Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, would probably never win a prize for either its architectural beauty or outstanding tourist attractions, but it is definitely worth a 48-hour visit. This pleasant little city offers an interesting mix of old and new, with green parks, wide boulevards and picturesque rivers. Visitors will enjoy the relaxed and unpretentious Mediterranean atmosphere, friendly people and charming bars and restaurants. But Podgorica is also a perfect basis for making day trips in the immediate surroundings.
Exploring the city is quite easy, as a two- or three-hour walking tour covers the most significant sights. The walk might start from the central square, Trg Nezavisnosti (Independence Square) and then pass through the main shopping street, ulica Slobode. Opposite to the new Hilton Hotel is King's Park. As summers in Podgorica can be extremely hot, this park, funded by the Republic of Azerbajian, is a wonderful place for a picnic or just a rest. Close to the park is also the City Museum that accommodates magnificent archaeological and ethnographic collections.
The walking tour continues to the 18th century Sahat Kula, the Ottoman clock tower in the old oriental part of Podgorica. Indeed, the tower does not have a clock, but that doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Time for lunch? The traditional restaurant "Pod Volat" is a perfect place for a typical Montenegrin meal with lots of grilled meat! The narrow winding streets behind the restaurant hide two small mosques and many old houses. From the remnants of the old Ribnica fortress, erected by the Turks in 1474, a trail descends to the place where the Ribnica river joins the emerald-green Mora?a river. Passing the 15th century Ottoman arched stone bridge, stone steps lead uphill to the main city boulevard Nemanjina Obala. This wide boulevard, lined with huge trees, is well-known for its governmental buildings in Tito’s style: the Parliamentary building, the National Bank and the Presidential building.
In the new part of the city, on the other side of the Mora?a river, old Soviet-style concrete buildings alternate with modern glass facades. But this district also offers a few interesting sights. First of all, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ that was consecrated in 2014. The exterior of the church is a mix of rough stone and polished marble, while the interior is heavily adorned with iconographic murals and marble floors. The National Art Gallery in Park Kruševac is located in the former Petrovi? palace that once belonged to King Nikola I. And of course, the eye-catching Millennium Bridge that has become Podgorica's new landmark. It was built in 2005 and has a length of 140 m.
What else is there to see in Podgorica? Well, the green zone of Forest Park “Gorica” (Podgorica means “under Gorica”) should not be forgotten. Behind the entrance gate is a little Orthodox church (St. George's) that dates back to the 10th century. Further uphill is Podgorica's most impressive war memorial. It is an impressive white mausoleum flanked by fierce-looking Partizan fighters. A big adventure park is certainly an attractive spot for families with children and the forest park is also quite popular among joggers and bikers.
But Podgorica is also amazing at night. The bars and restaurants in the pedestrian zone - Hercegova?ka and Njegoševa street - offer a great opportunity to have a cup of black coffee on one of the numerous terraces and watch the world goes by, as these are the places where life happens! Especially in the evening, when the monuments, public buildings, churches and bridges are lit up nicely, the streets are full of young people, handsome and well-dressed.
And finally, for those who have enough time to enjoy the natural beauties of Podgorica's immediate surroundings, it is a "must" to drive the magnificent, marked panoramic road "Circuit around Korita". Just a few hours are enough to make this 65 km long journey into another time, another world. The road runs through authentic villages and rough karst mountains to Ku?ka Korita (1300 m above sea level), where a spectacular, well-marked former patrol path leads through meadows and forests to an awesome panorama point: Grlo Sokolovo od Falcon's Throat. The vista of the mighty Cijevna Canyon and the Albanian Alps on the other side is unforgettable!