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Exploring Podgorica: Unveiling Montenegro’s Hidden Treasures

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Podgorica is the capital of Montenegro and one of the most exciting and diverse cities in Southern Europe. When coming here, some people complain that there is absolutely nothing to do in the capital: the infrastructure is not sufficiently developed, and there are few attractions. But this is untrue.

Many institutions of administrative, cultural, and economic significance here attract tourists from all over the world. Today’s article is dedicated not just to the capital of Montenegro but to a treasure trove of exciting landmarks. Let us discuss them.

The Resurrection of Christ Cathedral is a cathedral built according to the design of Serbian architect Predrag Ristic. The cathedral combines various styles, which are expressed in its elements. The church rises to a height of 41.5 metres, with an area of 1270 square metres. Tourists come here to see a mosaic covering an area of 59.9 square metres above the cathedral’s entrance.

Besides the mosaic, the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral is characterised by stone sculpture, fresco painting, iconography, and other embellishments. This is a world-famous pilgrimage site for Orthodox believers. Sometimes, tourists come here simply because they need to catch the cathedral while visiting Montenegro and Podgorica.

Lovcen Mountain is one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro, visible from almost any point in the country. The mountain is only 20 km from Podgorica and is a national park in the country. On the mountain, you can find the mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos, the most revered ruler of Montenegro.

Lovcen Mountain has two peaks – Stirovnik, at a height of 1749 metres, and Jezerski Vrh, at a height of 1657 metres. By the way, the second peak is the most visited because of the mausoleum located on it. The national park offers opportunities for hiking, walking along the trails, and picking berries, and there is a cable park in Ivanovo Korita for children. In 2023, a cable car to Lovcen even opened. If you are an adventurous tourist, you can drive on the famous Kotor Serpentine Road, which has 28 hairpin turns on a narrow road.

Blazo Jovanovic Bridge was built in 1948-1950 over the Moraca River. The construction was overseen by the renowned Serbian architect Branko Zezelj. The bridge is part of St. Peter of Cetinje Boulevard and connects the city centre with its newer parts. The bridge is named after a World War II hero. It is the busiest transportation route in the city. In 2009, decorative lighting was installed on the Blazo Jovanovic Bridge, making it a popular nighttime attraction in Podgorica.

The Old Town of Podgorica, or Drach and Stara Varosh, are historical parts of the city located southeast of the confluence of the Ribnica and Moraca rivers. They also serve as the boundaries of the Old Town. These parts were a unified neighbourhood before World War II, but afterwards, they became divided by multi-story buildings.

The Old Town is the last remnant of Ottoman culture in Podgorica. Tourists from all over the world come to see this. Despite its central location, Stara and Drach are abandoned residential areas with narrow winding streets typical of an old Turkish town.

The Partisan Fighter Monument is a memorial complex on Mount Gorica since 1957. The monument is dedicated to fallen Montenegrin partisans who fought for the country’s freedom during the People’s Liberation War in Yugoslavia. Ninety-seven warriors are buried here. Inside the mausoleum, you can see plaques with the heroes’ surnames.

The monument attracts tourists not only because of its historical significance but also because of its appearance. The entire memorial complex is made of Montenegrin white granite. Architect Voislav Djokic and sculptor Drago Djurovic designed the Partisan Fighter Monument.

Millennium Bridge, also known as the Thousand Year Bridge, is a new cable-stayed bridge over the Moraca River, constructed in 2005. Its length is 140 metres, and its height above the road is 57 metres. The bridge is one of the tallest in Europe and offers a splendid view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Mladen Ulichevich oversaw the design, which cost the city budget nearly 7 million euros, which is not surprising given its features. The Millennium Bridge has 12 cables and 24 counterweights, and its appearance symbolises Montenegro’s entry into the 21st century. You can take a leisurely walk or bike ride on the Millennium Bridge, enjoying the beautiful city views and capturing memorable photos.

Skadar Lake National Park is just a few kilometres from Podgorica. Tourists are greeted by incredible beauty, so they keep their smartphones handy in hopes of capturing it. Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkans, with an area ranging from 400 square metres in summer to 530 square metres in winter.

The lake’s average depth is 6-7 metres, but in some places, it can reach 45 metres. In the national park, tourists can swim, take boat or kayak rides, observe various birds and animals, and witness blankets of blooming water lilies. There are also historical sites, fortresses, and even active monasteries like Starčevo and Vranina that you can visit independently. Skadar Lake offers fishing opportunities, but only during specific periods.

King Nikola’s Royal Palace is a historical castle and former royal residence of Montenegro’s King Nikola I. The palace was built in the 19th century and is in the city centre. Originally intended as a place of rest for the prince, it became a family home for his son, Marko. The building is now designated as an architectural monument and houses a museum displaying furniture and interior items related to Prince Nikola’s life.

On the second floor, there is a gallery, and beneath the palace, there is a summer stage where conferences and festivals are often held. Besides the palace’s beauty, tourists can admire the surrounding garden, adorned with many exquisite sculptures dating back over 100 years.

The Central City ParkKara George’s Park, is located in Podgorica’s central part. City streets surround it on three sides, and the Hilton hotel on the west. The park is named after the leader of the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire, Karageorge. It is a wonderful place for walks and outdoor relaxation.

The park covers a large area, providing shade from trees that offer respite on sunny days. Therefore, city residents come here on sunny days to cool off and relax. Most trees are conifers and pines, but there are also flowering trees. In the centre of the city park, you can spot a bronze statue of Karageorge.

The Sahat-Kula Clock Tower is a city landmark built in the second half of the 17th century. This ancient stone structure stands at a height of 16 metres and is located in Bechir-beg Osmanagic Square. It was constructed when Montenegro was part of the Ottoman Empire and was an observation point for overseeing the city and its activities.

It is said that the tower’s clock was imported from Italy. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the tallest building in Podgorica. Sahat-Kula survived the city’s bombing during World War II. The tall square building is crowned with a bell and today stands as an important historical site, a symbol, and a postcard-worthy emblem of the country. 

The “Niagara” waterfall on the Cievna River is a tourist attraction nearly 8 kilometres from Podgorica. Car rental in Podgorica will allow you to hire a vehicle and reach there in 11 minutes. Visiting here in the spring is recommended when the melting or rainwater rushes down from the mountains. At that time, the waterfall was stunning and vigorous. It was created artificially when a dam was built.

The dam created a small lake; the waters overflowed to a height of about 8-10 metres. Some river waters bypassed the dam and formed several smaller waterfalls. For tourists, a restaurant has been constructed near the waterfall, where you can enjoy splendid views from the windows and sample delicious fish and other national dishes. The main hall has a fireplace, a model of the “Niagara” waterfall with a charming mill, a small trout-filled pool, and a children’s playhouse.

We have not provided an exhaustive list of Podgorica’s attractions. However, these are the most interesting for tourists. When you visit, you will understand for yourself. Regardless of how much time you have allocated for your trip to Montenegro, every traveller will find a favourite place here that will not leave them indifferent.

And be sure to leave some time for shopping. In this city, there are two major shopping centres: “Delta City” with a cinema, cafes, children’s play areas, and even a beauty salon, as well as the “Mall of Montenegro” with a grocery supermarket, gym, restaurant, cafe, children’s play area, and shops.

How to Make Your Holiday in Podgorica Comfortable

1. Choose comfortable accommodations and take the first step to creating a relaxing holiday. There are many accommodation options in Podgorica. Therefore, review all the offers from hotels, apartment owners, or hostels first. The chosen option should align with your budget and comfort preferences. The location of the accommodation does not have significant importance. And shortly, we will explain why.

2. Explore the city to learn more about its rich history and culture. The capital of Montenegro offers a variety of exciting places that are worth visiting. You can use the list we provided in the previous section or spend time online creating your own. Explore the city on foot, visit museums and parks, inspect monuments and other attractions, and do not forget to read more about each significant place. The city’s history will help you better understand its local culture and residents.

3. Try the local cuisine. Visit restaurants and cafes with traditional names to sample local dishes. The most famous products in Podgorica are prosciutto, German sausage, kochorsky, negushsky, dormitory cheese, and peas. Remember some traditional Montenegrin dishes: “kalenjare” (a mix of meat and vegetables), “natruga” (goat cheese, mushrooms, and butter), and “kachamak” (thick cornmeal porridge). Additionally, Montenegro offers very delicious wines that you have never tasted before.

4. Take care of your health during your holiday. Otherwise, how will you enjoy all the attractions of Podgorica? Drink plenty of water, do not forget about vitamins, and avoid overeating and consuming alcohol in large quantities. Before travelling to the country, check the weather forecast for the next week and wear appropriate clothing. Most of the country’s territory has a moderate climate, but in Podgorica, it is subtropical. It is very hot here in the summer, and the weather is mild in winter. The annual rainfall is 1544 mm, and the number of rainy days is 115. Moreover, strong winds blow for 60 days.

5. Enjoy the outdoors. Podgorica has many places where you can relax outdoors. Visit park gardens and stroll along the Moracha waterfront. In addition to the places described in the previous chapter, we recommend including the following attractions in your route: Knyaginya Militza Park, Old Streets Square, the Adriatic Coast, and the Durmitor Mountains. Do remember to bring water and sun protection with you.

6. Rent a car to move freely between locations. Wherever you rent accommodation, whether in the city’s outskirts or not, you can quickly and comfortably reach your destination with a car. Cars in Podgorica can be rented on the website of LocalCarRent. It is convenient, budget-friendly, and allows unplanned stops to have a snack or take beautiful photos. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the country’s traffic rules.

7. Enjoy sports events in Podgorica if you love sports. Football matches, basketball tournaments, and other sporting events occur here. Podgorica is perfect for morning jogs and bike rides. If you are a golf enthusiast, a golf course in the nearby suburb of Podgorica is called Podgorica Golf. Attending sports events will add some variety to your holiday.

8. Engage in extreme sports. There are plenty of options for adrenaline junkies: paragliding, rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding. In Podgorica, you can also go spelunking and explore the country’s rich underground caves and karst formations. Remember safety measures and opt for experienced instructors when choosing an extreme activity. By the way, near the capital of Montenegro, you can try bungee jumping from high platforms.

9. Explore the city’s surroundings if you have free time from visiting attractions. Montenegro has many beautiful places, such as Lake Skadar and the Durmitor Mountains, worth including in your itinerary. If you want to experience the real wild Montenegro, we recommend visiting the village of Katun Potrk. It is located 90 km from Podgorica. This will help you learn more about the local culture and nature of the country.

10. Get to know the locals. This can help you better understand the local culture and traditions. Use social networks and apps like Meetup or Couchsurfing for this purpose. There, you will find local events and meetups to get to know the locals. Talk to people in cafes or on the street. Ask them for directions to the attractions. If you want to gain the trust of the locals, learn a few basic phrases and use them when you meet people. Do not forget to show respect for traditions and customs – be open to new experiences.

11. Plan your holiday to make it as comfortable as possible. Look for accommodation options on your desired dates and book them. Do the same with car rentals. Please create a list of attractions and plan your route between them. This will help you avoid stress and move between locations gradually. Depending on the interest, spend a day or two on it. And remember that you came here to relax.

A holiday in Podgorica will give you unforgettable emotions if you follow our simple rules. Choose comfortable and budget-friendly accommodation in advance, book a car, explore the city upon arrival, and try the local cuisine. Feel free to interact with the locals and look around more often. If you have a camera, take it with you.

Podgorica will reveal its beauty if you learn to see the beauty around you. Remember about safety measures and follow the recommendations of local authorities. We wish you a fantastic holiday in Podgorica!

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