Podgorica (Montenegrin: Подгорица) is the capital of Montenegro. While not a typical European eye candy, the city is definitely worth visiting, owing to its interesting mix of old and new, its café culture and nightlife, and its laid back Mediterranean atmosphere.
Besides being the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica is also the country's largest city, having a population of some 186,000 people (2011). The city is situated in central Montenegro, in the scarce Montenegrin lowlands between the Dinaric Alps and Lake Scutari.
The Podgorica area has been continuously inhabited since the Illyrian and Roman eras, with settlement on the site of today's Podgorica being firmly established during Ottoman Empire rule. Podgorica was reincorporated in Montenegro in 1878, when the city started to take a more European shape. Nazi and Allied bombings during World War II destroyed much of the historical Ottoman and Montenegro-era Podgorica architecture, and the city was reborn as the capital of Montenegro in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The city was then rebuilt and expanded in a manner typical of Eastern bloc countries, so it is mostly a modern planned city, and by no means a principal sightseeing destination.
Both Montenegrin coastal cities (Bar, Budva and Tivat) and its mountain resorts are within one hour's drive from the city and Tivat one hour and 45 minutes, so it is an excellent starting point for day trips to anywhere in Montenegro.
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- 1 Podgorica Airport (TGD IATA) (10 km (6.2 mi) south). Podgorica Airport airlines include Austrian Airlines, Ryanair, LOT Polish Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and WizzAir. For transportation to the city center: Taxis can be found in abundance in front of the terminal but cost a hefty flat rate of €15 to the city centre, which the drivers often interpret as "per person". As with all taxis in Montenegro, you should haggle out a price in advance. There are no buses or means of public transportation. The only other alternative is to turn left as you leave the terminal, trod alongside the dusty road for about 1 km until you get to a bridge, to the left of which is the totally dilapidated Aerodrom train station. Trains run roughly every hour in each direction (Bar = ca. 1 hour, Podgorica = 8 minutes). If you just hop on for Podgorica, the conductor usually won't bother you, but even if he asks you for a ticket, you can buy the ticket from him for €1.20. Train schedule can be found here
- Tivat coastal city Airport Montenegro and then 1 hour 45 minutes by car to Podgorica. Taxis costs has a fixed price of €30 to Podgorica as of June 2018.
- 2 Train station (železnička stanica) (near the city center). There is regular passenger train service from Subotica through Novi Sad and Belgrade, and even regular trains from Bar to Budapest running through Podgorica. Train tickets are cheap, but the quality of service is not always up to Western European standards. There are overnight trains with sleeping cars for around €25. Trains can be late but are a common means of transportation.
- Bus station (Glavne autobuska stanica), Trg Golootočkih žrtava (next to railway station. City centre is 10 minutes walk from there, but if you have any luggage - it's recommended that you either take a minibus (combi) or some of the taxis usually waiting at the station entrance.), ☏ . Cashdesk 05:00-24:00. serves number of domestic destinations, as well as those in neighbouring countries.
Due to its location in central Montenegro, Podgorica is the hub of all main roads in the country. Road from the northern Montenegro and Serbia requires additional caution during the winter.
Podgorica is a medium-sized city. If your accommodation is near the city centre, or the "Preko Morače" district - all points of interest could be visited on foot.
Buses are not very frequent, and maps of the lines could be hard to locate. Ticket price is between €0.80 per single ride, and can be purchased on board, usually directly from the driver.
Probably the best option to move around Podgorica are cheap and reliable taxi service. There are over 20 taxicab companies, that usually operate new air-conditioned European sedans. Taxi stands are virtually everywhere in the city, but they could also be reached by calling the dispatcher. - The fare is cca. €0.40 per kilometre, and usually no start fare is charged. Considering the size of Podgorica - no drive within the city should cost more than €3 or €4. - Taxi numbers: 19700 ALO Taxi, 19702 Royal Taxi, 19703 Boom Taxi, 19704 PG Taxi, 19705 Pink Taxi, 19706 DeLuxe Taxi, 19709 Orange Taxi, 19711 City Taxi, 19712 Exclusive Taxi, 19714 Red Line Taxi, 19723 Peugeot Taxi, 19800 Bel Taxi, 19708 Elite Taxi
- 1 Old Turkish town ("Stara Varoš" or "old town"). with its mosques and old clock tower. A typical old Turkish "kasaba" (town), with narrow and curvy streets.
- Skaline (the stairs). on the outfall of the Ribnica river to Morača, with its old Turkish bridge over the Ribnica, and the ruins of old Nemanja's town.
- 2 Monument to King Nikola (Spomenik Kralju Nikoli), Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog (in the park across the street from the Montenegro's parliament).
- 3 Hercegovačka pedestrian street, Hercegovačka street (in the city centre).
- 4 Trg Republike, Slobode (next to Hercegovačka street). The central square of the city, a lot of life at the end of the day, when people finish to work. Lot of cheap restaurants and friendly people, a pleasant place to spend the first part of the evening.
- 5 St. George's church (Ц. св. Джордже), 19. Decembar. built in 10th century, on the slopes of the Gorica hill (hill after which the city was named.). 17th-century frescoes.
- 6 Catholic Church, Mojkovačka, Konik district.
- 7 Millennium bridge. The impressive modern bridge over the Morača river.
- King Nikola's castle. Turned into a museum, also fine the surrounding park.
- 8 Cathedral of the Resurrection (Saborni Hram Hristovog Vaskrsenja, Serbian: Саборни Храм Христовог Васкресења Подгорица), Bulevar Džordža Vašingtona. This is an Orthodox temple completed in 2013.
- 9 Church of the Great Martyr Holy Dimitrije (Crkva Svetog Dimitrija), Ljubljanska (Park Petrovića).
- 10 Rimski Trg, off Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog (near the orthodox temple). The square in the new part of town. The square and the surrounding area is the home for the trendiest of Podgorica cafes and restaurants, and favourite meeting point for Podgorica citizens.
- 11 Cetinje (west 39 km 45 min by bus, about a bus per hour)). it is a great opportunity to escape from Podgorica's pollution for a couple of hours by breathing the fresh air of the Lovcen National Park in the former capital.
- 12 Morača river canyon (north to the Podgorica). Visit the 13th century Morača monastery and enjoy scenery
- 13 Doclea (Duklja). The ruins of the old Roman city that preceded Ribnica and Podgorica.
- 14 Meteon (Medun) (13 km northeast of Podgorica). Ruins of a fortress erected at 3rd century B.O.T.
- 15 Skadar Lake National Park (S 25 km - 20 min by car). The largest lake on the Balkans, and a national park.
While in Podgorica, one can enjoy the diversity of Montenegro's capital cafes and restaurants, check out the nightlife, or take a walk at some of the favourite picnic locations of Podgorica citizens - Mareza, Skadar Lake, or Gorica hill. While strolling through Podgorica center, you might find the shopping area interesting, as there is a good number of boutiques.
Note that swimming in the Morača river might be a pleasant way to cool off in the summer months! The other option would be newly built open-air public swimming pools.
- Watch football: Podgorica City Stadium (Stadion pod Goricom, capacity 15,000) north side of city centre is the home ground of Montenegro's national soccer team. Also here are FK Budućnost Podgorica who play in First League, the country's top tier; they often win it and qualify for European competitions.
The currency in Montenegro is the euro. ATMs are widespread in the city center and the new part of town. Upscale shops and restaurants will usually accept any major credit or debit cards.
Most of the premium clothing brands have their stores in new part of the city, chiefly Vectra-Maxim neighborhoods. The prices are on par with those in the region.
- Delta City shopping mall. a 48,000 m² mall with over 70 stores, food court and a multiplex cinema
- 1 Mall of Montenegro.
- Palada. smaller mall
Open markets on the outskirts of the city are a place to buy very cheap clothing, often of low quality.
Almost all fine restaurants in Podgorica are located either in the traditional city center, the new business district around the Roman Square, or along the Sv. Petra Cetinjskog boulevard that connects the two.
- 1 Maša restaurant, Bulevar Sv. Petra Cetinjskog 31, ☏ . Renowned for its fresh seafood.
- 2 Astoria, Bul Džordža Vašingtona 87, ☏ . A chic restaurant featuring international and European plates, a favourite among local celebrities.
- Shanghai, 13 Vučedolska, ☏ . Chinese dishes and sushi.
- 3 Restaurant Zheng He (Kineski Restoran Zheng He), 31 Vojvode Maša Đurovića (near Delty City shopping mall (city kvart)), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 08:00-24:00. Chinese restaurant in Podgorica
There are dozens of pizzerias through city, and most of the cafes serve pizza, pancakes, etc.
- Alpe Bar, Bulevar Sv. Petra Cetinjskog 88, ☏ . A pizzeria and a cafe, one of the city's landmarks.
- Pizzeria Calabria, 57 Miljana Vukova, ☏ . Napoli-style pizzas cooked in wood fire ovens, along with little sausages and things.
Most popular fast food in Podgorica is the regional hamburger variant pleskavica. You can eat great hamburgers, as well as anything made on the barbecue (roštilj) in places all across town, but best known and most visited are "Voda u kršu", "Gurman", "Calimero", "Kruna"...
There are no international fast food chains such as McDonalds, Burger King or KFC in Podgorica.
Internet: Café www.com, Bokeška 4
Many cafés, bars and restaurants offer free wifi; ask a waiter for the password.
Most loved amusement of Podgorica's residents is to sit in a cafe on a summer day and drink their espresso.
There are dozens of cafes in pedestrian Njegoševa street in city center, and many more scattered around the city center. Most of the new and trendy cafes are located around "Vectra" district in the new part of the city.
Modern design and relaxed atmosphere of the cafes coupled with Podgorica's art of making espresso will make an interesting experience. Some of the well known cafes are :"Alpe bar", "Buddha bar", "Carine", "Greenwich", "Grand cafe", "Café, Café", "Switch cafe", "Soul II Soul"...and many more.
Espresso costs from €0.50 to 1.50. Coke and other soft drinks and juices will cost from €1.00 up to 2.50.
There is a number of clubs and bars to go out to in Podgorica. In the summer, there are many open-air bars and clubs. However, by law, open air bars must turn the music off at 01:00, when the crowds move to the clubs mostly in the basements in the city centre.
Depending on your taste, it may be important to know whether a club plays worldwide popular dance hits the entire night, or the playlist include folk music from ex-Yugoslav countries, which is often the case.
- Switch cafe, Stanka Dragojevica (five minutes walk from the main Republic Square, near the Millennium bridge). 08:00-02:00. A club It plays mostly foreign pop/electronic/rock music, and there are interesting music programs almost every night. Place with lot of fun. Beer: €1.10, wine: €1.50.
- Tantra club (a 15-minute walk (or short taxi ride) from the centre). It plays dance music and is generally busy throughout the week. Drink prices are not too expensive and there is a good atmosphere.
Clubs are most crowded from 23:00 until 02:00 on the Friday and Saturday nights, but some of them are full throughout the week.
- Skaline (open river bar) (Old Town). Two rivers, two bridges. Pop music, drinks, coctails, icecream.
The price of the accommodation varies, and is from €20 for a room in a motel on the outskirts of the city, up to over €100 in the premium hotels in the city centre.
- On the every main intercity road on the outskirts of the city there are motels that are the cheapest accommodation in the city. They are easy to spot, as each one has illuminated and clearly visible "Motel" sign. Expect prices from €20.
- Hostel Podgorica, Apartment 1, entrance III, Blok 7, Bratstva i Jedinstva, ☏ . Pretty straight forward hostel with communal kitchen, dining, and living areas. Also a balcony with a view of the city - Podgorica, ooh, enchanting.
- Explorer Apartments, Đečevića 25 (200 m from the Main Bus Station), ☏ . The hostel arrange various tours, rafting on River Tara and visiting the Durmitor National Park. $29.
- 1 Hotel Crnogorska Kuća, Dalmatinska 130d (N 2.5 km). Single from €30 (Jun-Sep).
- Hotel Evropa, Orahovacka 16, (next to the train station). a cheap choice Single from €40, double from €50.
- 2 Hotel Podgorica, Ulica Svetlane Kane Radević, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Very modern hotel on the bank of Morača river, and offers a high level of luxury, at a corresponding price.
- Kerber hotel, Novaka Miloseva 6, ☏ . The Hotel Kerber has a reliable (and free) internet connection in all rooms. Also has a bar. Single €60-110, double €90-200.
- Hotel Ziya, 10 Beogradska, ☏ . Indoor pool, spa, gym, restaurant, and bar are part of this classy hotel. $100.
- Hotel Ramada Podgorica, Save Kovačevića 74. Single €90-130, double €120-250.
- Hotel "Best Western", 145 Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog. A four-star hotel in the Vectra district.
- Hotel "Apart Premier" is a four-star hotel in the Vectra district. Single from €90
- Kosta's (single from €80) and Bojatours are smaller four-star hotels that are popular with local celebrities and politicians visiting the city.
- Hotel Ambasador Podgorica, 5 Vaka Đurovića (on the banks of Moraca River), ☏ . Check-in: 24 hr, check-out: 06:00-12:00. A 4-star property, very close to the financial and Government district. Single €66-88, double €90-252 including breakfast.
- 3 Hilton Podgorica Crna Gora, Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog 2, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Hilton Podgorica Crna Gora, is a 5-star luxury hotel with 180 double-bedrooms, 20 suites, congress centre, restaurant, bar, spa centre, indoor swimming pool and underground garage. In addition to hotel capacity, were built a shopping mall and business center. Along with stylish, sunlit rooms and suites, there are 4 restaurants and lounges including a spectacular rooftop bar, plus gorgeous event space and the city’s largest spa.
- Bar, the capital of Montenegro Riviera just one hour away.
- Belgrade, the capital of Serbia
- Budva, resort city one hour away
- Kotor Bay, one of the nicest fjords in Europe. The old part and the Castle of Kotor town, which is listed with UNESCO World heritage sites, are must sees.
- Peja, a very nice city in northern Kosovo
- Kopaonik sky resort 5 hours by car located in Serbia
- Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. A cosmopolitan European city with a unique Eastern twist
- Sveti Stefan, private resort island in front of Budva
- Tivat 1h 45 min away coastal town in Montenegro in the Bay of Kotor