Even though until recently it was more a transit, and less a tourist center, Podgorica today, as one of the European capitals, with that characteristic, is becoming a subject of interest of the tourist population. Good infrastructural connection on one side with the coast, and with the north of Montenegro on the other, puts Podgorica in the line of Montenegrin towns in which more and more tourists decide to come, who traditionally prefer warm beaches and snow peaks. With a car today you can come to the seaside in 40 minutes if you decide to go to the south part of the coast, especially for Sutomore and Bar.
The fast trip through the Zeta valley and the new grandiose tunnel Sozina, which is 5 km long, today make Podgorica closer to a term coastal town. A part of the road of which we are talking in one spot of the Montenegrin hinterland separates and in just 20 minutes longer trip you reach somewhat more north Petrovac and Budva. An interesting and picturesque area of the Cetinje municipality, through which goes the other highway road to the sea, can attract you to decide for the road to Kotor, which is two hours away from the capital city, with the old road. To this bay pearl you can also come, if you go down from Cetinje to Budva, and then on the fast highway, with the charming picture of the coast you direct yourself north. If it is known that Podgorica is just on some 20 minutes from the National Park Skadar Lake, which spreads over 400 km2 then the town Podgorica itself gets on its attractiveness even more.
Skadar Lake is the biggest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, by its surface. It has a special regional importance, because it is located on the border between Montenegro and Albania. Somewhat bigger part of Skadar Lake belongs to Montenegro, and it got its name by the Albanian town Skoddar which is located in its coast. During the centuries it had various names from Lacus Labeatis, Dioklitsko Lake, Bojansko Lake, until the present one, Skadar Lake. Extremely interesting thing is that in its greater part it is a crypto depression. Because of the tectonic disorders it went down bellow the sea level, and today because of that, and because of its size it is a geographical phenomenon. It is 43 km long, about 14 km wide, and the average depth is about 7 m. During the rainy months the surface of the lake grows from 370 km2 to 550km2. Because of that fact bigger floods happen, and a curiosity is that the locality Plavnica (Flooded place) during the summer months is almost without water, and during the winter months it is covered with it. That is how it got its name. Skadar Lake flows into Adriatic Sea through river Bojana.
Towards the north east on some 60 km from Podgorica is the second biggest Montenegrin town – Niksic. In summer hot days in Niksic you could get refreshed on the very visited Krupac Lake, or you could visit some of the sacral objects of great beauty and history, or in just a half hour of continuation of trip you could visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, with which Montenegro borders.
As we can see Podgorica could represent an ideal place in which you can “raise a tent” and you could visit all those places in such a small period of time. Think about that.
Independently of everything Podgorica has to offer its own uniqueness equally interesting to the one which offer coastal or mountain centers. The base of a good tourism is attractive and inspirational nature. Even though a plain dwelling town, Podgorica in its nearer or farther surrounding offers exquisite fun, especially when we are talking about Gorica, Ljubovic, Vranjske njive, Malo and Veliko brdo (SMALL AND BIG HILL) and others. The lovers of big walks around nature, of clean air and meting of flora and fauna (significant number of endemic kinds), will decide that some of those locations is suitable for them for a picnic, for sightseeing or as an refuge from hot Podgorica days. Park Forest Gorica is popular among the citizens and visitors, because it is situated in the very center of the town, next to the ancient church of Sveti Djordje. Beside the fact that on the peak there is the monument for the Soldier killed in an action, from it a marvelous view spreads across the right side of Moraca, bordered with the contours of the bridge Milenijum (MILLENNIUM). The lovers of landscapes, for sure will decide to go on Vidikovac (SIGHTSEEING PLACE), on Vranjske njive, where Podgorica during the night can be best seen, and for every visitor it is an unforgettable feeling when he is found on this place for the first time. Not far from the very Vidikovac one can find a very lively café – restaurant Kazaa. The stone and the woods, with which Montenegro is rich with, are used here in the best possible way, as interior and exterior, so the staying in this ambience is very much advisable after the visit of Vidikovac. Not far from there, a narrow road leads to one of the beaches on river Moraca, which brings a pleasant and fresh air to warm Podgorica summers.
As we have already mentioned Podgorica’s richness with waters, it can also be another interesting element for the tourism of the capital city. The biggest river, Moraca, flows through the very center of the town and along its entire flow through Podgorica Municipality it is interesting both for the swimmers and fisherman, as well as for those studying is geographical , hydrographic, and biological traits. In the upper flow, on its way out from the canyon Platije, not far from the monastery Duga, people from Podgorica often jump in the cool Moraca, experiencing in that way both the river and the swimming itself more fascinating because of the presence of high cliffs which form a canyon above water. Somewhat more south, on Bioce, where Moraca slowly begins to be wider, and shallower, there are numerous bathing beaches, which are mostly visited by people living not far from them. As Moraca enters the town, we can see under big and numerous bridges, small but recently arranged beaches, of which the most beautiful one is Galeb (GULL). Moraca whose canyon reaches the depth of 1.000m in Tisov vrh (YEW’S PEAK), is very important for Podgorica, and since recently some tourist facilities, such as the small but intimate and warm hotel Ambasador, are being built on Moraca. Unavoidable weekend going out during the long summer, includes the visit of the café City Becks, which is located on the very bank of Moraca, on the beacj the view on an illuminated bridge Millennium and the rock which raise above the river on both sides, make this café in the open the coolest spot on the river. Extremely visited and popular City Becks is a place in which musicians from all territories from ex Yugoslavia have their onsets. While you’re enjoying in some of the best Montenegrin wines or in bear, you will see kayak riders from the kayak club “Podgorica” passing down the river, a whole new generation of people who have found themselves in a sport which until recently had no tradition in Montenegro. It is interesting that they are the ones who among first listed themselves in the national campaign “The fight against the drugs” giving the message with that that they exist and that their attitude about the future of Montenegro is clear. Only 500m lower, in the already mentioned Nemanjica grad the past meets the modern life flows, while the popular music from City Becks echoes in the ruins of the old town. Stairs lead to Nemanjin grad (NEMANJA’AS TOWN), so this entire area people from Podgorica call Skaline (STAIRS). A smaller stone bridge over Ribnica which in that place flows into Moraca, a dew caves and a few fisherman, are an ordinary picture of this picturesque place. And while you are heading towards the new places for refreshment, Moraca continues its flow carrying, as our anthem says “the voice of Montenegro”, over Skadar Lake and River Bojana in all world oceans.
Beside Moraca Podgorica Municipality is an intersection point of Cijevna, Zeta, Ribnica, Sitnica, and Mareza. If you would ask someone where in the middle of the Podgorica hot day you will find most people in one place, one would for sure say on Cijevna. Like Moraca with its freshness and above all with its interesting landscape, Cijevna offers on a space of solely few kilometers fantastic possibilities for swimming and rest. In moments narrower even up to a half a meter, condensed between two rocks, it rushes to meet Moraca in Zeta valley, connecting in that way the high Albanian peaks under which it originates with the warm Mediterranean. Krivac (CULPRIT), Maricina rupa (MARICA’A HOLE), Marangulice, Kuce Rakica (RAKICA’S HOUSES) and Nijagarini vodopadi (NIAGARA FALLS) have to be visited in order for you to get a full picture about Podgorica beaches. Café Niagara during the summer organizes great parties. Conceived as a beach bar during the day it can serve as a good place for refreshment.
Along with the shore of Ribnica beside the Nemanjin grad there is a Turkish bath around which there is a nicely arranged walking stone path in the length of one kilometer. Mareza on the other hand is the artery of the town considering the fact that the greatest part of drinking water is obtained by the treatment of the water from this river.
Along the mentioned river slowly we can see edifices erecting such as the restaurants “Mareza” and “Knjaz” (PRINCE). The long tradition of Podgorica’s fish ponds makes “Mareza” maybe the best choice for those who like a nice trout and wine of Industry “13 Jul” (13th July). Nearby there is also a sports center of the football club Buducnost, and maybe the best sight is the one where you can see horses galloping over the spacious field.