Cetinje, Montenegro

Once the royal capital of Montenegro, Cetinje is still the cultural centre of the country. With its magnificent Renaissance palaces, numerous embassies and internationally recognised museums, it is definitely worth a visit.

Royal Cetinje can be called the cultural capital of Montenegro and has a significant history behind it. Situated at the foot of Lovćen, Cetinje was once home to the famous Petrović princely family, who, together with European diplomats and other rulers, gave the city its royal flair.


Today, together with Podgorica, it is the capital of Montenegro and the official seat of the Montenegrin president. The pretty city is one of our top 10 sights in Montenegro.

Sights of Cetinje

The best way to get to Cetinje is by bus or car from Budva or Podgorica. There is also a road from Kotor, but it is very steep and winding, but it rewards you with magnificent views over the Bay of Kotor.

Mausoleum of Danilos I Petrović

The mausoleum of Danilo I. Petrović was built for the founder of the Petrović dynasty by Princess Jelena in the early 19th century - © Madrugada Verde / Shutterstock
© Madrugada Verde / Shutterstock

The mausoleum of the founder of the Petrović dynasty was built by Princess Jelena, one of the daughters of Nikolas I, in the early 19th century.

The small dome guarding the coffin is enthroned on Orlov Krš, the "Eagle Rock", and offers an excellent view over Cetinje, which can be enjoyed after less than fifteen minutes of climbing.

To visit the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović himself, you have to go to Lovćen, where his funerary temple is enthroned at a breathtaking height.

Cetinje Monastery

The Orthodox monastery of Cetinje was the spiritual centre of Montenegro for hundreds of years - © InnaFelker / Shutterstock
© InnaFelker / Shutterstock

The next highlight of Cetinje follows directly under the Eagle Rock with the impressive monastery of Cetinje, the spiritual centre of Montenegro since 1430. The monastery dedicated to the Orthodox saint Sveti Petar is also called Manastir Sv. Petar and preserves the saint's chest as a relic in the nave.

The monastery also houses the hand of John the Baptist, a sliver of the Cross of Christ and a valuable library containing historical prints made in Cetinje in the 15th century.


A small prayer room, a souvenir shop and a public toilet branch off from the inner courtyard; the rest of the monastery is not accessible to visitors. Every Saturday evening, the circular threshing floor in front of the monastery - which, by the way, is as big as the Tsar's bell in the Moscow Kremlin - is traditionally cleaned for the Sunday visit to the church.

Vladin Cathedral - Museum of History and Art

Not far to the east of the monastery is the largest building in Cetinje, which is also the first reinforced concrete building in Montenegro. The Vladin Cathedral was consecrated in 1910 for the coronation of Nikolas and housed the National Assembly and the state administration. Today it houses the Cetinje Museum of History and Art.

In addition to national and international works by Picasso and Chagall, the "Madonna of Philermos", icon of the patron saint of the Order of Malta, has been on display in the Blue Chapel since 1952. Rescued from Jerusalem by the Crusaders, the showpiece finally came to rest here after an odyssey through European cities.

Biljarda - Njegoš Museum

The fortress-like Biljarda was once the seat of the Petrović family and today houses the Petar II Museum - © Irina Burmistrova / Shutterstock
© Irina Burmistrova / Shutterstock

Opposite the monastery of Cetinje, the Biljarda is hidden behind thick walls and massive towers. The fortress-like building was erected in 1838 as the seat of Petar II according to Russian plans. The financing was also provided by St. Petersburg. The 70m-long residence got its name from Petar's love of billiards.

Until 1867, the princely family lived in the 25 rooms, which also served as administrative rooms, after which they moved to the new palace.

Today, the Biljarda is still dedicated to the life of the Petrovićs. In the Njegoš Museum, you can even still see the famous billiard table that Petar II had specially imported over the steep paths of Kotor. Another highlight is the detailed relief map of Montenegro, which even includes a replica of some Montenegrin sights.

Crkva Rođena Bogorodice

The Crkva Rođena Bogorodice in Cetinje is the final resting place of King Nikola I, his wife Milena and the town's founder Ivan Crnojević, Montenegro - © Vlada Z / Shutterstock
© Vlada Z / Shutterstock

On Trg Kralja Nikola, diagonally opposite Biljarda, stands the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Virgin Birth. The church, built as recently as 1890, guards the eternal sleep of Cetinje's famous personalities.

King Nikola I, his wife Milena and the town's founder Ivan Crnojević are buried here.


The famous first printing press in Europe is also said to have stood here, which was in operation from 1485 and spread the Cyrillic script.

Ddvor Kralja Nikola - National Museum of Montenegro

The tastefully furnished rooms behind the modest façade of King Nikola's palace in Cetinje house the National Museum of Montenegro - © Valery Shanin / Shutterstock
© Valery Shanin / Shutterstock

The main building on Trg Kralja Nikolav, however, is the Ddvor Kralja Nikola, the palace of King Nikolas. The royal family resided here from 1867. Today, the tastefully furnished rooms behind the modest façade house the National Museum of Montenegro.

Tip: A collective entrance ticket can be purchased in each museum, which entitles the holder to admission to all of Cetinje's museums at an overall lower price.

Castle Park and Plavi Dvorac

Behind the garden of the royal palace lies the palace park. On its west side, the seat of the heir to the throne has been rising since 1895. The "blue palace" lives up to its name with its playful, sky-blue façade. Unfortunately, the magnificent building cannot be visited from the inside.

Diplomatic Quarter

The Blue Palace is also a good starting point for a walk through the diplomatic quarter of Cetinje. The beautiful buildings of the international embassies bear witness to the grandest days of the old capital and in many cases now house universities. On the way back, you also come across the impressive seat of the local president, easily recognisable by the two guards of the palace guard.

History of Cetinje

Cetinje was founded in 1482 when Ivan Crnojević, the ruler of the then Zeta Empire, moved his capital from the insecure area of Žabljak to the shelter of the mountains. Two years later, the monastery of Cetinje was founded, which also secured the town's spiritual supremacy.

The destroyed monastery was rebuilt by Danilo Petrović, the forefather of the famous princely family, at the end of the 17th century after the reign of the Turks (which began as early as 1499, so the flight to the mountains had not been of much use). It was Petar II Petrović, better known by his nickname Njegoš, who brought Cetinje to its zenith. The first senate and the school system of Montenegro are owed to him, both of which had their roots in Cetinje.

When Montenegro was also recognised as a separate state in 1878, European diplomats came to Cetinje and erected numerous magnificent embassy buildings. In 1910, Montenegro became a kingdom and Cetinje its centre, and the city's triumphal march seemed almost unstoppable.


After the First World War, however, Podgorica became the capital and Cetinje quickly lost its importance. Its magnificent buildings, however, still exist and amaze many a viewer.

Related links:

Official website of Cetinje

Recommended accommodation in Montenegro


Show accommodations