Podgorica is a city with the perfect mix of history, affordability, and natural beauty. With a population of approximately 150,000, Podgorica isn’t the big, bustling city that European travelers might be accustomed to. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do in this beautiful capital city.
Podgorica has long been known as the most affordable European capital, which makes it an excellent visit for the budget-oriented traveler. Even though Montenegro uses the Euro, prices are much more similar to other Balkan countries. Eating out is especially affordable, which makes Podgorica and excellent choice for foodies looking to try the local cuisine.
When we first arrived in Podgorica on a Sunday afternoon, our first impression of the city was that it was quiet and quaint. But we quickly realized that the city livens up throughout the week, with most people observing a day of rest on Sunday.
After spending a week in Podgorica, here are some of the best things that we found to do:
1. Walk across the Millenium Bridge
The Millenium Bridge is one of the most picturesque parts of Podgorica. Spanning both sides of the Morača River, Millenium bridge offers beautiful views of the water and surrounding mountains. In the spring and summer time, beautiful flowers can be found all around the bridge.
The bridge was designed by the Slovenian company Ponting and Mladen Ulićević, opening for the first time in 2005. After that, Millenium Bridge quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Podgorica. The suspension cables that span the bridge make the bridge look like modern art.
2. Visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ
The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is hands down one of the most beautiful churches that we have ever seen. The outside of the church features beautiful stonework and sculptures, with intricate designs carved into the sides of the building. On top of the church, numerous golden crosses embellish the church.
As beautiful as the outside of the church is, the inside is even more breathtaking. Every inch of the walls and ceilings are covered in colorful religious paintings. There was even a religious ceremony going on when we visited. It was beautiful to experience another religion up close and personal.
3. Eat an Authentic Montenegrin Breakfast
One of our favorite ways to experience a new country is by trying their cuisine. That’s why we headed to Sicilia bakery early on Monday morning to try out an authentic Montenegrin breakfast. We ordered the traditional Montenegrin breakfast plate, as well as a plate of bruschetta. It didn’t disappoint.
The breakfast was served warm and fresh, and only cost 6 euros total. The bakery even has a baked goods section in the front, so you can take home a warm loaf of bread or a savory treat with you. Yum!
4. Check out King’s Cross Park
King’s Cross Park is a beautiful peaceful park located just blocks from Podgorica’s city center. The Ribnica River runs right through it, and there are beautiful walking paths and bridges for pedestrians to enjoy.
On the western side of the park, there are beautiful old stone terraces where you can sit and enjoy the water. Toward the center of the park, there is a beautiful monument to King Nikola. Overall, this park is a beautiful way to spend a sunny afternoon!
5. Visit Republic Square
Republic Square is located in the heart of Podgorica’s city center. A pedestrian-only walking zone in the middle of the square has a fountain and sometimes features live music performances. Cafes, shops and restaurants surround the square on all sides.
6. Grab a drink on Bokeska Street
Bokeska Street came at the recommendation of our Airbnb host, and we’re so glad we checked it out. This quiet side street is lined with charming cafes, and it was full of locals getting a cup of coffee and enjoying the beautiful weather. Many of the cafes also serve alcohol, so it would also be a fun place to visit at night.
7. Check out the amazing sculptures around town
We were really impressed by the cool sculptures, street art, and art installations all over Podgorica. It seemed like everywhere we walked, there was another cool statue or piece of art. This makes it super enjoyable to wander around the city center and see what types of art you can find.
The sculpture pictured above was one of our favorites. It’s located right next to the Moscow Bridge, and features an artist holding a guitar. There’s also a skull at his feet. The placard was in Russian, so we have no idea what it said or who this sculpture is about. But it was pretty cool to see!
8. Walk across the Moscow Bridge
The Moscow Bridge definitely isn’t as impressive as the Millenium Bridge, but it’s still a cool way to get a good vantage point of the river and the city. It’s also a great place to get a better view of the Millenium Bridge, which is located just down the river.
Unlike the Millenium Bridge, the Moscow Bridge is pedestrian only. It also has a bunch of benches on it, so you could take a break and relax and listen to the river rushing by. It’s definitely worth checking out!
9. Take a Walk in Karadordev Park
Located partially underneath a bridge, the Karadordev Park is a great place to keep cool on a hot summer day. It’s located right along the Ribnica River, and has some really cool street art to admire. There’s also a more grassy area located in the sun if you care for a picnic.
10. Visit Knjižara Karver Bookstore and Cafe
Knjižara Karver Bookstore and Cafe is our favorite cafe that we have visited in Eastern Europe so far. Located underneath the Novi most bridge, this hip spot is located right along the Ribnica river and is surrounded by street art and concrete.
Inside, you’ll find a cute bookstore that sells mostly books written in non-English languages. Towards the back of the store, there is an indoor seating area. However, we loved sitting on the outdoor tables and enjoying the cool breeze coming off the river.
11. Visit the Mall of Montenegro
The Mall of Montenegro is one of the most diverse malls we’ve been in. There’s a fresh produce market place, clothing stores, cafes, restaurants, and there’s even a hotel! We spent an afternoon wandering around the mall and people watching and had a great time.
12. Take a Day Trip to Lake Skadar
Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkans, and it’s the perfect setting for a relaxing day trip. Surrounded by beautiful green mountains, this summer destination has plenty of boat tour companies so you can take to the water. If you’re lucky, you might even seen one of the endangered pelicans, whose wing span reaches 3 meters! Admission is only 4 euros per person.
13. Catch the sunset from Gorica Park
Gorica Park provides some of the best panoramic views of Podgorica. Situated on a hill, you can climb one of the many well-paved paths around sunset to catch breathtaking views. The trails are all very well lit, and there were tons of people out walking on the Tuesday night when we visited.
Podgorica is definitely no Paris or London, but this European capital is worth a visit! Its lack of tourists should be reason enough to visit, since it led us to have a very authentic experience in this beautiful city. There were no massive crowds anywhere we went, and the prices can’t be beat!
If you’re curious to see more of Montenegro, don’t forget to check out our Podgorica Travel Guide video:
We hope you enjoy your time in Montenegro. If you are planning a trip to the Balkans, don’t forget to check out a few of the other posts we’ve done on nearby Balkan countries! Happy traveling 🙂
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