Welcome to the ultimate guide to Ulcinj! Towns along the Adriatic Sea are known for their pristine beaches with brilliant blue water, and Ulcinj is the perfect example of this. Visiting Ulcinj is a must if you’re looking for a small and charming town along the sea rife with quaint stone architecture and lots of sunshine.
Ulcinj : Know before you go
✈️ Airport: Podgorica (TGD) Airport is approximately 50km
⏰ Time Zone: Central European Standard Time (GMT+1)
Language: The official language of Montenegro 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.
Ulcinj is actually one of the oldest established cities along the Adriatic Sea. Before it transformed into what it is now, the waters and adjoining sands were a hub for many Mediterranean pirates. Ulcinj and the adjoining coast has seen a lot of action over centuries, being a centerpiece in various battles and historical events.
Even though the town of Ulcinj is attached to Montenegro geographically, there’s an unofficial agreement that it belongs to Albanians. Montenegro has had a lease on the land for some time but the ownership has yet to trade hands back to Albania. Ulcinj has been known to change hands throughout history when it comes to country ties.
History of Ulcinj
Ulcinj-Bar, located on Montenegro’s south coast along the Adriatic Sea, has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times when it was inhabited by the Illyrians. The old town of Ulcinj, founded in the 4th century, reveals ancient artifacts such as water cisterns, tombs, stone furniture, and the remnants of a church.
According to legend, Ulcinj was founded in the 5th century BC by the Colchinians. It later came under Roman rule, gaining special privileges and independent status as Olcinium, a municipium.
Ulcinj’s strategic location, diverse topography, and pleasant climate attracted various invaders and rulers. Under Serbian grand duke Stefan Nemanja in the 12th century, Ulcinj prospered and developed connections with the medieval state of Rashka. The Balsica kula, a fortified tower within the old town, stands as a testament to the influential Balsic family.
Venetians ruled Ulcinj from 1423 until its conquest and destruction by the Ottomans in 1571. Ulcinj remained under Ottoman control until its liberation in 1878, becoming part of the Princedom of Montenegro. The town’s fortifications have been continuously destroyed, restored, and expanded over time.
Today, Ulcinj combines ancient heritage with natural beauty. Visitors can explore its captivating history and enjoy its renowned coastal landscapes. The old town of Ulcinj, with its archaeological treasures, and the stunning beaches along the Adriatic Sea make it a remarkable destination in Montenegro.
What is the best time to visit Ulcinj?
The ideal period to take a trip to Ulcinj 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.
What Sets Ulcinj Apart
Montenegro has quite a few beachy destinations to choose from, but Ulcinj seems to be one that draws the biggest fanfare. The people who call Ulcinj home are some of the most vivacious and friendly people you will meet, making it a fabulous destination if you’re one who likes to learn from the locals.
The social atmosphere of Ulcinj is also enthralling and the strip along the beach has certainly taken advantage of that. You’re just a few steps away from some fantastic restaurants that serve up fresh seafood and delicious cocktails every day. If you take a short walk from the beach, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a new world. (Read our article on the best beaches in Ulcinj to see which one is the best for you!)
Stone walkways take you through the town of light stone homes and buildings that are reminiscent of old Europe. Given how long the town has been established, it’s no surprise you can still see little pieces of history throughout the town.
Attractions in Ulcinj
One of the highlights of Ulcinj is the Sailor’s Mosque. It’s a gorgeous place to visit both during the day and at night when the structure becomes illuminated. Before becoming a mosque, the landmark was actually a lighthouse to help guide sailors; hence, the name.
A lot of the architectural elements throughout the town still have remnants of medieval and Ottoman influence. Whether you love history or just like to gaze upon gorgeous buildings, Ulcinj is sure to impress. You can take a guided tour of Ulcinj to make sure you don’t miss out on any incredible sites.
Visit the Ulcinj Museum
Located in the heart of the Old Town, the Ulcinj Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. This small but fascinating museum showcases the town’s rich cultural heritage through a variety of exhibits, including artifacts from the Illyrian and Roman periods, as well as traditional costumes and jewelry.
The Archeological Museum of Ulcinj is worth dedicating a day to, as not only does the museum have some great displays, but the area surrounding the museum is worthy of exploration.
Take a boat trip
The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea are best explored by boat, and there are plenty of options for boat trips from Ulcinj. Take a leisurely cruise along the coast and admire the stunning scenery, or head out to the nearby island of Stari Ulcinj for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and relaxation. If beaches are your thing, please read our article on the best beaches of Ulcinj – there is plenty of choices.
Visit the Salt Flats
Located just outside of Ulcinj, the Salt Flats are a unique natural attraction that is definitely worth a visit. This vast expanse of shallow ponds is used to produce salt and is home to a variety of wildlife, including flamingos, herons, and pelicans.
Attend a festival
Ulcinj is a town that loves to celebrate, and there are plenty of festivals and events throughout the year. The most famous is the Ulcinj Nights Festival, which takes place in July and features live music, traditional dance, and delicious food.
5 Best Places to Stay in Ulcinj
Best Places to Stay for Families
Address: Kosovkska ulica bb, 85360.
Phone number: +382-69-500-481
Families can enjoy a high-quality experience at the Padam Hotel located just 0.8 miles from Mala Ulcinjska Beach. With free parking, a fitness center, a spa, an outdoor swimming pool, complimentary WIFI, and a room fridge, a stay at Padam Hotel combines style with comfort.
Enjoy a buffet, halal, or continental breakfast every morning, dine at the in-house restaurant, or get a drink at the hotel bar. Children can explore the children’s playground area on the hotel grounds, while local attractions such as Old Town Ulcinj are located a convenient 1.9 miles from the hotel.
Address: Ulcinj Municipality, ve Donji stoi velika plaza, 85360, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-69-327-900.
With affordable prices, bright and clean rooms, and refreshing garden views, Casa Al Mare Hotel offers family-friendly accommodations such as a children’s playground and a buffet or continental breakfast.
Each room unit includes a terrace space, a flat-screen TV, and a kitchen with a stove. Free WIFI makes room entertainment a breeze, while a paid shuttle service and free private hotel parking make it easy to tote luggage to your room.
When you’re ready to explore the area, Old Town Ulcinj is only 4.7 miles away, with Rozafa Castle Shkoroda and Port of Bar located within driving distance.
Best Places to Stay for Couples
Address: Old Town, Ulcinj 85360, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-67-600-405.
Picturesque terra-cotta-colored tile roofs rise above sandy beaches and gorgeous, blue-water sea views at the Hotel Palata Venezia perched on a cliff crafted from a 2000-year-old coastal fortification. The Palata Venezia is located in a former Montenegrin king’s castle, which gives the rooms a uniquely elegant and historic ambiance.
Dine on local specialties fit for a king at the hotel’s Restaurant Miguel de Cervantes while drinking in breathtaking views from the terrace overlooking the Adriatic Sea below. From multiple local beaches to beautiful rooms that come with free WIFI, a mini-bar, and a TV, a stay at the Hotel Palata Venezia represents a dream vacation for couples.
Address: Steva Đakonovića Čiče, 85360 Ulcinj, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-69-649-469.
This delightful boutique hotel is a favorite when it comes to a couple’s luxury stay. Nestled in a beautiful and peaceful private space outside the busy city center, the Pino Hotel features all the amenities combined with refreshing sea views and relaxing dining at the Higo Restaurant.
Couples will especially appreciate the cozy, swinging basket chairs on the terrace and the outdoor infinity pool that appears to merge with the sparkling sea below. Couples with children are also welcomed by friendly staff and a convenient family room area. Stroll along the nearby walking trail or head to Mala Ulcinjska Beach located 0.68 miles from the hotel.
Best Place Off the Beaten Path.
Address: Djerane 1, 85360, Montenegro.
Phone number: +382-69-205-953
Enjoy an ultimate glamping experience at Madre Natura. Located just 2.1 miles from Old Town Ulcinj and 18 miles from the beautiful Port of Bar. Relax in the garden, on the terrace, or take in mountain views from the room’s balcony. Accommodations are clean, bright, and designed as cute little cabins.
Swim or snorkel along quiet, rocky beaches, and cycle through the peaceful countryside. Tour the legendary Rozafa Castle Shkodra located 24.9 miles away from Madre Natura.
We hope you liked our guide to Ulcinj. Ulcinj really encapsulates the perfect beach town, with a lively atmosphere, a clean beach with places to lay out and enjoy the sun, and lots of great food and drinks nearby. You get the best of two worlds in terms of a sunny seaside oasis and an old town rich with history when you visit Ulcinj.
If you are short of time, please refer to our amazing one-day itinerary for Ulcinj.