Spend a perfect day in Podgorica, Montenegro

Alisa Bruno


Nestled between stunning mountain ranges and set along the swift and crystal clear Morača River, Podgorica is a Balkan gem many skip on their way to the seaside. But with a rich history, stunning scenery, and fantastic local cuisine, the capital of Montenegro has everything you need for a perfect day. From strolling through lush parks to marvelling at the old Turkish Clock Tower, there is something here for everyone. Add an impeccable steak and a glass of fine local wine, and Podgorica might become your favourite town, at least in the Balkans. Here are a few ideas on how to spend a splendid 24 hours in the capital of Montenegro.

Explore the old town and the banks of the Morača River

Throughout its tumultuous history, Podgorica has undergone numerous transformations, having been ruled by different powers, from the Romans to the Turks to the Austro-Hungarians. Severely bombed during the Second World War and rebuilt by socialists, the charming city boasts a vibrant cafe culture, excellent galleries, and plenty of green spaces to unwind.

Start your tour at Stara Varoš — the oldest neighbourhood in Podgorica. Visit the Turkish Clock Tower, one of the city's most iconic landmarks. Stroll the tiny crooked streets to the 15th-century Starodoganjska and 18th-century Osmanagić Mosques.

Then wander through the city’s lungs, from King's Park to Njegošev Park — a picturesque downtown hideout overlooking the Morača River. Rest your feet and nurture your inner child by swaying through the air on the giant swings. Cross the river and enjoy an adult refreshment al fresco at Camper or Mocktail bar. Or, even better, bar-hop at both!

Continue your stroll to the pedestrian-only Moscow Bridge. Stop here for a moment. Soak in the beauty of the rushing transparent-blue waters of Morača and admire another key landmark — the Millennium Bridge.

Waterfalls, wine and more!

Did you know that Podgorica has its own Niagara? Grab a cab and enjoy a 13km scenic ride to the southeast of the city to marvel at a relatively compact but gorgeous Niagara Waterfall on the Cijevna river. The Niagara falls are most impressive in spring time. In March or April, or after a rainy day, you can see numerous small cascades finding their way through the picturesque karst landscape.

On the way back, stop for a tour of the Šipčanik Wine Cellar. Based in a former secret subterranean aircraft hangar, it offers a premium local wine and food pairing experience. There’s Montenegrin Val Rose for starters, then exquisite beef steak salad with chilled Pinot Blanc, Vranac Reserve to go with lamb in oyster sauce and with more matches to follow, your day will just keep getting better and better!

Discover local painters in one of the art galleries

Now back to the city. Podgorica has a thriving art scene. And there are no better places to discover it than these three galleries.

The Montenegro Contemporary Art Centre in Petrović Palace: set in the former manor of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty, this gallery is home to a collection of contemporary local pieces and donated paintings from all over the world.

The Montenegro Contemporary Art Centre in the Galerija Centar: set in a modern building with a glass facade, this quirky gallery is full of light and air. Here you can catch exhibitions showcasing cutting-edge contemporary art, ranging from paintings and sculptures to installations and light shows.

Gallery Pizana: this gallery is committed to promoting and exhibiting the works of Montenegro's emerging artists. Peek here if you collect art and want to buy a piece from a rising star.

Indulge in fine dining with a Balkan twist

A great day is not complete without a great meal. Choose one of the city's top restaurants — Porto, Hemera or Très Bien for supper. These restaurants offer a modern twist on Mediterranean and Balkan dishes.

The best steak in town, however, is served at the effortlessly elegant, Boscovich restaurant in the Boskovich hotel which is popular with locals all day and has a nice upscale buzz.

If you are a true hedonist, pair your meal with a glass of Kraljevski pečat — a rare 'royal seal' local red. Cheers to a perfect day in Podgorica! 

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