As a capital, there isn’t much tourist things to do. In fact, my travel book only gives it a one sentence mention.
Yet, I was here for 6 days, basically two trips.
So first I came to see a friend, A, for 2 days then I left and came back a few days later to meet up with another friend, M.
So if you have a desire to see the capitol even when everyone tells you don’t, here are some of the things that I did to fill the time.
1. Walking around the whole city
My very first night, we stayed with a couch surfer and he was kind enough to walk me all over the city and give me the local insight. It’s small enough that he ran into people he knew every few minutes. But he only said hi and chatted with 6 of them.
“I know that guy and that guy.” Etc.
I got to see the big things of the city such as the football stadium, Gorgica park (pod means under and Gorgica is a mountain so under the mountain). The top of the park has great views of the rest of the city. I also got to see its main mosque, which is huge.
We walked around old town, which retains it’s Ottoman Turk vibe and walked by its new business area.
My host was also telling me that Montenegro is very proud of beating England once in football and is quite accomplished in water polo, fun fact.
2. Stop in one of its many pub and cafes for a few hours.
I waited for my friend and the couch surfer at a cafe and was lulled into staying for over an hour as I sipped my coffee and enjoy the ambiance. It was a small cafe with jazz music. But there are many of them all over the city. It is the Balkan way to sit and drink coffee for hours.
A and I got food at a cevapi place near the hostel and had really good Turkish coffee totaling in about 3 euros for everything and the we had pizza for dinner and a medium plate (I could barely finish) was only 2 euros. We had a craving for dessert- tri Leche and went to find a cafe. A also wanted Turkish coffee with it. We asked the pizza guy and he told us about Bonella and gave us directions. It was supposed to be easy, but we spent 20 minutes looking for it and asked directions 3 times. We finally found it and it turns out it was a grocery store so we went to a bakery we passed and had Tre Leche and cheesecake. They didn’t have Turkish coffee.
“I’m going to make that into a phrase.” A said. “This is harder than finding Bonella or Bonella was harder than this.”
What a Bonella.
Tre Leche is really good and I recommend having it. The texture is like flan and bread pudding mixed.
3. Take a day trip to Virpazar/Godnije and try some wine or rakija
My friend, A, and I took the train to Virpazar, 2 euros roundtrip, and then walked to this small old town, Godnije. The weather was beautiful and the walk to Godnije offered lovely views of Skadarska lake and a fortress on an island in the middle. You can buy tickets on the train and it’s a 30 minute ride.
In Godnije, we talked to several locals who said the whole town was all related. One man was rebuilding a family home that a huge Earthquake in the 70s tore down. He wants to make it into a guest house. We also stopped in a family run winery. The elderly women didn’t speak English, but we could understand each other through a combination of some words in several languages and hand gestures. The wine was delicious and she showed us all her awards and where she makes the wine and, of course, rakia.
4. Take a day trip to Ostrog Monastery.
There are both buses and trains to the Monastery, but it’s still a hike to get to it. You can always hire a taxi to take you to the top and make sure to negotiate the price for the whole trip up and down as well as waiting for you at the top beforehand.
It’s small, but nice to see and theirs a human body on display under a sheet. A thought it was mummified. Nevertheless, it’s an important saint.
It’s small and doesn’t take much time to see. You can also go up to the bell tower of the monastery for a better view of everything. The monastery is pretty cool as its built into the rock face wall so parts of the building’s walls are actually rock.
5. Take a day trip to Kotor/Budva/Persat/Bar/Centinje
Depending on what you do at Virpazar, you can continue on to Bar, it’s the same train. Bar is situated on the coast. In winter it might be a good day trip, but in summer, staying there and enjoying the beaches might take longer than a day. It’s about an hour from Podgorica by train.
The most popular destination by far in Montenegro is Kotor. See previous post here. I also write about Persat.
I was with my friend, M, and she had yet to see Kotor so we did a day trip from Podgorica to there- its about a two hour bus ride, there was some construction on the road. We were also able to go to Budva the same day then back to Podgorica. You might be able to squeeze in Persat in the same trip, but we decided not to in order to give the other places more attention.
For buses- from Podgorcia to Kotor it was 7 euros, from Kotor to Budva it was 3.50, and from Budva to Podgorica it was 6 euros (per person).
The next day we did a day trip to Centinje and enjoyed the history museum, which talks about Montenegro history from the beginning of time to now and another monastery, very small, after going to Lovcen National Park (2 euros entrance fee) with a new friend. There are over 400 steps to get to the top where a monastery lies, which would be 3 euros, but due to the snow it was closed, but we still got to see the panorama from the top. Unfortunately, it was extremely foggy and we couldn’t even see several feet/meters in front of us. The view would be really nice on a clear day for sure (There was a picture of it in the summer- incredible!)
To get to the park, you either drive or take a taxi. Make sure to negotiate the price beforehand. The driver told us 25 euros round trip so we went. He didn’t speak much English, but he was lovely and very friendly. Upon the return he asked about driving us back to Podgorica. The total price for the park trip and the return was 40 euros, which was one euro cheaper per person than taking the bus and we could go when we wanted. He also drove us to the different museums/monastery in the city. It was like our own personal car.
6. See the mini waterfalls near Podgorica
M and I, along with 3 others, 2 Slovenian guys and a German woman, from our hostel rented a car and drove around Montenegro (seeing Ostrog Monastery, Zablijak/Duromitor National Park (in the north), the lakes near Niksic (not much to see by itself), and these waterfalls) so I am not sure how to get there by regular public transportation, but it is definitely worth thinking about seeing because they were so cool.
It rained heavily the previous night so the water was rushing. It’s near the airport so you might be able to negotiate a price with a taxi driver.
We didn’t go into the actual Durmitor National Park because it was a lot of snow and not worth the price of admission- for sure in the summer!
Where to stay:
I stayed in a hostel called Hostel Montenegro both times and it was awesome. It’s about a 13 minute walk from the bus and train station and in the heart of old town. Breakfast and towels are included and there are 2 dogs there, which made me really happy. It’s a big house converted into hostel and there’s a smaller house that also has rooms.