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How to Spend 24 Hours in Bar, Montenegro

Ancient stone bridge in Bar, Montenegro
Ancient stone bridge in Bar, Montenegro | © Alexander Nikiforov / Alamy Stock Photo
Bar can be a bit of a shock after visiting the many touristic towns on the coast of Montenegro, as the fifth-biggest city in the country is definitely on the more functional side of things. That doesn’t mean it’s void of interest, however, and the southern city offers plenty for those making a brief visit.

Got 24 hours in Bar? A single day in any city isn’t ideal, but you can only work with what you’ve got. Luckily for those short of time, we’ve put together the perfect day-long itinerary for Bar and the surrounding areas.

Morning

The sights and sounds of Bar

Much of the afternoon and evening will be spent in the towns and villages that surround Bar, so spend the morning ticking off what the big city has to offer. The highlight is undoubtedly King Nikola’s Palace, otherwise known as the Bar City Palace. Built in 1885, the days of it acting as a royal summer residence may be long gone, but the city museum and an energetic schedule of cultural events more than make up for that.

Head out of the city after checking out the palace, and make a beeline for the self-explanatory Old Olive Tree (Stara Maslina). This old-timer has stood in the same place for over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest trees on the planet. It stands five kilometres outside of Bar on the way to Ulcinj, so be sure to stop by this protected cultural monument before heading into the past.

King Nikola Palace, Bar city in Montenegro. © Aliaksei Kruhlenia / Alamy Stock Photo

Afternoon

Step into the past

Before Bar was the modern metropolis it is today, its old town was one of the most impressive in all of Montenegro. High in the mountains above the city, an earthquake destroyed the settlement in 1979 but the locals couldn’t stay away for long, and eventually returned to town. The views are unbeatable, although the authentic stone buildings and Montenegro’s only remaining aqueduct put up a good fight.

It’s very easy to spend an afternoon wandering the streets of Stari Bar, taking in the views and snapping extremely Instagrammable pictures of the delightful old architecture.

Stari Bar in Montenegro © Pecold / Shutterstock

Evening

Embrace modern day tourism or old-fashioned romance

Before heading back to Bar for dancing and decadence, make a stop at the nearby beach resort of Sutomore. Tourism is well and truly king in this part of the world, so those nonplussed by the thought of sharing space on the beach might want to give it a miss, but there’s plenty to get excited about on the long, sandy beach lined with bars and cafés.

Those willing to put in a few more miles on the road might want to consider a romantic evening at Lake Skadar. The largest lake in the Balkans, this magnificent body of water lies 30km north of Stari Bar and is among the most impressive lakes in the entire continent. If you get lucky with the sunset, this might just be the highlight of your entire Montenegro trip.

Wooden boat in the water lilies on Skadar lake © Koni Kaori / Shutterstock

Night

A bit of dancing along the beach

With the romance, history and views behind you, head back to Bar proper to enjoy the nightlife of the city. Don’t go expecting the wild parties of Budva and other more popular cities in the country, but don’t sleep on the nightlife in Bar. There’s plenty of dancing to be found throughout town, along with your usual array of boozy bars and vibrant nightclubs. Green Mill and Pub Galerija are two of our favourites in town, but feel free to stop by anywhere that takes your fancy.

Port of Bar, Montenegro © Aleksa Aleksic / Alamy Stock Photo