Discover the top things to do in Bar Montenegro. From stunning beaches to historic sites, this guide covers the best attractions for an unforgettable visit.
Are you wondering what to see in Bar Montenegro?
Bar is one of the least touristy towns on the Montenegrin coast - which makes it perfect for off-the-beaten-track exploring.
From the historic old town, one of the world's oldest olive trees, thrilling adventure activities, and hidden waterfalls, this town might just surprise you!
With my 15 years of living in and exploring in Montenegro, I'll guide you through the top attractions and hidden gems in this historic coastal town.
The must-see attraction here is Bar Old Town which is 4km from downtown Bar and the coast.
There have been settlements in this location since around 800 BC and the old town was built up over the centuries by the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans.
The old town was almost destroyed in fighting between Montenegrins and Turks in 1878 and then the large earthquake of 1979 further ruined what was left. This is was the point when the old town was abandoned and a new city was built on the sea.
Now you can visit the site of the old town which is being painstakingly reconstructed. It’s a fascinating place, half rebuilt and half ruined, that you can explore on foot.
At the entrance you can get a map which guides you around the old town. Alternatively, you can book a walking tour of Bar Old Town that also includes visits to Bar's ancient olive tree, a hidden waterfall, and a local food tasting.
Main sights to see in Bar Old Town:
Hours: 8am - 8pm (summer), 9am - 5pm (winter)
Entrance: €5 adults, €1 6-14 yrs, under 6 free (cash only)
The cobbled street that leads to Bar Old Town is one of prettiest streets in Montenegro.
It's a colorful mish-mash of restaurants and souvenir shops that showcases the Turkish influence that 300 years of Ottoman rule had on the area.
This is a great place to pick up a souvenir or stop for a Turkish coffee after you've explored the old town ruins.
My favorite restaurant here is Konoba Bedem, which serves local Turkish-influenced specialties like eggplant in tomato sauce and stuffed vine leaves.
Many of the dishes here are vegetarian, so if you're in the mood to try some Montenegrin meat dishes head over to Restaurant Dino for their famous čevapi sausages with onions and fries.
One of the most impressive features of the old town is the huge, stone arch bridge that crosses the valley. The bridge has 17 arches that are supported by 18 massive stone pillars.
The bridge is part of the aqueduct that was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and it's the best preserved aqueduct in Montenegro. In fact, there are only three of these left in the former Yugoslav states - the others are in Croatia and Macedonia.
The aqueduct brought water 3km from a spring in Mt Rumija and supplied the whole town. It was completely destroyed, along with the old town, in the earthquake of 1979 but has since been restored.
After the old town, this region is known for its olives and its excellent olive oil. There are over 100,000 olive trees here!
Most trees are over a thousand years old, but there's one particular olive tree that's a tourist attraction here. Bar's Old Olive Tree is reported to be over 2,200 years old. It is the oldest tree in Europe to still bear fruit and is the third oldest olive tree in the world.
Bar's Old Olive lies in a park. You can walk around the small park and buy souvenirs made of olive wood.
The Old Olive Tree is 4km from downtown Bar. If you don't have a rental car, the best way to get there is on a tour of Bar Old Town and the Old Olive.
Hours: 8am - 9pm daily
Entrance: €1 adults, €0.50 children
King Nikola's Palace, built in 1885, is a peach-hued historical landmark located along Bar's waterfront.
It was originally constructed as a summer residence for King Nikola I Petrović, the last monarch of Montenegro, and as a gift to his daughter Princess Zorka and son-in-law Prince Petar Karadjordjević.
The palace complex includes a large palace with a ballroom, a smaller palace, a chapel, guardhouses, and a winter garden. King Nikola, an avid yachtsman, had a wooden pier in front of the palace and owned several yachts, including one bought from Jules Verne.
Today, this palace is a museum open to the public, showcasing a collection of ancient artifacts, regal furniture, traditional folk costumes, and beautiful antiques.
The surrounding gardens, featuring lush palm trees, also house a large stainless steel structure, originally a gift from Italian King Vittorio Emanuele, which now serves as a restaurant named Knjazeva Basta (The Duke’s Garden).
At night, the palace is beautifully illuminated, enhancing its charm. The complex is not only a museum but also a venue for public festivals and concerts, making it a significant cultural hub in Bar.
Hours: 8am - 2pm, 5pm - 11pm daily
Entrance: €1 adults, €0.50 children
The Church of Saint Jovan Vladimir in Bar, Montenegro, is a striking sight with its gold domes shining in the Mediterranean sun.
Completed in 2016 after a decade of construction, it is the largest Orthodox church in the country. This grand building showcases a Serbian-Byzantine style with a white facade and seven large bronze doors.
Inside, you'll find two bell towers, a central domed roof, and several smaller domes. The interior is a vibrant display of religious frescoes depicting Orthodox saints, covering almost every inch of the walls.
The church, dedicated to Saint Jovan Vladimir, the patron saint of Bar, features two symmetrical chapels and an impressive 5,000 square meters of colorful paintings, mainly in gold.
Interestingly, there are no candles burned inside to preserve these frescoes. Instead, a specially designed room near the entrance serves this purpose.
Don't miss the small chapel in front of the main church, a replica of the original chapel on Mount Lovćen that was replaced by the Petar II Petrović Njegoš Mausoleum.
This modern cathedral, visible from across Bar, is a must-visit for its unique blend of contemporary design and traditional artistry.
Mount Rumija in Montenegro is a remarkable mountain known for its stunning summit views.
Standing at 1594 meters, it's the southernmost mountain in the country and forms a natural barrier between the Adriatic Sea and Skadar Lake.
From the top, you can see the breathtaking Adriatic Sea on one side and beautiful Skadar Lake with its hilly islands on the other.
The most notable peak visible from Rumija is Maja Jezerce, the highest in the Prokletije range, located in Albania.
The mountain stretches over 10 kilometers and includes several peaks like Sutorman, Vrsuta, and Lisinja, with Loška Peak being prominently visible from Bar town.
The path from Bar to Rumija's summit is one of Montenegro's most attractive mountain trails, offering a significant elevation difference of over 1500 meters – one of the largest in the country.
The south side of Rumija is home to several water springs and small rivers, including Železnica, Bunar, and Međurječ, adding to the mountain's unique and diverse landscape.
Mount Rumija has many popular hiking trails. The most popular are:
Annually, on the Feast of Pentecost, the Cross of Jovan Vladimir is taken in a celebratory procession to the summit of Rumija from the village of Velji Mikulići.
Canyoning is one of the most popular adventure activities you can do here. This adventure takes you through narrow gorges, down cascading waterfalls, and along crystal-clear rivers.
This is one of the most fun things I've done in Montenegro!
Equipped with a wetsuit, helmet, and harness, you'll climb, swim, and abseil under the guidance of experienced instructors. It's an unforgettable adventure blending nature's beauty with adrenaline-pumping excitement.
Bar is home to two of Montenegro's most challenging and off-the-beaten-track canyoning tours:
Međureč Canyon offers a canyoning experience that's not for the faint of heart. In addition to hiking and swimming, you'll abseil, jump and slide your way through the canyon.
You don't need to have previous canyoning experience, but you must be reasonably fit and not have a fear of heights. The route includes abseiling down waterfalls that are up to 30 meters high.
Vruča Rijeka is an even more challenging canyoning route. The tour takes 6-8 hours and you'll need to be fit to take on this canyon.
However, with waterfalls and pools, and an uncrowded experience, canyoning through Vruča Rijeka Canyon is worth it.
Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe and lies just 30 minutes from Bar.
This vast freshwater lake is renowned for its diverse ecosystem and breathtaking natural beauty. As you explore, you'll encounter a rich array of wildlife, including over 270 bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
The lake is also dotted with historic monasteries and quaint fishing villages, adding to its charm.
Skadar Lake is also Montenegro's premier wine-producing region. With over 100 wineries, visiting a winery for a wine and food tasting is one of the best things to do here.
You can also sample local cuisine, especially the fresh lake fish, in the lakeside restaurants.
As a coastal town, Bar enjoys a Mediterranean climate with ideal beach weather in summer. Although Bar's beaches aren't as idyllic as beaches in Budva, you can expect less crowded beaches here.
Topolica City Beach, located in the center of Bar near King Nikola’s Palace, is a wide pebbly stretch ideal for sunbathing and gentle swims. It's lined with a palm-filled promenade, beach bars, and restaurants.
As you can see above, the beach is very pebbly, so you might want to bring aqua shoes, especially for kids.
For a more picturesque setting, head to Šušanj on the northern edge of Bar. If you're willing to drive, explore quieter spots like Čanj, Dobra Voda, and Utjeha.
Sutomore, just north of Bar, is popular with locals but might be less appealing to foreigners due to loud music and litter.
Queen's Beach is the most beautiful beach in Bar, but you can only get there by boat. Water taxis depart from the Bar waterfront hourly during the summer season. There's one basic onsite restaurant, so I recommend bringing water and snacks with you.
You can hire loungers and umbrellas on Bar's beaches for around €15 for two loungers and an umbrella.
Fishing in the Adriatic Sea along Montenegro's coast is an unforgettable experience.
The sea is rich in diverse marine life, making it ideal for fishing. You can catch various species, including sea bass, gilt-head bream, and sardines.
From Bar, you can join a guided tour to explore the best fishing spots. Local guides know the sea well and can take you to areas where fish are abundant.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced angler, the Adriatic Sea provides an exciting opportunity to enjoy some fishing. Plus, you get the chance to relax and admire Montenegro's stunning coastline while waiting for your catch.
Near the Old Fortress lies the hidden gem of the Vrteljak Waterfall of Turcini.
To reach this idyllic spot, you'll have to navigate an extremely narrow and winding road uphill, which is an adventure in itself!
But the waterfalls are worth the hair-raising drive to get there. The waterfall is idyllic and a you can swing on a rope swing over the waterfall's pool.
The best thing is that you can even swim in the pool below the waterfall. There is also a small bar serving cold drinks, perfect for a hot summer day.
At Livada, a private outdoor infinity pool, you can enjoy a peaceful escape from tourist crowds. This quiet and intimate spot limits the number of guests, so it's a good idea to reserve in advance.
Entry costs €15 per person and people love it here because of the tranquil atmosphere, stunning landscape, and amazing views. You can bring your own food and buy reasonably priced drinks onsite.
There's also an apartment above the pool bar available for rent. It features a luxurious setup with a modern bathroom and a large, comfortable double bed with panoramic views.
During your stay, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the sunbathing lawn and swimming pool are open to the public. After 9 p.m., the place is all yours until 10 a.m. the next morning, offering a unique opportunity to enjoy this beautiful location in complete privacy.
Ulcinj is a coastal town known for its beautiful beaches just 30 minutes from Bar.
Ulcinj's Old Town, perched on a hilltop, offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. As you wander through the town, you'll see the influence of various cultures, including Ottoman and Venetian, in its architecture.
Ulcinj is also famous for its longest sandy beach, Velika Plaža, stretching over 12 kilometers, perfect for sunbathing and water sports.
For a unique experience take a boat tour to a pristine beach, where the crew prepares a barbecue lunch of fresh fish and local produce.
Traveling from Bar to Belgrade by train, you'll experience one of the most scenic and affordable journeys in the world.
The train connects northern Montenegro and Serbia, stopping in Virpazar, Podgorica, and Kolašin.
Although the service is basic, the views are spectacular. The route includes 254 tunnels and 435 bridges, featuring engineering marvels like the Mala Rijeka Viaduct. Once the world's highest rail bridge, it spans a gorge 200 meters below.
Another highlight is Lake Skadar, offering stunning views on both sides of the train. If you're heading south, keep in mind that it might be dark by the time you reach Lake Skadar, but the journey remains breathtaking.
Tickets for this 11-hour journey start from €21 and you can find timetables and prices on the Montenegro Railways website.