Podgorica Travel Guide: 33 Things to Do, See and Eat in Podgorica

Welcome! Ready to uncover the charms of Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro? Tucked away in the heart of the Balkans, Podgorica is a city where East meets West, where ancient history and modernity blend seamlessly, and where every street and square has its own story to tell. Often overlooked by tourists in favor of the Montenegrin coast or mountain resorts, Podgorica offers a unique urban tapestry woven with diverse cultures, relaxed café life, and a pulsating nightlife. Let’s dive into what makes Podgorica a must-visit for those who dare to venture off the beaten path.

Podgorica Millenium Bridge

A City Reborn

From Ruins to Resurgence: Despite its turbulent history, marked by destruction in World War II and again in the 1990s, Podgorica has risen from the ashes. Today, it stands as a bustling metropolis, boasting contemporary architecture, sprawling parks, and a thriving cultural scene. This city doesn’t just survive; it thrives, embracing its past while boldly facing the future.

Cultural Melting Pot

Diverse Influences: Podgorica’s identity is shaped by a rich blend of influences—Illyrian, Ottoman, Slavic, and more recently, modern European. This mix is visible everywhere, from the Ottoman-era Clock Tower to the modern Millennium Bridge that spans the Morača River. Take a stroll through its streets and you’ll feel the layers of history beneath your feet, each step a passage through time.

The Heart of Montenegro

Urban Pulse: As the administrative and economic center of Montenegro, Podgorica is the heartbeat of the country. The city isn’t just about government buildings and businesses; it’s also the epicenter of Montenegrin culture. Theatres, art galleries, and museums such as the Podgorica City Museum and the Centre of Contemporary Art showcase the vibrant cultural life that enriches this city.

Gastronomy and Nightlife

Flavors and Nights to Remember: Podgorica’s culinary scene is as diverse as its history. From bustling markets offering local cheeses and cured meats to chic restaurants serving international cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate. As night falls, the city comes alive with bars and clubs that keep the energy pulsating until the early hours, offering everything from quiet spots for a glass of Rakija to lively clubs where you can dance the night away.

Green Spaces

A Breath of Fresh Air: Amidst the urban buzz, Podgorica is dotted with green oases. Gorica Hill, from which the city gets its name, is a popular escape with locals for jogging and leisurely walks among oak and pine trees. The Ribnica and Morača rivers provide serene spots for relaxation and reflection, enhancing the city’s charm.

So come and discover Podgorica — an unassuming city ready to reveal its treasures to those willing to look.

Things to do in Podgorica, Montenegro Travel Guide: Distinct old bridge landmark

Podgorica City Guide: A Brief History Of Podgorica, Montenegro

As the capital of Montenegro, this city boasts a history that is as rich and varied as the landscape that surrounds it. From its ancient roots to its dynamic present, Podgorica’s past is a fascinating journey through time. Let’s dive into the historical narrative that has shaped this vibrant city into what it is today.

Ancient Origins

A Crossroad of Civilizations: Podgorica’s strategic location at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers made it a coveted area throughout history. Archaeological findings suggest that the area has been inhabited since the Illyrian era, with Roman rule introducing significant urban development. The remains of Roman Doclea, just a few kilometers from today’s city center, offer a glimpse into its ancient past, revealing a once-thriving city with temples, forums, and theatres.

Medieval Milestones

Fortresses and Fiefdoms: Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and Podgorica finds itself under the Byzantine Empire and later the Serbian Kingdom. The city, known then as Ribnica, served as a pivotal trading and military outpost. Its fortresses, now mostly ruins, echo the battles fought and the armies that passed through, each leaving their mark on the city’s cultural and architectural heritage.

Ottoman Influence

A New Chapter: In the 15th century, Podgorica fell under Ottoman rule, a period that lasted over 400 years. This era transformed the cityscape with the construction of mosques, bridges, and a bustling marketplace that still stands at the city’s heart today. The Ottoman legacy is palpable in the old Turkish town, where narrow, winding streets tell tales of a bygone era.

20th Century Turmoil

Wars and Rebuilding: The 20th century was a tumultuous time for Podgorica. After a brief period of Montenegrin independence, the city, renamed Titograd in honor of Josip Broz Tito after World War II, suffered extensive damage during the Balkan Wars and both World Wars. The post-war era was one of rebuilding and transformation, as Podgorica strove to modernize and expand, eventually reclaiming its historical name in 1992 after the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

Modern Metamorphosis

Capital of a New Nation: In the 21st century, Podgorica’s role as the capital of an independent Montenegro has seen it evolve into a bustling, modern city. Its recent history is marked by significant development projects, including new government buildings, business centers, and cultural institutions. The city has embraced its new role with vigor, establishing itself as the political, cultural, and economic heart of the country.

A Living History

Walking Through Time: Today, Podgorica is a city where history is alive in the streets. Its diverse architecture, from Ottoman relics to Austro-Hungarian influences and modernist Yugoslav buildings, tells the story of a city at the crossroads of different worlds. Museums, old ruins, and cultural sites offer endless exploration opportunities for those eager to understand this city’s unique past.

So take your time to explore, and let each historical layer enrich your visit to Montenegro’s capital.

Lake Skadar scenic views in Montenegro

Podgorica Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Montenegro

During your stay in the Podgorica area, be sure to take a day trip out to Lake Skadar. This natural gem is the largest lake in the Balkans. An underground karst system continually replenishes the lake, which is shaped like a dolphin.

Two-thirds of the lake lies in Montenegro, with most of its shore protected by a national park. It also contains several islands – on Beska, you’ll find a pair of churches and a former fortress/prison. Birders also love this place, as approximately 270 species of bird either live here or visit during migrations.

Be sure to go on a boat trip. It will no doubt be among the highlights of your time in Podgorica. On average, journeys take roughly two hours and contain loads of informative commentary.

Back in town, make certain to pay a visit to Dajbabe Monastery. A lone monk founded it in the late 19th century, and initially, he lived in an adjacent cave. However, as the popularity of this religious site increased, church authorities built the structure that exists today.

The walls of the cave portion of the monastery contain an abundance of Christian-themed paintings. The monk who originally lived there worked on all of them up until he died in 1941. A quiet spot that doesn’t get many tourist visits, it’s a great place to reflect on your life/faith.

More Attractions

Are you still in the mood to check out religious sights of interest? If so, head to the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. Unlike most churches of note in the Balkans, this cathedral opened recently, as construction on it finished in 2013.

However, don’t dismiss it based on its young age – its exterior and interior form are worth seeing. After checking out its cupolas, head indoors to scope out murals, frescoes, and a finely carved altar.

Some say it lacks the impact that other ancient sites have. However, this also means that the Duklja Ruins offer a crowd-free experience. Situated only three kilometres north of Podgorica, you may only have flocks of sheep to keep you company.

The foundations here date to the 1st century AD when the Docleatae settled here. At its peak, it’s estimated that almost 40,000 souls lived here. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, an earthquake and barbarian invasions led to this city’s downfall.

Today, walls, foundations, broken pillars, and reliefs are all that remains here. There’s no admission fee, but it’s recommended you hire a guide to make the most of your time here.

Moraca River and Canyon in Montenegro

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Podgorica, Montenegro

After spending time at Lake Skadar, make time to check out the Moraca River as well. This beloved waterway flows down from the Rzaca Mountains for about 100 kilometres before ending up at Lake Skadar.

On its way, it carved a deep canyon that will impress those who enjoy spending time in the mountains. If you can’t get away from Podgorica, this river also flows through the city centre. Locals love walking its banks, as its clear waters stand apart from murkier rivers elsewhere in Europe.

Montenegro may not be well-known for wine internationally, but trust us – locals love the stuff. During your time in Podgorica, pay a visit to the Plantaze Vineyard. For only 12 EUR, you can get a tour of one of this country’s most beloved wineries.

Other Attractions

From the vineyards outside to its impressive wine cave, this facility will impress you. At the end of the tour, you’ll get a chance to do a tasting. In addition to sampling its vintages, you’ll also have the opportunity to sample local cheese and olive oil. If you’re a gourmand, do not miss this attraction.

Before taking a taxi/shuttle back into Podgorica, check out Waterfall Niagara. Located a short distance from the Plantaze Vineyard, you won’t mistake this feature for its more famous cousin. However, it is nonetheless an impressive sight.

The water flows over a flat upper shelf, creating a startlingly uniform curtain of water. For the best experience possible, stop at the coffee shop located adjacent to the falls. Note, however, that the water flow slows significantly in summer, which can lead to the waterfall stopping completely.

Before moving on to the Montenegrin coast, take a second to check out the Vladimir Vysotsky Monument. Locals dedicated this memorial to Vladimir Vysotsky, a musician well-loved by Montenegrins. This Russian was a master guitar player and songwriter – a fact communicated by a statue bearing his likeness.

source: Jack and Gab Explore on YouTube

Top 33 Things To Do in Podgorica, Montenegro For Visitors

Here are the top 33 things to do in Podgorica:

Podgorica Cathedral Of The Resurrection

1. Visit the Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge is an iconic structure in Podgorica, known for its futuristic design. Spanning the Morača River, it offers stunning views of the city and is especially beautiful at night when it’s illuminated. This bridge is not just a convenient crossing point but a symbol of Podgorica’s progress. A visit here is a must for architecture enthusiasts and photographers alike.

2. Explore the Old Town (Stara Varoš)

Stara Varoš, the Ottoman-influenced Old Town of Podgorica, is rich in history and charm. With its narrow streets, ancient mosques, and old clock tower, it offers a glimpse into the city’s past. This area is perfect for leisurely walks, offering a contrast to the modern parts of the city. Don’t miss the chance to explore its many hidden treasures.

3. Relax in Gorica Park

Gorica Park, from which the city gets its name, is a large forest park ideal for relaxation and recreation. With various trails, it’s perfect for jogging, walking, or simply enjoying nature. The park also features a monument dedicated to the Partisans and offers excellent views of Podgorica. It’s a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

4. Admire the Art at the Centre of Contemporary Art

Housed in the former Royal Palace of King Nikola, the Centre of Contemporary Art showcases Montenegrin and international art. The exhibitions change regularly, featuring both established and emerging artists. The building itself, with its historical significance and architecture, is worth a visit. It’s a must-see for art lovers visiting Podgorica.

5. Take a Dip in Lake Skadar

Just a short drive from Podgorica, Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe and offers a variety of recreational activities. From bird watching and boat tours to swimming and fishing, there’s something for everyone. The lake is also known for its cultural significance and stunning scenery. It’s an ideal day trip for nature enthusiasts.

6. Explore the Ruins of Duklja (Doclea)

The ancient ruins of Duklja, once a significant Roman city, lie just a few kilometers from Podgorica. Visitors can explore the remnants of temples, forums, and necropolises. The site offers insight into Montenegro’s early history and is a fascinating excursion for history buffs. Guided tours are available for those interested in learning more about the archaeological site.

7. Visit the Podgorica City Museum

The Podgorica City Museum is dedicated to the history, culture, and art of Podgorica and Montenegro. With collections spanning from prehistoric times to the modern era, it offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s development. The museum is housed in multiple buildings, including a cultural monument that survived World War II. It’s an educational visit for anyone interested in Montenegrin history.

8. Experience the Vranjina Island

Located in Lake Skadar, Vranjina Island is often referred to as the Montenegrin Venice. The island offers beautiful landscapes, traditional fishing villages, and monasteries. It’s accessible by road and makes for a peaceful getaway. Visitors can enjoy fresh fish in local restaurants and explore the serene environment.

9. Enjoy the Nightlife at Njegoševa Street

Njegoševa Street is the heart of Podgorica’s nightlife, lined with bars, cafes, and clubs. It’s the perfect place to experience the city’s vibrant social life, taste local beers and wines, and meet locals. The street comes alive at night, offering a variety of entertainment options. Whether you’re looking for a quiet cafe or a lively bar, Njegoševa Street has it all.

10. See the Ribnica Fortress

The remnants of the Ribnica Fortress, located at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers, provide a glimpse into Podgorica’s medieval past. Although only parts of the walls and towers remain, it’s a historic site worth visiting. The fortress area is a quiet spot, ideal for a reflective walk. It tells the story of Podgorica’s strategic importance through the ages.

11. Stroll Along the Morača River

The Morača River, which flows through Podgorica, offers picturesque walking and cycling paths along its banks. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to relax, exercise, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The river also hosts various water sports, including kayaking and rafting. Its clear waters and green surroundings make for a refreshing outdoor experience.

12. Visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is a modern Orthodox cathedral known for its impressive architecture and detailed frescoes. It’s one of the largest religious buildings in Montenegro and a symbol of the Orthodox faith. Visitors are welcome to explore the interior and admire the artistry of the icons and mosaics. The cathedral’s presence adds to the cultural and spiritual landscape of Podgorica.

13. Shop at the Podgorica Green Market

The Podgorica Green Market is a lively place where locals buy fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other goods. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience local flavors, sample traditional Montenegrin foods, and interact with vendors. The market is also a great place to find local specialties and handmade crafts. It offers a glimpse into the daily life of Podgorica’s residents.

14. Learn at the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in Podgorica showcases the rich biodiversity of Montenegro. It features exhibits on the country’s flora and fauna, including specimens from Lake Skadar and the surrounding mountains. The museum is educational for visitors of all ages, providing insight into the natural heritage of the region. It’s a must-visit for nature lovers and families.

15. Relax at the King’s Park (Park Kralja)

King’s Park, also known as Park Kralja, is one of Podgorica’s largest and most beautiful parks. With its lush greenery, walking paths, and children’s playgrounds, it offers a tranquil space for relaxation and leisure. The park is a popular gathering spot for picnics, sports, and outdoor activities. It’s an urban oasis that provides a break from the city’s pace.

16. Explore the Delta City Shopping Mall

Delta City is Podgorica’s premier shopping mall, featuring a wide range of international and local brands. It offers a modern shopping experience with stores selling fashion, electronics, and home goods. The mall also has a food court, cinema, and entertainment options for children. It’s a convenient place for shopping and leisure, especially on rainy days.

17. Enjoy Water Sports at Morača Sports Center

The Morača Sports Center is a comprehensive sports complex that includes facilities for swimming, basketball, tennis, and more. It’s a great place to stay active while in Podgorica, offering both indoor and outdoor sports options. The center hosts national and international competitions, making it a hub for sports enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the Olympic-sized pool or watch a live sports event.

18. Admire the Art at Dvorac Petrovića (Petrović Castle)

Dvorac Petrovića, also known as Petrović Castle, now serves as an art gallery hosting exhibitions of contemporary art. The castle itself is an architectural gem, surrounded by beautiful gardens that are open to the public. It’s a cultural venue that supports local and international artists, providing a space for artistic expression. The peaceful atmosphere of the gardens makes it a lovely spot for a stroll.

19. Taste Montenegrin Cuisine

Podgorica offers a culinary journey through Montenegrin cuisine, known for its Mediterranean flavors and Balkan influences. From traditional restaurants serving local dishes like ćevapi and burek to upscale dining experiences, there’s something for every palate. Don’t miss trying Njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and local cheeses. Dining in Podgorica is an opportunity to savor the rich tastes of Montenegro.

20. Discover the Podgorica City Clock Tower (Sahat Kula)

The Podgorica City Clock Tower, located in Stara Varoš, is a historic landmark dating back to the Ottoman period. It’s one of the few remaining structures from that era and stands as a testament to the city’s diverse history. The tower has been restored and continues to keep time, serving as a symbolic guardian of the past. It’s a point of interest for history enthusiasts and a reminder of Podgorica’s multicultural heritage.

21. Visit the Independence Square (Trg Nezavisnosti)

Independence Square is the main square in Podgorica, serving as a focal point for public gatherings and events. Surrounded by modern buildings, shops, and cafes, it’s a lively area where visitors can experience the urban vibe of the city. The square is often the site of concerts, festivals, and celebrations, making it a center of social life. It’s a great place to start exploring Podgorica, offering easy access to many of the city’s attractions.

22. Walk Through the Plantaze Vineyards

Just outside Podgorica, the Plantaze Vineyards stretch over vast areas, producing some of Montenegro’s finest wines. Visitors can take a tour of the vineyards, learn about the wine-making process, and enjoy tastings of different varietals. The scenic beauty of the vineyards offers a picturesque backdrop for a relaxing day out. It’s an essential visit for wine enthusiasts and those interested in agritourism.

23. Enjoy the View from Ljubović Hill

Ljubović Hill provides a panoramic view of Podgorica, making it a popular spot for hiking and picnics. The hill is easily accessible from the city center and offers trails for walking and cycling. From the top, visitors can see the layout of Podgorica and the surrounding landscapes. It’s a peaceful place for nature lovers and those seeking a scenic overlook.

24. Experience the Podgorica Film Festival

The Podgorica Film Festival is an annual event that celebrates the best in international and Montenegrin cinema. It showcases a diverse selection of films, from feature-length movies to documentaries and shorts. The festival also includes workshops, panel discussions, and opportunities to meet filmmakers. It’s a cultural highlight for film buffs and those interested in the arts.

25. Explore the Cijevna Canyon and River

The Cijevna River and its canyon offer natural beauty and outdoor adventures just a short drive from Podgorica. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and swimming in natural pools. The area is especially beautiful in spring when the river is full, and the landscape is lush. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and outdoor excitement.

26. Visit the Modern Gallery of Art

The Modern Gallery of Art in Podgorica is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art from Montenegro and beyond. It features rotating exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia works. The gallery provides insight into the modern art scene and supports local artists. It’s a stimulating visit for art lovers and those interested in current artistic trends.

27. Participate in the Podgorica Marathon

The Podgorica Marathon is an annual event that attracts runners from around the world. It features a full marathon, half-marathon, and races for children, making it inclusive for all ages and abilities. The marathon route takes participants through the city’s streets and along the scenic riverbank. It’s a community event that promotes health, fitness, and sportsmanship.

28. Attend a Performance at the Montenegrin National Theatre

The Montenegrin National Theatre in Podgorica is the premier venue for performing arts in Montenegro, hosting plays, operas, ballets, and concerts. The theater’s repertoire includes both classical and contemporary works, showcasing local and international talent. Attending a performance here offers a glimpse into Montenegro’s rich cultural scene. The theater also plays a significant role in promoting the arts and cultural exchange.

29. Explore the Zlatica Monastery Complex

The Zlatica Monastery Complex, located on the outskirts of Podgorica, is a serene spiritual site set in beautiful natural surroundings. It includes several churches and monastic buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. Visitors can explore the complex, attend services, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance. The monastery is an important religious site and offers insights into Orthodox Christian traditions in Montenegro.

30. Wander Through the Sastavci Nature Park

Sastavci Nature Park is a green oasis near Podgorica, offering walking trails, picnic areas, and sports facilities. It’s an excellent place for families and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy activities such as jogging, cycling, and team sports. The park’s natural beauty provides a refreshing escape from urban life. It’s a popular weekend destination for relaxation and recreation.

31. Try Montenegrin Cuisine at Local Restaurants

Podgorica’s culinary scene reflects the diverse influences of Montenegrin cuisine, with a variety of traditional and modern dishes. Visitors can try specialties such as njeguški pršut (smoked ham), kajmak (clotted cream), and local seafood. Many restaurants in Podgorica offer outdoor seating, allowing diners to enjoy their meals in the city’s pleasant climate. Exploring the local cuisine is a delicious way to experience Montenegrin culture.

32. Attend the Podgorica Cultural Summer Festival

The Podgorica Cultural Summer Festival is an annual event that transforms the city into a vibrant cultural hub. The festival features a wide range of activities, including open-air concerts, theater performances, art exhibitions, and workshops. It celebrates local and international artists, providing entertainment for all ages. The festival’s lively atmosphere highlights Podgorica’s role as a cultural center in Montenegro.

33. Visit the Temple of Christ’s Resurrection

The Temple of Christ’s Resurrection is one of the largest and most impressive Orthodox churches in Montenegro. Its stunning architecture and interior frescoes attract visitors and worshippers alike. The church plays a significant role in the religious life of Podgorica, hosting regular services and religious events. It’s a place of beauty and spirituality, reflecting the deep Orthodox Christian traditions of the region.

Cevapi is a must-try dish when visiting the city

What To Eat and Drink in Podgorica, Montenegro

Here’s your ultimate travel guide to the must-try dishes and drinks in Podgorica, ensuring a truly delicious exploration of this dynamic city.

Traditional Montenegrin Dishes

1. Njeguški pršut: Similar to Italian prosciutto but with a distinct smoky flavor, this dry-cured ham from the Njeguši region is a staple in Montenegrin cuisine. Enjoy it as part of a meze platter accompanied by local cheeses and olives.

2. Cevapi: These small, grilled minced meat sausages are a favorite throughout the Balkans. In Podgorica, they’re typically served with kajmak (a creamy dairy product), ajvar (a pepper-based condiment), and fresh local bread.

3. Kačamak: This hearty dish made from cornmeal, potatoes, and sometimes cheese is Montenegro’s answer to comfort food. It’s often served with sour milk or yogurt, perfect for a filling breakfast or a cozy dinner.

4. Pljeskavica: A Balkan burger made from a mixture of pork, beef, and lamb, pljeskavica is spiced up with onions and served with flatbread. It’s juicy, flavorful, and a must-try for any meat lover visiting Podgorica.

Seafood Delights

5. Grilled Fish: Being near the Adriatic Sea, Podgorica offers an array of fresh seafood options. Grilled sea bream, sea bass, and sardines are common, typically seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.

6. Black Risotto: This striking dish is made with cuttlefish or squid, rice, and squid ink, which gives it a rich black color and a unique seafood flavor. It’s a delicacy not to be missed by seafood aficionados.

Vegetarian Options

7. Pita (Burek): This flaky pastry can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, including spinach, cheese, or potatoes, making it a perfect snack for vegetarians roaming the streets of Podgorica.

8. Ajvar: This versatile, savory spread made from red bell peppers, eggplant, garlic, and chili is a popular condiment throughout the Balkans. It’s perfect for dipping breads or as a side to grilled vegetables.

Local Beverages

9. Montenegrin Wine: Montenegro’s wine culture is flourishing, with vineyards producing both red and white wines that are gaining international acclaim. Varieties like Vranac and Krstač are local favorites that you must try.

10. Rakija: No meal in Montenegro is complete without a shot of rakija, a potent fruit brandy that is widely considered a national drink. It’s available in various flavors, including plum (šljivovica) and grape (lozovača).

Sweet Treats

11. Priganice: These little doughnuts are a traditional Montenegrin treat, often served with honey, jam, or cheese. They’re especially popular during festive seasons but can be enjoyed year-round.

12. Montenegrin Honey: The honey in Montenegro is exceptional due to the diversity of flora across the country. It’s often used to sweeten local desserts or simply enjoyed with fresh bread.

Unique Local Experiences

13. Green Market: For a taste of local life, visit the Green Market where you can sample and purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and other homemade products. It’s a colorful and lively spot to taste the real Montenegro.

Podgorica modern bridge in Montenegro

Tours For Visitors To Podgorica, Montenegro

Here’s a list of the top tours in and around Podgorica, ensuring that you make the most of your time in this intriguing city.

1. City Sightseeing Tour

Discover the best of Podgorica with a guided city sightseeing tour. This tour typically includes stops at key attractions such as the Millennium Bridge, the St. George Church, and the ruins of the ancient city of Doclea. Learn about the city’s tumultuous history and its dynamic modern developments from a knowledgeable local guide.

2. Wine and Vineyard Tour

Montenegro’s wine culture is deep-rooted and distinguished, and a tour of local vineyards is a must for oenophiles. Visit some of the best wineries around Podgorica, such as Plantaze, which is one of the largest vineyards in Europe. Taste premium Montenegrin wines like Vranac and Krstač, and learn about the winemaking process from grape to glass.

3. Lake Skadar National Park Tour

Just a short drive from Podgorica, Lake Skadar offers breathtaking natural beauty and a chance to escape the urban hustle. Enjoy a boat ride on the largest lake in Southern Europe, known for its diverse flora and fauna, including numerous bird species. This tour often includes visits to picturesque monasteries on the lake’s islands and opportunities for photo stops at scenic viewpoints.

4. Historical Monuments Tour

Explore Montenegro’s rich history with a tour focused on its historical monuments. This includes visits to the ancient ruins of Doclea, the Ottoman-built Clock Tower, and the King Nikola Monument. Each site offers a window into different epochs that have shaped the region, from Roman times through the Ottoman Empire to the Montenegrin monarchy.

5. Cultural and Artistic Tour

For those interested in the arts, a cultural tour of Podgorica’s galleries and theaters is enlightening. Visit the Centre of Contemporary Art, the National Theatre, and the Modern Art Gallery. These venues host a variety of exhibitions and performances that showcase local and international artists.

6. Cuisine Tour

Indulge in the flavors of Podgorica with a culinary tour. Sample traditional dishes and beverages, learn about the local ingredients and culinary techniques, and enjoy meals at a range of establishments from historic taverns to trendy cafes. This tour is a fantastic way to understand Montenegrin culture through its gastronomy.

7. Adventure Sports Tour

For the more adventurous, Podgorica offers various outdoor activities. Engage in kayaking or rafting down the Morača River, take a cycling tour around the city, or go hiking in the nearby hills. These tours are great for those looking to add a bit of adrenaline to their visit.

8. Nightlife Tour

Experience Podgorica after dark with a nightlife tour. Explore the city’s lively bars and clubs, taste local craft beers and spirits, and enjoy live music performances. It’s a perfect way to meet locals and experience the contemporary urban culture of Podgorica.

9. Crafts and Local Products Tour

This tour takes you to local markets and craft shops where you can see artisans at work. Purchase authentic Montenegrin handicrafts, from handmade jewelry to traditional clothing and home decor. Learn about the crafts that have been passed down through generations and support local artisans.

10. Eco and Agro Tourism Tour

Venture into the countryside around Podgorica to experience its agro-tourism offerings. Visit organic farms, learn about sustainable agricultural practices, and participate in activities like fruit picking and olive oil tasting. This tour is perfect for families and anyone interested in the rural way of life in Montenegro.

Podgorica incredible cathedral in Montenegro

Podgorica Accommodations: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Here’s a detailed travel guide to some of the best places to stay in Podgorica, each offering its unique charm and hospitality.

Luxury Hotels

1. Hilton Podgorica Crna Gora Experience top-notch hospitality and comfort at the Hilton Podgorica, situated in the heart of the city. This hotel offers luxurious rooms with modern amenities, a spa center, several restaurants, and a rooftop bar with stunning views of the city. It’s perfect for travelers seeking pampering and proximity to major attractions.

2. Hotel Ziya A boutique hotel that prides itself on exclusivity and privacy, Hotel Ziya offers a five-star experience with a wellness center that includes a sauna, a Turkish bath, and an indoor pool. Its rooms are elegantly furnished, providing a peaceful retreat in the urban setting.

Mid-Range Hotels

3. CentreVille Hotel & Experiences Located in the vibrant Capital Plaza complex, CentreVille Hotel & Experiences offers comfort and style without the luxury price tag. It features contemporary rooms, excellent customer service, and amenities like a fitness center and conference facilities. The hotel’s lounge and bar are popular spots for both locals and visitors.

4. Hotel Aurel Hotel Aurel features modern decor, friendly service, and a rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy panoramic views of Podgorica. It’s conveniently located near the business district, making it ideal for both leisure and corporate travelers.

Budget Accommodations

5. Hotel Keto This hotel is known for its affordable rates and decent amenities. Hotel Keto provides a comfortable stay with basic facilities, including clean rooms, free WiFi, and a friendly atmosphere. It’s a great choice for travelers watching their budget.

6. Hostel Podgorica For those looking for a budget-friendly option without sacrificing cleanliness and comfort, Hostel Podgorica offers dormitory rooms, private rooms, and apartments. It’s well-located, close to public transport links, and offers a communal kitchen and lounge area.


7. Guest House Radonjić Located near Podgorica’s city center, Guest House Radonjić offers a homely atmosphere with beautifully decorated rooms. This family-run guesthouse provides excellent hospitality and local insights, making your stay personal and memorable.

8. Montenegro Hostel B&B Podgorica This hostel doubles as a bed and breakfast and is perfect for backpackers and casual travelers. It provides a cozy, welcoming environment with the option of private or dorm rooms and includes a communal kitchen and dining area.


9. New Star Residence For those preferring a more home-like environment, New Star Residence offers fully furnished apartments equipped with kitchenettes, located in the city center. This is ideal for longer stays or travelers who prefer more independence.

10. Lux Apartments Sun City Another excellent option for families or groups, Lux Apartments Sun City offers spacious accommodation with modern amenities, including a kitchen, laundry facilities, and multiple bedrooms. It’s conveniently located, with easy access to shops, restaurants, and major sights.

Specialty Lodging

11. Ramada by Wyndham Podgorica Part of the international Wyndham chain, the Ramada offers reliable quality and comfort. Located near the Moraca River, it provides guests with scenic views, a fitness center, and meeting facilities, catering to both business and leisure travelers.

Centinje is a popular day trip you can take from Podgorica, Montenegro

Day Trips From Podgorica, Montenegro

Here’s a curated list of the top ten day trips from Podgorica, ensuring that your Montenegrin adventure is as rich and varied as the landscape itself.

1. Lake Skadar

Just a short drive from Podgorica, Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe and a haven for nature lovers and bird watchers. Take a boat tour to explore the numerous islands and monasteries scattered across the lake, or enjoy a leisurely kayaking session in its tranquil waters. The lake is also renowned for its diverse ecosystem, hosting hundreds of bird species. Don’t miss trying some local fish specialties at the lakeside restaurants.

2. Ostrog Monastery

Perched dramatically on a cliff face, Ostrog Monastery is one of Montenegro’s most important religious sites. This stunning 17th-century monastery attracts both the faithful and tourists with its miraculous relics of Saint Basil of Ostrog. The upper monastery offers breathtaking views of the Bjelopavlići plain below. Visiting Ostrog provides a unique insight into Montenegrin spiritual life and Orthodox Christian heritage.

3. Lovćen National Park

Drive to Lovćen National Park, where the mausoleum of Montenegro’s beloved prince-bishop and poet Njegoš sits atop its second-highest peak. Hike or drive up to the mausoleum, and climb the 461 steps to be rewarded with panoramic views of over 70% of Montenegro. The park itself is a spectacular area for hiking, rich in both biodiversity and historical significance. Explore the old mountainous roads that meander through quaint villages and lush landscapes.

4. Kotor

Explore the UNESCO-listed Bay of Kotor, with its well-preserved medieval architecture and dramatic mountain backdrop. Wander through Kotor’s Stari Grad (Old Town) to discover its history, climb the fortress walls for stunning views, and enjoy the vibrant café culture. This beautiful coastal town is also a great spot for sampling seafood freshly caught from the Adriatic. Boat tours to the nearby Blue Cave are popular for a refreshing swim.

5. Cetinje

Visit Cetinje, the old royal capital of Montenegro, known for its historical embassies, monasteries, and museums. This quaint town is filled with stories of Montenegro’s past as a kingdom and offers a deeper understanding of its national identity. The Cetinje Monastery houses several important Christian relics including the right hand of John the Baptist. Don’t miss the National Museum of Montenegro, which is scattered across several historic buildings in the town.

6. Budva

Budva is known for its Old Town, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife. Spend the day exploring medieval walls and narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants. Relax on the beaches along the Budva Riviera and take a short boat trip to the island of Sveti Nikola. As night falls, enjoy the lively bars and clubs that make Budva a hotspot for entertainment.

7. Durmitor National Park

For the adventurous, Durmitor National Park offers outstanding natural beauty with its majestic peaks, deep gorges, and glacial lakes. Summer activities include hiking, mountain biking, and rafting in the Tara River Canyon, the deepest river canyon in Europe. In winter, the park turns into a popular ski resort. Durmitor is also a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its unique geological history and spectacular landscapes.

8. Nikšić

Head to Nikšić, Montenegro’s second largest city, known for its cultural festivals and local brewery. Visit the Nikšić Brewery for a taste of Montenegro’s favorite beer, Nikšićko. Explore the city’s history at the Bedem Fortress and enjoy the serenity of Lake Krupac on the outskirts of the city. Nikšić also hosts some of Montenegro’s most popular music and cultural festivals, making it a vibrant place to visit.

9. Perast

Visit the charming village of Perast, located in the Bay of Kotor. Known for its baroque architecture and beautiful seaside promenade, Perast is also home to the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks church located on an artificial island. Take a boat tour to the church, and explore its rich collection of maritime artifacts and religious relics. The town’s stunning natural scenery and peaceful atmosphere make it a perfect spot for relaxation and photography.

10. Biogradska Gora National Park

One of Europe’s last three rainforests, Biogradska Gora offers lush forests, clear lakes, and diverse fauna. It’s an excellent spot for eco-tourists and those interested in hiking, with well-marked trails and the beautiful Biogradsko Lake at its center. The park’s biodiversity and pristine nature offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life. Traditional wooden boats are available for rent at the lake, providing a tranquil way to explore the surrounding beauty.

Podgorica city scenes in Montenegro

Podgorica Transportation Guide

Here’s a travel guide to the transportation services available in Podgorica.

By Air

1. Podgorica Airport (TGD) Located just 11 kilometers south of the city center, Podgorica Airport serves as the main gateway for international and domestic flights. It connects Podgorica with major European cities and other destinations. You can reach the city center via taxi, car rental, or an airport shuttle that runs frequently throughout the day.

Public Transit

2. City Buses Podgorica’s public bus system is a convenient and economical way to get around the city. The buses cover most areas of the city and operate on a regular schedule. Tickets can be purchased from the driver or at kiosks throughout the city, and you should always have cash on hand as other forms of payment are generally not accepted.

On the Road

3. Taxis Taxis are readily available throughout Podgorica and can be hailed on the street, booked by phone, or through various smartphone apps. They are metered and offer a reliable and relatively affordable means to navigate the city. Always ensure that the meter is running to avoid being overcharged.

4. Car Rentals For those preferring to explore at their own pace, several car rental agencies operate in Podgorica, including at the airport and various locations in the city. Renting a car gives you the flexibility to visit surrounding areas and other cities within Montenegro that might be less accessible by public transport.

Alternative Transport

5. Bicycle Rentals Podgorica is becoming more bicycle-friendly, with dedicated bike lanes in some parts of the city. Renting a bike is a great way to see Podgorica, especially during the warmer months. Several shops offer bicycle rentals, and there are guided bicycle tours available that cover major attractions.

6. Walking Due to its relatively compact size, Podgorica is also conducive to exploration on foot, particularly the city center and historic areas. Walking provides a more intimate look at the city’s sights and is cost-effective.

Long-Distance Travel

7. Rail Services The Podgorica Railway Station provides services to other major towns in Montenegro, including Bar and Nikšić, with connections to Belgrade, Serbia. While train services in Montenegro are not as frequent or fast as bus services, they offer scenic views, especially on the route to Bar that passes along Lake Skadar and the Adriatic coast.

8. Inter-City Buses For longer trips out of the city, the central bus station in Podgorica offers extensive routes covering not only Montenegro but also neighboring countries such as Albania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Buses are generally more reliable and faster than trains for inter-city travel.

Special Transportation Services

9. Airport Shuttles and Private Transfers For added convenience, especially for those with significant luggage or in groups, private airport transfers can be booked in advance. Many hotels also offer their own shuttle services for guests, providing direct transportation to and from the airport.

Accessibility Options

10. Services for Disabled Travelers Public transportation and major tourist sites in Podgorica are increasingly accessible to travelers with disabilities. However, it’s advisable to check in advance with service providers about specific accessibility features to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience.

Durmitor National Park as a day trip from Podgorica, Montenegro

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Podgorica?

Whether you’re looking for idyllic coastal towns, rugged mountain landscapes, or cultural landmarks, here’s a list of top places to visit after your stay in Podgorica.

1. Kotor

Nestled on the shores of the Bay of Kotor, this fortified town is famous for its winding streets and impressive medieval architecture. Climb the 1,350 steps to the fortress of San Giovanni for breathtaking views of the bay. Explore the Maritime Museum to learn about Kotor’s naval history, or simply enjoy a leisurely cafe on the squares within the city walls. Kotor’s blend of natural beauty and historical depth makes it a must-visit on any Montenegrin itinerary.

2. Budva

Known as the Montenegrin Riviera, Budva boasts stunning Adriatic beaches and a vibrant nightlife. Wander through Budva’s Stari Grad (Old Town), a charming cluster of narrow streets and squares with medieval walls. Relax on Mogren Beach, nestled between cliffs, or take a boat trip to the island of Sveti Nikola. In the evenings, Budva comes alive with numerous bars and clubs offering lively entertainment.

3. Durmitor National Park

For outdoor enthusiasts, Durmitor National Park offers dramatic mountain landscapes and pristine lakes. Hike to Bobotov Kuk, the highest peak in the park, for panoramic views. Try white-water rafting in the Tara River Canyon, one of the deepest river canyons in the world. During winter, the park’s ski resort provides excellent skiing with spectacular scenic backdrops.

4. Ulcinj

South near the Albanian border, Ulcinj is one of Montenegro’s most unique towns with a blend of eastern and western cultures. Visit the old pirate fortress of Ulcinj’s Old Town and explore its bustling bazaars. Relax on the Long Beach, a 12-kilometer stretch of sandy coastline, perfect for sunbathing and water sports. Ulcinj also boasts Ada Bojana, a renowned kite-surfing destination due to its excellent wind conditions.

5. Cetinje

Visit Cetinje, the old royal capital of Montenegro, to soak in the nation’s history. Tour the former royal palaces and the Cetinje Monastery which houses historical relics such as the hand of John the Baptist. The National Museum of Montenegro here provides insights into Montenegrin heritage through its extensive collections. Cetinje’s quiet streets and quaint atmosphere provide a stark contrast to the coastal buzz.

6. Lovćen National Park

Just a drive away from Podgorica, Lovćen National Park is home to the mausoleum of Montenegro’s revered prince-bishop, Petar II Petrović Njegoš. The park’s central location provides stunning vistas over both the Bay of Kotor and the interior mountains. Hiking trails throughout the park offer opportunities to explore the rich biodiversity of the area. Lovćen is also significant for its role in Montenegrin national identity.

7. Herceg Novi

Situated at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi is known for its beautiful greenery and floral landscapes. Walk along its famous seaside promenade, the Five Kilometer Long Promenade, with stops at its numerous beaches and cafes. Explore Forte Mare Castle and the Savina Monastery for a touch of historical depth. Herceg Novi is also an excellent starting point for boat tours around the Bay of Kotor.

8. Perast

Another gem within the Bay of Kotor, Perast oozes with maritime history and baroque architecture. Visit the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks, an artificial island with a church built by local seamen. The town’s quiet elegance is the perfect antidote to the more crowded Kotor. Perast’s stunning waterfront offers unparalleled views of the bay.

9. Sveti Stefan

Once a quaint fishing village, now a luxurious resort, Sveti Stefan is renowned for its picturesque setting on a small islet. Linked to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, the resort offers exclusive beaches and upscale amenities. While the islet itself is private, the views from the mainland beach are spectacular and open to the public. Sveti Stefan is a highlight for those seeking a blend of luxury and natural beauty.

10. Lake Skadar

Only a short drive from Podgorica, Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe and a sanctuary for numerous bird species. Take a boat tour to explore the lake’s many islands and floating monasteries. The lake is also known for its production of quality wines, so don’t miss a wine tasting tour in the region. Lake Skadar’s tranquil beauty makes it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Podgorica traditional stone houses in Montenegro

Podgorica Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

Podgorica may not be as famous as some of the other cities in Europe, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The city has a rich history, interesting architecture, and a relaxed Mediterranean vibe that’s hard to resist. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to soak up the sun and enjoy the local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Podgorica.

When visiting Podgorica, be sure to explore the old town, check out the various museums and galleries, and sample some of the delicious local food and wine. Take advantage of the city’s transportation network to explore other parts of Montenegro, such as the coast, the mountains, and the national parks.

Podgorica is a great destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty and charm of the Balkans. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this hidden gem of Europe!

Rich Historical Tapestry

Podgorica’s history is layered, with Roman, Ottoman, and Yugoslav influences that have left their mark on the city. Its historical sites, like the ancient Clock Tower or the ruins of St. George’s Church in Stara Varoš, offer glimpses into a bygone era. The city’s resilient spirit is evident in its ability to rise and rebuild after being one of the most bombed European cities during WWII.

Blend of Old and New

The contrast between the modern skyscrapers and the old Ottoman-style buildings in Podgorica tells a story of a city evolving with time. While areas like Hercegovačka Street and Delta City offer modern shopping experiences, the older parts like Stara Varoš transport you back in time.

Natural Beauty

While Podgorica might not boast the coastal views or mountain peaks of other parts of Montenegro, it isn’t devoid of natural beauty. The serene Moraca River, the lush parks, and spots like Skadar Lake, just a short drive away, offer residents and visitors a respite from urban life. Additionally, the Gorica Hill provides not only a great hiking spot but also a panoramic view of the city.

Growing Cultural Scene

From theaters to museums, Podgorica is steadily growing its cultural footprint. Events like the Festival of International Alternative Theatre or the Montenegro Film Festival offer locals and tourists a taste of both global and local art. The King Nikola Museum and the Centre of Contemporary Art showcase the city’s dedication to preserving its past while embracing modern artistic expressions.

Culinary Delights

Podgorica’s food scene is a blend of Mediterranean and Balkan flavors. The local produce markets brim with fresh goods, while restaurants and cafes serve up traditional Montenegrin dishes like Ćevapi, Njeguški pršut (ham), and Tavče Gravče. Coupled with local wines and Rakija, the gastronomic experience is delightful.

Gateway to Montenegro

Podgorica’s strategic location and well-connected airport make it a key entry and exit point for travelers. While in Podgorica, one is just a few hours away from the mountains of the North or the beaches of the Adriatic. This makes the city an excellent base for those wanting to explore the diverse landscapes of Montenegro.

Friendly Locals

One of the highlights of any travel is the connection with locals. Montenegrins are known for their warmth and hospitality, and this is evident in Podgorica. Whether it’s getting directions, recommendations, or just striking up a casual chat at a café, the people add significantly to the travel experience.

Final Thoughts

Podgorica is more than just a stopover; it’s a city that beckons travelers to explore its streets, engage with its history, and immerse in its culture. While it might not have the glamour of some European capitals, its authenticity, warmth, and evolving identity make it a unique destination in the heart of the Balkans. For those willing to explore it with an open heart, Podgorica promises memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels!

Podgorica pinned on a map

Ode to Podgorica

In Podgorica, the sun shines bright
The sky is blue, a perfect sight
This city of stone, with history deep
Welcomes all who come to seek

The old town’s streets wind and twist
Each corner holds a hidden gift
From ancient churches to modern art
You’ll find something to steal your heart

The Morača River flows nearby
Nature’s beauty, never to deny
The mountains rise in the distance fair
A promise of adventure everywhere

And when the day is done and night draws near
The city’s lights sparkle, shining clear
From lively bars to quiet cafes
The atmosphere invites and stays

In Podgorica, the people are kind
A warmth of heart, you’ll surely find
A welcoming embrace, wherever you roam
In this hidden gem, you’ll find a home

So travelers, come and explore
Let Podgorica’s charm open the door
To a journey of beauty, adventure, and more
In this city, a treasure to adore.

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