakfast included.
- My Place (just by the Nišava rive). In a quiet quarter in the downtown area, a couple of minutes from the central square on foot
- Niški cvet (Nis Flower). now also fully operational (the site has English and Serbian versions now). Expect €50 or more/night, with buffet breakfast included..
- Regent Club Hotel, Obrenoviceva Street. Entrance is via Gorca shopping mall in the city's main promenade street
- Aleksandar Palace, Njegoseva 81a, ☎ , fax: +381 18 562 056. A brand new hotel on the hills overlooking the city from the southern side with a small pool, around €60-€80/night.
- Panorama. a bit more remote up the hill, but also with a nice view of the city, and with a bit lower prices. Taxi needed from over here, especially upwards.
- Hostel Nis, Dobrička 3/A (next to the building of the University of Nis (Banovina palace)), ☎ . In the very downtown area, one minute walk from city's fortress, central bus station, and another minute away from the city's central square, in three stories pre-WW2 house. Dorms with 4 and 8 beds per room, privates have 2 beds. There's no check in or check out, staff work 24h/day, two bathrooms, two toilets, and there's hot water 24h/day. Internet (WiFi, desktop) is fast and free of charge. Breakfast isn't included, but you can use the kitchen (one kitchen per floor) to prepare your meal or store your food. Coffee, tea, or home-made rakija brandy is free of charge, as well as using secured parking lot if you travel with your vehicle/bike. Separated area for smoking. €9-15 per night (dorms/privates).
- Sweet-Hostel Nis', Milorada Veljkovica Spaje 11/4 (There is a map on the website). is another hostel in Nis. It is located in the center of town, only 5 minutes from The square of King Milan (main city square). They offer comfortable rooms and welcoming, hospitable service for a small amount of money. Hot showers and free towels are there as well, as is a fully equipped kitchen and a shared room with TV, DVD & very slow Internet access.
- Downtown Hostel Nis, Kej Kola srpskih sestara 3/2 (50 meters from the central town square (Trg kralja Milana Obrenovica) in a pedestrian area on the Nišava river-banks), ☎ . Downtown Hostel occupies a renovated flat in one of the oldest town buildings, which stands for one of the town symbols. It has two dorms with 3 and 8 beds per room. There is possibility of renting 3 bed room for one or two persons. Their offer include: 24-hour reception, possibility of using all of the hostel facilities 24 hours a day, free lockers in the rooms, free sheets and towels, free internet and WI-FI in all rooms, free coffee, tea and welcome drink - domestic rakia, completely furnished kitchen usage, lounge area with cable TV and separated smokers area. The hostel might be noisy during weekends as the near by restaurants and bar are open until late. €9-13 per night (dorms).
- Hostel Kosmopolit, Anastasa Jovanovica 15 (The hostel is located in `Ledena Stena` area. City center is just 5 minutes away by car, train station is only 2 minutes away and the bus station 7 minutes. We recommend taking a cab which is very cheap from any part of the city. Also, you can use a direct bus line number 1 `Ledena stena - Niska banja` exiting at the station called `MIN naselje` . The same goes from the train station.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hostel `Kosmopolit` is a beautiful contemporary building with 120 square meters of residential space and a spacious garden. We offer a wide range of services and amenities that make us distinctive from other similar facilities such as free high-speed internet, WiFi, garden barbecue grill and bar, self-service kitchen with dining room and balcony, lounge room with self-service bar, cable TV and computer with internet, air-conditioning in every room, 24 hour service and assistance and many more. €11 per bed (dorms and private rooms).
Nis is a very safe city. In summer months, even late into the night, you will see people walking through its streets with no fear whatsoever. In winter months, late at night, and in suburban areas, some reasonable caution is warranted. As with any other travel, keep your money, cell phones, travel documents and other valuables in secure places. As a pedestrian, follow regulations, including zebra crossings and green lights, even when you see locals ignoring them, as traffic wardens may jump out of nowhere and fine you.
In case of an emergency, call 192 (police), 193 (fire), 194 (ambulance) or the European standard 112.
In case of injury or illness, the place to go is the Hitna Pomoc (Emergency Aid Centre) of Nis Clinical Centre. If the urgency is not total, you may ask for help in the state Clinical Centre (follow the white signs with this name in the streets) or any of the numerous small private clinics scattered downtown. Be aware that not all medical facilities are well-stocked or have personnel that speak foreign languages, including English. Cash payment on the spot will almost certainly be required for medical services. Consult the embassy of your country, if possible.
Serbia has a social insurance agreement with most European nations. If you get a form from your local health insurance you can obtain free treatment in the local hospitals. You would first need to go to the national social insurance (RZZO) branch office in Niš to hand in the form and get a another form for the local hospital or health centre. Since this procedure is complicated to complete without Serbian language skills it may be easier to visit a private doctor or polyclinic. Prices are very reasonable by European standards, starting from 10€ for a simple consultation with a PD.
Pharmacies are located all over the central city zone. They are marked with green crosses in front of the entrance. Their working hours are 7AM - 9 or even 10PM every day, including weekends. The central pharmacy, located in front of the National Theater building, a 2-minute walk from the central city square, is open 24/7. Serbia is still very liberal in terms of purchasing medication, so you are allowed to buy practically any basic drugs over the counter (painkillers, fever medication). However, for antibiotics a prescription is now required. Prior consultation with a physician would be a good idea, though.
Buses and trains go to Bulgaria and beyond to the east. To the south one can catch a bus or train to Skopje. There is frequent bus and train service to Belgrade and many other locations within Serbia. One can catch bus to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro or Croatia. For going down to Kosovo, there is only one direct bus, departing Niš twice daily, and going over Novi Pazar (Serbia) to Kosovska Mitrovica, where one should change bus if going to Priština or somewhere else. Companies like Eurolines-Lasta, Touring, Jedinstvo or Niš-Ekspres, have long-distance buses to almost any bigger city in western Europe, with Germany, Swiss and France especially good covered. As with most of Europe it is usually recommended that one travels by train for safety, cost and speed. The trains are old and there have been delays. However, trains will be more comfortable and almost always more scenic. All buses depart from the central bus station, just behind the fortress and the green market. Same is for trains, but central train station is located a bit far from the bus station, so calculate at least good 20 minutes of walking to reach one from another.