The notorious yet stunning fortress will leave a strong impression on every visitor.
Mamula is a circular fortress on the Lastavica (Eng: Swallow) island in the Adriatic Sea. The beauty of the island is intoxicating. The warm air, the clear waters surrounding the islet, and the relievo under the water surface and the structure of the fort make this islet a must-see for every visitor of Montenegro. The imposingly high and sturdy fortress walls suggest that escape is impossible. The deep and wide ditch underneath the fortress renders jumps from the walls moot. Once you are inside the walls, the magnitude of the structure is overwhelming.
The architecture of the fortress is remarkable. The corridors, the prison cells, and the spiral stairs look as good as new. If you get on top of the fortress roof, you will enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the shimmering sea for as far as the eye can stretch. Mamula was built in 1853 under the orders of the Hungarian general Lazar Mamula. Its primary role was to defend the entrance to the Kotor Bay.
Mamula is only 6.3 km (3.4 nautical miles) away from Herceg Novi. Due to its intriguing charm, it’s one of the most visited landmarks in Montenegro.
The Mamula Horrors
The exterior beauty masks the terrific horrors on the inside, a concentration camp full of fear and terror. During WW2, on May 30, 1942, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini took over the fort. He converted the island into a concentration camp, and soon it became notorious for the torture and suffering of prisoners. Prisoners of Mamula were usually from the surrounding area. Prisoners were often either starved or beaten to death. According to some survivors, late at night, the walls would echo with the cries of babies and small children. The guards would beat the women who were unable to keep their hungry children from crying.
How to get to Mamula?
You can reach Mamula only by boat. There are many boat tours to Mamula in Herceg Novi. The fort is very popular among visitors, and you can get on a boat every hour. Vessels from most coastal places have tours to Mamula. Budva, Kotor, Herceg Novi all offer boat trips to Mamula.
Either from Herceg Novi or Budva, Mamula is one stop on the way to the famous beach Žanjic.
All boats take tourists from the boarding location to the beach Žanjic and make a round trip to the fort Mamula and the Blue Cave.
Herceg Novi – Žanjic 5-7€/Person – Round trip
Herceg Novi – Žanjic 3-4€/Person – One direction
Mamula is a beautiful islet and its terrain is very convenient for recreational diving or hiking. The outside ring of rocks can be fun to walk on but there are some rough spots and it is not advised to make a round walk around the islet after midday because the solar radiation is too high and there is a great risk of sunburn.