Montenegro

15 Cool Things to Do in Podgorica, Montenegro

(Last Updated On: 13/05/2022)

Podgorica, Montenegro is often considered the most uninteresting capital in Europe and well, it’s not far from the truth really. You won’t find there many Podgorica attractions but nevertheless, the city isn’t that bad.

Even if this is usually just a brief stop on the way to more popular places to visit in Montenegro, it is still worth visiting Podgorica for a few hours and seeing what it has to offer.

During my latest trip to Montenegro, I’ve decided to give the city a proper chance and finally visit Podgorica. And I must admit I was a bit surprised, in a positive way.

Sure, there are no typical monuments (mainly because the city was severely destroyed during World War 2) yet I still managed to find some fine things to do in Podgorica that I’m happy to share with you today.

If you happen to find yourself in the capital of Montenegro, I hope this Podgorica guide will be useful for you and help you discover the best attractions in Podgorica.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Where is Podgorica

Podgorica, the largest city (with a population of around 200.000 inhabitants) and the capital of Montenegro, is located in the southern part of the country, not far from the seaside and the border with Albania.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

How to get to Podgorica

Reaching Podgorica is actually rather easy, with numerous international connections reaching the city.

Podgorica airport is the main airport in the country, with flights (including low-cost ones) from all over Europe. Unfortunately, there is no public transport between the airport and the city, the taxi should be around 10-15€, depending on your bargaining skills (on the way to the airport it’s usually 7-10€). There is a train stop (“Aerodrom”) around 20 minutes walking from the airport but the trains are not very frequent.

You can also reach Podgorica by train (on the very scenic Belgrade to Bar railway line). There are daily trains from Belgrade (the capital of Serbia), and the journey takes around 10 hours.

There are also direct buses to Podgorica from neighboring countries, including connections from Dubrovnik (Croatia), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Pristina (Kosovo), Tirana (Albania) and Belgrade (Serbia).

Bus and train stations are located next to each other, some 15 minutes walking from the center of Podgorica.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Podgorica bus station

Where to stay in Podgorica

There are plenty of accommodation options in Podgorica to choose from. Here are some recommended places to stay:

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Things to do in Podgorica

And now, without any further ado, let me tell you about the best things to do in Podgorica, in no particular order.

Find the amazing brutalist architecture

One of my biggest surprises in Podgorica was its impressive brutalist architecture. While everyone keeps talking about brutalism in Belgrade or Skopje, Podgorica doesn’t get any attention at all yet it definitely should.

Since the city was basically razed to the ground after numerous bombings in WW2, the post-war reconstruction was made mostly in the typical style for this time and following years – brutalism or socialist modernism. Most of the blocks of flats were built that way as well as buildings of public use: Television and Radio Building, Clinical Centre of Montenegro, schools (including the university), Morača Sports Centre, or Hotel Podgorica.

The most popular examples of brutalist architecture in Podgorica are the Blok 5 housing estate and the Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Drink coffee under the bridge

Karver Bookstore is one of the (literally) hidden gems of Podgorica. Located in the former bathhouse under the bridge over the Ribnica river, this cafe/bookshop/cultural center is probably the best alternative spot in the city where you can meet local artists and discuss current issues.

Even if the place is located in the center of Podgorica, it feels a bit secluded, like you are in its own universe. While this might not be the best coffee shop in Podgorica, it’s definitely a great place to visit for its ambiance and unique surrounding.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Find local street art

One of the things that surprised me in Podgorica was the fine street art scene. In the true Balkan style, the city was full of graffiti but there were occasional murals that just added up to the overall look of the place.

Some of the best areas to find Podgorica street art are around Karver Bookstore, in the Blok 5 neighborhood, or Preko Morače district.

You can read more about Podgorica street art and see the map with locations here.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

See the Clock Tower

The Podgorica Clock Tower is one of the very few monuments that survived the massive WW2 bombings of the city and today can give testimony to the old history of the place.

Located at the edge of the Stara Varoš neighborhood, not far from the center, the clock tower dates back to 1667 when it was built by one of the prominent locals. The stone tower is 19 meters high and inside you can find the old 19th-century mechanism as well as the modern one added there after the recent renovation.

This is one of the symbols of Podgorica that definitely should not be missed.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Wander around Stara Varoš

Stara Varoš is one of the oldest parts of Podgorica, dating back to Ottoman times. For a few centuries, between the 1400s and 1800s, it was the city’s heart, but, like most of Podgorica, the area was badly destroyed during WW2.

Still today a few old buildings remained (like the already mentioned Clock Tower on the edge of the district or two mosques) and the neighborhood is a good place to wander around the maze of streets and get a feel of the old Podgorica vibe.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

See the former royal residence

Across the Morača river from Stara Varoš you will find a small park that hides the former royal winter residence built at the end of the 19th century for Nikola I Petrović Njegoš, the last king of Montenegro. This is one of the few buildings that survived WW2 in Podgorica and even if it isn’t as grand and magnificent as you might expect from its importance, it is still a nice place to see.

Since 1985 the palace together with the surrounding buildings has been serving as the Center for Contemporary Art, one of the most important cultural institutions in Montenegro with some 1500 pieces of art.

Unfortunately, the museum is opened only on the weekdays but even if you happen to visit Podgorica over the weekend it’s still a nice place to stop by as the park surrounding the palace as well as the palace itself are pretty lovely.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is probably one of the most beautiful and impressive Podgorica attractions, even if it’s a fairly new addition to the city’s scenery. The works on the building started in 1993 and the church was consecrated 20 years later.

The impressive cathedral is considered one of the most interesting Orthodox churches built in modern times. From the outside, it looks a bit like a grander version of the medieval Cathedral of St. Tryphon in Kotor, with Romanesque, Italianate, and Byzantine influences, but the interior is a real gem.

Inside the cathedral, you will find marble floors and murals rich in decoration, covering the whole place. If you look carefully you will even spot the image of Tito, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels burning in hell.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Admire the Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge, connecting two sides of the city over the Morača river, is one of the symbols of the city and among the most prominent landmarks of Podgorica. The 173m-long cable-stayed bridge was opened on 13 July 2005, Montenegro’s National Day.

You will find the best view of the Millennium Bridge and the dramatic mountains in the background from the bridges next to it, especially the two pedestrian ones.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Relax at the riverside

Podgorica has some nice green spaces and some of the best ones are located along the Morača river, between the Millennium Bridge and Blaza Jovanovica Bridge.

If you want to relax a bit in the green area head to Njegošev Park, Park Stefana Nemanje, or Kraljev Park. In the first one, near the Millennium Bridge, you will also find a small beach where in the summertime you can enjoy the outdoor bar with deckchairs and sun umbrellas and swim in the river, or from where you can go for a kayaking trip on the Morača.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

See the Old Bridge

The Old Bridge over the Ribnica, near the confluence with the Morača river, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Podgorica.

It dates back to the 15th century, when the place was under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, and is very distinctive for that time and culture, made of stone and with arches connecting the two sides of the river. In the 18th century, the bridge went through the renovation funded by the local citizen Adži-paša Osmanagić hence the place is often referred to as Adži-paša’s bridge.

Even if the place is located right in the center of Podgorica, it is a bit hidden from the view. To reach it you need to go down from Blaza Jovanovica Bridge or Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog and suddenly you will be transferred to the secluded place of the incredible beauty right in the center of Montenegro’s capital.

The whole area surrounding the bridge is really pleasant too, especially when the weather is nice.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Enjoy the cafe scene

Like many places in the Balkans, Podgorica also has a great cafe scene and you will easily find some fine places where you can drink delicious and affordable coffee. While there are some good cafes in the center I found better places in the residential areas.

I especially enjoyed Zrno at Rimski Trg, near the TV building, but there are really plenty of cafes to choose from. Cafe hopping might be actually one of the best things to do in Podgorica!

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

See government buildings

Modern Montenegro is a fairly young country, the independence was restored only in 2006, therefore its government district isn’t very impressive. Still, it’s worth seeing it to get a glimpse into the current affairs of the country.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Wander around the center

While the central part of Podgorica, between the Millennium Bridge and Blaza Jovanovica Bridge and surrounding Independence Square, isn’t among the highlights of Podgorica, it is a nice area to wander around.

The streets are lined with cafes and restaurants, hidden in the shadow of trees, making the place a pleasant spot to slow down and relax. A big part of this area is pedestrian and in general, the traffic isn’t very high here so wandering around is actually the best way to get to know central Podgorica.

The heart of the neighborhood is the Independence Square, a recently renovated square with colonnades, palm trees, water channels, and a fountain right in the middle.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

See Podgorica monuments

When exploring Podgorica you will surely notice numerous monuments around. Many of them commemorate important rulers of Montenegro, such as King Nikola I Petrović but there are also some surprising ones, like the monument dedicated to Vladimir Visotsky, the popular Russian singer and songwriter.

This is probably the most quirky of the Podgorica monuments since the musician is portrayed shirtless with a guitar and a skull at his feet. You can find his monument next to the Moscow bridge across the center of Podgorica.

Another interesting monument is the one dedicated to Alexander Pushkin and Natalia Goncharova, located next to the Central Bank of Montenegro at Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Go for day trips

Due to Podgorica’s central location and good connections all over the country, the capital of Montenegro can be a good base for day trips around Montenegro.

You can easily go for a boat tour on Skadar Lake, the largest lake in Southern Europe and a pristine place to visit, located on the border of Montenegro and Albania.

Another option is to go for a train ride, the Belgrade-Bar railway is considered to be among the most beautiful train journeys in the world and its most spectacular part leads from Podgorica towards the border with Serbia.

You can also visit Cetinje, once the capital of Montenegro, today a sleepy town nestled in the mountains, packed with monuments.

Or you can easily get to the seaside and enjoy some beach time.

If you have a car your options only expand!

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Belgrade to Bar train

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Final thoughts on visiting Podgorica

As you can see, Podgorica isn’t the most exciting European capital but it still has something to offer. If you decide to give the city a chance you might be surprised how nice the place actually is.

Visiting Podgorica can also give you a better perspective to get to know and understand Montenegro beyond top touristic destinations.

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

things to do in podgorica montenegro

Travel Resources

Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Podgorica

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Montenegro here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


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things to do in podgorica montenegro


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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Robert richards
    16/05/2022 at 18:49

    Wonderful thank you

    • Reply
      kami
      17/05/2022 at 06:30

      thank you

  • Reply
    Adolf Jackal
    17/05/2022 at 18:55

    Glad to see that the age-old adage of Podgorica being the most boring European capital isn’t true…at least for architecture lovers…thanks for showing me this!

    I’ve been following your blog for a while (you often are the only result that shows up on Google for more low-key cities in Central Europe) and your pictures are really inspiring to me! Could I ask what camera or phone you are using?

    • Reply
      kami
      18/05/2022 at 08:34

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’ve been using Fujifilm X-T100 for a few years now :)

      And Podgorica isn’t that bad really! But it’s not super exciting either. Still, it offers much more than everyone gives the city the credit for!

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