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Info Herceg Novi
Although not the most spectacular city in Montenegro (Kotor takes that prize), Herceg Novi is probably the most pleasant and warrants several days' visit. The city is particularly a good alternative to the very touristy Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cities have similar architecture but Herceg Novi is neither as grand nor as touristy and expensive. Herceg Novi translates into English as "New Castle".
During the last few years Herceg Novi has become a very popular destination for tourists from the neighboring Serbia, and, to a lesser extent from Russia. In spite of this tourist boom, the city has managed to some extent to keep the traditional slow Montenegrin lifestyle. The locals are very welcoming and you are never annoyed by street vendors.
A sizeable Bosnian (Serb) refugee population flooded into Herceg Novi during the war years. Many of the camps are still around although they have been turned into more permanent (and quite nice) settlements. You can still see them on the bus as you leave the city. Also if you go for a wander up into the hills you will come into whole new areas of construction resulting from the recent property boom.
The Financial Times in 2007 listed Montenegro as one of world's 10 top property hotspots and foreign buyers have been snapping up properties on the coast.
Herceg Novi is a major Montenegrin tourist destination. It is well known as a spa and health center; nearby Igalo has an abundance of healing sea mud called "igaljsko blato" (Igalo mud) and mineral water springs called "igaljske slatine" (Igalo water springs). The most famous tourist attractions in Herceg Novi are castle Forte Mare built by the Bosnian king Tvrtko I in 1382, a clock tower built by Austrians in the 19th century, the Kanli tower built by Turks, and the Serbian church St. Michael Archangel in central Belavista Square.
Whilst the city itself is not a major destination for sunbathing, with no long sandy beaches along the rest of the Boka Kotorska bay, many beaches are reachable by boat. Tourist companies organise one-day boat trips to Luštica peninsula, which lies opposite to the town. Popular Luštica peninsula beach sites include Žanjic, Mirište and Rose. Herceg Novi accounted for one-third of overnight stays in Montenegro before the Yugoslav wars, but the situation has changed since in favour of Budva, Kotor and other resorts in the northern part of the coast.
Zelenika which is also a small city in Herceg Novi s also a very popular place to visit along the shores of Montenegro.
Herceg Novi was founded (on a former small fishing village, existing since Roman Empire times) as a fortress in 1382 by first 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. 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. However, there was a short pause between 1538 and 1539 when it was held by the Spaniards before they were defeated in the Siege of Castelnuovo.
Venice gained control of the city and included it into Albania Veneta, an administrative unit on the territory of present-day coastal Montenegro. On 24 August 1798, Herceg Novi was annexed by Habsburg Austria but was then ceded to Russia as per the Treaty of Pressburg on 26 December 1805. The Russians officially occupied Herceg Novi between 28 February 1806 and 12 August 1807.
On 7 July 1807, Herceg Novi was ceded to Napoleon I Bonaparte's French empire as per the Treaty of Tilsit. Official French rule over Herceg Novi began on 12 August 1807, when the Russians left the city. The city was part of Dalmatia until 14 October 1809, when it was annexed to the newly created Illyrian Provinces.
Herceg Novi, as well as the rest of the Bay of Kotor, was overtaken by Montenegrin forces in 1813. It was under control of a temporary government based in Dobrota between 11 September 1813 and 10 June 1814, which was supported by Montenegro. The appearance of Austro-Hungarian forces in 1814 caused the Prince-Bishop of Montenegro to turn over the territory to Austrian administration on 11 June. After Herceg Novi was retaken, as well as the rest of the bay, it became part of the Dalmatian crownland. The bay was under Austro-Hungarian control until 1918.
In 1900, the two names ERZEG NOVI and CASTELNUOVO PRESSO CATTARO were used in bilingual cancellations.
The Kingdom of Montenegro attempted to retake the Bay of Kotor during World War I, it was bombarded from Lovćen, but by 1916 Austria-Hungary defeated Montenegro.
On 7 November 1918, the Serbian Army entered the bay and were greeted by the people as Slavic liberators. The bay later became a part of the self-proclaimed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Within a month, this region united with Serbia as part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed to Yugoslavia in 1929. The bay was a municipality of Dalmatia until it was, like all historic entities, abolished in 1922. It was incorporated into the Zeta Oblast (province), from 1929 style Zeta Banate.
Herceg Novi was annexed by Mussolini's fascist Italy during World War II in 1941. It became a part of the province of Cattaro.
Herceg Novi was later retaken by Yugoslav Partisan forces on 10 September 1943. Within Tito's Communist reformed Yugoslavia, Herceg Novi became part of the People's Republic of Montenegro.
It would follow its fate at the dismemberment of Yugoslavia into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, and as that fell apart in 2006 into independent Montenegro.
The area of the Bay of Kotor has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with significantly more rain in the winter than in the summer. Herceg Novi has a specific microclimate, which is a result of southern exposition, proximity to the sea, limestone substratum and mountainous hinterland which prevents the breakthrough of cold air masses.
Herceg Novi has approximately 200 sunny days a year. In July and August there are approximately 11 sunny hours per day. Average annual temperature is 16.2 °C (61.2 °F) (similar to that of Naples and Lisbon). There are frequent slight temperature oscillations; the average daily temperature fluctuation is only 4 °C (39 °F). Average temperature from May to September is about 25 °C (77 °F), and the average summer sea temperature is rather high, between 22–26 °C (72–79 °F).
The annual average precipitation is 1,930 mm (76.0 in). Relative air humidity is at its highest level, 80%, in the fall. Its lowest level, 63%, comes in the summer.
Climate data for Herceg Novi
|Average high °C (°F)||12.2|
|Average low °C (°F)||4.8|
|Source: Hydrological and Meteorological Service of Montenegro|
Transportation - Get In
Bus is the only form of public transport in/out of Herceg Novi, and the bus station (located in the centre of town) is busy the day long with buses heading (mostly) down the Adriatic coast. There is a regular bus service to Herceg Novi (and further to other Montenegrin cities) from main bus station in Dubrovnik, which runs several times a day. It costs about €9 and takes about one hour. There are also quite regular busses to Kotor, Budva, Bar and Podgorica.
If Herceg Novi is your main destination, a pleasant alternative to bus travel is hiring a Croat cab from Dubrovnik airport (Cilipi) for about €50; this trip takes about 40 minutes, including border crossings.
There is NO rail or ferry access into the town.
Transportation - Get Around
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Italian-made clothes in Old Town and Igalo boutiques are reasonably priced up-to-minute fashions. Not great for local arts and crafts, which are available in Kotor and Budva. Go to local market just off the main square in the Old Town on Saturday morning to buy fresh fruit (sweet and cheap), olive oil, sheep and goats cheese, dried figs, locally made wine; note that this market sells seasonal and locally produced goods, so what you find depends on the time of your visit.
Go to small eateries around the promenade for fresh local food, grilled seafood and meat dishes, and international cuisine. Count approximately €10-12 for the main dish in a typical restaurant (grilled high-quality fish is more expensive). Almost all cafes serve pizza which is usually well-made. Follow the locals; Montenegrins are usually more picky than foreign tourists when it comes to eating out.
The Petica in the centre of the Old Town is a great place to sit, drink an espresso, or have some fairly priced pasta/pizza. 4-7E. The service is very friendly and the food is delicious.
The Tre Lipe restaurant is conveniently located next to the Sea Fort (Forte Mare), 20 meters from the beach. You eat in an open-air terasse under three old lindens, and the service is quick and friendly.
Coffe & Drink
Herceg Novi is hot in summer, and it usually stays warm late into the evenings, so cold drinks are best sellers. Iced coffee is served in tall glasses with dolops of ice cream and "slag" (fatty whipped cream) and qualifies as a full meal. Local beer made in Niksic is good; also try "spritzer" which is a refreshing mix of chilled white wine and carbonated mineral water.
Sights & Landmarks
- The Herceg Novi old town is amazing. It is on a fairly steep hill that leads all the way down to the sea. Wandering through the small stairways to the various plazas and fortresses is a many hour adventure. There are both Orthodox and Catholic churches that are well worth visiting.
- The Kanli Kula fortress dominating the old town doubles as an open-air theatre and is worth visiting mainly for the splendid views of the town and the Kotor bay (entrance fee as of August 2012: €1; free for children under 12)
- The Spanjola fortress located higher up the mountain (170 meters above see level) dates back to 16th century. Take a small street going upwards across from the Kanli Kula fortress. Entrance is free and you can freely climb (and fall from) the walls.
- The Savina monastery, approximately 2 km east from the city center has three beautiful Orthodox churches and (yet again) splendid views of the bay.
- The fortress "Forte Mare" regularly shows films at night.
Things to do
- Swimming - The city has some great pebble and many concrete beaches, although most of them are quite crowded during high season (see photo). There is a path that leads along the beach part of the city for about 3 miles. Follow it until you find a place that is suitable for you. Many small privately owned beaches have loungers, small boats, and other gear for hire.
- Mud therapy - At the western end of the promenade is a small spa town of Igalo, renowned across Europe for healing properties of its muddy, mildly radioactive sand. A health and hospital centre complex offers mud therapy combined with other treatments, but you can do it yourself by following the locals and wading through the sand. Apply the muddy sand all over your body, or on affected parts, and combine with gentle exercise and sunbathing for best effects. This is believed to be beneficial for rheumatic complaints, skin disorders, and gynecological problems.
- People watching - Along the promenade, the main square in the Old Town, and almost everywhere else around town, there are about hundred small cafes with tables conveniently positioned for this popular local pastime. All serve good coffee (Italian style) and many also offer a selection of freshly made and delicious cakes and ice creams.
- Hiking - Going from the bus station up towards the hills you can find some wonderful ancient stone paths that lead up to some very rural communities. The paths are not marked and not very visible but if you wander along any road for a mile or so and keep an eye on the vegetation you should find one. Either way take a 3 or 4 mile walk up into the hills (whether you find the paths or not).
- Mountaineering - Get in touch with Herceg Novi based mountaineering society "Subra" if you are serious about mountain sports in some of the most beautiful and unspoiled mountains in Europe: Check out their website on [www] . This website also provides basic maps of some hiking routes in vicinity of Herceg Novi, and information about local mountain huts.