Montenegro, located in the Balkans, is the perfect place to visit at any time of the year. This diverse country is worth slowly exploring every nook and cranny. And where is the best place to start sightseeing? Of course from the capital.
Author: Magdalena Delkowska. Avid traveller and blogger. Shares her time between Kraków and her family city – Kościelisko. Lover of mountains, addicted to coffee, good wine and kabanos. Her travel adventures can be followed at: w10inspiracjidookolaswiata.pl.
If Montenegro were compared to taste, it would definitely be an aromatic herbal infusion that should be slowly brewed in a brass crucible. Just fill a cup, close your eyes and take the first sip. You will feel the waves of the Adriatic gently carving into inland, creating picturesque bays along the way. You will see the beaches stretching for several kilometres, imperceptibly passing into rocky hills and deep gorges, just to fall on the gentle slopes of olive groves. Another sip will take you into the world of narrow streets and mysterious alleys that you will be looking for while walking on hot cobblestones of the port towns. The third sip is a colourful mosaic of culture and religion. Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque? Montenegro has all.
SPIRIT OF THE CAPITAL
Podgorica is called the ugliest capital in Europe and many people will advise you that the only thing that you should there is to run. What advice can I give? Stay. Because if someone claims that there is nothing interesting in Podgorica, then it is more than certain that this is not true. Podgorica does not have epic monuments and romantic alleys. Instead, it has charming buildings and winding streets in the oldest part of the city – Stara Varoš. There is also a clock tower from the 18th century, and the mosque towering over the old town adds a pinch of oriental flavour. You will not experience the metropolitan atmosphere and the modern spirit of the metropolis here. In return, you can find a place where the Ribnica River flows into the other – Morača. There are the remains of embankments, towers of the medieval Ribnica fortifications and the old river bridge. You can take a break there and have a picnic. City residents often relax there, so why not join them?
AT THE TOP OF THE HILL
A must see place in the capital is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. This richly decorated temple will enchant every visitor with its colours and ornaments. For those who like active sightseeing, I recommend a walk to Gorica Hill, which lies north of the city centre. After climbing to the top, you can admire Podgorica from above. In the background there will be wonderful landscapes that will make you feel a craving to explore Montenegro. Before you leave the city, take a look at its suburbs, where the Dajbabe Monastery from 1897 was built in a rock cave. And then let’s go further, as Montenegro hides attractions out of this world just around the corner!
Lake Skadar is the largest water reservoir in Montenegro, which in a small part also belongs to Albania. It is 50 km long and 14 km wide. Its unique feature is that the bottom of the lake is below sea level. To get to know all its picturesque features, you must go on a trip by car along the Vladimir – Ostros – Virpazar route. It will be not only the most beautiful, but also the most exciting tour. I have not seen so many switchbacks, narrow crossings and bends over precipices in the entire Montenegro. Frequent stops are recommended for drivers, as the number of great views outside the window significantly reduces the level of concentration on the road.
A PICTURESQUE BAY
It is said that the Bay of Kotor is a place that God created for his retirement. He stripped a piece of each beautiful place and formed it into the largest Adriatic Sea bay. Works created by human hand harmoni-ously harmonize with the work of nature in the Bay of Kotor. The water glows with an emerald-turquoise colour, and the soaring mountains seem to rise straight from the Adriatic Sea. The Bay of Kotor is the true essence of Montenegro. Historic cities such as Perast, Kotor and Herceg Novi invite you to wander through their extremely narrow streets, where the polished pavement burns feet in the summer, and nicely cools them in winter time. Beaches in the bay tempt with peace and intimacy. It does not matter what time of year you come to Montenegro, as you will always feel blissful on those beaches.
As a finishing touch in exploring the magic of this place, I recommend going on a cruise in the evening to one of the church islands that are located within the city of Perast. A short boat trip will not only allow you to see the Bay of Kotor from the water perspective, but also to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets in your life. After this spectacle of colours played in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, you can go back ashore, sit in one of the seaside pubs, order grilled calamari and well-chilled Krstac – local white wine.
Let’s not forget about driving the most exciting and spectacular road in Montenegro – the P1. Between Cetinje and Kotor, over a distance of 50 km, there are as many as 25 switchbacks, several steep uphill roads through the mountain range of Lovćen. The road reaches its peak in the Krstac Pass, 926 m above sea level, and then gently passes through the plateau to the village of Njeguši. If the tour around of Ska-dar Lake has not impressed you, then this route will certainly not allow you to wind down from the excess of emotions and experiences for a long time.
Montenegro is a true gourmet paradise. The cuisine of this country is a boiling Balkan cauldron. Actually, you do not know what tastes better here – grilled meats, which are the culinary hallmark of the country, or fresh seafood. You will always have a dilemma at the table – should you eat Njeguski Prust first, or maybe start the feast with Njeguski Sir? Or maybe you should try the local product of a familiar name Kajmak? The pearl of the Balkans will feed you so perfectly that you will leave this country equally blessed with happiness and curves. But isn’t happy roundness the perfect shape that the world aspires to? Let's raise glasses of aromatic Vranac wine and allow Montenegro devour you completely!
Good to know
Where to eat
"Plavnica" – a hotel and restaurant specializing in regional cuisine, fish and sea food; "Per Semper" – Ital-ian cuisine; "Zheng He" – Asian cuisine; “Knjaz” restaurant and café; "Karver" bookstore and café.
Museums and galleries
the Museum and Gallery of Podgorica, the Natural History Museum, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the CSUCG Art Gallery, and the Centre of Contemporary Art at the Petrović Palace.
City Kvart – shopping and restaurant zone; Mall of Montenegro – grocery stores and market with fresh products; Delta City – the largest shopping center in the city; The Capital Plaza – fashionable boutiques, cafés and restaurants.
KIC Club and Culture Center "Budo Tomovic" – concerts, theatre performances, poetry evenings, etc.; Brljok – a club for fans of board games, RPG and model making; Ethno Jazz Club "Sejdefa" – live concerts.
From the airport we can reach by car via the E65 / E80 road to the center in about 15 minutes. Travelers can also take advantage of bus lines that connect to / from the airport to / from the center of Podgorica, as well as other nearby cities. Podgorica International Airport is located in Golubovci, 12 kilometers south of the capital of Montenegro. It is also known as Golubovci Airport.