Montenegro is full of stunning remnants of history and underrated landmarks, and Podgorica is a perfect example of that. The city has seen a lot of change but that doesn’t mean that what remains of the past hasn’t been salvaged and maintained. This guide to Podgorica will provide you with an in-depth guide to what you need to know when visiting the Montenegrin capital.
With a lot of things to see for nature lovers and historical enthusiasts alike, spending a couple of days in Podgorica is highly recommended when visiting Montenegro – so without further ado, here is our in-depth guide to Podgorica.
Where is Podgorica?
Podgorica is the capital and largest city of Montenegro, located in the central region of the country. It is situated along the Morača River and surrounded by mountains, making for stunning views from many parts of the city.
Podgorica is located approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) inland from Montenegro’s Adriatic coastline, and is within easy driving distance of several major cities in the region. For example, it’s about a 2.5-hour drive from Dubrovnik, Croatia, and a 3.5-hour drive from Tirana, Albania. The city is also just a short flight away from other European capitals, with direct flights to cities such as Rome, Vienna, and Moscow
How do I pronounce Podgorica?
Before we continue, how do we pronounce Podgorica – well it is very easy. It goes like this “pod·guh·reet·suh“. There you go, practice a few times and you will be perfect!
Podgorica gets its name from the Montenegrin language, which means “under the small hill.” The name comes from the location of the city, which is situated at the foot of Gorica Hill. The name “Podgorica” was officially adopted in 1946, but the city has had many different names throughout its history, including Birziminium, Doclea, Zeta, and Titograd.
Where is Podgorica?
Podgorica is the capital and largest city of Montenegro. It is located in the central part of the country, in the lowlands of the Morača River Valley, at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers.
Podgorica: Know before you go
✈️ Airport: Podgorica (code: TGD)
⏰ Time Zone: Central European Standard Time (GMT+1)
Language: The official language of Podgorica is Montenegrin. Other languages commonly spoken in Podgorica include Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian.
Visa: Those with passports from Australia, Canada, the EU, UK and US can travel to Montenegro without a visa and remain there for up to 90 days. Please click here for more details about your own country
Electricity Socket: The most common type of electricity socket used in Montenegro is the standard two-pin European socket, which uses 220-240 volts at a 50Hz frequency.
SIM Card: Wondering, Do I need a SIM card for Montenegro? The answer is yes, and read our blog post on what the best way is for tourists.
About the City of Podgorica
Podgorica can be found nestled in south Montenegro close to the Moraca and Ribnica rivers. The city is a cultural hotspot and a place of true beauty with plenty of trees interspersed between both modern and classic architecture. Podgorica was also a place where the Ottoman Empire roamed, and today, you can still see elements left behind of this piece of history.
The city has changed a lot of hands since it was first established as Ribnica. It was only in the 1300s when it became Podgorica. Podgorica was lost for a while to differing rule before eventually making its way back into Montenegro’s possession.
Podgorica has also unfortunately seen a lot of strife due to this and some of the remnants of this can still be seen through various memorials in the city. This hasn’t deterred the area from maintaining elements of the past while also bringing itself into current times.
What is the best time to visit Podgorica?
The ideal period to take a trip to Podgorica is between May and September, with the highest demand occurring during the European school holiday season of July and August. For those not restricted by school holidays, June and September provide excellent travel conditions.
Podgorica is still a great place to visit between October and May, even though the weather is a bit cooler. The average temperatures during this period range from 8°C to 16°C, making it an enjoyable destination for those looking for a more relaxed holiday experience. During this time of year, the city is filled with a variety of cultural events and festivities, allowing visitors to experience the city’s unique atmosphere. In addition, the city is home to a number of outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers. The cooler weather makes it the perfect time of year to explore the city without the hustle and bustle of the summer months.
If you are here for a longer time, feel free to read our Ultimate 7 day Itinerary for Montenegro and experience the best that Montenegro has to offer.
Attractions in Podgorica
As a proud local of Podgorica, I’m excited to share with you the top five things you absolutely need to do when visiting our charming city.
- Explore the Old Town
Podgorica’s Old Town is a picturesque neighborhood full of narrow streets, colorful houses, and historic monuments. You can take a leisurely stroll through the cobblestone streets, admire Ottoman-era architecture, and enjoy a traditional meal at one of the local restaurants.
According to local resident, Milica Petrovic, “The Old Town is my favorite part of the city. It’s where I go when I want to relax and feel the city’s history.”
- Visit the Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge is one of Podgorica’s most iconic landmarks and a must-visit for anyone coming to the city. This impressive cable-stayed bridge spans the Morača River and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the river below.
Right next to it is also the Vladimir Vysotsky Monument – dedicated to the Soviet Singer – an Instagram-able spot in Podgorica.
- Discover the Skadar Lake National Park
The Skadar Lake National Park is a natural paradise just a short drive from Podgorica. The park is home to the largest lake in the Balkans, surrounded by mountains, forests, and wetlands. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake, go hiking or bird-watching, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this beautiful natural setting.
According to local guide, Marko Jankovic, “Skadar Lake is a must-visit for anyone coming to Podgorica. It’s a stunning natural park where visitors can discover Montenegro’s wild side.”
- Taste the Local Cuisine
Montenegrin cuisine is a delicious mix of Mediterranean and Balkan influences, and there is no better place to try it than in Podgorica. From fresh seafood to hearty meat dishes, from delicious cheeses to local wines, the city has something to offer for every taste. Be sure to try the famous Montenegrin prosciutto, the traditional kačamak (a hearty cornmeal porridge), and the local wine Vranac.
Beer enthusiasts will be pleased to know that The Akademija brewery is Montenegro’s premier large-scale craft brewery, situated in the capital, Podgorica. What began as a quaint restaurant/bar in the heart of the city has now expanded, with their products available in numerous supermarkets throughout the nation.
- Visit the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ
The Temple of the Resurrection of Christ is one of the largest and most beautiful Orthodox churches in the region. This impressive structure was built in the early 21st century and features stunning frescoes, intricate mosaics, and impressive architectural details. Visitors can attend services, admire the beautiful artwork, and take in the peaceful atmosphere of this religious landmark.
According to the local priest, Father Marko, “The Temple of the Resurrection of Christ is a spiritual sanctuary for believers and non-believers alike. It’s a place where visitors can feel the power of faith and discover the beauty of Orthodox traditions.”
6. Visit Dajabe Monastery
This historic and tranquil monastery offers a serene and spiritual retreat for visitors seeking a peaceful and introspective experience. Explore the fascinating architecture, adorned with intricate details and vibrant frescoes, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region. Take a moment to immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of the monastery’s surroundings, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Whether you seek a place for quiet contemplation or a glimpse into Montenegro’s religious history, Dajabe Monastery promises an unforgettable journey of discovery.
Costs of visiting Podgorica vary depending on the activities you choose, but most of the things mentioned above are budget-friendly. The Old Town and the Millennium Bridge are free to visit, while entrance fees to Skadar Lake National Park are around €5-€10 per person. Dining in Podgorica is also affordable, with meals at local restaurants starting at €10 per person.
If you are here for only a day, here is our one day itinerary for Podgorica – this will allow you to see all the must see places in a day. We also have a guide to hidden places in Podgorica if you are interested in places off the beaten track.
Read Also: The best sunrises in Podgorica
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Where to stay in Podgorica?
Best Hotels for Families
Address: 62/3 4. Jul, Podgorica 81000 in Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-69-68-88-86.
Just a 16-minute walk away from the old town’s historic city center, this 4-star hotel offers free private parking, convenient, 24-hour front desk, and concierge services, and easy luggage storage space. Airport transportation, room service, closet space, free WIFI, and the choice between a buffet, à la carte, or full English or Irish breakfast make it a breeze to stay with your family.
Enjoy the hotel’s sauna and fitness center, or head out to local interest spots such as the seventeenth-century Ottoman Clock Tower or the Natural History Museum in Podgorica.
Address: 17 Njegoševa, Podgorica, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-20-221-650
If you want a unique and exclusive experience, step into this opulent boutique hotel that’s part of the Astoria Group. Centered in the heart of downtown Podgorica, this 4-star hotel combines superior services with luxurious interiors inspired by traditional Greek décor.
Slip into the hotel bar or restaurant’s warm, sumptuous, and cozy ambiance for a drink or a meal that offers both local and international specialties. There is a TV, free WIFI, a sauna, a Turkish bath, and a lounge area.
The National Theater, train station, and National Library are all found within walking distance. Hotel Hemera’s central location makes it a convenient spot both for couples and families who want to go sightseeing or shopping in the city.
Best Hotels for Couples
Address: 55 Marka Mijanova, Podgorica 81000, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-20-230-722
Infuse a little luxury into your stay in Montenegro’s capital by indulging in a few nights at one of the city’s most beautiful spa hotels. Located in the heart of Podgorica, this 4-star boutique hotel offers visitors an elegant, modern, and pampered experience that’s matched by old-world charm.
Enjoy an in-house restaurant, bar, fitness center, private parking, and free WIFI. Dine at the breakfast buffet or take in the view from the balcony. It’s a special spot that has couples coming back to enjoy the ambiance and stroll the streets of the city.
Address: 10 Beogradka, Podgorica 81000, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-20-230-690
Comfort meets style at the Hotel Ziya. Located on a quiet street, tucked inside private walls, and surrounded by greenery, this 5-star boutique hotel offers an oasis of luxury that includes dazzling, light-filled rooms, internet access, an adjacent terrace, an indoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a sauna, fitness center, complimentary concierge services, and a continental breakfast.
Couples rate this hotel high on their list. Enjoy a Mediterranean meal option at the hotel’s à la carte restaurant or try a flaky Turkish pastry at the nearby Bakina Baklava. The hotel is located 0.7 miles from the beautiful Moraca River, while the city center is just a 10-minute walk away.
Best Hotel Off the Beaten Path
Address: Katun Mokra Podgorica Stara Zlatica, 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-67-542-888.
Quirky and unique, the “Tiny House” chalet sits in a hidden valley between stunning mountain views only 30 miles from Podgorica and just 1.9 miles from Lake Bukumirsko. Guest amenities include a paid airport shuttle service, free parking, a sun terrace, balcony, and garden, a children’s playground, TV, a full kitchen, a private bathroom, and a mini-bar with a coffee machine.
Enjoy horseback riding in the hills, dive, cycle, learn about local culture with a visit to the Natural History Museum, or explore the stunning countryside outside Montenegro’s capital city.
Where to eat?
Hemera Restoran (situated in Hotel Hemera) is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an exceptional dining experience in Podgorica. The menu offers a great selection of Mediterranean and European cuisine, with fresh seafood, pasta, meat dishes, and salads. The interior of the restaurant is beautifully designed and creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The portions are generous, and the presentation of the food is beautiful. Overall, Hemera Restoran provides an outstanding dining experience that you won’t forget.
Restoran Maša is an outstanding restaurant that offers a top-notch dining experience in Podgorica. Their menu features a wide selection of Mediterranean and European cuisine, with a particular emphasis on fresh seafood, pasta, meat dishes, and salads – and they have very reasonable veggie options – not something all restaurants in Podgorica can boast of. The food is expertly prepared, beautifully presented, and generously portioned. Their meat dishes and fish delicacies are highly recommended. The cozy and elegant atmosphere is perfect for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends, and the outdoor seating area is lovely with a great view of the city.
Arabian Tea House in Podgorica is a fantastic restaurant that serves delicious Lebanese cuisine in a lively atmosphere. The food is halal, making it a great option for those who follow a halal diet. The menu features a variety of Lebanese dishes, including hummus, falafel, shawarma, and kebabs, all of which are prepared with fresh ingredients and authentic Lebanese spices. The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable, making it a great value for the quality of the food. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with friends or a family dinner, Arabian Tea House is the perfect destination for delicious Lebanese food and a lively atmosphere.
Where to Shop?
Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, blends tradition with modernity in its shopping offerings. Big Fashion Podgorica, formerly Delta City, located at the city’s entrance, has a blend of Balkan and global retailers like Zara, alongside cafes and entertainment spaces. City Mall, in the renowned “City” quarter, boasts distinct stores like The Manual Co. and a rooftop bar, Terminal, providing city views.
Hercegovacka Street, the city’s retail heart, houses local shops with vibrant hangouts, including the Scottish Pub McCloud. Jewelers Street near Independence Square offers both traditional and contemporary jewelry outlets, like Zlatara Maljevic and Leandro. In Podgorica, shopping venues reflect the city’s rich cultural mosaic.
Read Also: Shopping in Podgorica
Why Choose Podgorica?
Podgorica offers a lot to see and do regardless of why you love to travel. You’ll be able to learn a lot, meet some very fantastic people, and explore a city with something picturesque around every corner. There are landmarks that tell a story sprinkled throughout Podgorica that make for fantastic photographs even without historical context.
Foodies and wine lovers will be enthralled by the freshness of the seafood and vibrant reds and whites made from local grapes. Local foods tend to be comfort foods made rich with traditional flavors. There’s no surprise just how much food and drink come straight from the city considering its varied landscapes and natural beauty.
If you have only one day to spend in Podgorica, check out our one-day itinerary for Podgorica. It will guide you to all the must-see places.
Can you recommend any day trips from Podgorica?
1. Skadar Lake National Park: Take a day trip to the beautiful Skadar Lake National Park, located just 30 miles southwest of Podgorica. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake, and explore the diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes.
4. Ostrog Monastery: Visit the Ostrog Monastery, one of Montenegro’s most important religious sites, located about an hour and a half from Podgorica. Take in the stunning views of the surrounding hills, and explore the frescoes and religious artifacts inside the monastery.
5. Durmitor National Park: Take a day trip to Durmitor National Park, located just a few hours from Podgorica. Enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery, and take part in the numerous outdoor activities available.
Podgorica is a place of abundance when it comes to experiences that await visitors. It has a great mixture of modern and classic with plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy. When visiting Montenegro, seeing Podgorica should be at the top of your list.