best things to do in Herceg Novi

21 Unmissable Things to Do in Herceg Novi (& Nearby!)

Last updated on July 10th, 2023

Are you visiting Herceg Novi for a day or longer and wondering whether it is worth visiting this city or not and what are the best things to do in Herceg Novi? 

Well, that’s great, because let me tell you – Herceg Novi is one of the most surprising cities in the Balkans where its location and number of attractions allows to have an action-packed trip. 

And to help you maximize your time in this city, I created a travel guide to what to do in Herceg Novi on any visit. Add it to your Montenegro itinerary when visiting the country.

No matter if you are coming alone, with friends or family, there will be something to do for everyone, from nice hotels with pools and beaches to easy walking trails in the area.

So here are the best Herceg Novi things to do in the city and beyond!

Looking for Things to Do in Herceg Novi When Short on Time?  

Check out these top Herceg Novi attractions and sightseeing spots!

Top Tours & Activities in Herceg Novi

Top Hotels in Herceg Novi for Active Stay

Visiting Montenegro Independently? Be sure to book your car rental in Herceg Novi ahead of time from the best company in the region!


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Best Things to Do in Herceg Novi, Montenegro (in the City & Nearby)

1.) Start With a Walk in Old Town (Heart of Herceg Novi)

Among all things to do in Herceg Novi, I want to start this list with a walk through the city’s Old Town. Why? Simply because it is a true treasure trove of amazing places, located right below the city harbor. And in comparison to all other old towns, including the one in Kotor and Budva, Old Town in Herceg Novi is probably the quietest and most cozy one.

To reach it from the sea, you need to climb one of the many staircases. Another option is to rent a scooter or car to navigate through its streets, then park on Stijepa Sarenca Street or a bit farther and walk from there.

Old Town Herceg Novi
walking around old town in Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi Old Town is in the area with the main architectural monuments of the city. There you can see how ordinary Montenegrins live – what’s their way of life and traditions.

The streets resemble intricate mazes, and at almost every step, something curious awaits be it a museum, an ancient church, or a gallery. There are many restaurants and cafes here serving delicious dishes of the national cuisine. In souvenir shops, you can buy memorable gifts and souvenirs to bring back home.

If coming to Herceg Novi early in the morning from Dubrovnik or another part of Montenegro, stop for breakfast at Peters Pie & Coffee by the walls of Old Town or Pekara Panino for baked goodies before going to explore the city.

>> Explore Herceg Novi on foot with a guide

2.) Take a Boat Trip to Mamula Island (One of the Most Famous Herceg Novi Attractions)

Mamula Island is among my top hidden gems in Montenegro with an intriguing history and picturesque allure. It holds a unique charm that is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who venture there. And on the way to the island, there is a chance to enjoy a breezy 1 hour 15 min boat trip while seeing Herceg Novi from the water.

Stepping foot onto Mamula Island is like stepping back in time. The island is home to an imposing fortress (part of which was turned into a hotel unfortunately), known as Mamula Fortress, which stands as a testament to its storied past.

Built in the 19th century, the fortress served as a strategic military outpost and later gained notoriety during World War II. But in recent years, together with the island, it was sold to one of the local companies where new owners of Mamula reconstructed the island preserving the architectural authenticity and adding a spa hotel and museum space.

Mamula Island near Herceg Novi
Mamula from the water before it turned into a hotel
Mamula Island
And this is a drone view when Mamula was under reconstruction

So those who visit, have a chance to immerse themselves in history while enjoying modern comforts. 

Visiting Mamula Island from Herceg Novi is an adventure that combines history, natural beauty, and a touch of mystique. And if you choose a boat trip that also includes stops in other places (like Blue Cave or other islands), you’ll have an opportunity to escape the ordinary and embark on a journey that unveils the secrets of the past while embracing the beauty of the present.

>> Click here to see the availability and rates of a boat trip to Mamula

3.) Or Sail to the Blue Cave (One of the Most Beautiful Grottoes in Montenegro)

In close proximity to the shores of Herceg Novi lies the Blue Cave (one of the most beautiful things to see in this area). The uniqueness of this natural wonder lies in its extraordinary natural illumination, which gave the small grotto its name. Sunrays reflecting off the water paint the cave walls with a shimmering blue hue.

The area of a grotto spans approximately 300 square meters and interplay of sunlight creates shimmering reflections that paint the walls and water in shades of azure blue.

exploring the coast near Herceg Novi
On the way to the cave, the scenery is beautiful as well

Blue Cave from Herceg Novi

Visitors arrive here by boat, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Some boat trips include a quick visit just to admire the beauty from the boat while others provide an opportunity to swim. It is also a popular place for divers who flock here to submerge at a depth of 40-50 meters.

The water in the cave is incredibly salty which means that even inexperienced swimmers will feel at ease here. The air is always refreshingly cool, while the water remains pleasantly warm.

>> Check what a boat trip to the Blue Cave is like

4.) Explore Forte Mare (Historical Fortress With Views)

On a sheer cliff by Herceg Novi Old Town near the sea, there is an ancient Maritime Fortress built in the 14th century. During all the centuries until our days, it has served various purposes, including defense against invasions and as a strategic military point with the embrasures, battlements on the walls, and towers that have been well-preserved to this day.

Forte Mare is an interesting landmark in Herceg Novi for those who want to explore the region’s past and take in the views of the Adriatic Sea, Bay of Kotor, and Herceg Novi. Visitors can enjoy panoramic vistas and capture stunning photographs from its vantage point.

Additionally to that, depending on the time of the year, Forte Mare often hosts cultural events, exhibitions, and concerts, adding a vibrant atmosphere to the historical site. These events provide opportunities to experience the fortress in a different context and enjoy the cultural offerings of Herceg Novi.

Herceg Nove from above

I recommend you make a stop at the information center to inquire about the events. If you are visiting in summer, chance are very high that something interesting will be taking place in the fort.

Do You Need to Rent a Car in Herceg Novi? Book It From the Largest Supplier in the Region 

5.) Go Kayaking or Paddle Boarding Along the Herceg Novi Coast

Herceg Novi as one of the many cities in Montenegro offers many opportunities for water activities, kayaking and paddle boarding are just some of them.

There are several places where you can rent kayaks and paddle boards like for example near the harbor in this shop or in this holiday apartment not far from the waterfront.

Another popular spot for kayaking and paddle boarding is a long beach in Igalo which is located near the city center. From there, you can explore the calm waters of the bay and head to Rose or Mirista. You can also venture further into the bay and explore hidden coves and beaches of the peninsula.

ALSO: Recently one new (interesting) school opened up on the beach in Igalo where it is possible to rent flying surfboards to surf around. Unlike classic surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing which require many hours of practice, with an electric surfing board you can start surfing without any experience! Children quickly can learn it too. Here are the company’s details if you’d love to surf instead of kayaking.

6.) Walk to Savina Monastery (Must-See Ancient Place in Herceg Novi!)

Savina Monastery is a renowned religious and cultural site nestled amidst so much lush greenery that it feels like you enter a botanic garden or some type of nature park. The complex consists of three churches: the Small Assumption Church, the Big Assumption Church, and the Church of Saint Sava, and has a monastic building with two cemeteries on its territory.

One of the main attractions of Savina Monastery is its historical significance and the miraculous Savina Icon of the Mother of God, which is considered the monastery’s most sacred relic. The monastery itself dates back several centuries, with the Small Church bearing an inscription on its wall that reads “1030,” indicating its venerable age. 

Inside the churches, you’ll find exquisite artwork, including paintings and frescoes in Gothic and Byzantine styles. These intricate decorations showcase the artistic and cultural heritage of the area and offer a visual feast of religious artistry.

things to do in Herceg Novi on any season
Savina monastery

Aside from its architectural and artistic splendor, this unique Herceg Novi sightseeing spot offers a tranquil and serene atmosphere, making it an ideal place for contemplation, meditation, and peaceful reflection.

There is an observation platform there as well which provides breathtaking views of the Adriatic coast. Once there, you can enjoy panoramic vistas of the sparkling sea and the surrounding natural beauty.

>> Learn more about the Savina Monastery here

7.) Go for Wine Tasting (in Savina Monastery or Local Winery)

If you love wine tourism, then do not miss a chance to taste wine in one of the local wineries of Herceg Novi.

Wineries in this region offer wine tasting and the opportunity to purchase local wine varieties that are different from wines in other parts of the country. And some of them also organize tours of their vineyards and the wine production process.

Among the best wineries to visit in Herceg Novi on your own are Vinarija Delic and Savina winery on the territory of the Savina Monastery (mentioned above) where vineyards are situated on the hills overlooking the Bay. 

But if short on time and looking for some guidance, hire a guide and go on a private tour where you’ll also have a chance to visit the monastery with a guide, walk around Herceg Novi while listening to interesting stories, and taste local wines with corresponding food in the end.

>> Click here to learn more about the wine tour in Herceg Novi

8.) Explore Kanli Kula (Bloody Tower), the Creepiest Place in Montenegro

Going to Kanli Kula is one of those things to do in Herceg Novi that is not for everyone as the place is creepy and has a difficult history. However, many other will enjoy a stop here and appreciate the views.

The fortress, known to people as the “Bloody Tower,” earned its name due to the innocent executions of hundreds and thousands of people within its walls. Since Turks ruthlessly punished anyone who opposed the Ottoman Empire in the region.

Today, only the upper part of the fortification is open to tourists, with entry into the casemates strictly prohibited. However, even a glimpse of this structure is enough to experience the extraordinary atmosphere that prevails there.

The construction stands majestically above the sea and the city, offering incredible views from the observation deck. And within the inner courtyard, you’ll find the most unique amphitheater along the entire coast. 

Kanli Kula is open from 10 am to 8 pm and can be visited together with Herceg Novi Old Town.

9.) Stroll On Nikola Djurkovic Square

Near the Old Town in Herceg Novi, you’ll find Nikola Djurković Square, named after the famous Serbian musician.

It is here that one of the most renowned and beloved festivals, the Mimosa Festival, takes place every winter in Montenegro. It is also home to one of the most recognizable hallmarks of Herceg Novi city and that is Clock Tower.

exploring Herceg Novi old town on foot

The square is a venue for various city events, theatrical performances, and music concerts. It is full of numerous shops, several cafes and restaurants, and cozy pizzerias, offering visitors a vibrant and lively atmosphere to enjoy.

Not far from this square, there is a very good coffee shop Fabrika Coffee with a variety of good coffee drinks and desserts. On the opposite side, there is a Bistro Lounge ‘Belavista’ with delicious seafood dishes and some traditional local eats.

10.) Pop Into a St. Michael Church – True Gem of Herceg Novi

This small Orthodox church in the city center is one of the most popular landmarks of Herceg Novi that instantly attracts attention with its unusual look.

The building is constructed from carved stone blocks and reflects completely different styles and directions of architecture. Inside, the main pride of the church is a unique altar with an iconostasis made of beautiful Italian marble. The church also houses numerous ancient books.

All walking tours around Herceg Novi start for the most part near this church. If you are exploring the city on your own, devote a few minutes to checking it out inside. The church is really big and beautiful. 

streets of Herceg Novi
Walking to St. Michael church 

11.) Don’t Miss the Regional Museum of Herceg Novi

Local Museum Mirko Komnenović is a fun thing to do in Herceg Novi if you’d love to get acquainted with the history and beginning of this city.

The museum is located in an ancient mansion and has four exhibitions in the halls. Its historical exhibition consists of photographs and documents that tell the story of the city from its founding in one interesting way. It also showcases sculptures and a small collection of weapons of the area.

The archaeological exhibition offers guests artifacts from the medieval period. Additionally, there is a separate display of items that were found on the sunken shipwrecks (one of which you can still visit in the small village of Rose situated on the opposite side of Herceg Novi across the bay).

Mirko Komnenovic houses many interesting exhibits, but all the information is provided only in Serbian, so have your translator ready.

Opening hours: 8 AM-5 PM except Sundays when it’s closed.

12.) Check Out Herceg Novi Beachs

Even though the best beaches in Montenegro are located south of Budva, Herceg Novi region offers some nice beaches too. Some of them are paid, others are free. Some are municipal and others belong to private hotels that outside guests can visit too for the payment.

Most beaches are predominantly pebbly with either large or small pebbles and some have concrete surfaces. And only a few areas have small beaches with soft sand.

Herceg Novi city beach
Herceg Novi central beach near old town

Many beaches in Herceg Novi provide amenities such as sun loungers, deck chairs, umbrellas (for an additional fee), changing cabins, showers, and toilets. Medical and lifeguard stations are open, as well as equipment rental facilities for water activities. And all beaches are clean.

The areas of Igalo, Zelenika, and Savina boast beautiful sandy beaches in Herceg Novi with some water activities. In the city center, you’ll find the pebble beach Žalo (near the walls of the Forte Mare), but in summer it is too crowded.

Some of the nicest beaches are the pebble-sand beaches of Savina beach (near the Savina Monastery), sandy Perla Beach that belongs to Hotel Perla, and those that are part of beach clubs like Plaza Yachtin Club 32 and Bay Beach Club.

Three beaches in Herceg Novi, Yachting Club 32 (sand-pebble), Rafaello (sand), and Mimosa (sand, right next to Rafaello), have been awarded the Blue Flag certification for their high standards of water quality, service, safety, and environmental practices. 

13.) Visit the Spasskaya Church

The Spasskaya Church, also known as the Church of the Holy Salvation, is a captivating attraction that forms part of a grand complex in Herceg Novi. Its construction dates back to the early 18th century, and it underwent significant renovation and reconstruction in the mid-19th century. This historical and architectural gem showcases a blend of styles, combining elements of Byzantine and Baroque influences.

One of the main highlights of this Church is its beautiful iconostasis, crafted by skilled Greek artisans and is a masterpiece of religious art. It features a collection of meticulously painted icons that depict various saints, biblical scenes, and religious motifs. The intricate details and vibrant colors of the icons make them a sight to behold and a testament to the artistic heritage of the region.

Spasskaya church and famous Turkish fountain
A historic fountain next to Spasskaya church was built in Herceg Novi at the beginning of the 19th century and became a legacy of the Turkish era in Montenegro

Aside from its religious significance, the church also houses a collection of antique books and silverware that were in use in the region in the past. Exploring these historical treasures adds depth and context to the visit, making it a rewarding experience for history lovers and cultural enthusiasts alike.

And on top of everything, the location of the Spasskaya Church is another reason why it is worth a visit. Situated within the larger complex, it provides a picturesque setting with beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea and the charming streets of the Old Town.

So if you are looking for a place in Herceg Novi that has beautiful views, Spasskaya Church can offer just that.

14.) Have a Long Walk on Herceg Novi Promenade

The waterfront of Herceg Novi is a must-visit destination for several reasons. Firstly, its location and beauty make it an ideal place to relax and unwind. The stunning coastal views, with the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, create a soothing and captivating ambiance.

Moreover, the waterfront offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors. You can enjoy leisurely walks along the promenade, taking in the breathtaking scenery and enjoying the refreshing sea breeze (especially at sunset).

view on Meljine
If you follow the promenade, you’ll get to Meljine, a small town in the municipality of Herceg Novi with cafes, small shops, and fancy hotels like Lazure Marina & Hotel, Wellness & Spa Hotel ACD, and others

Since the waterfront stretches for 7 kilometers, it becomes an ideal route for pleasant Montenegro coastal walks. The 7-kilometer stretch is lined with beautiful beaches, where you can soak up the sun, stop at one of the beaches to swim in the sea or indulge in various water sports.

This promenade is also a bustling hub of activity, with numerous hotels, shops, and restaurants catering to every taste and preference. You can go to one of the hotels’ private beaches or restaurants, explore local boutiques, or stop in one of the coastal bars for a meal (or drink) with a view.

One of my favorite things to do on the Herceg Novi promenade is to rent a bicycle or rollerblades and go on a leisurely ride along the coast, taking in the scenic vistas and enjoying the invigorating coastal air. 

You can rent a bike or scooter in this shop here in close proximity to the promenade.

15.) Do Not Miss PortoNovi – Exclusive Holiday Village

Portonovi is located outside Herceg Novi city but in Herceg Novi municipality in the village of Kumbor which is easy to visit by car or public transportation on a day trip, for a few days, or just for a couple of hours.

In the days of Yugoslavia, the area where Portonovi today is built was a Navy base. But in recent years, it was turned into a luxury waterfront mini-town and residential development with everything that you can think of.

Portoonovi
What to see in Montenegro when you have seen it all? Don’t miss Portonovi in the Bay of Kotor

There is a luxurious 5-star hotel One&Only (one of its type in Europe), the Chenot Espace wellness center (on the premises of the same resort) operating according to the legendary Henri Chenot system, a few world-class Mediterranean restaurants, a first-class marina that receives superyachts, many boutiques, galleries, and clubs. Portonovi has it all.

But besides the very expensive opulent accommodation, there are other residences with budget-friendly apartments and villas. People who love secluded stays should look into staying here while still being close to Herceg Novi and Kotor Bay. 

While being pompous, the whole resort area is not noisy and not designed for mass tourism. It is quiet and family-oriented. Come here to walk along the beautiful waterfront, dine in one of the cafes or restaurants, have a drink in some of the coolest bars, or spend a day in the Tapasake beach club, where the world’s best DJs perform.

By the way, beaches here (entrance for the payment) are sandy, with a gentle entrance to the sea. A rarity for Montenegro and the entire Adriatic coast!

16.) Spend Time by the Herceg Novi Harbor

In the heart of the city, below the old town by the Herceg Novi beach and promenade, you’ll find a small city port with a lighthouse, known as Škver. This vibrant district is home to various attractions, including an open-air swimming pool, which serves as a venue for competitions and events, as well as a selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

An interesting feature of Škver is its beautiful former train station building, which now houses cafes, a bar, and an art gallery, serving as a nostalgic reminder of its railway past.

This area is where boats depart to coves and around the Bay of Kotor which is very beautiful in the evening and from the water.

Herceg Novi harbor

17.) Climb the Spanish Fortress in the North of Herceg Novi

One of the most abandoned places in Herceg Novi that also has panoramic views is the Spanish Fortress which you’ll find as Tvrdjava Spanjola on a map.

It is situated at a very high location and not everyone can endure a long hike along the steep trail towards it, especially during the hot months of July and August. So it is better for some to reach here by car.

However, if you decide to go hiking, you can be sure that all your efforts will be compensated by the magnificent views that open up from the fort.

But the fortress itself is also open to visitors (or better to say its ruins). You can explore the interior rooms and take a walk around. Local residents claim there are also underground passages beneath the fortress, connecting Španjola with other city towers. But for now, there is not much official information about it as well as no tours.

You just come here on a hike to walk away from all the crowds and enjoy a peaceful environment.

18.) Visit a Sanatorium or Wellness Center in Igalo

When talking about what to do in Herceg Novi, I want to mention a few words about Igalo, a small district rich with mineral waters, mud baths, fresh pine air, and great surrounding for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Igalo is one of my favorite parts of Herceg Novi and I love it mainly for its excellent beaches, beautiful natural landscape, and healing microclimate. But one thing that makes it unique is Igalo’s natural healing mud and mineral springs, which have made it a famous wellness destination in the Balkans.

Igalo district

In fact, many people come to Herceg Novi with one goal only – to go to Igalo to undergo spa procedures, massages, mud treatments, and other procedures aimed at improving health and relaxation.

There are a few major medical centers (like Igalo Institute of Health, Igalo Spa Center, and Igalo Medica) that offer various treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention programs in various medical fields (cardiology, respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, neurology, etc.). You can buy a package from one of these centers inclusive of accommodation, food, doctors’ assessment and treatment, and stay there from a few days to a few weeks.

Otherwise, plan a visit to a smaller hotel that has a spa and wellness center with mineral water like Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa or Igalo Centrar for example. If you don’t intend to stay overnight, then make a call or pay them a visit to make arrangements for a treatment or rejuvenation appointment. 

BONUS: What to See & Do Around Herceg Novi

19.) Lustica Peninsula – With Beautiful Beaches

Lustica Peninsula is among the lesser-known places in Montenegro famous for its pristine beaches, charming and quiet small traditional villages like Rose with a sunken ship, and olive groves. The easiest way to visit it is from Herceg Novi since it is located across the bay from the city.

view of Herceg Novi from the water

During the summer, boats to Lustica go to different beaches on the peninsula and depart from Herceg Novi port multiple times during the day.

The largest beach in this area is Žanjic Beach with a few restaurants, hotels, and sunbeds (for the payment). Not far from it, in the bay, you’ll find a small but incredibly cozy beach called Mirište Beach which is known for its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views of the open sea. And by the way, if you go there, I recommend you eat at Miriste restaurant on the beach, it has very delicious seafood dishes.

If you are traveling with a family or group of friends and budget allows, rent your own private boat for half a day or for a full day and go to Dobrec Beach in the bay with the same name. It offers solitude and being accessible only by water, this hidden gem offers a tranquil escape.

During the hottest days, the water here is several degrees cooler than the average sea temperature which makes it a nice cool place to travel when it’s hot. With a restaurant, a few sunbeds, and a cozy beach, Dobrec is usually sparsely populated, as it remains relatively unknown to tourists. People who come here are mainly local divers or those on private boats to appreciate the secluded beauty of this area.

20.) Žlijebi – Authentic Montenegrin Village Near Herceg Novi

Zlijebi is a small village located not far from Herceg Novi, to be exact 14 km away from the city in the mountains at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level. It differs from other villages of the same size with stone houses preserved here from ancient times. 

Almost everything here is made from local stone – threshing floor, barn, fences, paths, houses. And not only the walls of the houses are built of stones, but also massive stone slabs are stacked on the roofs instead of the usual tiles.

visiting Zlijebi village
View form Zlijebi on Herceg Novi
Panoramic view of Herceg Novi
You can also hike here from Herceg Novi center but the elevation gain is more than 2 km on a distance of 5.5 km making it one of strenuous hikes in Montenegro 

Nowadays Zlijebi is abandoned but there is Konoba Sikimic restaurant there and even one restored house that serves as a guesthouse in summer. But from the beginning of the second part of the settlement starts a road (that you can walk) to the church of St. Nikola (coordinates to this church here) with a cool panoramic view of the sea and Herceg Novi.

So the main reason people come here is to see a unique Montenegro village, eat in a restaurant and take in the views that are gorgeous.

21.) Church of St. Ilija for the View of Croatia

There are many places in Montenegro that offer panoramic views, including the one I mentioned above. But this church, which is only 10 km from the old town of Herceg Novi on the border with Croatia is special in that way that it gives a 360-degree view. 

There are also hiking trails in the area and on the way there another viewing platform in the village of Zvinje with views of Herceg Novi.

But my favorite place in that part of the city is the Holiday Lounge Bar with nice Montenegrin food and cocktails and more incredible views of Herceg Novi. Come here in the morning to have a coffee in peace or return in the early evening to look at the city dressing up in lights.

Where to Stay in Herceg Novi

If you are looking for the top places to stay in Herceg Novi, here are some of my top picks!

Did I miss any other best things to do in Herceg Novi? If yes, and you have other things to add to this list, please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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