Montenegro

One day itinerary in Podgorica, Montenegro

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When I was researching the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica, most posts advised against going. When I was in Kotor, I asked a few locals about Podgorica and they also confirmed what the blogs have written. I had to go there anyway to catch my flight back home. I took my sweet time in Kotor and didn't leave it until 5pm because I wanted to arrive with some sunshine left just so I find my hotel and not get lost in the dark. I arrived to the capital with zero expectations and with planning to just work from my laptop that evening. 


Getting from Podgorica Airport

Podgorica airport is a tricky one. The train station near by was not working in April 2018, when I was landing and they don't have any other forms of public transports there. The only option is to get a taxi. Luckily, booking my flight with Ryanair gave me the option to book a transfer with them online. I just went to my "manage booking" page and paid £4 extra to book a car from the airport to the main bus station. On the way back, I got a car booked for 7euros via my hotel.  

Transfer from Podgorica airport to Podgorica Bus Station

How to Pronounce Podgorica?

I didn't even bother to learn how to say the name of the city because I didn't think I would need to since I wasn't planning to spending any time there, BUT when I got there and saw wha's on offer I learnt it!

Say it with me: Pod Go Reista repeat slowly a few times then you will get it! 

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Is Podgorica Muslim Friendly?

I was a little unsure what to expect being a Muslim in Podgorica, but I was very pleasantly surprised on how lovely everyone was. I also liked that Podgorica had halal food options and two mosques right in the centre of the city. I didn't see any ladies wearing a scarf, but I was only there for a day. From that limited time, I was very comfortable and I would love to go back there again. 

Muslims in Podgorica, Montenegro

Things to do in Podgorica in a day

Thanks to the lovely ladies at the hotel reception, I was given a map of the city that had the main sights, which by the way exist! Even though, most of the people in Kotor told me that the current capital has nothing to offer. I had to pack everything in a few hours, but I managed to see a good number of things. It was annoying that I had to rush, but I can at least share some highlights with you on here!

⁃ Hike up "Avanturisticki Park" & See Podgorica from above

I started my morning very early, so I can make it to the Gorica (Go Rista) hill, where the park is located. That is where the name of the city comes from and I loved it. It was like a mini forest with a paved road in the middle for walking and cycling. I spent two hours there trying to reach the view point to see the panoramic view of the Podgorica. I was just walking following my intuition rather than an actual route and due to my limited time, I had to leave before actually arriving all the way to the top. It was still worth it and it was a nice way to see a lot of the locals in their morning routine. A lot of elderly and middle aged couples were working out together and they were so cute! Many people were also walking their dogs. All of which were well behaved. It was a really nice atmosphere and I really enjoyed all the fresh air there. 

⁃ Visit "Crkva Svetog Dorda"

Right outside of the park, there is a lovely stone church, Crkva Svetog Dorda I found it charming with its simplicity and it was good to go and see it on the inside and walk around it. The metal lanterns inside were my favourite. It only took me 10 minutes to see it and photograph it all. It will be good to join it with the park. 

⁃ Walk on the Most Milenium (Millennium Bridge)

On the little walk to the park, I managed to pass by Millennium Bridge. It was really busy that part of the road, so I saw the bridge from a distance. It wasn't anything out of this world, but it was cool to see and walk next to. 

Most Milenium (Millennium Bridge)

⁃ Explore the Islamic heritage

I was very surprised to even see any Islamic heritage left from the Ottoman times especially that Montenegro used to belong to Serbia and let's just say they were not friends. A lot of cruel history from both parties that lead to the loss of many precious human souls. It is important to know the historical background no matter how sad it is. Back to the architecture, in the few hours I spent I the city, I managed to see two mosques: Starodoganjska Mosque, Osmanagic Mosque. The Starodoganjska Mosque was built in the last 15th century by Skender Chaush. It used to be the only mosque until 1582. The Osmanagic Mosque was built in the 17th century in the old part of Podgorica. 

Both mosques were really nice and small on the inside. I enjoyed going in and spending few minutes in each one. The people I met in there were very friendly and welcoming. 

⁃ Take in the turquoise Moraca river view and stop by Sastavci

I was so mesmerised by the turquoise colour of the river and I could have spent half of the day walking around the river and just picnicking there. I think that alone is enough reason to go to Podgorica. 

⁃ Eat traditional food from Montenegro

One of the happiest moments for me in Podgorica was finding the Pod Volat restaurant. It's halal and they had my beloved Civapi, so I was over the moon. Not to mention that my three dishes and juice were just £8! It was a huge difference compared to the Kotor prices. 

Where to Stay in Podgorica?

I stayed very close to the main bus station in Podgorica in Hotel Terminus In fact, the hotel was almost in the buses parking! Which was great because I arrived from Kotor at night by bus and just walked two minutes to it. It was also a good distance from the old town of 10 minutes walk. The service was great and the amanitas were basic and clean. I really enjoyed it.

 Breakfast at Hotel Terminus

Breakfast at Hotel Terminus

Booking.com

Packing for Podgorica? (Modest Clothing Ideas)

Podgorica gets really warm in the summer. Even hotter than Kotor especially that it's landlocked and does not have the sea breeze. I went it end of April and the weather was getting warmer. The morning was breezy and lovely, but the day kept getting warmer. If you want to pack modest summer clothes then I would suggest light maxi summer dresses with a cardigan and really light shirts and trousers. Of course taking comfy shoes with you there. 

Podgorica Budget

  • Plane from London to Podgorica £64.92
  • Hotel in Podgorica (One Night) £31
  • Dinner in Podgorica £8
  • Transfer from Podgorica airport to Podgorica Bus Station £4
  • Transfer from Podgorica Bus Station to Podgorica airport 7 euros

Get a travel guide for Montenegro: 

Lonely Planet Montenegro (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Tamara Sheward, Peter Dragicevich

Over to you: Have you considered Montenegro before? What would you like to see?


More posts you might like:

Two Days in Kotor, Montenegro

 Two Days in Kotor, Montenegro

Two Days in Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor is the first city I heard of in Montenegro. When I was in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I got a message from one of my Instagram followers telling me that I should pass by Kotor because it's a gorgeous little city. My trip was already packed, so I couldn't add any more stops to it, but the name stuck in my head ever since! Fast Forward two years later, I booked a quick trip to Montenegro and mainly to see Kotor. The beauty of Kotor and the areas around it is undeniable. Every time I visit a new area in the Balkan, I love that part of Europe even more!

The time I chose to go in April was really good as well especially for walking and hiking. The water was still cold for a swim. Two days were not enough to fully explore everything, but it didn't give me a taste of the city and due to it's increasing popularity, I would probably go to other cities in the future. 

Is Kotor Muslim Friendly?

Before we get into any details about Kotor, let's talk about everyone's attitude towards Muslims because that is important when planning a trip. I want to go somewhere, where I feel welcomed to enjoy myself. Short answer is YES. I was only there for two days, so it's not a huge amount of time to assess, but I felt so welcomed there. Everyone I met from the locals and other travellers was really nice. No one stared at me funny because of my head-wrap/hijab. 

The city itself does not have any mosques or halal restaurants. It's a small place, so you can easily get back to the hotel for prayer. Regarding food, there are plenty of sea food and vegetarian options. 

Muslim Friendly Itinerary for Kotor, Montenegro

Things to do in Kotor

Kotor is small and the things you can do there are somewhat limited. The suggestions below are good for two days, but I would advice you to actually venture outside of Kotor and visit the other towns and cities of Montenegro because they are so stunning and less crowded. Most of the tourists go to Kotor and Budva. Thankfully, when I was there in April, it was not as bad. However, the horrible gigantic cruise ships that were parked on the Kotor Bay brought a lot of tourists in during certain hours. Plus, the cruise ruined the sea view! 

- Explore old town (Kotor)

The old town also known as Kotor is so lovely! There are so many little alleyways that you can get lost in. The main sights, churches and museum are there too. You can spend half a day just walking around and taking photos especially of all the green doors that they have there. You can easily figure out the walking route and Google maps works fine there too. They have a few free wifi points, but if you need assistance you can go for a free walking tour , a quick paid walking tour or a full on informative walking tour . My time there was so limited, so I just did it myself.

- Go all the way to the top of Kotor

One of the highlights I loved in Kotor was climbing up St Ivan's Fortress and city walls. My advice is to choose your time wisely. I went in April when the weather was fantastic and I still got really sweaty, out of breath and over heated when I went half way up. I went an hour before sunset and I thought that was much better than going there when the sun was on full blast. However, I had to make sure I get back down before it was dark because I didn't want to be up there when it's dark. 

- Day trip by land

I was very lucky to do some good research online and find the 360 Monte tour guide especially that I didn't have a car and I really wanted to visit a few gorgeous places around Kotor. I did their "Great Montenegro Full-Day Tour" and I absolutely loved it. The location of the 360 Monte office was inside the old town facing the old town hostel. It was easy to find and I loved the tour guide lady. She was very sweet and chatty. The tour started with stopping by an old village to get breakfast. It's known for the smoked ham, bread and cheese. Thankfully, they had the option of a cheese and bread only sandwich. The drive continued on around gorgeous views and view points. My two favourite things on this tour were the hour we spent at the old royal capital, Cetinje, and the boat trip in River Crnojevica. The other people on this tour were a young crowd, so alcohol was served in the boat tour, but everyone drank responsibly and was respectful of me not drinking. There was an option to jump in the water on the boat trip, but the water was still on the cold side in April.

If I was staying longoer in Kotor, I would have loved going on the other tours that 360 Monte had on offer.

- Sailing around Kotor Bay

For my second day in Kotor, I wanted to visit their small islands and caves, so I walked to the Marina and picked a three hour boat tour. I didn't really have anything planned like above, but there were a few offers by the marina and I chose the 20 euro tour for three hours. I felt like three hours were a bit much on the boat. There were two main stops by the artificial church island and inside the blue cave, but it wasn't mind blowing. I would advice going on the two hour trip instead. The sea breeze was really cold as well, so make sure you have a sweater with you. 

Where to stay in Kotor?

Where to stay in Kotor, Montenegro

Most people seem to stay within Kotor, which is the old town area. I wanted to experience the local living and get away from the pricey options, so I choose a little guesthouse called No-follow Apartments Dakovic in Dobrota, which is the neighbourhood/area right outside Kotor. It turns out Kotor is not the name of the whole city, but only the old town, or at least that's what I was told. The place I stayed in was 20 minutes walk from the bus station, 15 minutes from the old town and about 5 minutes from the Marina. I wish I stayed there longer! I loved the view, the quiet and the privacy. The people I met there, who satyed in the old town told me how noisy their nights were. The only annoying thing was is that I was staying in Kotor for only two days, so there was a lot of going back and forth to old town.

If you want to stay in the old town and have a limited budget, you can try the Old Town Hostel . Most of the people I met on my tours in Kotor were staying there. I went with one of the girls to take a look, and it seemed decent and the bed had curtains. They had so many activities planned there as well. They did BBQ on the mountains and a dinner night each for 5 euros. I am not sure how comfortable, I would have felt because a lot of the activities revolved around drinking and I don't drink, but everyone was so nice.

Booking.com

What to pack for Kotor? (Modest Clothing for Kotor)

Packing Modest Clothes for Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor's main season is in the summer and most blog posts will tell you to pack bikinis and tiny summer dresses, but that's not usually helpful for the modestly dressed for personal or religious reasons. I have a few ideas that you might find helpful below. The must-haves are flip flops, comfortable shoes, a nice maxi summer dress, a cotton cardigan, jersey scarves, light wide leg trousers and a shirt. The objective is not to over layer and to make that one layer as modest and as light as possible. When it comes to swimsuits, I would either bring a modest swimsuit or a long sleeves swimsuit with water leggings paired together.  

How much money do you need in Kotor?

My experince in the Balkan has been good when it comes to money and spending, but since Kotor is a very touristy place, I spent more than I hoped especially for food! 

  • Flight from London to Podgorica (return) £64.92
  • Bus from Podgorica to Kotor (return) 14 euros (Around 7 euros each way)
  • Hotel for two nights in Kotor (in April) £48
  • Tours (360 monte tour was complementary, but boat tour was 20 euros) 
  • Food £15 for one main and orange juice. I only had two meals out and made the rest of my meals at the guesthouse because groceries are much cheaper than restaurants. I spent 6 euros for a bag of groceries that made two breakfasts and two lunches. 

I didn't do any shopping there because the items on sale were on the pricier side. 

Recommended Reads for Montenegro

Lonely Planet Montenegro (Travel Guide)
By Lonely Planet, Tamara Sheward, Peter Dragicevich

Over to you: Have you considered Montenegro before? What would you like to see?


More posts from the Balkan you might like: