Bar; a Perfect Harmony Between the Old and the New
The southern, coastal town of Bar might not be the most beautiful tourist location in Montenegro, But it’s not without its perks and attractions. Bar doesn’t have the allure and gothic beauty of Kotor and Budva, neither does it possess the attractive, silent aura of Perast; It’s a perfect blend between Montenegro’s rich, historical medieval past and it’s gradually evolving modern landscape.
Bar has 20 stony beaches which stretch over 5 kilometers of shoreline. Of course, the fact that the beaches are stony means that they do not hold much appeal for most tourists; but that only makes your Bar experience much more enjoyable, especially if you’re trying to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The best perk of lounging on Bar’s beaches is the sheer amount of sunlight you get to enjoy! Yes, sunlight! With a minimum of 277 days of sunlight, Bar is one of the sunniest places in Southern Europe
Bar’s strategic location makes it more than just a tourist hangout; it’s proximity to Italy and the Belgrade-Bar Railway Line, makes it one of Montenegro’s most important industrial cities. Although this had led to the belief that Bar isn’t much of a tourist location, there’s a lot to see and explore in the ancient city.
Due to Bar’s chaotic and multicultural history which spans over a thousand years, the city is divided into two parts; Stari Bar, also known as old Bar, and Novi Bar also known as New Bar. Novi Bar is a beautiful city with one or two things that might interest you, but the place to be is Stari Bar; the ancient city which was built by the Illyrians in the 1100s.
How to Access Bar
Due to its commercially important location, Bar is easily accessible via train, boat, and bus.
There are short and long-distance trains which ply routes from Serbia and Russia respectively.
If you would like to spend a few hours cruising by the ocean and listening to music while a fresh, sea breeze blows into your hair, you should make the trip to Bar by bus.
If you would like to cross over from Ancona or Bari in Italy into Bar, a boat cruise would be just right for you. There are bi-weekly ferries plying the Italian-Bar sea route which cost around €55.
Things to Do In Bar
Sightseeing and adventuring in Bar might be a bit underwhelming and boring without the right guide or information. There a million things to do and you shouldn’t limit yourself to just beaches and boat cruises, below are a few places to explore in Bar:
Old Fortress and Stari Bar
The ruins of the sprawling medieval Antibaris Fortress, in Old Bar, is an integral part of Montenegro’s and Bar’s culture and history. The 4-hectare fortress and archeological site are one of the world’s largest open-air museums.
The fortress, which serves as the center of the old town, is surrounded by the ruins of culturally significant, ancient Mediterranean buildings. The ruins of the Roman town of Antivarium and some other gothic, Serbian, and Ottoman also surround the old fortress.
King Nikola’s Palace
The 19th-century seaside palace was built by King Nikola for his daughter Zorka and her husband as a wedding present. The edifice was more than just a gift, it was a display of affluence and power by the first Montenegrin king. The stately home has a chapel, a Winter garden, and a smaller palace behind it.
At the height of his wealth and power, the palace had a dock in front of it for mooring King Nikola’s barges and yachts. Over the years, different rooms and attachments have been added to the palace, which served as the seat of the Montenegrin royal family for over half a century.
Today, the palace is a museum that houses antiquities, artifacts, and historical objects of Montenegrin origins.
Haj Nehaj Fortress
Haj Nehaj is a fort located in Bar. It was built in the 15th century. The Venetians build this to defend themselves from the Ottoman Turks.
Somehow the Venetians couldn’t save themselves from the Turks and soon it fell into the hands of the ottoman empire. Soon after the Montenegrins liberated it s and since then, it is abandoned. This is an amazing place. As you’ll step inside the fort, you’ll start feeling the people who once lived there. If you’re a spiritual person then you’ll absolutely feel the presence of the women, children, and men who once wandered between the walls of the fortress.
Church of Saint John Vladimir
If you are a sucker for Byzantine architecture and white churches with domed towers, the grand Church of Saint John is the place to visit! The church is located downtown, just minutes from the sea. Contrary to what you might be expecting, the Church of Saint John isn’t a medieval church with centuries of history hidden within its walls. It was constructed by the Montenegrin government between 2006 and 2016 in honor of Jovan Vladimir, the ruler of Duklja, a powerful Serbian province in the 10th century.
The golden domes and sheer size of the beautiful church has an almost intimidating, yet impressive effect on first-time viewers. It’s quite obvious that a great deal of artistic attention was paid to the frescoes that adorn the domed ceilings within the temple. The Ascension is painted on the central dome while the lower parts are painted with four evangelists, Madonna, and the twelve disciples. The total area of frescoes amounts to about 4,900 Square meters!
Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the whole Balkans is only half an hour drive from Bar. It is on the border of Albania and Montenegro. Enjoying the status of a national park, Lake Skadar was able to flourish and develop into a perfect blend of nature and wildlife. With over 260 bird species, islet monasteries, traditional fishing villages, and pristine nature, Skadar Lake is an exciting world to explore.
Old Olive Tree, Bar (Stara Maslina)
For over two thousand years, the indigenes of Bar have been producing olive oil from ancient olive trees, many of which are over a thousand years old. Stara Maslina, which roughly translates to ‘old tree’ is the oldest olive tree in the world. The Stara Maslina at Mirovica is over two thousand years old and is a tourist favorite. A visit to the old tree costs just €1.
The Five Canyons Of Bar
Another reason for the fame of Bar is canyoning. There are five main canyons present in Bar.
Following are the five canyons:
Vruca Rijeka Canyon
If you are an adventure and adrenaline lover you will love to visit Bar. Canyoning is a sport that lets you take the benefit of adventure and explore beautiful places together. Canyoning is a blessing that you will find in Bar. Canyoning lets you take full advantage of life by enjoying it to the fullest. People who don’t do canyoning unluckily can’t see the beautiful view and experience the adventurous side of these five popular canyons.
Nightlife in Bar
Nightlife in Bar might lack the glitz and glam of Budva’s clubs, but there sure is enough fun and excitement to keep you happy!
Bars like La Esquina, Azzuro, and Pub Gallerija are some of the best places to unwind while nestling one or two bottles of beer. The Green Mill is perfect for hardcore partying.