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Overview: Podgorica, Montenegro


Located in the middle of one of Montenegro’s rare areas of flat land at the foot of a little hill called Gorica from which the city gets its name, the modest-sized 21st-century metropolis of Podgorica was first mentioned in written sources in 1326.

The preceding centuries have seen it suffer many of the usual fates associated with the region, first prospering as a trading town before falling under the power of the mighty Ottoman Empire and subsequently suffering several further indignities during the 20th century including being reduced to rubble courtesy of the Germans and the Allies during WWII and spending the next 46 years known to the world as Titograd.

The centre of Montenegro’s administrative, cultural and economic activity, Podgorica offers a range of tantalisingly different sights and sensations to the visitor.

Where to stay

Our Suggestions
• Ambasador Hotel
• Crna Gora Hotel
• Eminent Hotel
• Philia Hotel
Where to eat

Our Suggestions
• Art Cafe, Sv. Petra Cetinjskog 113
• Dialogue, Trg Republike 32
• Duet, Vaka Đurovića bb
• Salvador Dali, Džordža Vašingtona 87
What to do

Our Suggestions
• Modern Art Gallery
• Millennium Bridge
• Doclea (Duklja)
• Clock Tower (Sahat Kula)
Articles
Cetinje & Mount Lovćen »
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High up in the mountains, 30 kilometres west of Podgorica, Cetinje (www.cetinje.me) was Montenegro’s capital city from the 15th century until 1946. It’s an important cultural, religious and historical centre for Montenegrins and even though it never had more than a few thousand inhabitants throughout its chequered past, Cetinje is still regarded as the country’s true capital by many. In the 19th century the town boomed and many impressive embassy buildings were erected along with palaces. Some national institutes such as the president’s palace and the national library are still located here, it’s very much a backwater, with the real decisions being made downhill in Podgorica. Nowadays, Cetinje has a calm spa resort feeling to it, with fresh mountain air and people strolling aimlessly all over the place, eating pizza and ice cream or buying tourist tat from the stands on the main square.

Cetinje lives in the past, and there’s a multitude of museums to visit grouped around the main square. All are open 09:00-17:00 except on Mondays and admission costs €3-5. The National museum (Državni Muzej) inside King Nicholas’ palace can only be visited on guided tours, but it’s worth the effort as it has beautiful period rooms from 1867, filled with paintings and ferocious-looking swords. The Ethnographic Museum (Etnografski Muzej), set in the former Serbian embassy, is a good place to learn about Montenegro’s colourful traditional clothing and the development of national art. The large History Museum (Istorijski Muzej) is a rambling complex of rooms with exhibits including Turkish flags and old weapons, while the Art Museum (Umjetnički Muzej) has a good collection of icons and modern art. Finally, the Cetinje Monastery Museum (Manastirska Riznica) has valuable items from the treasury on show.

Cetinje is the gateway to the Lovćen National Park (Nacionalni Park Lovćen, admission €1 in summer, mausoleum €2), the 62 square kilometres of stunning mountain scenery area that forms the backdrop of the Bay of Kotor. It’s a short drive from town to the park entrance, and as you wind your way uphill you pass weird rock formations, forests and meadows. There’s good hiking here, though most visitors continue to make the steep ascent to the mountain’s Jezerskom Vrhu (Lake Peak, 1,660m), 21km from Cetinje. This barren mountaintop not only offers fantastic views of much of Montenegro and the Bay of Kotor, it also is where Petar II Petrović Njegoš’ Mausoleum (Njegošev Mauzolej) stands and where Montenegrins come to pay respect to the great statesman and poet. The 1974 building and the viewpoint are reached up a long flight of stairs tunnelled into the mountainside.
History of Podgorica »
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Ancient history
The oldest known inhabitants of what is now Montenegro were the Illyrian tribes who were subdued by the Romans in 9AD and then marginalised by the mass immigration of Slavs in the fifth and sixth centuries. The principality of Duklja that the Slavic newcomers founded became independent from the Byzantine Empire in 1042 and soon became a kingdom, expanding to incorporate surrounding areas. In the early medieval era the region was ruled alternatively by local families and the medieval Serbian state until the Ottomans occupied the region in 1499.

The Ottoman era

Montenegro remained relatively autonomous within the Ottoman empire, with local noble families allowed to rule the area with little interference. Despite this, the occupation was never accepted and several uprisings occurred until the Ottomans were finally defeated in the late 17th century. Under Prince-Bishops Petar I and II Petrović-Njegoš, Montenegro unified and became a theocracy

20th century
Nicholas I greatly expanded and modernised the principality in the 20th century, winning recognition of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. The constitution is signed in 1905, the country becomes a kingdom in 1910, and Cetinje quickly becomes more important as Montenegro’s capital, with a succession of embassies established there. Montenegro started the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 to definitely expel the Ottomans from the region, and joined Serbia in the First World War. In 1918, the country was added to Serbia and remained so until the country was invaded and declared independent by the Nazis in 1941. After liberation by Yugoslav partizans in 1944, during which Podgorica was heavily damaged, Montenegro became a republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Podgorica became Titograd in honour of President Josip Tito and the city was rebuilt.

The end of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia’s collapse in 1992 meant that Montenegro was left alone with Serbia in the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. An unmonitored referendum at the time showed great support among Montenegrins for this, though turnout was low due to boycotts. The Montenegrin police and military joined Serbian troops in the Bosnian and Croatian wars of 1991-1995 and were involved in various campaigns against towns in Croatia (including the bombing of Dubrovnik) and Bosnia. Prime Minister Milo Đukanović started to cut ties with Serbia in 1996, replacing the dinar with the German Mark (and later the euro) to loosen economic ties with Belgrade and becoming much more independent. During NATO’s 1999 Kosovo campaign, Montenegro was also targeted though damage was limited.

To independence
While tensions with Serbia remained, Montenegro continued on the path towards separation. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was replaced by the union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, but soon enough the peaceful and fair EU-monitored referendum in 2006 showed a 55% majority in favour of complete independence from Serbia. Montenegro subsequently became independent on June 3, 2006. Tensions remain as Montenegrin and Serbian identity are closely interwoven. Since independence Montenegro has seen great economic growth, particularly in the tourism and construction sectors as a liberal land ownership policy allowed foreigners to buy land with few restrictions. Especially Russian investors took advantage of the opportunity, and Budva and other coastal resorts see many Russian tourists in summer. The economy took a hit during the world financial crisis and tourism numbers dropped, though long-term prospects are still good.
Arriving in Podgorica »
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Podgorica and Montenegro in general remain ludicrously expensive destinations to fly to. If you’re counting the pennies, do what the smart people do and fly into Dubrovnik just over the Croatian border. Buses filter in from everywhere, and the train journey from Belgrade through the mountains is a delightful introduction to the country. Read all about it and more here.

By plane
Podgorica’s small but modern airport (aerodrom) is 8km southwest of the city along the road to Bar. There is no public transport to town, but Montenegro Airlines runs a bus service to Trg Republike, the main square, departing a short while after each of their flight arrivals. Tickets cost €3 and can be bought on the bus. Taking a taxi from outside the terminal to the city centre will cost around €20, but just €5-10 if you call one of the local companies. If you’re arriving at Tivat airport, a taxi to Podgorica will take about 80 minutes and costs €40-50, depending on your bargaining skills. You can also wait along the road for buses going south (to your right) to Budva and on to Podgorica, though you may need to wait a while.

By train
Train travellers from Belgrade or Bar disembark at Podgorica’s train station, on the eastern edge of the city. The station buildings are exclusively dedicated to rail travel, and for ATMs, kiosks and other services it’s best to walk across the street to the bus station. To get to the city centre, hail a taxi for about €2 or hop on bus N°6 which trundles to the Crna Gora hotel. Buses N°7 and 4 run to the Novi Grad district. Alternatively, it’s a 15-minute walk along Oktobarske Revolucije, then right down Bratstva- Jedinstva.

By bus
Located right in front of the train station, Podgorica’s bus station is a marvellous arrival point. Equipped with ATMs, kiosks, a dodgy-looking but superb buffet restaurant and a post office, it has all you need to get ready for your assault on the city. See Arriving by train for directions to the city centre.
Lake Skadar »
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A short 20km drive or train ride south from Podgorica, Skadar Lake (Skadarsko jezero) is named after the Albanian city of Shkodra (Skadar to Montengrins) on the opposite shore, and makes for a great daytrip. About 60 per cent of the lake is in Montenegro, and although the northern and eastern shores are marshy reed beds there are beaches and islands on the southwestern side and it’s easy to go on a boat trip for bird-watching and relaxation. Lake Skadar is in fact a former sea bay that was cut off from the Adriatic when sea levels dropped thousands of years ago. The lake is the largest in the Balkans at 41km long and between 370-530 square kilometres, and the lake surface varies between five and 10 metres above sea level depending on the season (it’s lowest in winter). It’s up to 60 metres deep, meaning the bottom of the lake is well below sea level, making it a so-called crypto depression. The Moraca river that runs through Podgorica is the main source of water for the lake, flushing the whole lake through about three times per year. This river is the main source of pollution too, mainly from Podgorica’s rubbish tip and the filthy KAP aluminium smelter nearby. The river Buna (Bojana to Montenegrins) near Shkodra is the lake’s only outlet, flowing 40km to the Adriatic sea. Curiously, the low level of the lake in winter causes the upper section of the Buna river (fed by the river Drini just below Shkodra) to reverse direction.

Plavnica
The most upmarket lake experience can be had close to Podgorica at the Plavnica resort (tel. +382 20 44 37 00, www.plavnica.info), a large modern development set along a channel some 300 metres from the lakeside, with a restaurant, apartments and a wonderful pool (€10 gets you towels and a lounger) with regular parties during the summer. Their 40-metre panoramic tour boat sets sail on summer weekends from 18:00 to 23:00, with food, drinks and dancing on board (€22 all-in, €10 without food). Plavnica also rents out canoes (€3/hr), paddleboats (€5/hr) and 120hp speedboats (€120/hr).

Virpazar
Six kilometres further down the Bar road, Virpazar is a small, pleasant village on a round island in the mouth of a river, linked to the causeway road and train station by an old stone bridge. This is the centre for boat trips on the lake, with several operators doing hour-long trips, at €10/person. There’s a tourism office here (Open 08:00-21:00 during the summer, tel. +382 30 31 16 33, www.tobar.me) and various places to stay and eat. The Badanj tavern (tel. +382 69 50 80 19) is a village konoba serving fresh fish dishes on a nice terrace. Hotel Pelikan is a basic place to stay and has a rustic restaurant (tel. +382 20 71 11 07, www.pelikan-zec.com).

The south coast
With your own transport you can wiggle through Virpazar onto the narrow road that dips and curves high along the southern lakeshore. As it’s badly signposted, this is a great adventure and you may end up at small farmhouses or deserted coves. The lake water is a very pleasant +27°C in summer, so it’s great for swimming. Sooner or later you’ll find the Muslim village of Murići, where there’s a gravel beach and the Izletiste Murići restaurant (tel. +382 69 68 82 88, www. nacionalnipark-izletistemurici.com) that serves great fresh fish (try the small ukljeva fried fish) and has some cabins for rent (€25/night).

Tour de Lake

It’s possible to cycle or drive around the lake, a tour of 177km, although the best views are really to be had from the southwestern Montenegrin shores, for which you don’t need to enter Albania. EU visitors don’t need visas for Albania, although you should check to see if you can take your rental car across the border. Crossing at Murican near Ulcinj it’s a few kilometres over good asphalt and a wooden bridge to Shkodra, which has charm and a huge castle, and is well worth a few hours. See www.shkodra.inyourpocket. com for more information. The road back north to the Hani i Hotit border crossing is winding and bumpy with no views of the lake.
» We have 13 hotels matching your search
To see a hotel description click on the button ''Details''
Hotel Results:  | 1 - 1 |
Ambasador Hotel - Podgorica
Hotel
Welcome to the Wild Beauty of Montenegro. Discover the splendid variety of our country, lofty mountains rising from crystalline seas; white water canyons and sweet-scented meadows; classical heritage sites and monasteries where miracles are said to happen.
Ambiente Hotel
Hotel
Ambiente Hotel is near to the narrower center of Podgorica, which makes it very favorable for all those coming to the capital of Montenegro, and for those, who would like to see something more, this hotel offers organized excursions all over Montenegro, from the coast, to the lake and mountains.
B.W.Premier Hotel
Hotel
Best Western Premier Hotel Montenegro Podgorica's spacious rooms feature comfortable, contemporary furniture with modern details. The breakfast room with its sun-flooded glass construction is the ideal place to start the day with a rich buffet breakfast.
Boja Tours Hotel
Hotel
Hotel disposes of 20 rooms, where 11 are with matrimonial bed, 6 double-bedded, 2 single, and one luxurious apartment (containing three rooms with matrimonial bed, living room, kitchen, dining room, two terraces, bathroom with Jacuzzi and mini toilette).
City Hotel - Podgorica
Hotel
A modern City Hotel for business people, located right next to the city centre, at the foot of Ljubovic hill, it has quickly become a favourite venue for businessmen and sportsmen visiting Montenegro
Crna Gora Hotel
Hotel
For the citizens of Podgorica, the Crna Gora Hotel is the centre of the city, and its cafe is a city landmark and popular gathering place.
Eminent Hotel
Hotel
Garni Hotel Eminent is in the heart of Montenegro capital near national theatre and library just foot-steps away. The Eminent is situated in a vibrant no-cars, walking area surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and night clubs on a tree lined boulevard for your 24 hour enjoyment
Rating from: 2 guest reviews
Evropa Hotel
Hotel
Evropa Hotel is ranked as an object with three stars. All rooms are equipped with TV, air-conditions, digital satellite antennas, phones, bathrooms, and there is free wireless ADSL Internet access in the whole hotel. In pleasant ambient of our restaurant you can enjoy in various food of our national kitchen.
Ideal Hotel - Podgorica
Hotel
Hotel Ideal is a small Garni hotel with catering establishment owned by Celjic family, which has been dealing with catering activities for more then 40 years.
Kerber hotel
Hotel
 
Lovcen Hotel
Hotel
 
Philia Hotel
Hotel
Hotel Philia is housed in an impressive building harmoniously blending modern and old architectural elements, situated only 5 km from the centre of Podgorica.
Rating from: 2 guest reviews
Podgorica Hotel
Hotel
 
Hotel Results:  | 1 - 1 |