If you’re in Montenegro and looking to escape the crowds on holiday and get more of an authentic feel then it’s worth considering a visit to Cetinje.
I think it probably gets overshadowed by the charm of some of the other old towns such as Kotor, the beach and nightlife of places like Budvar, and natural beauty of the national parks, like Lovćen National Park, which borders the city. It certainly isn’t a destination you will hear much about but I found it charming, friendly, and full of history. In fact, it was once the old royal capital of Montenegro, which started out as a settlement in 1482 under the rule of Ivan Crnojević before becoming the capital in the 19th century.
Here are some of the things you can see and do, should you decide to visit Cetinje.
1. Get a birds-eye view
I’m always on the look out for a good view and you will definitely get that if you hike up to the mausoleum of Bishop Danilo. He established the Petrović dynasty, which is when this city became the capital of Montenegro. It’s a fairly short and easy hike up from the monastery so don’t be too concerned if hiking isn’t really your thing.
2. Follow the self-guided trail
Make sure you pick up a brochure on Cetinje from wherever it is you decide to stay or from the Tourist Information Office because it has a map of the city and it’s numbered. As you visit the places on the map, you will find an information stand, which tells you about all the buildings and statues that are listed. You will see lots of grand buildings that used to be embassies or palaces when it was a capital city. This Blue Palace is one of these.
3. Relax in the square and gardens
Part of the charm of Cetinje is the fact that it’s very local, with few tourists. That means you can sit down and relax at one of the many cafes and restaurants or chill out in one of the parks. That way you get to experience real life in Cetinje and have an authentic rather than a manufactured ‘touristy’ experience, if you know what I mean.
4. Visit the Monastery
The Monastery of Cetinje was built in the 17th century on the site of an old palace. It’s free to get in but it’s only possible to visit a small part of the monastery.
5. Check out the open-air theatre
After visiting the mausoleum, turn right when you get to the botttom and walk until you get to the open-air theatre. I had no idea there was one because, on the map, it’s referred to as ‘Open Air Scene’. It’s in a quiet part of Cetinje, surrounded by trees.
This is where Cetinje is located…
You can get there by bus from a number of locations including Kotor, Budvar, and Podgorica. It doesn’t have much of a bus station and it doesn’t give the best first impression of Cetinje but walk towards the centre and you will begin to see the charm of this city.
If you want to go to Lovćen National Park, the only way is either to drive or take a taxi. The price of the taxis is listed on the wall of the bus station although there is definitely some room for negotiation.
Have your say
Would you consider visiting Cetinje when you next visit Montenegro?