This is probably one of the smallest European capitals, it is however the biggest city in Montenegro. I visited Pogdorica twice but I started to like it only on the second time, it was a good idea giving this city a second chance to impress me. Both times, I only stayed one night so here’s how it went.
Ryanair flies twice a week from London Stansted to Podgorica, the flight time is around 2h30min and can be as cheap as two pints in London. Indeed, I booked one way for only £10! Upon arrival, I was greeted by a driver from Hostel Montenegro, where I was staying for the night. I choose their airport pick up option for €7 because it is cheaper than taking a taxi for €12 to the city centre and also cheaper than my flight ticket…
On arrival to the hostel, I take a quick look from the rooftop from where parts of the Old Town and Podgorica can be seen. The weather was lovely, quite sunny and warm. It was around 2pm and you can guess, I was very hungry. I had lunch at Pod Vilat, a nice restaurant by the Clock Tower. I order what I like and know best: cevapi, homemade cheese and a incredibly tasty bread. I eat as much as I could and almost quarter of it remains. The portion was huge!
I was officially in the Balkans after a warm welcome from the locals and a generous portion of food at lunch. The first time I visited, it was raining a lot so I didn’t take the best impression of Podgorica. But this time, it wasn’t so I decided to do the same stuff. I went firstly on a walk in the city centre, it is nice, alive and cute. There are many bars and cafes especially made for locals who gather there for a drink and apparently gossiping too!
Following this quick walk, I go by the city stadium and then climb up Gorica Hill to have a quiet moment in a beautiful green space where locals seem to enjoy a run or a walk with their children. I take few pictures and simply sit to hear birds singing. On my way back, I stop by St Georges Church, a 1000 years old orthodox church. Very beautiful and cute for its size.
I then walk down to Millennium Bridge, the most famous symbol of Podgorica as it links both ends of the city. I meet few locals around there who were very nice, they came to speak to me and ask me favours… take pictures of them! I was happy to do it as it was also an opportunity for me to ask them taking my pictures in this beautiful part of the city.
After this, I head back to the hostel to rest a bit and have a chat with the nice staff who even offered to give me company in exploring the city at night. Mladen took me to New City Centre, a part of the city I didn’t expect to see as I thought Podgorica was limited to the east side of the bank. But it does expand much more towards the west. This part is quite residential but also active with lot of shops and bars that I think are quite unknown to visitors.
We went to a café/bar/restaurant which I actually forgot the name of. It was a bit small but the food was great, I was happy with it. And it was also the opportunity to observe locals and they culture which I see similarities with Moroccans: Montenegrins go to a café, buy one coffee and stay there a big part of the day to just chat and gossip. I thought that was typically Moroccan but people really do the same in Montenegro!
I got back to my hostel at around midnight but people were still at the café by the time I left and it was a week day. People are quite laid back and relaxed in Montenegro and I love that. I like travelling there and I will keep going back and exploring bit by bit the Balkans.
The next morning, I went to another country, Albania. Connections are quite difficult from Montenegro even though Podgorica is only 28 km away from the border. It took me a long day to get to Tirana but I enjoyed the ride as I saw Montenegro countryside which has a rich nature then I understood why they say: Montenegro is wild beauty.
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