It is a common belief that Podgorica is a boring city that lacks the architectural consistency and the common facilities that are found in the majority of European capitals. Whilst this may be true at first glance, the hidden secret of Montenegro’s capital is its embracing and friendly soul.
When visiting Podgorica, you get the feeling that time has stopped. Sitting in one of the city’s restaurants or bars, you feel as if you are in a time capsule, and the view that accompanies your cup of morning coffee is like looking at a brief history that has been written through centuries.
Podgorica reached international stardom over 50 years ago when the movie The Trojan Horse – starring John Drew Barrymore and Steve Reeves – was filmed in the city’s Ćemovsko park in 1961. In the 90s, Podgorica, along with Banja Luka, was proclaimed the greenest city in the former Yugoslavia. However, in the past decade or so, much of the greenery has been replaced by residential and commercial buildings.
Podgorica is ideally positioned to develop MICE tourism. The dominant profile of visitors to the city is business tourists who stay two days on average. This is why it is necessary to extend their stay by offering additional programmes – mini trip programmes/active holidays in nature, getting to know the city’s culture, gastronomy, and wine – all of which also provide the best reflection of the city’s spirit. From Podgorica, it only takes around an hour to reach the beautiful beaches in the south of the country or to reach the mountains where you can hike in summer and ski in winter.
Podgorica is known for its number of great cafes, pubs, wineries, nightclubs, and bars. The center of nightlife is found in the Hercegovačka, Njegoseva, and Bokeska streets, the Roman market and the Atlas Capital Centre. It is also the only city in the Balkans that has a Hard Rock Cafe. The city is a welcoming, hospitable and friendly destination, with an old Balkan soul, where a fusion of modern demands and old tradition are present all around.
WHAT'S HOT 2018
Montenegro carefully protects its traditions and this is reflected in the numerous popular events that bring together the country’s cultural, gastronomic, sporting and historical aspects.
Market events are very popular in Podgorica. The ’Market Caravan’ event is held at the Green Market and focuses on promoting traditional local food. With the aim of promoting the Skadar region, the traditional event ’Day of Crab’ will be organized in June. There will be a wide range of crab dishes accompanied by a comprehensive musical and cultural programme. ’Ajmo na Moraću’ is a special sports and tourism event held on the bank of the river Moraća, under the footbridge, every weekend in July and August. A nice way to meet the locals!
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
The best incentive ideas in Podgorica incorporate traditional and modern elements with gastronomy, outdoor activities and cultural events. The city and its nearby surroundings are suitable for many active incentives – hiking, biking, free climbing, birdwatching, skiing, sailing, fishing etc. The Lake Skadar National Park, just a 15-minute drive from the capital, is a land of opportunities for incentives for all nature lovers. The rich flora and fauna, the phenomenon of the crypto-depression, the settlement for rare and endangered species of birds, make it unique in the region and beyond. The park offers numerous attractions and opportunities for recreation: hiking and biking trails, boat and ship cruises, churches and monasteries with fantastic views etc. And Montenegro’s beaches in the south of the country are just around an hour’s drive from the city centre.
A bottle of Montenegrin wine from the Šipčanik wine cellar would make a perfect local gift for just about everyone. A visit to this astonishing wine cellar is also a good idea for a culinary incentive. the wine cellar is also a The 13. Jul Plantaže grows the uniqueMontenegrin Vranac wine. The wine is an intense ruby color with purple hues. Its aroma and taste are reminiscent of ripe sour cherries, dark forest fruit and prunes with sweet, spicy tones, leaving a pleasant feeling in the mouth and a warm aftertaste. Vranac wine is full in taste, rich in alcohol and extracts and has balanced acids and an extraordinary tannic structure, meaning it is suitable for aging. So, a bottle of Vranac is a ’must take home’ piece of Montenegro.
BEST KEPT SECRET
The Doclea archeological site, also known as the ’Montenegrin Pompei’, originates from the Illyrian Docleati tribe that populated the area of western Podgorica up to the area of Nikšić. Doclea was surrounded by the Morača, Siralia and Zeta rivers. In addition to providing natural protection, Doclea had powerful city walls, towers, and bastions that surrounded the town’s plateau. It is considered that the greatest economic and cultural revival of Doclea happened in the 4th century, during the rule of Diocletian. And at the beginning of the 5th century, it lost its power, especially after the earthquake in 518 that caused a lot of damage. Doclea is only 4km from the city center and is a protected cultural heritage site.
VOICES OF PODGORICA
Written by: Ajda Borak