15 Best Sights in Montenegro

Gradske Zidine

Stari Grad Fodor's choice

Especially beautiful at night when illuminated, Kotor's well-preserved town walls were built between the 9th and 18th centuries. They measure almost 5 km (3 miles) in length and reach up to 66 feet in height and 52 feet in width. They form a triangular defense system around the Old Town, then rise into the hill behind it to Tvrđava Svetog Ivana (St. John's Fortress), 853 feet above sea level. You can walk up to the fortress along the walls; allow at least one hour to get up and back down, wear good hiking shoes, and remember to bring water.

Katedrala Svetog Tripuna

Fodor's choice

Undoubtedly Kotor's finest building, the Romanesque cathedral dates back to 1166, though excavation work shows that there was already a smaller church here in the 9th century. Due to damage caused by several disastrous earthquakes, the cathedral has been rebuilt several times—the twin Baroque bell towers were added in the late 17th century. Inside, the most essential feature is the 14th-century Romanesque-Gothic ciborium above the main altar. Also, look out for fragments of 14th-century frescoes, which would once have covered the entire interior. A collection of gold and silver reliquaries, encasing body parts of various saints and crafted by local masters between the 14th and 18th centuries, is on display in the treasury.

Trg Svetog Tripuna, Kotor, Montenegro
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €5 for combined ticket to cathedral and treasury

Ostrog Monastery

Fodor's choice

Undoubtedly Montenegro’s most magical place, Ostrog is peaceful, picturesque, and packed with presence. Located an hour north of Podgorica, the 17th-century Orthodox monastery is built into a vertical cliff above the road to Nikšić and holds the remains of Saint Basil of Ostrog. The complex is divided into upper and lower parts, and walking the almost 3 km (2 miles—uphill, very uphill) between the two is a rite of passage in these parts. The views and history are worth every bead of sweat. Trains run between Podgorica and Ostrog station, from where the long walk begins. The monastery is still an active one, so be sure to be respectful of the monks who live on the property.

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The Islands of Gospa od Škrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks) and Sveti Đorđe (St. George)

Fodor's choice

St. George is a natural island, but its sibling, Our Lady of the Rocks, is artificial. Folklore says that in 1452, local sailors found an icon depicting the Virgin and Child cast upon a rock jutting up from the water. Taking this as a sign from God, they began placing stones on and around the rock, slowly building an island over it. By 1630 they had erected a church on the new island. The original icon, attributed to the 15th-century local artist Lovro Dobričević, is displayed on the altar. Over the centuries, locals have paid their respects to it by donating silver votive offerings, some 2,500 of which are now on display. The church is also home to more than 60 paintings by local hero Tripo Kokolja, one of the three men honored in Perast's main square.

The other island, home to the Monastery of St. George and dating back to the 12th century, is closed to the public. In the 18th century, the island became a favorite burial place for local sea captains, whose crypts remain today. Though closed to the public, you can snap photos from the shore or from neighboring Our Lady of the Rocks.

To visit Our Lady of the Rocks, hop on a taxi-boat from Perast's waterfront (a 5-minute trip that costs €5 round-trip); there is no shortage of options.

Tvrđava Svetog Ivana

Fodor's choice

On the hill behind Kotor, 853 feet above sea level, this fortress is approached via a series of bends and some 1,300 steps. The fantastic view from the top makes the climb worthwhile: the terra-cotta rooftops of the Old Town, the meandering ria, and the pine-clad mountains beyond. On the way up, you will pass the tiny Crkva Gospe od Zdravlja (Church of Our Lady of Health), built in the 16th century to protect Kotor against the plague. Be sure to wear good walking shoes and take plenty of water. The route up starts from behind the east side of the city walls.

Crkva Svetog Luke

Built in 1195, this delightful Romanesque church is the only building in the Old Town to have withstood all five major earthquakes that affected Kotor. Originally a Catholic church, the building later became an Orthodox place of worship.

Trg Svetog Luke, Kotor, 85330, Montenegro

Crkva Svetog Nikole

Designed by a Russian architect and constructed in pseudo-Byzantine style between 1902 and 1909, this is Kotor's most important Orthodox church (the Cathedral, by definition, is Catholic). The gold used to gild the spires was a gift from Russia.

Trg Svetog Luke, Kotor, 85330, Montenegro

Glavna Gradska Vrata

The Main Town Gate (also known as the Sea Gate because of its position on the coast), which accesses the Stari Grad via the western facade of the city walls, dates back to the 16th century and comprises Renaissance and Baroque details. Initially, the outer gate bore a relief of the Venetian Lion, but in Tito's time this was replaced by the socialist star and dates, as well as a direct quote recording the liberation of Kotor on November 21, 1944, at the end of World War II. There are two other entrances to the Stari Grad: the Južna vrata (South Gate) and the Sjeverna vrata (North Gate).

Muzej Grada Perasta

In the 17th-century Renaissance-Baroque Bujović Palace, on the water's edge, Muzej Grada Perasta (Perast Town Museum) displays paintings of local sea captains and their ships, plus a horde of objects connected to Perast's maritime past.

Njegoš Mausoleum

Petar II Petrović-Njegoš looms large over Montenegrin history—and not just because of his famously giant frame. The 19th-century titan was a prince, poet, and philosopher largely credited with modernizing Montenegro. It is only fair that his final resting place should be high above the country, in the stunning surroundings of Lovćen National Park. The Njegoš Mausoleum is on Jezerski vrh, the second-highest peak in the Lovćen range, an hour west of Podgorica. Cetinje, Montenegro’s royal capital during the Njegoš times, is nearby and deserving of at least a day’s exploration.

Jezerski Vrh, Kotor, Montenegro
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €7

Pomorski Muzej Crne Gore

Stari Grad

In the 18th century, tiny Kotor had 400 ships sailing the world's oceans. The Maritime Museum, housed within the 18th-century Baroque Grgurina Palace, traces Montenegro's cultural and economic ties to the sea. The exhibition extends over three floors and includes model ships; paintings of vessels, ship owners, and local naval commanders; navigation equipment; and uniforms worn by Montenegrin admirals and captains. Audio guides are available in a variety of languages.

Roman Mosaics at Risan

These beautiful mosaics are from a 2nd-century house in a small excavation site that is worth a brief stop if you are in the area. Particularly charming is the mosaic depicting Hypnos, the Roman god of sleep. Tour guides and detailed information panels in many languages are available.

Risan bb, Risan, 85337, Montenegro
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €5; €8 for combined ticket with Perast City Museum, Closed Mon.

Stara Varoš

Podgorica’s oldest neighborhood is a ticket to a different time before modern technology brought cars and chaos to the city. The clock tower is a central beacon for the Ottoman-era area, while a quaint stone bridge acts as a de facto entrance across the Ribnica River. You'll also find the Natural History Museum of Montenegro, a museum that makes up in curiosity for what it lacks in size.

Toranj Za Sat

Stari Grad

Built in the 17th century and considered a symbol of Kotor, the Clock Tower stands directly opposite the Main City Gate. In front of the Clock Tower, the Pillar of Shame was used to subject local criminals to public humiliation.

Trg od Oružja

Stari Grad

The Main Town Gate leads directly into the Square of Arms, Kotor's main square, today a sizable paved space animated by popular open-air cafés. Under Venice, arms were repaired and stored here, hence the name. Notable buildings on the square include the 17th-century Toranj za sat (Clock Tower), the 19th-century Napoleonovo pozorišta (Napoléon Theatre), and the 18th-century Kneževa palata (Duke's Palace), the latter two now forming part of the upmarket Hotel Cattaro.

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