Herceg Novi in Montenegro. Should I stay here?

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Herceg Novi is called the botanical garden of Montenegro. And this is true. Such a huge number of different plants, fruits and flowers are not found anywhere else. For example, in just a few hours we were able to find bananas growing right in the center of the city, cacti as high as a three-story house, many palms, flowers and exotic plants. Indeed, Herceg Novi is the greenest city of all that we’ve been able to see in Montenegro — sailors brought here a variety of plants from all over the world. In general, the nature here is really amazing.

We visited this city during an excursion to the Herceg Novi Bay. There was little time for a walk, and even less information to learn.

Important note

Not all excursions can be offered from Herceg Novi, since the city is far from the main tourist routes.

The beaches here are worse than, for example, in Budva. But these disadvantages are compensated by the beauty of the old city.

But still, we made up our impression of the city. We would advise you to come here for the whole day. You can use the bus schedule from Budva or from Kotor. If you wish, you can rent a car, but the roads in Montenegro are quite difficult — you’ll need significant driving experience.

The city of Herceg Novi is located in the luxurious Bay of Kotor (about 7 kilometers from the beginning of the bay, which stretches much further). The city is beautifully spread on the hills, which made it possible to create an amazing combination of various staircases, passages and fortress walls.

There’re not many beaches in the city, and they are mostly made of concrete. Therefore, most tourists prefer to get to the good options by boat — it usually costs up to 5 Euro. One of the most popular beaches is Zhanitsa — the former private beach of the President of Yugoslavia with amazingly clear water and a beautiful olive grove. Also, not far from Herceg Novi located the Blue Cave, the island of Mamula and Igalo — the world famous health resort of Montenegro.

In terms of prices for food or souvenirs, Herceg Novi is a very good option. Everything here is noticeably cheaper than at other popular resorts in Montenegro.

Now let’s try to tell about our own experience, with a detailed review about visiting Herceg Novi. The city is located literally on the side of a mountain and looks very beautiful from the sea.

The city was founded in 1382 and was originally called Sveti Stefan or San Stefano, but then it was renamed to Herceg Novi in honor of Duke Stepan Vuksic. And St. Stephen is now called a completely different resort located on an island not far from Budva.

From the sights here you can see the clock tower (it has many names: Sahat Kula, Sat Kula, Clock Tower, Torah), originally built by Italians, and then converted into a Turkish mosque. Please note that the tower is decorated with a unique “Black Madonna” bas-relief made of charred wood.

The tower is beautifully illuminated in the evening and many people gather in restaurants nearby.

It’s also worth to pay attention to the Karacha water fountain in the city center. It was donated to the city by one of the wealthy local residents. The fountain is quite old and has remained from the times when the city was ruled by the Turks.

Also on Bellavista Square (or Herceg Stefan Square) there is a large Orthodox church — the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael.

For some reason, the main attraction of Herceg Novi is considered the former fortress and prison Kanli-Kula (Bloody Tower), built during the Turkish ruling. It looks more like a powerful castle, no one managed to escape from it. Now it’s fashionable to play weddings right in the premises of the prison. We don’t know how this will affect the strength of the marriage, there are no such statistics.

If you’re staying in Herceg Novi, be sure to try to climb the fortress walls of Kanli Kula. The pleasure isn’t free, but the view of the city is simply fantastic. Especially in the evening:

The whole city looks like a continuous interweaving of narrow streets and steps. You constantly have to go up.

There is a wide variety of fruits on the way. You can even see bananas here.

A beautiful view of the bay opens from above. We wandered around the city a bit and found a very convenient observation deck.

There is also an open-air maritime museum, a music school and a small church.

It’s very interesting to look into the courtyards of local residents. Everything here is so green, there are many flowers, huge palms or cacti grow taller than humans. I would like it to be just as beautiful in our courtyards.

Shopping in Herceg Novi

In terms of shopping and souvenirs, Herceg Novi is a very good option. Prices are relatively low here, noticeably lower than the average for Montenegro. At the same time, the assortment is decent. Of all the Montenegro resorts where we managed to visit, it’s cheaper only in Podgorica (the capital).

What can be bought in Herceg Novi and in general in Montenegro?

  • Serbian textiles
  • Italian shoes and clothes
  • Local olive oil, pršut (analogue of Italian prosciutto) or Negus cheese.

Let’s talk a little about what we bought. We didn’t have a goal to collect everything and more. And the money was not enough, but I wanted to bring something unusual for myself. Prices in shops near tourist attractions turned out to be unreasonably high, but as soon as we moved away from the main streets literally 100 meters, they became more decent and acceptable.

We didn’t have time to go through the shops (and compare prices), so we had to buy in the first available one.

In general, we were pleased with the prices — much cheaper than in our city or other resort cities of Montenegro. If you are planning to arrange real shopping, we recommend you to go to Podgorica. The choice is better there, and the prices are several times lower than, for example, in Budva.

How about accommodation in Herceg Novi?

We have two good articles about living in Herceg Novi:

  • Rent of rooms in Herceg Novi hotels
  • Rent a room or apartment in a villa in Herceg Novi

The city itself seemed to us quiet, calm and a little patriarchal. We were very pleased with the old narrow streets, along which it will be pleasant to walk both day and night. Prices for hotels are noticeably lower here than at large and well-known resorts. You can see for yourself:

Find hotels in Herneg Novi: from cheap to expensive ones

But we would still advise you to take a closer look at the apartments. It’ll turn out to be not much more expensive than a hotel, but much more comfortable: there will be own kitchen and you can immerse yourself in the life of the town.

Search for apartments in Herceg Novi The main disadvantage of Herceg Novi is the lack of good beaches. If you’re traveling for a long time (more than a week), we recommend you to split your vacation into two resorts. First you may go, for example, to Budva and sunbathe on the beaches for a week, do some shopping, visit discos and bars. And after that, come to quiet and cozy Herceg Novi to rest, relax and allow yourself not to think about anything for a while.

 

Victor and Alina Pashinskyi

Victor and Alina Pashinskyi,
authors of the guide

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Glad to see you on our site!

We hope that it will be useful to you, because we love to travel and to share our own experiences and discoveries.

All information is checked by us personally. We write only about those places and countries where we were!

We’ve been travelling to Montenegro since 2013. We’ve visited almost the whole country and we know it well.

We will answer all the questions about vacation in comments.

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We wish you a pleasant vacation!

COMMENTS, FEEDBACK AND QUESTIONS LEAVE A COMMENT
  1. Hey Alina and Victor,
    just read your artical about Montenegro and find it very interesting. We, my husband Bo and I are going to Montenegro and Albania start September 2021. (together with our cat Tino). I really want to know about the roads, how safe are they, is there some roads we absolutly not should drive on. We are driving in autocamper, so its a little taler than normal cars.
    Hope You have time to anserw back

    Yours Pia K. Hansen
    Denmark

    • Hello!

      Thank you very much for such a flattering comment. Alina and I are very pleased.

      The roads in Montenegro are pretty good, as for a developing Balkan country. But worse than roads in Germany, of course. Single-lane, good asphalt, but many tunnels and serpentines. Most tourist places can be reached even by a large bus for 40-50 people. The rest are for minibuses (15-20 seats) or regular cars. I don’t know how big your autocamper is. But in theory, there should be no problems. In popular locations where the autocamper is not accessible, there are usually alternatives. For example, a taxi at the Ostrog monastery.

      Almost all major highways and popular roads are on Google Maps. If you turn on Street View, you can see the road condition and width at almost any popular location. The information is not 100% relevant, but it is quite possible to be guided by it.

      If you are interested in some completely non-touristy places like the alpine route through Nedajno or the Prokletije National Park, then there are dirt roads and very narrow / difficult roads. I would not have dared to go there without a lot of experience in auto travel through mountainous regions.

      Sincerely,
      Victor