9 Of The Best Things To See & Do In Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Nikola rubbed his tiresome eyes, and picked us up in front of a gelato shop just ten minutes away from Herceg Novi’s Old Town plaza.

We needed a ride back to our hotel, as we were rushing to the next one located in Kotor. When Nikola unexpectedly stopped his cab at a gas station, not to refuel his car but to wash his face, we bought him a cup of espresso, chatted and laughed with him throughout the entire ride so he wouldn’t fall asleep.

The twenty-seven-year-old driver was on his way home after a long shift when he stopped for us in the hills of Herceg Novi. He could’ve said NO when we requested Kotor as our final destination. But the season was slowing down and he needed the extra cash. It was endearingly obvious that Nikola was more than simply a nice guy when he divulged upon Montenegro’s political strife, its road to independence, his own divorce, the Yugoslavia wars, and the Montenegrin mafia that set local people’s cars and shops on fire. By the time we reached Kotor, we were worried about his ride back not because he was sleepy but he became a friend. Hopefully the caffeine had kicked in as we left Herceg Novi with a mind fiercely stretched wider than before.

Pleated in lush hills, perched above Bay of Kotor is the placid little town of Herceg Novi, often overlooked by travelers busy roaming between Budva and Kotor. For centuries, Italians referred to this laid-back coastal municipality as a “new castle” at the seat of Mount Orjen. At the time, this part of present-day Montenegro belonged to the Ottoman Empire, the Albania Veneta of the Republic of Venice. Its stormy past has influenced Herceg Novi’s multicultural architecture and cuisine. There’s more than enough to see and do for an exquisite 24 hours, but even climbing up and down the town’s iconic skaline (long staircases) is already a satisfying trek for those who adore small town vibes and bucolic allure.

Savina Monastery

The Savina Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox sanctuary situated in the the midst of winding hills in Herceg Novi. Inside, there are several relics originating from the Nemanjić dynasty, like the cross of Saint Sava and relics of Empress Jelena. Step outside and you’ll soak in the breathtaking view from the Savina cemetery.

Savina Monastery
Savina Monastery. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Savina Monastery
Savina Monastery. PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Savina Cemetery
Savina Cemetery. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Savina Winery

43 Braće Grakalić, Herceg - Novi, Montenegro

Savina Winery
INSTAGRAM @castelsavina

Also at the entrance of Bay of Kotor, you’ll encounter Savina Winery next to the monastery. It’s an 18th-century, sun-soaked vineyard where you can taste the very rare Montenegrin wines.

Kanli kula (Tvrđava Kanli Kula)

bb Prve Bokeške brigade, Herceg - Novi 85340, Montenegro

Kanli Kula amphitheater
Kanli Kula amphitheater. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Up the street from Savina Winery is Kanli Kula, which means “bloody tower” in Turkish. It’s an open-air amphitheater originally built in 1539 as a cistern used to catch and store rainwater. Later, it became a prison which explains its gory name. With seating over 1000, Kanli Kula now hosts film and art festivals and cultural events.

Old Town

FG2Q+C29, Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Boasting 600 years of history, Herceg Novi’s Old Town features the famous staircase located at the center of the town’s main plaza. Founded by the king of