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Petrovac vs Ulcinj: Which is Better for Your Coastal Getaway?

Both Petrovac and Ulcinj are popular destinations for travelers visiting Montenegro. These coastal gems, ideal for savoring the sun and the sea, offer the perfect setting for a leisurely holiday. This is why the majority of visitors choose these two cities during the summer holidays, from May to September.

When speaking about Petrovac, visitors are typically attracted to it due to its strategic location in the center of Montenegro’s Adriatic coast. Meanwhile, Ulcinj is the country’s most southern spot in Montenegro, famous for its alluring beaches and historical significance. Although both are very popular, these locations are different and provide vastly different experiences.

However, if you are unsure which city to choose and which is better for your holiday, don’t worry. Our new blog will present all you need to know about Petrovac and Ulcinj to help you make a decision and prepare for your dream holiday.

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Petrovac

Location

Petrovac, better known as Petrovac on the sea, is a picturesque coastal town. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, right outside of Budva. Due to its strategic location, reaching Petrovac is relatively easy. Whether you fly into Podgorica or Tivat, you will be in this gorgeous city in less than 2 hours. The best way to reach and explore the city and its surroundings is by car. All major roads connect Petrovac, which makes it an ideal holiday hub for Montenegro’s coast.

Petrovac
Petrovac

Brief History of Petrovac

Petrovac has a long history, which makes it an alluring city to explore while on vacation. It dates back to Roman times, and archaeological sites reveal ancient mosaics and artifacts. Historically known as Lastva, it was renamed Petrovac in honor of King Peter I of Montenegro. The town has a rich cultural heritage influenced by various civilizations over the centuries.

Roman Mosaic in Petrovac
Roman Mosaic in Petrovac

The rich history is visible in several landmarks that you shouldn’t miss. These include Roman Mosaics, which show the god of the Sun, Hypnos. It is believed that the mosaic dates back to the 3rd century AD. However, the most recognizable landmark of Petrovac is the 16th-century Venetian Fortress, Fort Castello. It offers panoramic views of the coast and the town. This fortress also gives you the first impression of Petrovac as a magical, secluded town worth exploring.

Things to do

Cultural events

When vacationing in Petrovac, you can expect a lot of cultural events. Among the most popular is the annual Petrovac Jazz Festival, part of the Petrovac Cultural Summer.

Petrovac night
Petrovac night

In addition, the “Petrovac night” attracts many visitors. The event is usually organized at the end of August, and its main goal is to introduce visitors to Montenegrin Mediterranean culture, customs, food, music, and authentic products, of course, with lots of songs, dances, and sports competitions.

Beaches and Natural Wonders

Petrovac is well known for its beautiful beaches, which some consider the best on the Montenegrin coast. The sandy beach stretches 600 meters along the town’s coastline. It offers clear, shallow waters ideal for swimming and various water sports. Typically, couples choose Petrovac and its beaches, as the coast allows exploration of small, secluded beaches and coves with many relaxation and sports amenities.

Petrovac beach

Beyond its beaches, Petrovac boasts several hiking trails and viewpoints. The Petrovac to Perazica Do trail offers stunning coastal views and leads to a charming, less-visited area. In addition, if you love unique, picturesque panoramas, don’t miss the Kastel Lastva fortress in the evening for a breathtaking view of the Adriatic Sea.

Accommodation and Dining

Accommodation

Petrovac offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. In addition to well-established hotels, you can find many private apartments and guesthouses that are budget-friendly but still provide a great view of natural scenery.

Petrovac promenade
Petrovac promenade

The dining scene is also quite versatile, with numerous traditional restaurants and konobas where you can try everything from local cuisine to fresh seafood dishes. Finally, many of these restaurants also have live music in the evening, so your experience will be complete.

Ulcinj

Location

Ulcinj is a historic borderline city in the southern part of Montenegro. It is near the border with Albania, which makes it easily reachable from both Podgorica and Tivat airports.  Although Ulcinj is located at the corner of Montenegro, it is easy to reach it by major roads, either by car or bus, so the convenience is guaranteed.

Ulcinj Old Town
Ulcinj

History and Culture

Like Petrovac, Ulcinj has a rich history. It dates back over 2,000 years, as it was founded by the Illyrians. Ulcinj was at a crossroads of Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans, which is still felt around the old city. It is known for its pirate history and diverse cultural heritage. Ulcinj is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast.

Old Town in Ulcinj
Old Town in Ulcinj

The long history is witnessed in key landmarks, including the Ulcinj Old Town. This is a well-preserved medieval fortress with narrow streets and historic buildings. Also, don’t miss the Balšića Tower and the Sailor’s Mosque, which reflect the town’s diverse cultural influences.

Cultural events, including the Ulcinj Summer Festival, Ada Bojana Awakening, and numerous pop-up events along the city’s coast, also showcase the city’s diversity.  

Where to Stay

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Charter a Yacht

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Beaches and Natural Wonders

Ulcinj is famous for its stunning beaches, as it is home to the 12 km long Velika Plaza. This is the ultimate hub of the locals to enjoy the wonders of Adriatic coast. It is known for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports like kitesurfing. This makes it ideal for families with small children who love their space and enjoy the privacy of long beaches.

Big beach in Ulcinj
Big beach in Ulcinj

On top of this, visitors adore Ada Bojana, an island formed by the Bojana River delta. It offers a unique beach experience with its naturist section and charming riverside restaurants. Read our article on the best beaches in Ulcinj.

Ulcinj has more to offer in terms of natural wonders. Kayaking and bird viewing are excellent activities on the Bojana River, while nature enthusiasts may find peace and quiet at the neighboring Lake Šas. The best place to enjoy is Valdanos Bay, which offers stunning views of olive orchards and crystal-clear waves, a tranquil haven, and fantastic hiking and exploration options.

Ada Bojana
Ada Bojana

Accommodation and Dining

As this is a popular destination, especially considering that families with children often choose Ulcinj. Here you will find a wide range of hotels, budget-friendly guesthouses and self-catering apartments, so there will be something for everyone.

Night out in Ulcinj
Night out in Ulcinj

Along Ada Bojana but also in the historic core, you will find a delightful mix of Montenegrin, Mediterranean, and Albanian influences. This is witnessed in the food served in different restaurants, which includes a variety of meat platters and fresh fish, so you are certainly up for a feast.

Verdict

As you can see, both Petrovac and Ulcinj have plenty to offer. In addition to historical sights, incredible beaches, and natural wonders, you will also be entertained by exceptional dining experiences and cultural manifestations.

Petrovac, however, is a better choice for couples who seek to explore the Montenegrin coast. Its central location makes commuting and exploring much easier while still allowing couples to enjoy incredible nights out.

On the other hand, Ulcinj is a more family-appropriate city, with long beaches and children’s amenities. It offers a secluded, private, and entertaining environment where each family member can find something for themselves.

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