Must See Things to Do in Ulcinj, Montenegro

Ulcinj, Montenegro isn’t on the western tourist trail – but it should be.

Ulcinj is a pretty, historic town with beautiful weather and friendly locals.

We visited Ulcinj as part of our trip through the Balkans. We spent two nights in Ulcinj on our way down the coast after stopping in Mostar, Dubrovnik, and Budva on our way to Tirana, Albania.

Are you visiting Ulcinj? You should! Here are some of the  must see things to do and sights to see in Ulcinj, Montenegro.

1) Walk Up Through Old Town for Fantastic Harbor Views and Adriatic Sights

Ulcinj is a really old town. It feels like an old Ottoman coastal city in a way we didn’t feel in Budva.

Old Town Ulcinj occupies a large, rocky outcrop above the harbor. You can immediately see why they built a fortress here: you get nearly 360 degree views of the harbor, bay, and surrounding Adriatic.

Old Town Ulcinj is packed with bars and restaurants. There are also some normal residential homes, which is always cool to see. Who are these old people just taking out their trash as I plod through with my backpack surrounded by buildings 200+ years older than my country?

2) Visit the Museum of Local History in Ulcinj

The aptly-named “Museum of Local History in Ulcinj” explores some of the local history of Ulcinj and its people.

Inside the museum, you’ll find recreations of historic life in Ulcinj, including the tools, dwellings, and items early residents used to survive.

Found in the heart of Old Town Ulcinj, the museum is worth a visit if you want to learn more about the region and its background.

I’ll be honest: I like history and sociology but I knew very little about Montenegro, Ulcinj, the Ottoman Empire, and this whole area. The Museum of Local History in Ulcinj provided good background.

3) Chill on “Long Beach”

The people of Ulcinj name their beaches like they name their museums: in a practical, no-nonsense way.

In the heart of Old Town Ulcinj you have Small Beach. It’s a small beach surrounded by a perfect natural harbor. You can take a picnic, chill with a drink on the beach, and setup chairs to hang out.

Long Beach, however, is a much nicer beach. Just south of town, Long Beach stretches from Ulcinj to the border of Albania. You need to take a cab to get there, but this is Montenegro so cabs aren’t expensive.

Long Beach has multiple beach areas within, including Miami Beach, Safari Beach, Tropicana Beach, and Cabo Beach. Apparently, they really didn’t want to give local names to their beaches.  Collectively, however, they’re all known as Long Beach.

Long Beach has something for everyone: in the summer, it’s a bustling destination packed with tourists.

4) Hang Out at a Beach Bar

Ulcinj, like Budva and other coastal Montenegrin towns, is a summer holiday destination.

Don’t get too caught up about things to do in Ulcinj. Instead, chill at a beach bar all day. 

Long Beach has some of the best beach bars in the area.

In October when we visited, Long Beach was empty. I had one of the best sunsets of my life on Long Beach in Ulcinj: we sat on a beach chair at a beach bar while someone brought me $1.50 local beers and calamari, and stray dogs sat at our feet as the sun dipped into the Adriatic in front of our eyes. It was a perfect travel moment – and then we caught the cab back to town.

Take a few minutes to drive outside of Ulcinj and spend the day at a beach bar. The sun sets right in front of you from virtually anywhere on Long Beach. It’s worth the $5 cab ride.

5) Go See Wild Flamingos

Have you ever seen a wild flamingo? I certainly haven’t. Just outside of Ulcinj, you can see wild flamingos that inhabit an old salt factory.

The nature reserve is a short cab ride or a 40 minute walk away. Look for the Ulcinj Salinas, which is a natural paradise for wild flamingos.

It’s not overly impressive when you arrive. It looks like a barren salt flat. However, you’ll see a few flamingos when you walk around – yes, genuine, wild flamingos.

Where to Stay in Ulcinj, Montenegro

There are plenty of Airbnbs and small hotels in Ulcinj. Book early – especially if you’re visiting in the summer. If you want to stay within walking distance of Old Town and the beaches, then you may not have many options.

We snagged an Airbnb a few weeks before we visited in October. We gave the address to our cab driver, and he had no idea what it meant. We gave him the person’s name, and he recognized the last name because he was a doctor in town. After a few phone calls with friends and fellow cab drivers, the cabbie figured out where the doctor lived, then took us there. That’s how we got to our Airbnb in Ulcinj.

Ulcinj also has several hostels, including top-rated options like Hostel Pirate, which we heard good things about (and almost stayed out, but were traveling as a couple).

If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a unique area south of Ulcinj with a nudist colony. Close to the Albania border, it’s also home to a resort area, a hostel, and several small hotels.

Where to Eat and Drink in Ulcinj

Ulcinj’s tourist area has a small number of places to eat and drink, but we were impressed by any of the top-rated options we picked.

We ate at and would recommend the following restaurants:

Dulcinea: The top-rated restaurant in Old Town Ulcinj, Dulcinea has fantastic views in Old Town, a great atmosphere, and solid food.

La Tavola: Recommended to us by our Airbnb host, La Tavola has pizzas and steak. I got some sort of seafood pizza that was ridiculously affordable. I don’t think I ate anything the rest of the day.

Any Top-Rated Options on Google: The Wandering Boozebag shouldn’t be your only source of information about restaurants in Ulcinj. We only visited three during our stay, but there are several other top-rated options in and around town.

Final Word

We took a bus into Ulcinj knowing nothing about it, and we were pleasantly surprised.

Ulcinj had spectacular views, and we felt like we were the only tourists in town when we visited in October (I’m 80% sure we were the only tourists in town in late October 2016).

From Old Town Ulcinj to Long Beach and local bars, restaurants, and cafes, Ulcinj has plenty of things to like – and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a unique stop on your Balkan itinerary.

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