Podgorica is the capital of Montenegro, its political, economic and cultural center. It would seem like any capital of the state should attract tourists. But this is not about Podgorica, a city that is not interesting for tourists at all. There are no attractions even for 1 day. But if it so happened that you ended up in this city, read on, I’ll tell you what to see, where to eat, and what to do in general.
Table of contents:
- Podgorica: general information
- Cons of Podgorica or why tourists avoid it
- Transport of the capital and suburban routes
- The best apartments and hotels in Podgorica
- Restaurants of the capital
- TOP 15 attractions or what to see in Podgorica
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Montenegro without these websites
Podgorica: general information
- The city was founded in 1326. By Montenegrin standards it is a very young city. Here, no matter what city you see – Kotor, Budva, Ulcinj, they were all on the map back in the 3rd century BC.
- Population: total 180 thousand people. For the capital, this is not much. But only 600 thousand live in the whole country.
- Podgorica is located in a lowland surrounded by mountains, there is no snow in winter. The average temperature during the day in the winter months is about +10.
- During the Second World War, Podgorica was badly damaged, these lands were occupied by fascist Italy. Today the city has been rebuilt, but there are no more sights.
Tip:For those who want to come to see Podgorica, 4 hours is enough. This is enough to go through the entire center and the main locations of the city.
Cons of Podgorica or why tourists avoid it
I will highlight all the main disadvantages of Podgorica for tourists and why it does not attract them:
- The main reason: there is no sea. The nearest beaches are about 40 km away. And any tourist associates Montenegro with a beach holiday, everyone comes here to relax on the sea.
- Although there is an international airport on the outskirts of the capital, the distances in Montenegro are small. The main beach resort of the country – Budva and the entire Budva Riviera is only 60 km away. Therefore, all arriving travelers immediately leave the airport for beach resorts. Without any stops in the capital.
- And another part of the tourists arrives at the Tivat airport, which is located almost on the sea, and even theoretically, their route does not pass through Podgorica.
Author’s personal opinion:I miss the Mediterranean flavor in Podgorica. The city in some places is very similar to a small provincial Eastern European town. Podgorica is dominated by gray and dull buildings from the times of socialist Yugoslavia.
A common situation is when tourists arrive on vacation in Montenegro for two weeks, rent a car and drive through the whole country, every corner of it, but they never stop by Podgorica, even for half a day.
Transport of the capital and suburban routes
You have already understood that the city is small, and even located in a seismically active region, periodically there are small earthquakes. All this is reflected in public transport. So write down, the urban transport of Podgorica consists of:
- Buses, 16 routes. That’s it, there’s nothing more. Metro, tram, trolleybus – all this is not about Podgorica.
- Transport routes between cities across the country are also only buses.
There is also a railway in Podgorica. But it’s the same with buses. Below are all railway branches:
- Podgorica – Niksic. Niksic is an industrial city, not a tourist one, this direction is not interesting for tourists.
- Podgorica – Bar. About 10 electric trains run on this route daily. 3 euros, an hour and a half and you are at sea. This is the most popular train route in Montenegro for both locals and tourists.
- Podgorica – Belgrade. The only Montenegrin international branch. Two trains a day on a beautiful road. We traveled along this route, a good alternative even to the plane. Details in the article: how to get from Serbia to Montenegro.
- And in detail about all Montenegrin transport: buses and railways, where to see the schedule, how to buy a ticket and how much it costs in a separate article.
As I wrote above, there is also an international airport in Podgorica. Daily flights arrive here from: Istanbul, Budapest, Vienna, Paris, London, Belgrade. How to get to Montenegro from European cities: the best route today.
The best apartments and hotels in Podgorica
If it so happened that you need to spend the night in the city, do not be sad, there will be no problems in this matter. Podgorica has a large selection of hotels and apartments. The main difference between them: the apartments always have a kitchen. If this moment is important to you, then it is better to choose apartments.
Tip:People often ask where it is better to stay in Podgorica. It really doesn’t matter at all. In terms of security, it’s safe everywhere around the clock. And from the point of view of proximity to the center, the city is small, from any outskirts of Podgorica it is literally 2 km to the center. You can walk, you can take a taxi for 5 euros. Everything is close here.
Below is a dynamic rating of the most popular apartments and hotels in Podgorica among tourists. For each option, you can click, see photos, prices, reviews.
For a complete list of accommodation options in the capital of Montenegro, please follow this link.
Restaurants and cafes
There have never been any problems with food service in Montenegro. Delicious food is a national feature of the country. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants. Everywhere is delicious, servings are large and in most places, prices are moderate. Podgorica is no exception in this regard.
It is dominated by restaurants of national cuisine. It is always a lot of meat, vegetables and very tasty bread. There are also many pizzerias and Italian restaurants. Montenegrins love pizza, pasta, risotto.
There are hundreds of taverns, family restaurants and national fast foods on the streets of Podgorica. Below is a short list of places that I like. Maybe they are not the best, but here it is definitely delicious, large portions, not expensive and family friendly.
- Restoran Bar Desetka: 42.44326365401085, 19.2401708292649
- Konoba Lanterna: 42.43677605761545, 19.26042069024484
- Kristal Central: 42.43755444194113, 19.238401537885725
TOP 15 attractions or what to see in Podgorica
I will list all the main locations in Podgorica, give an assessment of the visit, as well as tips and tricks, how much time to plan and much more.
Below is a map of restaurants (from the list above) and attractions in Podgorica for convenience. I also marked on the map the two largest shopping centers in the country, which are considered outlet stores. There you will find all the shops and world brands that are in Montenegro.
- Independence Square is the main square of Podgorica and Montenegro. There are government buildings around, there is a fountain 🙂
- Coordinates: 42.44122, 19.26285
- Available for free and around the clock
- How much time to visit: 3-5 minutes. Enough to pass through the entire area.
Author rating:3 points out of 10. 1 point for the fact that there is free wi-fi on the square. And I took off one point for the fact that it is impossible to connect to it :). The usual square of any city in any country of the post-Soviet space with the building of the city administration. It doesn’t look like a landmark, but it’s hard to pass by. The very center of the city.
- Shopping and pedestrian street Hercegovacka. Everywhere they write about it as a cool tourist attraction, where there are many cafes and souvenir shops. So, the pedestrian part of the street is only 250 meters (2 blocks). There are a couple of souvenir stalls. All cafes are located on neighboring streets. And the street is empty even at the peak of the season.
- Pedestrian part coordinates: 42.44259, 19.26327
- It takes 10 minutes to walk the whole street.
- There are shops here, but not tourist ones. Clothes, shoes, optics and so on
Author rating:2 points out of 10. There is absolutely nothing to do here, you will just walk past from Independence Square, here it is nearby, take a walk without any expectations. Pedestrian streets in any Montenegrin city on the coast are 10 times more interesting for tourists.
- Stara Varos – the old quarter of Podgorica. One of the best attractions in the city. This is an Ottoman quarter built by the Turks in the 15th century. It was destroyed, then restored, and today you can walk along the streets of this quarter. This is the only quarter of the capital with historical value. In Stara Varos you will find locations popular with tourists:
- Sahat-Kula clock tower: 42.43560803286012, 19.260109884926948. It’s just a tower, you can’t go inside.
- City Hall and Museum of Natural History in this building: 42.43579, 19.25992
- Two mosques: 42.43492661769603, 19.257528075181185
- Ancient bridge over the Ribnica river: 42.43949, 19.25882
- The ruins of the fortress Depedogen or Nemanin Grad:42.4389512818445, 19.258753859781546. Free and available around the clock, the most common ruins.
- All the sights of Stara Varos are shown on the map above.
Author rating:6 out of 10. Don’t expect anything from this place, just old streets where you can walk. The old towns of Kotor, Perast, Budva are many times more interesting. Schedule 30-40 minutes for Stara Varosh.
- Religious sights. Podgorica has a huge number of churches and temples, there are mosques, but there are fewer of them. Those who love such places can make a route around the city only to religious places. The most famous:
- Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ: the main temple of Podgorica. 42.44573114714968, 19.248239669261356
- Church of St. George: 42.44560738210323, 19.267127391488447
- Daibab Monastery (Daibabe): 42.40445905309492, 19.232681024374443. Located on the outskirts of the capital, part of the monastery is built in the rock.
- And 2 dozen more churches and cathedrals for every taste.
Author rating:6 points out of 10. A lot of pilgrimage tours are held in the holy places of Podgorica and its environs. And I know that these places are important for believers, and there is something to see for an ordinary traveler.
- Here all the monuments are in honor of local famous rulers, cultural and art figures. There is even a monument in honor of the Russian poet – Pushkin.
- Monument to Pushkin:42.4395795233004, 19.260881220091086
- Monument of the Montenegrin king Nikola: 42.43916, 19.26053. This is an important page in the history of Montenegro.
- The symbol of the city, which today is on all photos of Podgorica, is the Millennium Bridge and the pedestrian Moscow Bridge.
- Millennium coordinates: 42.44521807686785, 19.258107618718654
- Moscow bridge coordinates: 42.444180074618764, 19.257792189854882
- It is clear from the name that the Millennium was planned to be opened in 2000 in honor of the new millennium. But the Yugoslav crisis, the NATO bombing and the unstable political situation of the time delayed the construction. The bridge was only opened in 2005. Its length is 140 meters and it connects the old part of Podgorica with the new one.
- Nearby, a pedestrian bridge was built 100 meters away. It was a gift from Moscow to the Montenegrin people. Therefore, it was called Moscow.
Author rating:3 points out of 10. The Millennium Bridge was made a symbol of the city because there are no other iconic buildings. It is almost the tallest structure in the city. The Millennium is a classic cable-stayed bridge like in any major city.
And another popular attraction: Niagara Falls on the outskirts of Podgorica. You can only get here by car, there is no public transport. I must say right away that this place has nothing to do with the real Niagara. An ordinary semicircular artificial dam 5 meters high. It looks beautiful only in spring, when snow melts in the mountains. Already in July nothing remains of Niagara.
- Coordinates: 42.38352820162553, 19.27921915796106
- Free for everyone all year round
- Get here half an hour from the center by car, and watch this attraction 3 minutes
Be sure to read the article TOP 25 attractions in Montenegro. There are many cool locations in the vicinity of Podgorica, which are definitely more interesting than any attraction of the capital from this rating.
Tip:If you want to come and get to know the capital of Montenegro, half a day will be enough. Better spend more time at sea or in the insanely beautiful mountains of the country in the north. But if you are in Podgorica for more than 1 day, arrange a food trip around the cafes of the capital. There are many bars and gastro bars where you can taste various local alcoholic drinks and eat gurmanska pljeskavica.
- All about alcoholic drinks in Montenegro: rakia, wines, beer, pelinkovac and more
In conclusion: Podgorica is a city for living and working. There are a lot of expats and people who have received a residence permit. But this is definitely not a tourist center. If you don’t get to Podgorica in 2 weeks of vacation, it’s not bad. You don’t really lose anything. This city has no WOW effect, you need to go here absolutely without any expectations.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Montenegro
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental in Montenegro (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments all over the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual card in Montenegro
- Taxi and transfers from Montenegro airports: Intui.Travel