The ruins of Stari Bar, Montenegro

Stari Bar, MontenegroIf you arrive by ferry to Montenegro, you’ll most likely be arriving in the port city of Bar. Although Bar itself is not worthy of exploration, the old town – Stari Bar  – is just 5 kilometers from the port and it is a wonderful place to visit.

The picturesque ruins are located on a steep cliff, at the base of Mount Rumija. It is hot in the summertime and we enjoyed exploring here in the early morning, before the heat truly set in. These are the suggestive ruins of the old settlement of Bar, before it moved along the coast.

Stari Bar, MontenegroPerched on a hill with dramatic valleys below it, much of the town was destroyed in 1878 during the fighting between the Montenegrins and Ottomans, which led to the eventual annexation of Bar and Ulcinj to Montenegro. It is worth it to climb up to the Citadel for the dramatic views over the rugged valley below.

The original settlement was probably built there because of its strategic location – perched along a cliff, with clear views of invaders – and the abundance of drinking water from a  natural spring nearby.

The winding streets and ruins make for pleasurable wandering. The ruins include medieval churches dating from the 9th, 13th and 14th centuries and encompass architectural elements from successive Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman rule.

2012_January_Stari_Bar3There is also a well-preserved hammam built during the Ottoman reign.

Be sure to enjoy wandering around Stari Bar on your visit to Montenegro. And take a look at some of my earlier posts on places to visit in Montenegro, including the seaside town of Perast, the Durmitor National Park and the Balkans’  largest lake, Skadarsko jezero.


  1. ledrakenoir on January 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Very interesting post… 🙂

  2. kimberlysullivan on January 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Thanks, Ledrakenoir. It’s an interesting place…

  3. Julia on January 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    All these places are gorgeous. I checked those links again. The pictures are amazing. I will go back to them to read them carefully. I was not joking when I said you should publish a book with all these posts.

  4. kimberlysullivan on January 24, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Thanks, Julia! It is an interesting place. Thanks for the suggestion, too. Putting together a travel book would be a lot of fun. For now, I just try to slip it into my fiction. : )

  5. Catherine on January 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Love your travel posts but they make me feel very restless! Especially as the winter is digging in her heels up here…

    • kimberlysullivan on January 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      Haha, Catherine! Then I’m doing my job. : ) You know how Italians have that weird habit of being at a delicious dinner and talking about other dinners they’ve eaten? I’m the same with travel. I’ll be on an airplane reading the airline magazine and already plotting my next get-away…

  6. Tricia A. Mitchell on February 11, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Kimberly, my husband and I are currently in Trogir, Croatia and looking to head to Montenegro, so I’m pleased to have found this post. How much time did you spend in Montenegro?

  7. kimberlysullivan on February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Tricia. Hope you’re enjoying Croatia -another beautiful country. On our trip to Montenegro we had a little over three weeks, so we also managed to get in lots of hiking (we loved Durmitor and also Biogradska. However, if you head there now, you’re more likely to ski than hike!) If you know the Balkans well, you’ll know that even though distance may be short kilometer-wise, it can take forever to drive from point A to point B on winding canyon roads. Have a great time!

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