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Fun Things to do in Podgorica, Montenegro
Written by Travel Writer Jub from Tiki Touring Kiwi
Kotor and Budva were always mentioned in my conversations before arriving in Montenegro. Both are popular for their own reasons, but I was confused as to why Podgorica rarely came up.
Afterall, Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, is the largest city in the country.
There must be some fun things to do in Podgorica right? I decided to go see for myself.
If you want to embrace a non-touristy city in stunning Montenegro, here are some of the attractions in Podgorica. I recommend you to stay in the city for a minimum two full days.
Experience Montenegro’s Niagara Falls
You can’t help but smile at the name right?
From what I could tell, the name is used to catch the attention of us tourists who will likely eat at the restaurant also called Niagara right next to the falls. Well played on the marketing front.
The falls are 7km from the city center, and I must say, the restaurant is in the perfect setting.
Thankfully they haven’t fully exploited the ‘Niagara’ name and have kept prices at a fair level. The falls, however, were disappointing as they only come to life in the winter, so my early October visit was too early.
I still enjoyed the trip out here as the landscape around the river is so moon like. Definitely, check them out.
Enjoy The Local Wineries
There is a lot more to European wines than France, Italy, and Spain.
The Balkans produce a lot of (drinkable) wine. Between Podgorica and Lake Skadar are millions of vines baking in the July and August heat, ready for the big harvest in September.
The most popular cellar is Šipčanik (8km from Podgorica) who offer a variety of tours and tastings year round.
The most popular grape variety in Montenegro is vranac, an indigenous grape the locals are proud of. If you can’t make it out to the winery, plenty of bars serve local wine or head to the supermarket.
This is an excellent place to visit combined with the Niagara Falls as they’re in the same direction.
Enjoy a Local Basketball or Football Match
If you want to see success in action, watch a KK Buducnost (Podgorica) basketball game at the Moraca Sports Center.
Why? They’ve won 11 consecutive domestic basketball league titles. That’s impressive.
Watching a local sports event is a fun way to compare how sports events are held in your own country.
A few of my observations from watching KK Buducnost:
- 2€ tickets
- no beer is sold in the arena
- no cheerleaders
- the small group of passionate (ultra) supporters in the corner were incredibly loud
If you want to watch football in Podgorica, the two main clubs are FK Buducnost and FK Mladost. They play at Pod Goricom Stadium and Mladost Stadium respectively.
When you get to Podgorica, Google the club names to find out if they’re playing. I find the locals are never 100% sure what the schedules are.
Visit The Centre of Modern Arts (Petrovic Palace)
You might be surprised to see the Petrovic Park in all its pinkness in the middle of the park.
The Centre of Modern Arts is free to look around, both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
There was the option of hiring a guide, who is knowledgeable – it’s a great option as there very few details about the art on display. If you like to know the stories behind the artist, choose the guided tour.
Hike to Various Viewpoints Around The City
Podgorica isn’t surrounded by massive mountains towering over the city like Kotor, but there are rolling limestone hills near. Most provide cool panoramic city views.
The best way to go about choosing which one to hike is easy. Pick one at random and start walking. They aren’t more than a 3-4 km away from the city center.
There are trails on the hills, but the limestone mountains don’t have much foliage on them so you can go whichever way your heart desires without the fear of getting lost.
Take A Dip in The Moraca River
I was gutted arriving in Kotor to see no one swimming in the bay. I was happy a local told me you’d see lots of people taking a summertime dip in the Moraca River flowing through the city.
Take a moment and think, how often can you go swimming in a river that passes through a capital city without feeling gross?
They’re usually a filthy, fast moving, brown color.
I think that’s what made my short (cold swim) so satisfying. The water was slow moving, and I could see my toes. Yay.
Crisscross Your Way to Millennium Bridge
If taking a dip in the Moraca River doesn’t sound like you, take a walk across city bridges. Five bridges cross city center (two are pedestrian only).
The most famous is the Millennium Bridge. One of the iconic sites of Podgorica, the cable style bridge is quite the spectacle and since opening in 2005 has helped ease congestion.
Experience The Local Nightlife
I was surprised by the nightlife in the city (on most nights of the week). After 5 pm, locals start to fill up the cafes, bars, and restaurants around the Bulevar Ivana Crnojevica and Njegoseva intersection.
As places close, those who don’t go home often head to Buda Bar to hear a DJ play a variety of music.
If that isn’t your vibe, continue walking around the stadium area to find music to suit your taste.
Spend Time People Watching in The Parks
Yay for yet another Eastern European capital creating lots of green space inside the city. Extra bonus points for Podgorica due to the lack of greenery on the nearby hills.
I stumbled across lots of parks and people seemed to be using them throughout the day.
Why do I care about parks? They are a great spot to people watch, have a picnic, and a daily dose of nature does you a world of good.
Wander About The City
The Old Town in Podgorica is undoubtedly different to your normal Old Towns in capital cities. Most of the town was destroyed during the WWII. The city was bombed more than 70 times, making it one of the most bombed cities and sadly almost no effort has been made to rebuild the once pretty town.
Yet you can wander the streets, with the mosques standing out.
Elsewhere, keep your eyes peeled for street art, a few pieces caught my attention. And Saborni hram Hristovog, one of the biggest Orthodox churches in the world is something I somehow missed.
I also didn’t realize Lake Skadar is the biggest lake in southern Europe and is so close to the city. Fortunately, I can explore the lake while in Shkoder.
Wrapping up on Fun Things to do in Podgorica, Montenegro
Do you agree Podgorica is the least recognized capital in the Balkans?
Don’t let this discourage you from visiting.
I visited Podgorica in early October and saw few tourists while actively exploring nearly all corners of the city.
There are more than enough things to do in Podgorica to keep you entertained for at least two full days, and as a bonus, you get a break from the crowds in Kotor and Budva (not that you shouldn’t visit them).
So tell us, what fun things to do in Podgorica will make your bucket list?