Herceg Novi, with approximately 200 sunny days a year, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montenegro.
Located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and at the foot of Mount Orjen, Herceg Novi offers to tourists a rich monumental heritage, monasteries and churches, and numerous fortifications such as Španjola, Kanli Kula, Sat Kula and famous staircase, after which it takes its nickname “City of the stairs”.
Herceg Novi was founded as a fortress in 1382 by Bosnian King Stjepan Tvrtko I and was called Sveti Stefan or Castelnuovo. After the death of Tvrtko, Duke Sandalj Hranić of the Herzegovinian Kosačas acquired Castelnuovo. During his reign, Herceg Novi picked up trading salt, what bothered their neighbors from Dubrovnik, which in this part of Europe held a monopoly over salt trade in that time.
When Hranić died, his nephew, Herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, inherited Castelnuovo. Under Stjepan, Castelnuovo expanded and thus became a city, renaming it to Herceg Novi.
The Turks conquered Herceg Novi in 1482, and ruled for 200 years, until 1687. In that period various nations and civilizations interspersed on its soil, leaving deep marks on the history, culture and overall development of the region.
What to visit
- Plava špilja (Blue Grotto) - The Blue Grotto is one of the most attractive in a series of caves located on the peninsula Luštica. It was named the Blue Grotto because of its unusual blue color which is the result of the reflection of sun rays on clear sunny days. The Blue Grotto is accessible through two entrances, one entrance is very wide, but low, while the other one is totally opposite - narrow and very tall. The cave is attractive for divers and for the others. The cave can be reached only by boat.
- Mamula - The Island of Mamula is also known as Lastavica, it was named it generally accepted name Mamula after the Austrian general Lazar Mamula, who made fortification on the island in the mid 19th century. Mamula is an uninhabited island at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, 3.4 nm far from Herceg Novi. During both world wars there was a prison on this island and now there is a memorial plaque placed in memory of that period.
- Savina Monastery - Savina Monastery consists of three churches: two dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the monastery shelter with the treasury on the north side of the courtyard, and church of St. Sava. Monastery is located 2 km east of Herceg Novi in the unique ambience of the Mediterranean vegetation. It is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in the Adriatic. In architectural terms, this church is a mixture of styles from Byzantine through the Roman-Greek to the Baroque style, a successful combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The iconostasis is also a blend of traditional iconography and the new baroque forms.
- Kanli-kula Fortress - At the northernmost point of the old town of Herceg Novi a Turkish fortress known as “Kanli Kula”, which in Turkish means “blood tower” is located. Its major part was built on a solid limestone rock at about 85 m above sea level. Within its walls for years traditionally a summer film and music festivals are held.
- Španjola Fortress - The fortress, which was named after the Spaniards surprisingly started to be built during the Ottoman reign over Herceg Novi in the 15th century. The Spaniards had been renovated and upgraded, as well as some other city fortress, during its one-year rule and gave it its present name.
- Forte Mare Fortress - The fortress was a core of the future medieval town which was founded by the Bosnian King Tvrtko I in 1382. Later a much more important town and a fortress were built around it in the time of Stefan Vukčić Kosača. In the mid 16th century the fortress was called “Strong Tower” or the “Abas Pasha’s Tower”. In the early 18th century it was reconstructed by the Venetians who gave it the present name, Forte Mare. This is when it became one of the most important fortification points in the town.
Herceg Novi is known by a very rich cultural program in the summer months, which includes above all the traditional film and music festivals. Of course, the event are also organized during other months, which contributes to recognizable cultural life of the city.
- The festival of Mimoza - “The festival of Mimoza” is one of the most important events not only in Herceg Novi, but also in the whole of Montenegro. This festival lasts from the end of January till the beginning of March but since the flower of mimosa blooms in February this festival is usually connected with the month of February. “The festival of Mimoza” was established in 1969. and its founded and continues to live on principles of the traditions of carnivals. In the context of “The festival of Mimoza” a large number of entertaining, cultural, sport and other events are organized, including perhaps the most notable art event "Winter Salon".
- Herceg Novi April Theatre Festivities (HAPS) - Herceg April Theater Festival is held in the second half of April and last for 15 days. During the two week daily are shown the most intriguing performances from professional and amateur premiere productions that are experienced previous year.
- Herceg Novi Film Festival - Herceg Novi had his first cinema in 1919 and the city has given not only the most important festival in this region, but also well-known filmmakers such as Anton Lukateli, Stevo Lepetić, Aleksandar Sekulović, Simo Čolović and and the famous Hollywood cameraman Bojan Bazelija. The festival takes place in the first week of August, on the open theatre stage “Kanli-kula Fortress ”.
- Music Festival “Sunny Stairs“ - “Sunny Stairs“ are music festival, which during the three festival evening: “Prince award“, “Evening of new star“ and “Song of Summer“ brings together local and foreign singers. It takes place in July and lasts three days. Besides “Sunny Stairs“ since 2004 in Herceg Novi is also held children's festival of popular music called “Small scale“.
- Guitar Art summer fest - “Guitar Art Summer Fest“ is a professional and expert event during which gets all the ages of classical guitar music students schools, their teachers, university professors and some of the worlds finest guitarists. With a range of outstanding concerts this festival is excellent example of working holiday guitarists. - “Guitar Art Summer Fest“ takes place in mid-August.
- International Book Fair “The Square of Books“ - International Book Fair is held in the Old Town on Herceg Stjepan Square in July and lasts about 15 days. Every evening program follows the fair presentation of certain books and authors. “The Square of Books“ is imagined to be not a classic selling fair but a real festival of book and everything that the book implies.
Herceg Novi can be reached by bus from almost all major cities of the former Yugoslavia (Budva, Podgorica, Banja Luka, Trebinje, Medjugorje, Dubrovnik, Belgrade, Novi Sad, etc.) and at 35 kilometers from the city is the most significant Croatian airport Ćilipi ( Dubrovnik). Near the town, at less than 25 kilometers, there is another flyplass, it is the airport Tivat.
Bus station Herceg Novi is located a few hundred meters from Kanli Kula (the old town). The station is owned by private company Vektra from Podgorica.