Visiting the Pigeons: Things to Do in Podgorica

Republic square

Top of my list of places to visit in Montenegro was the capital, Podgorica (I think it had something to do with the fact on many nights out in Manchester, my friend and I would pretend we were pygmy goat farmers from Podgorica… don’t ask why!)

Reviews online advised tourists in Budva and Kotor to stay away from Podgorica, because how “grey, dull and industrial” it was (not my words). Perhaps not how the Montenegrins wanted their country to be portrayed? When I’m told not to go somewhere however, it only makes me want to visit even more! Besides, I just knew there had to be things to do in Podgorica.

One day, we abandoned the pool and caught a taxi to Budva bus station. We purchased our tickets (a couple of pounds for a return) and waited for our bus. What turned up was how I imagine the chicken buses in Central America to look like. So in near 40 degree heat, we got on the “bus”, with no air conditioner, a fusty smell and broken seats, and made our way to the Montenegrin capital. Snaking our way through the mountains, I was half expecting the vehicle to break down on the way!

Budva to Podgorica is only 40 miles away, but with the imposing mountains separating the two cities (although I use the term “cities” rather loosely), it took over an hour to get there. With Podgorica’s positioning in the centre of the countries surrounded by mountains, the temperature was even higher.

Once we’d gotten off the bus, we had a quick peruse of the map to take a look at the things to do in Podgorica, and began walking down the empty streets.

Montenegrin locals

We had a wander round Kraljev Park, and then walked to Republic Square (otherwise known as Trg Republike) for some pictures. As one of the main tourist attractions, it could have been a disappointment. However, with so many people telling us to avoid Podgorica altogether, I had absolutely no expectations, so wasn’t let down at all. Being told that there wasn’t anything to do in Podgorica, instead I was just enjoying an afternoon out in a foreign city that no one else I knew had visited before!

It was really hot by this point, so we stopped for a drink. We came across La Scala on one of the main shopping streets, which was actually really nice, with modern décor and a good menu.

Millennium bridge

After our drinks, we set off to see the Millennium Bridge, which, when you google the capital, is usually at the top of the list of things to do in Podgorica. Being brutally honest, it looked a LOT less impressive than in pictures (although it was interesting to see it in person!). A short walk to the Old Town (a few backstreets with some cute cats sunbathing on top of roofs), and a stop off at the Clock Tower (where Podcar, the pigeon of Podgorica was sat!), and we noticed the skies turn an imposing grey. Hurrying to the Mall of Montenegro (as much as I love shopping, this definitely isn’t on my list of things to do in Podgorica!), the heavens opened and the rain started to belt down. By the time we got back to the bus station, we were soaking wet, but it was worth it to see Podgorica.

Not just a grey, industrial city: there are plenty of things to do in Podgorica, and somewhere you should visit if you’re ever in Montenegro!

Elle Pollicott

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