Things To Do In Cetinje: A Day in Montenegro’s Old Royal Capital

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Hello fellow adventurers! I recently had the chance to visit the charming town of Cetinje, Montenegro’s former royal capital. Tucked away in a scenic valley, this quaint, historic town is a must-visit for those looking to explore Montenegro’s rich cultural heritage. 

I’ll share my experiences and recommendations for things to do in Cetinje.

Morning: A Stroll Through History

Cetinje Monastery

My day began with a visit to the famous Cetinje Monastery. Founded in 1484 by Ivan Crnojević, the monastery is a symbol of Montenegrin spirituality and resistance against the Ottoman rule. The monastery grounds are home to several important relics, including the Right Hand of Saint John the Baptist and a piece of the True Cross.

As I walked through the serene monastery grounds, I felt a sense of calm and reverence.

The architecture, with its red roofs and white walls, is a beautiful sight to behold. Inside, the monastery is adorned with ornate frescoes, icons, and centuries-old manuscripts.

I highly recommend visiting the Cetinje Monastery to learn about Montenegro’s history and religious traditions.

Blue Palace

Next, I ventured to the Blue Palace, also known as the Plavi Dvorac, which is located just a short walk from the Cetinje Monastery. Built-in 1895, the palace served as the residence of Prince Danilo and his wife and later housed various government institutions.

The Blue Palace is a striking example of neoclassical architecture, with its bright blue facade and white columns. While you can’t go inside the palace, the exterior is worth admiring. I spent some time taking pictures and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding park.

King Nikola’s Palace

A short walk from the National Museum, I discovered King Nikola’s Palace, the former residence of the Montenegrin royal family.

The palace, now a museum, is adorned with beautiful frescoes and houses an impressive collection of royal memorabilia, including King Nikola’s personal belongings, historical photographs, and exquisite furniture.

The palace’s architecture, with its red-tiled roofs and grand façade, is a testament to the opulence of the era.

Afternoon: Delving into Culture

National Museum of Montenegro

After a leisurely lunch at a local cafe, I headed to the National Museum of Montenegro. This museum complex consists of several separate buildings, each housing different exhibits.

I started with the Historical Museum, which showcases Montenegro’s turbulent history through a collection of weapons, uniforms, and other artefacts. The Ethnographic Museum, located in a former royal residence, features exhibits on traditional Montenegrin clothing, jewellery, and household items. Finally, the Art Museum houses an impressive collection of works by both Montenegrin and international artists.

Visiting the National Museum of Montenegro was a fantastic way to immerse me in the country’s history and culture. Plan to spend a couple of hours exploring the exhibits – trust me, it’s worth it!

Biljarda

Just a short walk from the National Museum, I discovered Biljarda, the former residence of Montenegro’s beloved ruler, Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. This impressive building, constructed in 1838, now houses the Njegoš Museum, which is dedicated to the life and work of this important Montenegrin figure.

Upon entering Biljarda, I was struck by the grandeur of the building’s interior, with its high ceilings and elegant furnishings. The museum contains a wealth of information about Njegoš’s life as a ruler, poet, and philosopher. I particularly enjoyed the exhibit detailing his famous work, “The Mountain Wreath,” which is considered a masterpiece of Montenegrin literature.

Lipa Cave

After a morning spent exploring the historical treasures of Cetinje, I decided to venture into the surrounding countryside and visit Lipa Cave. A short drive from the city center, this extensive cave system is over 2.5 kilometers long and features a wealth of impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and other fascinating rock formations. A guided tour led me through the cave’s beautifully illuminated chambers, which were cool and refreshing compared to the warm afternoon sun outside.

Cetinje Walking Tour

Back in Cetinje, I decided to embark on a guided walking tour to further acquaint myself with the city’s history and charm. The tour took me along the city’s picturesque streets, lined with colorful Austro-Hungarian-style buildings and dotted with monuments and plaques commemorating important historical events. Our knowledgeable guide shared stories of the city’s illustrious past, from its founding by Ivan Crnojević to its role as the cultural and political heart of Montenegro.

Mačkat

As the sun began to set, I decided to take a short drive to the nearby village of Mačkat. This small, picturesque village offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is famous for its delicious prosciutto (pršuta). I stopped by a local tavern to sample this Montenegrin delicacy, accompanied by a glass of local wine. The combination of the spectacular views and mouth-watering flavors made for an unforgettable experience.

Lovćen National Park

For my final stop in Cetinje, I took a drive up to Lovćen National Park, which is home to the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. The drive up the winding mountain roads was an adventure in itself, but the views from the top were breathtaking. I arrived just in time to catch the sunset over the dramatic landscape, with the Adriatic Sea glistening in the distance.

The mausoleum itself is an impressive feat of architecture, perched atop the second-highest peak in Lovćen National Park. A climb of 461 steps leads to the entrance, and although it may seem daunting, the reward at the top is well worth the effort. Upon reaching the mausoleum, I was greeted by a striking statue of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, a Montenegrin bishop, poet, and philosopher. 

The atmosphere inside the mausoleum is solemn and awe-inspiring, with the tomb of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš resting beneath a golden mosaic ceiling.

My Thoughts

As my time in Cetinje came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel a deep appreciation for this enchanting city and its warm, welcoming people. The blend of history, culture, and natural beauty left an indelible impression on me, and I can’t wait to return and explore more of what Cetinje and Montenegro have to offer.

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