The best things to do in Podgorica include sightseeing magnificent landmarks in its old town area as well as taking in scenic vistas a short drive out. While the hoards pile into the coastal resorts, Podgorica offers the true Montenegro. With the smell of barbecuing meats wafting through the air and birds flitting along its tree-lined streets, there is a real personality to Montenegro’s capital.

    Stroll along the Ribnica River and cross charming, age-old bridges. Discover towering relics from the times of the Ottoman Empire as well as striking churches. On a short journey, you can visit a national park that’s home to medieval monasteries. Read on for more ideas and learn what Podgorica is most famous for.

    What are the best things to do in Podgorica?


    Njegošev Park

    Enjoy your mornings the Balkan way

    • Couples
    • History

    Njegošev Park overlooking the Moraca River is where you can take in the early morning tranquillity of Podgorica. The peaceful park sits in between Podgorica’s 3 main river crossings so provides a good starting point for exploring the city.

    Take a stroll between the pine trees to the cafe in the middle of the park where you’ll find locals ordering strong coffee; it’ll give you the boost you need to explore the rest of the city.

    Location: Podgorica, Montenegro


    photo by Aktron (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Old Ribnica River Bridge

    A beautiful way to take in the local landmarks

    • History
    • Budget

    Old Ribnica River Bridge is the crown jewel of Podgorica and the Ribnica River. The river itself winds its way gently through the leafier northern part of the old town. It’s well worth a stroll from Park Forest Gorica, the largest park in the city, down to the Ribnica and along its tree-lined banks. You’ll twist your way through King’s Park and hear the birds tweeting before reaching the monument to King Nikola.

    Along the route, you’ll eventually arrive at the old bridge. The ancient Roman bridge crosses the Ribnica at its mouth to its bigger brother, the Moraca. The meeting of the 2 rivers and ancient blocky stones that form the structure makes for some great photo opportunities.

    Location: Podgorica, Montenegro


    photo by ines lukic (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Independence Square

    Shop, dine, drink or see some art

    • Photo
    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Budget

    Independence Square is one of Podgorica's most lively hubs. It’s also the centre of the city's arts scene, bordered by both the National Library and Al Galerija art gallery. The square is lined with palm trees and benches, with a sparkling fountain in the centre. Vučedolska Street to the south and Slobode Street to the east are both popular shopping destinations.

    At night, Independence Square is lit up in bright colours and filled with people socialising in the surrounding bars and cafés. Concerts and other performances are regularly hosted here, as is Podgorica's festive Christmas market.

    Location: 2 Novaka Miloševa, Podgorica, Montenegro


    Podgorica clock tower

    A centuries-old timekeeper

    • History
    • Photo

    The Podgorica clock tower stands tall to this day in spite of the rigorous bombing that pounded Podgorica in the Second World War. It’s one of the only remaining relics from the times of the Ottoman Empire so provides an interesting contrast to the modern architecture of the city. Standing at 16 metres tall it also provides a good meeting point for an afternoon drink.

    The iconic monument and testament to Islamic architecture can be found in the hub of the bustling Old Town. Don’t be mad if it’s not keeping perfect time, it’s over 300 years old!

    Location: Podgorica, Montenegro


    photo by Sailko (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Waterfall Niagara Podgorica

    Swim in the river in the warmer months

    • Photo
    • Budget

    Waterfall Niagara Podgorica (Vodopad Nijagara) is a very pretty series of waterfalls just outside the city of Podgorica. A major waterfall cascades over a dam, surrounded by lots of smaller falls formed by the erosion of the limestone rock into strange shapes. The best views are from the boulders, which form a narrow crevasse right in front of the falls.

    It's a very peaceful area, surrounded by farmland and a sprawling landscape of vineyards which produce a type of red wine called Vranac. Restoran Niagara serves traditional Montenegrin cuisine in a rustic stone dining room with views of the river. Vodopad Nijagara is at its most sensational in spring.

    Open: Daily from 10 am to midnight


    Dajbabe Monastery

    See dazzling religious frescoes in a hidden cave

    • History
    • Photo

    The Dajbabe Monastery is a working cloister first established in the late 19th century. The modest porticoed stone building is surrounded by tranquil gardens with local olive and cypress trees. Beneath the monastery, a secret cave contains an Orthodox church covered in religious frescoes painted by the founder of the monastery.

    The frescoes of prophets, religious figures and local saints cover the whole cave, following the natural shape of the stone. Look above you to see a fine painting of Christ and the Virgin Mary adorning the dome. The church also houses several religious icons and a shroud dating back to the 10th century.

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +382 67 573 416


    Lake Skadar

    The largest lake in Southern Europe

    • Couples
    • Families

    Lake Skadar is a large freshwater lake just a half-hour’s drive south of Podgorica. Legend has it that the dolphin-shaped was created from the tears of a crying pixie – a magical description well earned by its enchanting beauty. The lake is part of a national park that’s teeming with wildlife and stunning, photo-worthy vistas.

    The lake is about 25 km to the south of Podgorica and is well connected to the city centre by the highway. Your best bet is to get a cab down there, enjoy the sights and sounds of the wildlife, treat yourself to a locally sourced seafood lunch and get back to Podgorica before sundown.

    Location: Podgorica, Montenegro


    photo by Diego Delso (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

    Podgorica’s answer to the Sistine Chapel

    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is a Serbian Orthodox cathedral that took around 20 years to build. It’s striking and unusual inside and out. While the towers and higher levels are intricately carved marble, the ground level is more akin to an ancient city stone wall.

    The inside brings more intrigue, every surface adorned with colourful, provocative imagery including one painting showing Karl Marx burning in hell!

    Location: Dzordza Vasingtona 3, Podgorica, Podgorica Municipality, Montenegro

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +382 20 219 310


    photo by Sailko (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Centre of Contemporary Art

    A great local gallery in beautiful surrounds

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    The Centre of Contemporary Art in Podgorica is an art gallery hidden on the ground floor of an old mansion in Park Petrovica. Where previously it housed royalty, the palace now holds a small but regularly changing collection of artwork. You’ll find pieces from local artists as well as long-term displays from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

    The park is just a short walk over the Union Bridge from the Old Town and is free to enter. It can be a little hard to pinpoint on maps but find Park Petrovica and you’ll find it soon enough.

    Location: Krusevac bb, 81000 Podgorica

    Open: Monday-Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +382 20 243 914


    Mall of Montenegro

    A mall and wet market under one roof

    • Shoppers

    The Mall of Montenegro in Podgorica combines brand-name shopping with fresh produce. It’s an interesting place for those looking to soak up the real, local culture. Inside the striking circular building, you’ll find all the local and international brands you could ask for as well as a pool hall and bustling fresh produce market. 

    Visit the mall in the early afternoon on a weekday to avoid crowds or on a Saturday morning to see Mall of Montenegro at its busiest.   

    Location: Mall of Montenegro, 74 Bulevar Save Kovačevića, Podgorica, Montenegro

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm, Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +382 20 671 357


    photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    James Goodsall | Contributing Writer

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