24h in Podgorica

A couple of days ago I was invited to join a short trip to Podgorica to see the the EB Festival, featuring Retro Stefson, Mount Kimbie and Disclosure live on stage. It was a really exciting trip, for Montenegro has never been exactly on any route I took. Of course I jumped on the chance to see a new country, new cultures and a new city to discover.
16 Sep ’13 by Sara Travel

Finding any points of interest in Montenegros capital Podgorica has proven to be a rather difficult challenge. Not because Podgorica is not interesting, it’s just not interesting on first sight. Unlike other, at least somewhat undamaged European metropoles, Podgorica was really overburdened with WWII. The city was completely rebuilt and industrialized after more than 70 bombing attacks throughout the course of the war. All of this is still showing, even 50 years later: the Eastern European pearl you expected, Podgorica is not. Not Prague, not Budapest, not even Zagreb or Sarajevo. And: Podgorica is small. So while you’re easily through with a visit in one day, walking from landmark to landmark, you’ll probably not come back for another round.

All that said: Podgorica is charming in its own ways. From its many bridges you can view the picturesque landscapes of mountains, forests and very lush greens, all mixed up with old Soviet architecture and industrialized apartment blocks. We only had one day to spend in the city before flying back.

But young people are young people everywhere, and the whole city was excited for the EB Festival that was to take place that evening. Heavy rains started on us during our city tour and were to continue throughout the night. Our tour guide hat already prepared me: everyone was coming tonight. Podgorica is rarely blessed with big musical events, so everyone’s understandably psyched up about the show.

After an expansive but not expensive dinner we headed out to the festival site.  It wasn’t super crowded at first, but the young people defied the rain. They were actually having a lot of fun. By the time Mount Kimbie were on stage the whole venue was packed and people were dancing enthusiastically. A good atmosphere like that is contagious.

After the festival had left such a big impression I was back on good terms with the city and went for another walk around the old town. Podgorica might not necessarily be the coolest place on Earth, but it’s nice enough. Many have recommended leaving Podgorica (or using it as homebase for daytrips) to visit the coast and the nearby national parks.

Two comments

  1. Together with Chisinau it may be the most modest of European capitals… but good food and drinks are cheap, the locals are great and they love to party.
    Four unusual city sights: the Partizan monument on Gorica hill behind the stadium, the bomb monument in the city centre, the weird former Ottoman bathhouse stuck underneath one of the bridges (popular for grafitti) and the amazing brutalist concrete Catholic Church just north of the centre. Check it out at http://www.podgorica.inyourpocket.com.

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