Insider's Guide: Things to Do in Podgorica Montenegro

When it comes to exploring Montenegro, most tourists have their sights set on the picturesque Bay of Kotor or the vibrant town of Budva. However, nestled in the heart of the country is the capital city of Podgorica, which often goes unnoticed by travelers. Despite its lack of popularity, Podgorica has its own unique charm and plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From ancient Roman ruins to modern architectural wonders, there is something for everyone in this underrated city worth visiting.

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Foto: Kosta Bošković
Foto: Kosta Bošković

Key Highlights

  • Explore the historic ruins of Doclea and immerse yourself in the ancient city's rich history.
  • Visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, a stunning Orthodox cathedral with impressive architecture.
  • Relax at Gorica Hill and enjoy panoramic views of Podgorica while experiencing thrilling activities at the adventure park.
  • Discover the art at the Centre of Contemporary Arts, showcasing the works of local artists and temporary exhibitions.
  • Take a stroll across the Millennium Bridge, one of Podgorica's iconic attractions, and enjoy the beautiful views of the city.
  • Experience the local flavors at Plantaze Winery, where you can taste the delicious local wines and take a vineyard tour.

Top Things to Experience in Podgorica, Montenegro

Millenium bridge is one of main city symbols
Millenium bridge is one of main city symbolsfoto: Shutterstock

As Montenegro's capital, Podgorica is the country's most important city, both economically and culturally. One of the top things to experience in Podgorica is a visit to the Millennium Bridge, a cable-style bridge that offers breathtaking views of the city and the Moraca River. Another must-see attraction is the Mall of Montenegro, a popular shopping destination that offers a variety of stores and restaurants. Additionally, be sure to visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, a stunning Serbian Orthodox cathedral that showcases impressive architecture and beautiful frescoes.

Explore the Historic Ruins of Doclea

Ruins of Doclea
Ruins of Docleafoto: Shutterstock

One of the highlights of Podgorica is the opportunity to explore the historic ruins of Doclea. This ancient Roman settlement was once a bustling hub of civilization and is now an archaeological site that offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. As you wander through the ruins, you can admire the remains of Roman buildings, including a theater, temples, and residential areas. Take a step back in time and imagine what life was like in this ancient city.

Visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ
Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christfoto: Boris Pejović

A visit to Podgorica would not be complete without exploring the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. This impressive Orthodox cathedral is a symbol of the city and a must-see attraction. Step inside and marvel at the intricate frescoes, beautiful chandeliers, and stunning architecture. The cathedral offers a peaceful sanctuary, where you can take a moment to reflect and admire the religious art, including a painting depicting Karl Marx burning in hell. Whether you're religious or not, a visit to this magnificent cathedral is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Relax at Gorica Hill and Enjoy Panoramic Views

gorica hill is beautiful for walks and relaxation
gorica hill is beautiful for walks and relaxationfoto: Shutterstock

For breathtaking views of Podgorica, head to Gorica Hill. This natural park is located just a short distance from the city center and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Take a leisurely walk along the trails and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also visit the adventure park located on the hill.

foto: Shutterstock

The best way to experience the stunning views is by choosing a random trail and starting your hike. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, Gorica Hill is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the beauty of nature, including the monument to Partisans.

partisan monument
partisan monumentfoto: Luka Zeković

Discover the Art at the Centre of Contemporary Arts

Art enthusiasts should not miss a visit to the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Podgorica.

Centre of Contemporary Art at Petrovic Palace
Centre of Contemporary Art at Petrovic Palacefoto: ForceMajeureMontenegro/Flickr

This cultural hub showcases the works of local artists and hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Explore the diverse range of artistic expressions and immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Podgorica. The center also offers guided tours, providing insights into the artists and their creative processes. Whether you're a seasoned art lover or simply curious about local talent, the Centre of Contemporary Arts is a must-visit destination in Podgorica, showcasing art from not only local artists, but also from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Stroll Through the Millennium Bridge

millenium bridge at night
millenium bridge at nightfoto: Ambasada Palestine u Crnoj Gori

One of the most iconic attractions in Podgorica is the Millennium Bridge. This cable-style bridge spans the Mora;a River and connects the old and new parts of the city. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and enjoy the picturesque views of the river and the surrounding cityscape. The Millennium Bridge is particularly stunning at night when it is illuminated with colorful lights. Don't forget to capture some memorable photos of this architectural masterpiece during your visit to Podgorica, making it a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee under the bridge.

Experience Local Flavors at Plantaze Winery

plantaze vineyards are biggest one-piece vineyard in europe
plantaze vineyards are biggest one-piece vineyard in europefoto: Boris Pejović

No visit to Podgorica is complete without experiencing the local flavors at Plantaze Winery. Montenegro is known for its excellent wines, and Plantaze is one of the best things to do in Podgorica. Take a vineyard tour and learn about the winemaking process, from grape to bottle.

foto: Luka Zeković

Sample a variety of local wines and indulge in the rich flavors of Montenegro. The winery also offers a restaurant where you can pair your wine with delicious local cuisine. Immerse yourself in the Montenegrin wine culture and savor the unique flavors of this beautiful region.

Take a Refreshing Dip in the Moraca River

moraca is main river passing through podgorica
moraca is main river passing through podgoricafoto: Shutterstock

Escape the summer heat by taking a refreshing dip in the Moraca River. Located in the heart of Podgorica, the river offers a tranquil oasis where you can cool off and relax. Whether you prefer to swim, float, or simply soak your feet, the crystal-clear waters of the Moraca River provide the perfect respite from the city's hustle and bustle. Pack a picnic and spend a leisurely afternoon by the river, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and the soothing sound of flowing water. Don't forget your swimsuit and towel for a refreshing swim in the Moraca River.

Wander Through Old Town Podgorica

Old Podgorica (Stara Varoš)
Old Podgorica (Stara Varoš)foto: PG Biro

Step back in time and wander through the charming streets of Old Town Podgorica. Despite the city's modernization, the Old Town still retains its historic charm with its narrow streets and traditional architecture. Take a leisurely stroll and admire the old stone buildings, colorful facades, and intricate details.

A typical narrow street in Old town
A typical narrow street in Old townfoto: Shutterstock

As you wander through the Old Town, keep an eye out for the vibrant street art that adorns the walls. These colorful murals and graffiti add a modern twist to the historic surroundings, making it a good place to explore and soak in the old Podgorica vibe. Don't forget to stop by the local cafes and shops to experience the authentic atmosphere of this historic neighborhood.

Admire the Architecture of Ribnica Bridge

ribnica bridge
ribnica bridgefoto: Luka Zeković

The Ribnica Bridge is not only a functional bridge but also a historical landmark and architectural masterpiece. This old stone bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, spans the Ribnica River and connects the old and new parts of Podgorica. Take a moment to admire the intricate stonework and the charming arches of the Old Bridge. The Ribnica Bridge is not only a practical way to cross the river but also a beautiful symbol of Podgorica's rich history. Take a leisurely walk across the Old Bridge and soak in the views of the river and the surrounding cityscape. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this historical landmark.

Enjoy a Day Out at Lake Skadar

Karuc settlement at Lake Skadar
Karuc settlement at Lake Skadarfoto: Stefan L. Beyer | Flickr

Just a short drive from Podgorica lies the stunning Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkans. This natural paradise is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Spend a day exploring the lake and its surrounding areas, whether by boat, kayak, or hiking. Discover the diverse wildlife, including rare bird species, and soak in the breathtaking views of the lake and its picturesque shoreline. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of Lake Skadar and create lasting memories of your visit to Podgorica.

See the Clock Tower and Learn Its History

clock tower (sahat kula)
clock tower (sahat kula)foto: Shutterstock

No visit to Podgorica would be complete without seeing the Clock Tower, a historical landmark and symbol of the city. This Ottoman-era structure has stood the test of time and witnessed the city's many transformations, from Ottoman rule to modern times. Marvel at the elegant architecture and intricate details of the tower, and learn about its historical significance. The Clock Tower is not only a visual delight but also a fascinating piece of history, offering insights into the city's past. Don't forget to take a moment to appreciate the panoramic views of Podgorica from the top of the tower.

Dive Into Culture at the Podgorica City Museum

podgorica museum and gallery
podgorica museum and galleryfoto: Turistička organizacija Podgorica

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Podgorica at the Podgorica City Museum. This museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the city's history and culture. Explore the permanent and temporary exhibitions and learn about the traditions, customs, and achievements of the people of Podgorica.

The Museum of Natural History of Montenegro
The Museum of Natural History of Montenegrofoto: Shutterstock

From archaeological finds to artworks, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the city's cultural heritage. Take your time to appreciate the fascinating displays and gain a deeper understanding of the vibrant culture of Podgorica.

Find Peace at Dajbabe Monastery

entrance to dajbabe monastery
entrance to dajbabe monasteryfoto: Shutterstock

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find peace at the Dajbabe Monastery. Nestled in a natural cave, this Orthodox church is a spiritual retreat where visitors can find tranquility and serenity. Explore the monastery's beautiful gardens and admire the peaceful surroundings. Step inside the cave church and marvel at the religious frescoes that adorn its walls. Take a moment to reflect and find inner peace in this serene sanctuary. Whether you're seeking spiritual solace or simply a quiet place to relax, the Dajbabe Monastery offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of Podgorica.

Sample Montenegrin Cuisine in Traditional Restaurants

pljeskavica - minced beef in a patty
pljeskavica - minced beef in a pattyfoto: Shutterstock

Sample the delicious Montenegrin cuisine in Podgorica. Indulge in local specialties at traditional restaurants, from hearty meat stews to fresh seafood. Try dishes like 'evapi and kacamak, paired with local wines. Finish with pala;inke for a sweet treat and savor the authentic flavors of Montenegro.

Revel in the Nightlife and Meet Locals

njegoseva street is buzzing with nightlife
njegoseva street is buzzing with nightlifefoto: Glavni grad Podgorica

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Podgorica and get a taste of the local culture. The city comes alive after dark, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants offering a lively atmosphere and a chance to mingle with the locals. Start your evening with a visit to one of the trendy bars in the city center, where you can enjoy a cocktail or a glass of local wine. Move on to a nightclub and dance the night away to the latest hits or live music. Whether you're looking for a laid-back evening or a wild night out, Podgorica has something to offer for every taste.

Venture to Niagara Falls of Montenegro

cijevna river
cijevna riverfoto: Jelena Jovanović

Just a short drive from Podgorica, you'll find the "Niagara Falls of Montenegro" known as Vodopad Nijagara on the Cijevna river. This natural wonder is a series of stunning waterfalls set amidst a beautiful landscape. Take a scenic hike through the surrounding forests and reach the main waterfall, where you can witness the power and beauty of nature.

Nijagarini vodopadi, Niagara, Cijevna

The cascading water and lush greenery create a picturesque setting that is perfect for photography. Don't forget to pack your swimsuit and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear pools beneath the falls. Experience the natural beauty of Montenegro and be amazed by the breathtaking Niagara Falls.

Uncovering Hidden Gems in Podgorica

While Podgorica may not be as well-known as other tourist destinations in Montenegro, it is home to hidden gems worth exploring. Discover the secluded Cijevna Canyon for stunning views and visit the Martinići Donkey Farm for a unique experience with lovable creatures.

Discover the Secluded Cijevna Canyon

cijevna canyon
cijevna canyonfoto: Samir Kajošević

For a tranquil escape from the city, head to the secluded Cijevna Canyon. This natural wonder is located just outside of Podgorica and offers breathtaking views of rugged cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Take a hike along the canyon and immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings. Discover hidden waterfalls and secluded swimming spots, where you can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters. The Cijevna Canyon is a hidden gem that showcases the natural beauty of Montenegro and provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Cultural Insights: Events and Festivals in Podgorica

Podgorica is rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural events. Explore the Podgorica Cultural Summer for performances, concerts, and exhibitions. Discover Montenegrin cinema at the Montenegro Film Festival. Immerse yourself in the local culture and vibrant arts scene of Podgorica, including the bustling fresh produce market at the Mall of Montenegro.

Experience the Podgorica Cultural Summer

The Podgorica Cultural Summer is a must-visit event for anyone interested in the arts and cultural experiences. This annual festival takes place during the summer months and offers a diverse program of performances, concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events. From traditional music and dance performances to contemporary art exhibitions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Podgorica Cultural Summer and discover the rich cultural heritage of Montenegro.

Don't Miss the Montenegro Film Festival

Montenegro film festival
foto: CG News

Film lovers should not miss the Montenegro Film Festival, a celebration of Montenegrin cinema and international film. This annual event showcases the best of Montenegrin filmmaking and offers a platform for local filmmakers to showcase their work.

Montenegro film festival
foto: CG News

From feature films to documentaries and short films, the festival presents a diverse program that reflects the cultural diversity of Montenegro. Attend screenings, meet filmmakers, and immerse yourself in the world of cinema at the Montenegro Film Festival.

Beyond the City: Day Trips Worth Taking

Podgorica is a vibrant city and an ideal base for exploring nearby areas. Day trips to Lovćen National Park offer stunning landscapes and hiking trails. Explore the historical town of Cetinje with its rich cultural heritage, or visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ostrog Monastery, known for its breathtaking architecture and spiritual significance. Delve into Montenegro's natural beauty and cultural heritage with trips from Podgorica.

Embark on an Adventure to Lovcen National Park

Njegos mausoleum
Njegos mausoleumfoto: Shutterstock

Nature lovers and adventure seekers should not miss a trip to Lovcen National Park. Located just a short drive from Podgorica, this national park offers breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and stunning panoramic views. Embark on an adventure through the park's hiking trails and discover its diverse flora and fauna. Reach the summit of Mount Lovcen and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the Bay of Kotor. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a nature enthusiast, Lovćen National Park promises an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Montenegro.

Explore the Historical Town of Cetinje

cetinje museum
cetinje museumfoto:

Discover the historical town of Cetinje, the old royal capital of Montenegro. Located just an hour's drive from Podgorica, Cetinje is a treasure trove of historical landmarks and cultural heritage. Explore the town's charming streets, lined with grand buildings and traditional architecture. Visit the Cetinje Monastery, a spiritual and cultural center that houses important religious relics. Admire the Presidential Palace, the former residence of Montenegro's rulers, and learn about the country's fascinating history. Cetinje offers a step back in time and a chance to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Montenegro.

Visit the Breathtaking Ostrog Monastery

ostrog monastery
ostrog monasteryfoto: Shutterstock

One of Montenegro's most iconic landmarks, the Ostrog Monastery is a must-visit destination. Perched on a cliffside, this stunning monastery is a place of pilgrimage and spiritual significance. Its unique architectural design blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings, creating a breathtaking sight. Explore the monastery's grounds and admire the beautiful frescoes and religious artifacts. Take a moment of reflection in the peaceful atmosphere of this spiritual sanctuary. The Ostrog Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a testament to Montenegro's rich cultural and religious heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Time to Visit Podgorica?

The best time to visit Podgorica is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild and pleasant. Summers can be hot, while winters can be cold and rainy. Avoid the peak tourist season to avoid crowds and higher prices.

Can You Recommend Any Local Food to Try in Podgorica?

When in Podgorica, don't miss the chance to try traditional Montenegrin cuisine. Some must-try dishes include cevapi, a type of grilled meat, kacamak, a hearty cornmeal dish, and palacinke, thin pancakes filled with Nutella or jam. Explore the local culinary scene and savor the flavors of Montenegro.

Are There Any Tips for Traveling Within Podgorica?

Getting around Podgorica is easy with its well-connected public transport system. Buses are a convenient and affordable way to navigate the city. Taxis are also readily available. If you prefer to drive, car rental services are available. Remember to familiarize yourself with the city's traffic rules and parking regulations.

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