Last updated on July 5th, 2023
When I visited Herceg Novi for the first time on my one week trip to Montenegro, I didn’t really understand this city. But then years later, when I returned to live in Budva, I got to revisit it on many occasions and realized that it was well worth a trip not just for a day but actually for at least a full weekend break.
And considering that fact that over the last few years, Herceg Novi expanded a bit, more gorgeous hotels popped up and infrastructure improved, there even more reasons to visit now.
Yet, at the same time, depending on how much time you personally plan to have in Montenegro and which direction you are coming from will define a final answer if Herceg Novi is worth visiting or not.
Let’s cover it all below with me together!
Visiting Herceg Novi for the First Time?
Here are some Herceg Novi attractions and the best places to stay to give you an idea of what to expect!
Top Tours & Activities in Herceg Novi
- Herceg Novi City Walk – great walking tour for those who are short on time
- Boka Bay Day Cruise – best for people visiting from Dubrovnik on a day trip
- Blue Cave & Perast Excursion – must-see when in Herceg Novi (!)
- Boat Tour to Hidden Islands – for large groups and families
Best Hotels in Herceg Novi for Slow-Paced Visit
- Hotel Kredo – boutique hotel near the beach for active travelers
- Hotel PERLA – with a private beach for mid-budget
- Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa – with thermal water
- Portonovi Resort – 5-star amazing property outside the city!
- Lazure Hotel & Marina – luxury seafront
Visiting Independently & Going Beyond? Be sure to book your car rental in Herceg Novi ahead of time from the best company in the region!
Is Herceg Novi Worth Visiting – That Time When It Is
Herceg Novi is worth visiting under several conditions but there are other times when it may be better to skip it.
First, you definitely shouldn’t miss it if coming from Dubrovnik. This will be the first city you encounter where you can even base yourself if having a few days in Montenegro on a trip from Croatia.
Second, it is worth visiting Herceg Novi when being in Kotor city and the Bay of Kotor. Being one of the most important cities in the past and having experienced the influence of various empires and cultures, including the Byzantines, Romans, Serbs, Venetians, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians, Herceg Novi can cater something to all types of travelers.
History enthusiasts will appreciate the three preserved fortresses here as well as the exhibitions in museums and galleries that showcase the culture and history of the city and region.
People who love music and cinema will appreciate visiting the city during the International Montenegro Film Festival, the International Festival of Music and Theater “From the Bottom of the Sea,” the International Classical Music Festival “Prince’s Games,” and the “European Music Days” chamber music festival.
Those who love beaches and thermal waters will love visiting Herceg Novi too since there are a few very good sandy beaches in the area and even a few thermal mineral springs in Kamelj, Igalo, and Zelenika, which offer various procedures for health and relaxation.
Herceg Novi is also worth visiting if you are traveling to Montenegro with kids. With well-equipped beaches and parks with playgrounds near them as well as clean, warm seawater, it is an attractive destination for families with children who look to have a nice beach holiday in Montenegro.
When It Is Better to Skip Herceg Novi
Those times when Herceg Novi is not worth visiting are when you are flying to Podgorica or Tivat with the goal to go hiking in Montenegro and mainly visit the mountains in Lovcen National Park, go on a road trip in Durmitor, or spend time in Prokletje national park. If you are not really into history and beaches, it is better to skip this city since you won’t miss a lot.
While there are a few hiking paths around Herceg Novi that open up beautiful panoramas, it is not really worth coming for them alone as trails above Kotor and in the north of the country offer more dramatic views.
In summer, the road from Kotor to Herceg Novi is often jammed and it is very possible to be stuck in traffic for a long time. When visiting only for a few short days trying to see the entire country, spending time in traffic will simply steal your time.
Another time when you shouldn’t be visiting Herceg Novi is when you love to party. This Montenegrin city has a quite tranquil atmosphere that will not meet the expectations of those seeking a highly active nightlife and entertainment venues.
Is Herceg Novi Worth Visiting in Winter?
Herceg Novi like any other coastal city in Montenegro in winter has a Mediterranean climate which means that December through February here are comfortable and mild but see quite a few rainy days.
From the time when I lived in Montenegro (and following my friends who live there until this day), I can say that the most rainy time in the country is January and February.
In fact, after the New Year, it gets quite cold and you should not expect more than +15+17 degrees Celcius (59-63F) during the day. On some days, temperatures can drop to +5C (41F), but such periods are rare. Herceg Novi gets more sunny days than the entire bay of Kotor but there are still enough wet days that can be annoying. And in some ways, it reminds Istanbul in winter.
I’d say that overall, coming to Herceg Novi in winter is worth the time as winter is perfect for walking around the city and sightseeing. This city has charming architecture and fortresses to explore and a lovely winery open year-round in Savina Monastery. Also, if it doesn’t rain, you can join a boat tour around the Bay of Kotor or to nearby islands which look so magical with heavy clouds on gloomy days.
However, since Herceg Novi weather is really unpredictable, there may be heavy rain throughout your entire visit which can spoil the impression. And you have to be ready for that.
What Is Worth Visiting in Herceg Novi?
Depending on the season, the number of activities varies. From very interesting museums and terraces with a view to blue grottos and wineries, Herceg Novi can offer quite a few experiences.
I invite you to read my full guide to things to do in Herceg Novi to understand what’s better to do and when.
BONUS: Herceg Novi vs Kotor – Which One to Choose Where to Stay?
These two are very different cities that offer very different experiences even though there is only a short drive between them.
Herceg Novi is known for its history, beaches, and a few amazing luxury hotels. This is why it is a wonderful pick for people who want to have a few days (or a week-long) vacation on a resort with meals included and easy access to the beach.
Herceg Novi is great for families with smaller kids and for people who love water sports, hiking, and the old town atmosphere. It offers numerous historical sites, including fortresses, churches, and museums as well as a few hiking paths in the area. The city also has excellent spas with mineral water.
Kotor on the other hand captivates with its unique medieval architecture and ancient old town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. There, you’ll find very narrow streets, centuries-old buildings, a few former castles, and even a fortress above the city with breathtaking views of the fjords.
Choosing Kotor is best for romantic getaways and quiet secluded stays as there are many private B&Bs with intimate atmosphere and views on all sides like Kotor Nest or Bay Mola apartment in a charming Dobrota village.
But eventually, the choice between Herceg Novi or Kotor depends of course on your preferences regarding history, architecture, nature, and overall vibe. If you have enough time in Montenegro, try to visit them both to fully experience their uniqueness and beauty.
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