Here’s a list of the top things to do in Podgorica, Montenegro’s charming little capital.
One Day in Podgorica
The crimson flags that flapped above every street in town gave it away. I was visiting during Montenegro’s independence day week. It was fascinating to think the country was under a decade old. Podgorica, once known as Titograd, was the smallest state in the former Yugoslav Republic.
Podgorica City Center
Clean, wide pedestrian friendly sidewalks lined the downtown. There were a mix of modern buildings that took backstage to the sturdy, older buildings topped with terracotta tiles.
Paint peeled from shutters and doors. Drying laundry hung out on clotheslines every few verandas. Scattered among it all, cookie-cutter concrete block buildings which hailed from a Communist past.
We walked off to explore, setting off on foot from our downtown hotel. Here’s my list of the top things to do in Podgorica.
Top Things to Do in Podgorica
Walk the Footbridges
We walked across the Moskovi Most, a foot bridge, to get a look at the city’s whitewashed angular landmark called the Milenijum Most (Millennium Bridge). Both hover over the shallow blue Moraca River.
We headed back east on another small footbridge called Gazela Most which lead us right into Negosev Park, a blanket of tree-lined paths that affront the river.
Vladimir Vysotsky Monument
Situated next to the Millennium Bridge, this statue of the Russian singer was a gift from the Russians in 2004. Kind of quirky local thing to take notice of!
We walked toward the old town. Off Kralje Nikole Street we found ourselves in Becir Beg Osmanagic Square looking up at a stone pillared clock tower or the Sahat Kula, one of the few Ottoman landmarks that survived a World War II bombing over the city.
The quiet square was a gathering play point for some little kids accompanied by their parents or grandparents.
Old Turkish Town
The Old Turkish Town, or Stara Varos, is near the tower and full of narrow streets to explore.
There are many historic mosques in the area which are open to visitors outside of prayer times.
We happened to be in town during “Transformers Defending Podgorica.”
That was the name Danilo Baletić, a 20-something Montenegrin artist, gave to his unique creations that have been gaining international buzz since last year. He took scrap metal from his father’s scrap metal yard to create the towering robot sculptures. Bumping into them added a funky touch to the small town feel of the city.
Sit for a Coffee
Balkan countries are known to have a strong cafe culture. In Podgorica, cafés line many of the downtown streets. Right outside our hotel on Njoseva Street, charming ones with lovely outdoor seating lined the way.
Also check out a cafe called Karver which has been built inside of a former Turkish bath on the Ribnica River.
Check out the Water Fountains
I had noticed the marble beauty of public water fountains during my travels in the Balkans and Podgorica had its share.
Walk the Walking Hours
As we leisurely strolled back to our hotel, I realized we weren’t strolling alone. I found out that at 6 p.m., the main streets turned into pedestrian walkways. Families and groups of friends of all ages meandered without a care of cars running them down. I gave plus points to Podgorica for encouraging quality time in its city streets.
See the Montenegro Parliament
The Montenegro Parliament building sits across from a pretty little park which features a monument to King Nikola, the country’s only king, who reined from 1910 until 1918.
Eat Montenegrin Food
We had a fantastic late lunch at Pod Volat which is known for traditional Montenegrin dishes. I was happy to find it was full of locals.
We sat outside on a large stone terrace under a shady tree and dined on stuffed chicken kebabs and sarma (stuffed grape leaves).
Thanks to Pod Volat, I started my new Balkan addiction to Montenegrin fish soup and ordered it at every restaurant as our trip continued.
- 1 Trg Vojvode Bećira Osmanagića; +382 69 666 622; From €4 a dish.
Admire a Unique Sunset
Sunset was pretty memorable here. Dark sloping cliff sides surrounded the landscape revealing the reason behind Montenegro’s name. Crna Gora in Montenegrin/Serbian means black mountain.
Other Top Things to Do in Podgorica
We didn’t manage to do these things. However, if you have more time consider these things to do in Podgorica as well.
The name means under the little hill. Gorica Hill offers a panoramic view of the capital.
St. George Church
Sitting on the lower slopes of Gorica Hill is this little Orthodox church which is the city’s oldest. Centuries-old frescoes can be admired inside.
Also known as Adzi-Pasa’s Bridge, this little bridge has been around since the 5th century.
Center of Contemporary Art
Center of Contemporary Art at Petrovic Palace is said to have fantastic contemporary art exhibits and it is known for its beautiful garden spaces.
- Krusevac bb, 81 000; www.csucg.co.me
City Museum of Podgorica Museum
In this museum, you’ll find antiquities from Doclea, an ancient Roman town near Podgorica.
- Marka Miljanova 4; +382 20 242 605; closed Mondays
Cathedral of the Resurrection Of Christ
The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, or Hram Hristog Vaskrsenja, is a Serbian Orthodox cathedral built in 1993 and took a decade to complete. It is surrounded by tombstones that date back to the 9th century.
Things to Do in Podgorica: A Short Day Trip Away
One of the top things to do in Podgorica is heading to this ancient Roman town that’s being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Doclea is five km outside of Podgorica.
Podgorica is also home to the largest unbroken vineyard in Europe. Head here to Plantaze’s Sipcanik wine cellar for some wine tastings.
- +382 20 658 027; www.plantaze.com/en/
Things to Do in Podgorica: Capital in a Day
In the short time we had, we really enjoyed feeling Podgorica’s vibe while taking a quiet stroll over foot bridges, admiring the public art, getting a taste of the coffee culture, loving the mountain landscape and trying out the hearty Montenegrin cuisine.
We managed to discover the charms of a small, young Balkan capital that runs on at its own kind of pace.
Podgorica was far from touristic and that was what I liked about it. In fact, we didn’t bump into one tourist shop selling hats or towels emblazoned with the country’s flag, nor were there businesses pulling us into their shops or restaurants. It was not a Balkan city hub such as Athens or Belgrade. In my view, that is what makes Podgorica – Podgorica.
Where to Stay in Podgorica
Check out my full review: Hotel Hemera: Boutique Stay in Downtown Podgorica
Have you ever spent time in Podgorica? Would love to hear your thoughts.