Explore the old town of Bar
Visit in Bar one of the oldest olive trees in the world and sun worship on the beaches.
And if you’re a thrill-seeker, Bar is home to Montenegro’s most challenging canyoning experience!
If you’re staying in the Bay of Kotor a drive down the coast to Bar makes an excellent day trip.
The must-see attraction here is the old town which is 4km from the current town and coast. There have been settlements in this location since around 800 BC. The old town was almost destroyed in fighting between Montenegrins and Turks. 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’ll get a map.
Inside you’ll find two small museums with artifacts that have been dug up from the ruins and one reconstructed building with beautiful landscapes of the area. Just inside the entrance there’s an amphitheatre that’s used for concerts and plays in summer.You can easily spend one to two hours exploring the ruins.
The cobbled street that leads to the old town is one of prettiest streets in Montenegro.
It’s a colourful 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.
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. There are over 100,000 olive trees here!
Most trees are over a thousand years old and there’s one particular olive tree that’s a tourist attraction here. This tree is reported to be over 2,200 years old, the oldest tree in Europe and maybe even the world.
On the road to the old town you’ll see signs for ‘Stara Maslina’ or the ‘old olive tree’. Follow these signs and you’ll come to a walled area and gate around a giant olive tree. You can walk around the small park and buy small souvenirs made of olive wood.
On the waterfront where the current town lies, you’ll find King Nikola’s Palace. It was built in 1885 as King Nikola gifted it to his daughter and son-in-law. It’s now the town museum.
The museum holds more artifacts found in the ruins of the old town and the rooms have been reconstructed in 19th century style. There’s a restaurant onsite in the old flower garden.
Skadar Lake is just 30 minutes from Bar and is a must-see in Montenegro.
The day includes lots of swimming and snorkelling stops.
For those who want a real challenge and a full-on canyoning experience, the lesser known Medjurecje Canyon offers a canyoning experience that’s not for the faint of heart.
Located near Bar, on the southern coast of Montenegro, this canyon is one of the most remote in the country. In addition to hiking and swimming through the canyon, you’ll abseil, jump and slide your way through the canyon.
Just like all of coastal Montenegro, life revolves around the beach in summer and Bar is no exception. If you’re looking for a spot to cool off the city beach is right in front of the town. The town beach is right next to the busy port though, so there are lots of boats and even large ships passing close by.
If you don’t mind jumping in the car, you can explore some of the beaches along the coast.
But first, a word about the beaches…
In the Balkans people like to paaaaar-tay! And that includes on the beach (and on a boat, and at dinner parties and camping and pretty much any group gathering you can think of). So thumping music (Balkan folk-pop preferably) is a must at the most popular beaches.
Since this part of the coast is more popular with Balkan tourists than foreign tourists, the beaches still cater to local preferences more than foreign. If you’re in search of a quiet oasis, you’ll need to pick your beach carefully.
Sutomore, just north of town, is a large stretch where you’ll find a large beach where you can hire loungers, umbrellas and cafes. Although it’s very popular with locals, foreigners can find the loud music and rubbish a problem.
You can hire two loungers and a sun umbrella for €10.
If you’re looking for a quieter location, try the smaller beaches of Canj to the north or Dobra Voda and Utjeha to the south.
Queen’s beach was the beach favoured by Queen Milena, King Nikola’s wife.
You can only get here by boat which makes this beach exclusive. If you want to come here, the best way is to book a boat tour like the ones above to bring you here.