Herceg Novi is located at the entrance to the world-famous Bay of Kotor in the west of Montenegro and has an interesting old town centre in addition to several beaches in the surrounding area.
Herceg Novi on the northern Adriatic coast of Montenegro is the "gateway" to the beautiful Bay of Kotor and one of the most important tourist towns in the country. Its architecture is somewhat comparable to Dubrovnik in Croatia, which is well worth seeing. Herceg Novi, however, is not as famous and therefore not as crowded and seems less touristy.
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PICTURES: Herceg Novi
However, foreign visitors, mainly Serbs and Russians, come not only in the summer months but also all year round. The reason for this is the "Dr. Simo Miloševic" spa centre in the suburb of Igalo, which treats a wide variety of illnesses with slightly radioactive sea mud.
Things to see in Herceg Novi
The picturesque Herceg Novi can be ideally explored on foot. A stroll along the beach promenade and a tour of the terraced old town with its narrow alleys that stretch across the steep slopes of the bay are not to be missed.
Beachfront Pet Danica
The tourist centre of Herceg Novi is the 3km long beach promenade "Pet Danica". It runs along the mostly concrete beach and is lined with countless hotels, shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. Although not necessarily suitable for bathing, the beach promenade of Herceg Novi is above all an invitation to stroll and contemplate.
If you want to swim, you should go to the villages of Meljine, Zelenika and Bijela in the east of Herceg Novi, because the small beaches of Herceg Novi are usually hopelessly crowded, especially in the high season.
From the suburb of Topla onwards, the typical holiday beach life begins with cafés, pizzerias and ice cream shops. Topla ("warm") lives up to its name. Palm trees, kiwis and pomegranates thrive in the gardens of the opulent villas of well-heeled Serbs that stretch up the slopes.
Of cultural-historical interest in Topla are the former monastery school, whose most famous pupil was the poet prince Petar II Petrović and which today houses a local museum, and the rather unspectacular residence of the highly revered Nobel Prize winner for literature Ivo Andrić.
Just behind Topla, the Forte Mare welcomes guests arriving in Herceg Novi proper. It probably dates back to the founding of the city and was massively expanded under the Turks, but the mighty battlements and cannon ramps are reminiscent of Austrian rule. The top platform contains a cinema screen and is heavily frequented, especially during the cinema festival.
Kanli Kula Fortress
The "bloody fortress" most likely gets its creepy name from the executions that used to be carried out there. With an ideal far-reaching view over the Bay of Kotor, the military command centre of Herceg Novi was located here at that time. Today it serves as a historical backdrop for theatre and other cultural performances.
Opposite the Kula Fort, a narrow path leads to the "Spanish Fort", already 170m above the sea. The mid-15th century fort was built during two years of Spanish rule in 1539 and can be visited free of charge. It opens up equally spectacular panoramic views over the Bay of Kotor.
Located a little further east of the city centre near Meljine, the Savina Monastery not only offers the obligatory view over the Bay of Kotor, but also three beautiful Orthodox churches that stand out from the Catholic sacred world of Herceg Novi.
Two of them are dedicated to the Mother of God, the third one, which stands a little apart, to the Serbian founding saint Sava. Petar II Petrović was also allowed to attend school here.
The second celebrity in the Manastir Savina was the young artist Lovro Dobričević from Kotor, who also decorated the cathedrals of Kotor and Dubrovnik and the churches of the monastery island of Gospa od Škrpjela with elaborate frescoes.
Church of the Archangel Michael
The historical core of Herceg Novi is entered through the gate at the clock tower "kula sahat", which is the unofficial landmark of the town.
A little later, the Orthodox Church of the Archangel Michael "Sveti Arhangela Mihaila" rises. Its pretty architecture dates from the late 19th century and features Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine and even Arabic elements.
Inside you will find a very special sight. The wall of the holy images is not made of wood as usual, but of snow-white marble.
The Roman Catholic Church of Sveti Jeronima in Herceg Novi's old town dates from 1850 and rivals the Archangel Michael Church in terms of interior decoration.
In contrast to the magnificent marble iconostasis, it has a wooden main altar from 1678, a gift from the highest Venetian commander after the liberation from the Turks, as well as other paintings and precious goldsmith's work. From the outside, the single-nave Sveti Jeronima is hardly worth a second glance.
Excursion tip: Blue Grotto (Plava Spilja)
From the beaches of Zanjice or Miriste near Herceg Novi, excursion boats leave for the Blue Grotto. Inside this fascinating water cave, the seabed, the rock walls and the ceiling shimmer in various shades of blue. Swimming and diving in the warm waters of this surreal environment is an attraction in itself.
History of Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi was only founded in 1382, making it one of the youngest cities on the Adriatic. The founding father was the Bosnian King Tvrtko I, who wanted to make himself independent of Kotor and Dubrovnik with his own port city. At that time, the city was still called Sveti Stepan; it received its current name from Duke Stjepan Vukčić, who also gave his name to Herzegovina.
First conquered by the Turks and then by the Venetians, it finally also fell under Austrian rule under the Italian name "Castelnuovo". Only from 1919, when it belonged to Yugoslavia, was it called Herceg Novi again.