According to best-medical-schools, Podgorica is the main city of Montenegro. You can’t call it a typical European capital, but Podgorica is worth a visit because of its unique atmosphere. It surprisingly combines evidence of the events of the history of these places: ancient temples, the ruins of medieval fortresses, mosques in memory of Turkish domination.
Modern Podgorica is the main transport hub of the country, its administrative and scientific center. Compared to Budva and Kotor, there are few tourists here. But lately, the Montenegrin capital has become more and more popular: guests are attracted by its location in the valley of five rivers, an abundance of greenery and parks, as well as relatively low prices for accommodation and entertainment.
How to get to Podgorica
The closest airport to the capital of Montenegro, Golubovci, is 11 km away. Now there is no direct regular communication between him and Moscow, you will have to fly with a transfer. Air Serbia offers a flight with a departure from Sheremetyevo and a transfer in Belgrade; total travel time 4.5 hours one way. The alternative is to fly to Tivat. Direct flights from Domodedovo are operated by Sibir together with Montenegro Airlines, from Sheremetyevo – by Aeroflot, from Vnukovo – by Pobeda.
Public transport does not actually run from airports – you will have to get there by taxi. A trip from Golubovtsa to Podgorica will cost 15 EUR. From Tivat airport (90 km) they will take at least 50 EUR, but you can and should bargain with taxi drivers, especially since they understand Russian well. The prices on the page are for August 2021.
Within the center of Podgorica, you can also move around on foot, since all the sights are nearby. Public transport is not very good. The buses are outdated, there are no air conditioners, there are no timetables either. They rarely go, and route maps are very difficult to find. The fare costs 0.8-1 EUR, tickets are sold at newspaper and tobacco kiosks (including reusable tickets for several trips). If you buy a ticket directly from the driver, it will cost 1.5-2 times more. At the entrance, the ticket must be validated.
Both tourists and locals prefer to use a taxi: it is inexpensive here, parking lots are located almost throughout the city. The minimum cost of a trip is 3 EUR, and in the central part of the city it is difficult to spend more than 4-7 EUR. You can rent a car at a special parking lot, on the street or call by phone, the tariffs do not depend on the method.
There is no public bike rental network in the city, and no private shops either. You can ask at the hotel about “bicycles”, as Montenegrins call bicycles – perhaps the owners will provide such a service or allow you to ride their own.
Podgorica hotels are not the best in Montenegro, all the glamor and brilliance, as well as the wealth of choice, went to the Montenegrin Riviera. Most of the hotels are 3 and 4 *, however, there are several “fives” that are not inferior to hotels in popular resorts.
A night in a five-star hotel will cost from 135 EUR for a double room (we are talking about international networks, in local private hotels prices start from 100 EUR). Among the “fours” there is more choice and price range – too: for a double room they will ask from 55 EUR per day. A good “three-ruble note” for two will cost from 35 EUR per night. The most budget option are motels located near highways. There you can stay together for 20-25 EUR per day. There are also hostels in the city. One of the most popular is located near the Clock Tower – you can arrange an overnight stay there for 15 EUR.
Rent a Car
Podgorica is located near the largest body of water in the Balkans – Lake Skadar, to see its beauty, you should take a car. Famous brands such as AVIS, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz offer their services in the capital and airports. It is more convenient to book a car online in advance. When booking, a 20% advance is usually charged, the rest must be paid on the spot. Be prepared to leave a deposit of 100-200 EUR. A green card for traveling to neighboring countries is issued free of charge or for little money – 2 EUR per day.
The road surface is good, the attitude of the police towards Russian drivers is loyal. Nevertheless, you don’t need to drive fast – there are many mountain roads with a narrow serpentine, on which there is a speed limit: in settlements – 50 km / h, on the highway – 80 km / h.
A mandatory requirement for the driver is normal shoes, not beach slates. When driving at any time, you must turn on the dipped beam. During the season, you should avoid parking in the center of resorts or near the embankment – tow trucks are actively working.
What to bring
The most popular souvenirs from Podgorica are edible ones. Tourists bring olive oil, Negush prosciutto, cheese and wine from here. Local seasonal fruits will also survive the transportation – citrus fruits, grapes, pomegranates, figs, kiwi. They are of great quality here. Surprise your loved ones with unusual fruits – “zinzula”, which grows in Montenegro, tastes like a pear and an apple. Montenegrin honey collected in the region of the Moraca and Tara rivers is especially valued.
The bazaar (Blaza Jovanovica) sells dried chanterelles and porcini mushrooms from the Durmitor National Park, as well as other farm products.
Pickled olives are best taken at the market, but olive oil is better in the store. Pay attention to the labels with the brand of the oldest Montenegrin oil mill Barsko Zlato. As a gastronomic Balkan specialty, you can also buy vegetable caviar “ajvar” or “lutenitsa” and a special soft cream cheese “kaymak”. For those with a sweet tooth, bring Bananica sweets and Plazma cookies – everyone who grew up in the Balkans knows their taste.
Cuisine and restaurants in Podgorica
Montenegrins are traditionalists, including in food. That is why any foreign cuisine, especially Asian, takes root in the country with difficulty. But the nearest neighbors influenced the taste preferences of the region – there are many pizzerias in Podgorica, and instead of McDonald’s burgers, locals eat Greek gyros for 5 EUR or Turkish burek for 2 EUR. The best establishments here offer national cuisine, the main feature of which is fresh natural products of simple preparation.
Meat is often cooked either on an open fire – “roshtil”, or in coals under a lid – “from under the sacha”. French fries are served as a side dish, and coarsely chopped vegetables are served instead of salad. Local delicacy varieties of cured meat “prosciutto”, sausages, cheeses and olives are a great appetizer for an aperitif.
One of the most popular dishes is mesho mese. A large portion for the whole company includes meat of different varieties, grilled, as well as “chevapi” and “splash” – sausages and minced meat cutlets.
Among the wines, the best varieties are the white “Krstach” and the red “Vranac” produced by the local winery “Plantage”. The national strong drink rakia is made from almost all fruits and berries. Despite the strength and heavy taste, it gives hops light and not intoxicating.
Prices are moderate – a hearty dinner in a restaurant with alcohol will cost about 15 EUR per person. Be sure to try the cakes in the confectionery “poster”.
Entertainment and attractions
Podgorica was badly damaged during World War II, so there are few historical sights here. Almost all of them are located in the Old Town (Stara Varos) and can be explored on foot. Ancient mosques and churches have been preserved. The most famous of them is the church of St. George of the 10th century at the foot of Mount Goritsa (Decembar, 19). Despite numerous reconstructions, it remained practically in its original form, even the frescoes by an unknown master were practically not affected.
The symbol of the city is the Millennium Bridge, or the Millennium Bridge, connecting the banks of the Moraca River, the Old and the New City. It is especially beautiful at night, when the lights turn on along the entire length of the building.
Monuments to Pushkin (Njegoseva, 2) and Vladimir Vysotsky (Jovana Tomasevica) are popular among Russian tourists. The latter was very fond of Montenegro and dedicated several poems to it. The 5-meter figure of the artist with a guitar in his hand stands on a mirrored pedestal. On it are carved lines from a poem about the country in Russian and Serbian, and at the foot is a bronze skull – in memory of Hamlet in the brilliant performance of Vysotsky.
The clock on the facade of the Clock Tower in the Stara Varos quarter has been telling the time for 250 years.
The Podgorica City Museum (off. site in English) keeps a rich historical heritage of these places – it exhibits artifacts related to the Roman and Illyrian eras. You can feel the ancient spirit of the city with a walk along the pedestrian street Hercegovacka (Hercegovacka pesacka ulica). The most romantic place is considered to be the old stone bridge across the Ribnitsa. In summer, there is an open concert venue here, and the river bank turns into a beach.
In Podgorica, tourists can go through an exciting quest – to find and take pictures with giant transformers. 7 statues made of scrap metal by Danilo Baletich are scattered around the city.
Outside the capital, there are also several interesting places. Eco-complex “Plavnitsa” (off. site) stands on the shore of Lake Skadar. People come here to fish, ride catamarans, swim in the pool and taste the Skadar carp specialty in the restaurant-ship. 13 km from Podgorica, in the village of Medun, there are the ruins of the ancient city of Meteon (3rd century BC) with an acropolis and fortress walls. Another attraction is the Museum of the writer Marko Milyanov (Medun bb), which presents an ethnographic collection that tells about the life of Montenegrins in the 19th century.
It will be interesting for little tourists to visit the petting zoo 14 km from Podgorica in the village of Blizna (go along the Podgorica-Kolasin highway and after 10 km from the capital, turn at the sign to the country road). It is also a shelter for animals in a difficult situation. Therefore, the composition of the inhabitants there is always different – after treatment and restoration of animals, zoos dismantle. Here you can communicate with deer, wild boars, ostriches, llamas, foxes and even cubs and wolf cubs, as well as with numerous almost tame birds.
Podgorica is located in a valley between 5 rivers. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and air masses, falling into the lowland, linger in it for a long time – therefore, there is always high humidity here. In summer it is hot and stuffy – refreshing winds from the Adriatic do not reach here. In winter, it often rains, sometimes it even snows. Fog is also not uncommon in these places. The hottest time is from June to September, the coolest is from December to February. Spring begins in March, and in April it warms up sharply and summer almost comes. Autumn is beautiful and lingering, until November it is not cold.