What to see and do in Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi is a small attractive town between Mount Orjen, the highest peak in the Adriatic Dinarides stretching from Slovenia to Albania, and the Bay of Kotor. Its proximity to the bay, considered the southernmost fjord in Europe and the deepest in the Mediterranean, makes it a popular destination. The town is situated directly across from the only sea entrance to the bay, making it a convenient base for exploring the area. With its proximity to both the mountains and the sea, Herceg Novi offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, such as hiking, boat trips and swimming. Additionally, the town serves as the administrative, economic and cultural hub of the municipality of Herceg Novi, which borders Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 clock herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397106

Short history of Herceg Novi

Founded in 1382, Herceg Novi was established as a commercial hub for salt and silk trade. Following its founding by Tvrtko I, the town came under the control of various empires, including the Ottoman Empire for 200 years, the Venetian Republic for over 100 years and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until 1918. The town later became a part of the Yugoslav Republic of Montenegro before being incorporated into the newly established Montenegro in 2006. Each ruling power has left its mark on the town, shaping its infrastructure, culture, language and other aspects of life that have contributed to the unique character of Herceg Novi today.9 history herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397135

I'm glad that the Tourism organisation of Herceg Novi invited me to visit this beautiful part of Montenegro. During my visit, I explored the old town and climbed many stairs in the morning, followed by an afternoon of sailing. What does Herceg Novi have to offer its visitors?

Fortresses and fortifications

Herceg Novi is known for its fortresses and towers, which were strategically built for defensive purposes. These include the 16th-century Spanjola, the 15th-century Forte Mare and the 16th-century Kanli Kula, with the latter featuring a picturesque summer stage overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Kanli Kula Fortress

Built in 1539 by the Turks, Kanli Kula is a historic fortress located at the northernmost point of the old town. The fortress, known as the Bloody Tower, served as a prison during Turkish rule from 1482 to 1687. It stands 85 metres above sea level and is integral to the town's fortification system. The fortress has an irregular shape with well-preserved outer walls and corner towers, measuring approximately 70x60 metres. In 1960, the fortress underwent a renovation and was converted into a summer stage with a capacity of 1,000 seats. Today, it is considered one of the most beautiful open stages on the Adriatic coast. Further reconstruction took place in 1979 after a destructive earthquake damaged the interior. Nowadays, Kanli Kula hosts various events such as the Herceg Novi Film Festival, Sunny Rocks, Guitar Art Fest, Music Days, concerts, folklore performances and more.20 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139711121 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139711422 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397115

Forte Mare Fortress

The historic fortress Forte Mare is a prominent fortification site in the town, with a preserved section of the defensive wall on the southeast side. The fortress got to its current size, shape and dimensions during Turkish rule, along with the cannons and defensive structures. The Venetians named the fortress Forte Mare in the 18th century, while the Austrians are credited with additional constructions and the present appearance.27 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139713228 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139714129 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397270

Spanjola Fortress

Spanjola Fortress in Herceg Novi, also known as the Spanish Fortress, is a notable architectural monument located northeast of the old town at the top of a mountain. It provides a stunning panoramic view of the town and bay, although I did not have the chance to visit it this time.

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower, also known as the Sahat Tower or Tora, is located at the western gate of the old town and serves as a symbol of the city and a cultural monument. The tower was built in 1850 in a pseudo-Roman style and features a clock. 11 clock herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139710612 clock herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397108Stairs under the tower lead to Herceg Stjepan Square, also known as Belavista Square. The square is dominated by St. Archangel Michael Church and hosts various cultural events during the summer, including the International Book Exhibition. 26 fortress herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397123The north stairs from the square lead to Kanli Tower.

Churches in Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi has a diverse spiritual history, with 89 sacred sites representing various religions, making it a multi-confessional town. It might be a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists interested in religious landmarks. Some popular sites include Savina Monastery, St. Archangel Michael Church and St. Spasa Church (Saviour).

St. Jerome’s Church

The construction of this Catholic church took place during the mid-1800s. St. Jerome is revered as the town's protector and is highly regarded by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The interior of the church is adorned with baroque paintings created by the renowned artist Tripo Kokol. It serves as an active place of worship with regular services and is accessible to the public.36 churchesherceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397128

Address: Trg Mića Pavlovića

St. Leopold Mandic Church

St. Leopold Mandic Church, located in the old town near St. Jerome's Church, was constructed in 1688 by order of Jerome Corner following the Venetian occupation of the city. Originally dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, it is now known as St. Leopold Mandic Church. St. Leopold Mandic, born in Herceg Novi, joined the Capuchin seminary in 1882 and later became a priest. Canonised in 1983 by Pope John Paul II, he spent his life in Padua, Italy, serving as a priest for 52 years, despite leaving no literary or theological works.37 churchesherceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397131

Address:  Marka Cara

Other town attractions

The town's cultural heritage is preserved in various sites such as a public library, JUK Herceg Fest, Josip Bepo Benkovic Gallery, the house of Nobel laureate Ivo Andric, the museum of Miroslav Stumberger, etc. Another notable historic site in Herceg Novi is Villa Galeb, built for former Yugoslav president Tito.

Events in Herceg Novi

Unlike many Mediterranean cities that are only active during the summer, Herceg Novi remains lively all year round with a variety of festivals and cultural events. Known as the town of festivals, it hosts the Mimosa Festival, which has received the Golden Heart award for being the best tourist event. This festival has been held for over 50 years on the first Saturday in February. Another important cultural event is the Montenegro Film Festival in early August. Additionally, the town hosts events such as Book Square at Belavista, Days of Classical Music featuring artists from around the world and the prestigious Winter Art Salon at the renowned Josip Bepo Benkovic Gallery.

Cruise on Bolina yacht from Herceg Novi Harbour

One of the most enjoyable activities to experience in Montenegro is embarking on a private yacht charter in Herceg Novi and exploring the area. During my tour, I had the opportunity to sail on the Sailboat Elan 333 · Bolin, which is a great option for those looking for a stylish and comfortable sailing experience. This sailboat can accommodate up to four guests and we were hosted by sailing enthusiasts Natasha and Ilija, who enjoy sharing their passion with like-minded people.49 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139726441 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139715042 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139716943 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397184 It was a pleasure sailing along the coastline and discovering hidden gems such as Lastavica and Vavedenje from the deck of the vessel.

Lastavica Islet

The small island of Lastavica, located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, is home to Mamula Fortress. Constructed by Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula in the 19th century, the fortress occupies 80% of the islet. Because of the fortress, the islet is commonly referred to as Mamula Island. Originally used as a prison, the fortress was eventually abandoned and required restoration due to its historical significance. Swiss investor Samih Sawiris' hotel project has transformed the site into a luxury hotel offering various accommodations with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, providing guests with a peaceful retreat. While the islet was once accessible to tourists, it is now a restricted area and can only be viewed from the sea.50 islets herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397193

Vavedenje Islet

Measuring just 700 square metres, this small island, also known as Mali Zanjic or Mala Gospa, is located near the Lastavica Islet. Vavedenje Islet is home to the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which showcases a beautiful blend of architecture and nature.51 islets herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397198 During my visit near the islets, I enjoyed a delicious meal made by Natasha and Ilija, which included octopus carpaccio, grilled fish with tomato stuffed with pesto and lemon cream served in lemon skins.44 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139722945 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP139723746 yacht herceg novi thesanetravel.comP1397247

Where to stay in the Herceg Novi area

There are 44 hotels and over 30,000 beds available in private accommodations in Herceg Novi region, and a few camping sites. During my visit, I stayed at Hotel Talia, situated in the picturesque central area of Igalo, just 50 metres from the sea and beach that leads to the historic town of Herceg Novi and its famous promenade. Hotel Talia has two interconnected complexes: facility A with a 4-star rating and facility B with a 3-star rating. All rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a TV and refrigerator, with some rooms also featuring a terrace with sea views. 90 talia herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 11371391 talia herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 114205The hotel features bars and a restaurant with seating for over 200 guests.95 talia herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240527 08113194 talia herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240527 081052 Guests can enjoy access to the gym and spa centre, which offers amenities such as a sauna, Turkish bath and massage room. There is a courtyard with an outdoor swimming pool, deckchairs, umbrellas and a new children's playground and playroom. Ask for a room with a sea view.93 talia herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 114227

How to get to Herceg Novi from Tivat Airport

Regrettably, Tivat Airport does not have any public transportation options available. 80 tivat herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 094549Since Tivat bus station is approximately 1.4 kilometres from the airport, situated between Tivat Airport and Tivat town, you most likely will need to take a taxi. The usual fare is around 5 EUR, although drivers may ask for more money and prefer cash payments. It is advisable to agree on the price before getting into the taxi. Walking is also an option, but it may be inconvenient due to safety hazards along the road. 81 tivat herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 095006Visit the local bus website for the schedule between Tivat and Herceg Novi. There are typically 18 direct departures daily on this route, indicating a good frequency of buses.86 talia herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240601 100509 Please note that some buses cut the travel time by using the ferry at the narrowest point of the Bay of Kotor, while others take a longer route around the bay.83 tivat herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 10554584 tivat herceg novi thesanetravel.com20240526 105551 Take a bus with a shorter travel time if it aligns with your schedule. However, travel times may be longer than indicated on the website due to road construction, especially during July and August when traffic congestion is at its peak.

Where to go from Herceg Novi

Dubrovnik and Kotor are located 50 kilometres from Herceg Novi, both featuring impressive architecture and historic city walls.

Disclaimer: This article is based on my press trip experience to Herceg Novi. I was kindly invited by the Tourism organisation of Herceg Novi. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own. I had a great time and I wish you the same! Happy travels!

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 What did you think? Have you visited Herceg Novi? I would love to hear from you, so please add your comment below.

  • Published by Anita on June 07, 2024
  • Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


    Herceg Novi looks like an interesting option as a base for further exploration of Montenegro. I particularly like the look of the sailboat tour.
    Something about traditional stone buildings and narrow roads makes you feel that you've gone back in time. It's almost a disappointment to get to the harbour/marina and find all those expensive modern boats - it puts you back in today's world. Thanks for the reminders of an area that I visited decades ago.
    We visited Montenegro by cruise ship and it has been on our list of places to return ever since. We have not yet looked at planning an itinerary so it was interesting to read more about Herceg Novi. Good to know it is a great base to use for exploring the area. And so many fascinating spots to see in town too. We would definitely want to get out on the water.
    Wow Montenegro has been on my list for a long time now and you just finished to convince me to go asap with Herceg Novi! It looks beautiful!

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