Free Lions Guide to Podgorica (Montenegro)

England play Montenegro on Tuesday 26th March at City Stadium, Podgorica. You can rely on your FSF Fans' Embassy team who'll be out in Montenegro supporting the Three Lions' travelling fans. Our guides encompass Budva, where many fans are staying, and Podgorica where the match will take place.

  • Read the Free Lions Guide to Budva (Montenegro) here.
  • Read the Free Lions Guide to Rimini and San Marino here.

GETTING THERE

BY AIR

There are no public transport links into the centre from Podgorica Airport so it’s a taxi or the Montenegro Airlines bus which runs to Republic Square (Trg Republike).

Tivat Airport is smaller than Podgorica and is actually 4km away from Tivat on the Adriatic coast and about 90km away from Podgorica. Flights to Tivat usually come from Belgrade. A taxi from Tivat Airport to Podgorica centre will cost in the region of €40-€60 and the journey will take around 80 minutes to 2 hrs depending on the time of day and volume of traffic.

One alternative, and possibly a cheaper route, is to fly to Dubrovnik just over the border in Croatia and then catch the bus to Podgorica. Cilipi Airport in Dubrovnik is 153km away and there are regular buses from Cilipi to Dubrovnik then on to Podgorica.

BY TRAIN

Podgorica’s train station is on the eastern side of the city and most trains from Bar and Belgrade stop there. It’s small, housing just a ticket office and a little restaurant but the bus station is only across the road which has ATM’s, a number of kiosks and bathroom facilities.

To get from the train station to the city centre you can either get a taxi, which should cost you no more than €2 or get the #6 bus which goes to Crna Gora Hotel. Alternatively, if you’re feeling up to it and don’t have heavy luggage, it’ll take about 15 minutes to walk: head down to Oktobarske Revoluaje, turning right and walking down Bratstva i jedinstva.

BY ROAD

Getting around by car is fast and efficient, although most drivers are rather erratic – beware of overtaking on bends and the like.

The roads are generally well-kept and lit but some areas aren’t well signposted so it may be worth investing in a good map if your vehicle doesn’t have sat-nav.

The maximum speed limit is 50km/h in towns and villages, 80km/h on other roads unless indicated otherwise. There are no motorways in Montenegro.

Headlights must be on at all times. Unleaded petrol and diesel are relatively cheap at around €1.50 and €1.25 per litre respectively. Parking in the city centre is safe but finding somewhere to park could be a problem. There are a number of guarded car parks close to the city centre along Stanka Dragojevica – around €0.50 per hour.

Previously, if you are bringing a vehicle in to Montenegro from a neighbouring country you would have had to pay an eco-tax; you may have paid this last time we were in Montenegro. This tax was finally abolished in 2012 so you no longer pay anything to bring a car over the border.

BY BUS

The bus station is across the road from the train station and has facilities to leave luggage between the hours of 05:00 and 20:00. It’s the same directions to the city centre as from the train station

IN THE CITY

ORIENTATION

Although Podgoricia is a small city, there are a few areas of interest. Nova Varoš (New Town) is the main city centre, a grid of streets between Moraca and Ribnica rivers. This area is where the majority of shops, restaurants and bars are and the area is most pedestrianised over the last few years.                                                                             

Stara Varoš (Old Town) is south of the rivers and the city’s original town centre but there is very little that remains of the long gone era. A few landmarks still remain though including the Clock Tower.

ACCOMODATION

Although there have been major developments along the coast, Podgorica’s accommodation still lacks any relatively cheap places to stay. The limited range of accommodation ranges from adequate to luxurious and at the time of research (Jan ’13) the majority of city centre hotels were booked up for the dates prior to the England game.

Cheap and cheerful accommodation is limited; of those that are available none are close to the city centre.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Most places you would want to get to are walkable, alternatively, taxis are extremely cheap. The only other transport available is buses, which, if we’re being totally honest, have seen better days, but we’ve been assured they are very reliable. It is worth noting that buses aren’t equipped to transport wheelchairs.

Most taxi companies have a number of operators and drivers who can speak some English.

Local Taxi Companies:

  • City Taxis – (+382) 19711
  • De Lux – (+382) 19706
  • Elite – (+382) 19708
  • President – (+382) 19722
  • Red Line – (+382) 19714
  • Royal – (+382) 19702

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

  • Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus (Crkva Presvetog Srca Isusovog) – East of the city centre is this amazing piece of architecture, located on the site of the original church that was destroyed during WWII. The new church was built in 1969 and includes a 40-metre high freestanding bell tower and concrete spiral staircases.
  • Millennium Bridge (Most Milenijum) – not technically a Millennium bridge as it wasn’t completed until after the turn of the millennium! The 47-metre high bridge has 36 splayed cables that light up at night.
  • Birds of Peace (Ptica Mira) –The statue is located outside the Palada shopping centre and is made up of over 500 weapons that were handed over during an arms amnesty after the 1990’s Balkan’s wars.
  • PartisanMemorial (Spomenik Partizanu barku) – An impressive white mausoleum flanked by Partisan fighters on Gorica Hill in memory of all national heroes who lost their lives in various wars

 

EATING AND DRINKING

FOOD

If you’re a veggie you may struggle as your choice of food is likely to be limited to pizza or salad! Montenegrins are big on eating meat and every food outlet will have a wide variety of meat dishes available.

Burek is a cheap, filling snack – a baked or fried filled pasty usually filled with cheese, meat or vegetables. Kebabs are plentiful and vendors can be found on most streets.

Other popular dishes include duvec: grilled pork and spiced peppers and baked rice; moussaka: layered aubergine, potatoes and mince; sarma: cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice; kapama: stewed lamb, onions, spinach and yogurt

If none of that grabs your fancy you aren’t going to find the usual western chains of fast food outlets – no McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC etc, so it may be worth taking a trip to the local supermarket and seeing what they have to offer.

DRINK

If you fancy a local drink why not try Lozova Rakija, a raw grape brandy which is yellow in colour, or Šljivovica, a plum brandy served in chilled shot glasses.

There are a number of drinking establishments around the town to cater for most, but try and avoid the hotel bars as they are likely to charge more.

If it’s the obligatory Irish bar you’re after then lucky you, there are two in the town – Irish Pub St Patrick is located at 73 Slobode and open from 08:00am – 01:00am and the second pub, The Four Leprechauns is on Hercegovacka, open from 8:00am – 2:00am.

If it’s something a little more home from home you’re after then head to the Nag’s Head at 12 Bokeška, named after the pub in Only Fools and Horses and apparently inside the walls are adorned with pictures of Del and Rodney!

If you’re out in Podgorica but didn’t manage to get a match ticket there are a number of sports bars with big screens likely to be showing the game. Bilijar Club is virtually right next to the stadium – located on Vaka Ɖurovica – with plenty of big screens and five pool tables, open from 07:00am – 02:00am; And 1 is in the centre on Moskovska and it also serves snacks and meals – open from 07:00am – midnight.

CASINO

Crna Gora Casino, Crna Gora Hotel. Blackjack, roulette and poker are available; free entry for hotel residents.

COFFEE

If the sweet Turkish type coffee that’s offered in most places is not for you and you fancy a latte or cappuccino there is a Costa Coffee in the Delta Shopping Mall – open 09:00am – 11:00pm

PINK LINK – LGBT TRAVELLERS

Public displays of homosexuality are not tolerated and LGBT visitors should be careful to avoid hostile reactions. Even in Podgorica there is little tolerance, and as of yet there are no gay bars or clubs.

 

MATCH DAY INFORMATION 

FANS’ EMBASSY LOCATION

We are currently awaiting confirmation of where we will be based in Podgorica but it’s likely to be in Republic Square where we were based last time England played here.

We will have an Embassy team in Budva the day before the game so look out for us and get your copy of Free Lions ahead of arriving in Podgorica.

ENGLANDFANS REPRESENTATIVES

Englandfans representatives will be available on the day of the match between 11:00am - 18:30pm (local time) at Hotel Crna Gora, 2 Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog, Podgorica 8100. Please note that no tickets will be available to pick up at the stadium. 

FLAGS

We are waiting to hear if any arrangements are to be put in place for supporters to hang flags before the game. We will update as soon as we receive any info. UPDATE - Early admittance to hang flags will be at 16:00pm at the England entrance to the stadium. 

GETTING TO THE STADIUM

The stadium is a short walk from the city centre.

 

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

BRITISH EMBASSY

  • Ulcinjska 8, Gorica C, 81000 Podgirica. Tel: +382 (0)20 618 010
  • Office hours (local time): Mon-Thur 09:30 – 17:00; Fri 09:00 – 13:00
  • Visit the British Embassy in Podgrica's website here.

Time difference - GMT +1

LANGUAGE

The main language is Montenegrin which is a dialect of Serbian and although since independence in 2006 they have their own language most still speak Serbian. This complicates things further in that in Serbia both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabet is used and is the same for Montenegro, so street names, destinations etc could use either. Confused? So are we!

While we’re on the topic of language, people from Montenegro are not Montenegroes as some would think, but are known as Montenegrins. So, now you know you’re less likely to offend any of the locals.

A few basic words: Yes – Da; No = Ne; Hello = Zdravo; Goodbye = Do Vijenja; Please = Molim; Thank you = Hvala; Good morning = Dobro jutro; Good day – Dobra dan.

COMMUNICATIONS

Telephone – To phone from Montenegro, dial the international access code (00), the country code (UK is 44), the area code minus the first zero of the number. To call Montenegro from the UK dial the international access code (00) the country code (382), the city or mobile number (dropping the first zero of the; Podgorica city number is 020) then the main number.

For calls within Montenegro dial the city code and number. Podgorica numbers all have six digits. Mobile numbers start with o63, 067, 068 and 069

Montenegro city telephone codes: Bar - 030; Budva – 033; Podgorica – 020

Mobile phones – Podgorica is covered with 3G and mobile high-speed internet; it might be worth investing in a local pre-paid SIM card to avoid paying high roaming charges. They are available from phone shops, post office and kiosks and you are required to provide ID (passport) when buying a local pre-paid card.

Post Office – The main post office (Pošat Crne Gore) Slobade 1. Open from 07:00am – 22:00pm Mon – Sat, closed Sun. There are smaller post offices with limited hours at Moskovska 32; bulSv. Petra Cetinjskog 121 and ul.Bratstva i Jedinstva

Internet – Cafes in Podgorica are not as widespread as in the coastal resorts. Cost is usually around €1 per hour.

CURRENCY

The official currency is the Euro (€) which is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of €5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins are in denominations of €2, 1, 0.50, 0.20, 0.10, 5c, 2c and 1c.

Euros are best obtained from ATM’s; you should be charged the same transaction fees as at home. Alternatively, you can change currency at any of the banks but you will need some form of photographic ID for transactions (passport or driving licence).

BANKS

  • Atlasmont Banka, Vaka Ɖurovica. Open 08:00am – 16:00pm Mon – Fri, 08:00 – 13:-- Sat. Closed Sun.
  • Hipotekarna Banka, Josipa Broza Tita 67. Open 08:00am – 16:00pm Mon – Fri; Closed Sat & Sun
  • NLB Montenegrobanka, Stanka Dragojevica 46. Open 08:00am – 20:00pm Mon – Fri; 08:00am – 13:00pm Sat; closed Sun.
  • Podgorika Banka, Novaka Miloseva 8a. Open 09:00am – 17:00pm Mon – Fri. Closed Sat & Sun

PHARMACY

Vita, Vuka Karadzlca 4. Open 08:00am – 02:00am daily.

HOSPITAL

Corda Medica, Radosava Burica. Tel: +382 (0)20 648334

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Police 122 - Ambulance 124 – Fire 123

SAFETY

Although Podgorica is a peaceful city, you should still take the usual precautions regarding your safety as you would in any other European city; don’t wander into unknown areas alone, stay in well-lit areas, keep your belongings close to you and where possible use your hotel safety deposit box to keep your travel documents safe.

You do need to carry some form of photographic ID with you so we advise that you carry a photocopy of your passport information page rather than your actual passport.

TERRORISM

Montenegro shares with the rest of Europe a threat from international terrorism and attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets. For more information check the FCO website.

HEALTH

If you are arriving from Europe you don’t require any jabs before arriving in Montenegro.

The following information has been provided by the British Embassy in Podgorica regarding medical treatment in Montenegro:

“The EHIC Card is for Switzerland and EEA countries, and Montenegro is not among them. Emergency treatment, by local laws, will be provided immediately to any person without documents, foreign or local.

“Health care services for British citizen in Montenegro are defined by the Convention on social security signed between Yugoslavia and UK in London in 1958, which is still in force in Montenegro. Pursuant to the provisions of this convention, a citizen of one contracting party is entitled to enjoy benefits under the legislation of the other contracting party under the same conditions as if he/she were a citizen of that contracting party. A person insured under the legislation of one contracting party or a member of the family of such a person of the other contracting party under the same conditions as a person insured under the legislation of that contracting party or a member of the family of that person.

“British nationals accessing state health care are not subject to payment charges for basic health services; instead, health care expenses are covered by the country providing the services. When charged for specialized medical treatments by state health institutions in Montenegro, receipts should be provided and the same fees applied as to Montenegrin citizens.

“Please note that this Convention gives the entitlement not to all British citizens then to all insured persons under the UK legislation. Therefore, in order to enjoy their right to health care in Montenegro. Montenegrin State Health Insurance Fund requires British citizens to have:

  • A valid British Passport and
  • A certificate of health insurance from the UK

“Based on these documents, local offices of the State Health Insurance Fund issue medical certificates to British nationals, that can be used as personal medical cards in all state health institutions enabling them access to health care. Location of these offices can be found on this website: www.fzocq.me/#sadrzaj(50)

CUSTOMS AND LEGISLATION

You are expected to register with the local police within the first day of your arrival; you could be fined or detained to appear in court if you don’t register. If you are staying in a hotel or registered accommodation it’s likely the hotel will automatically register you on check-in but do ensure they have.

Check with police or officials before taking photographs of any public buildings including the airport.

Prostitution and drug use are illegal in Montenegro. Plain-clothed officers patrol the streets and won’t have any hesitation about arresting and charging foreigners found participating in these activities.

WEATHER

Podgorica has average daily high temperatures from 13˚C to 17˚C during the month of March and daily lows range between 4˚C to 8˚C. Those who visited last time will remember the downpour after the game and there is a possibility of showers again but at least you know what to expect. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof jacket just in case!

TOURIST OFFICE

Tourist Board of Podgorica, Slobode 47. www.podgorica.travel. Tel: +382 (0)20 667535. Open Mon – Fri 08:00am – 20:00; Sat 09:00am – 13:00; closed Sun

ELECTRICITY

Electricity is 220v AC, 50 Hz and a standard European two-pin adaptor must be used and should be purchased in the UK

SMOKING

Although Montenegro, as well as the west of Europe, has a blanket smoking ban in public places, the locals usually ignore notices in public bars, restaurants etc. We have been informed that enforcement is getting stricter and if you ignore the no smoking signs you could incur a fine.

TOILETS

Public toilets are few and far between in Podgorica but if you are caught short most bars and restaurants are accommodating and usually allow the public to use their facilities.

WATER

Tap water is safe to drink but if you prefer, bottled water is widely available.