We recommend you rent a car in Montenegro to visit the beautiful city of Bar and its surrounding area. What‘s so good about Bar you ask? Let me tell you a bit about its rich history and some of the places worth visiting!
History of Bar
Bar is a city situated in the southern part of Montenegro, on the Adriatic Sea. It is a small coastal city with a rich history and an abundance of cultural and natural sights to offer. Bar has been inhabited since ancient times, and its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes made it a crucial center of commerce and cultural exchange throughout the centuries.
The history of Bar dates back to prehistoric times when the Illyrian tribe of the Docleatae settled in the area. In the 6th century BC, the Greeks established a trading colony in Bar. The city was later conquered by the Romans, who renamed it Antibari (lat. Antibarum, gr. Antivari), meaning „in front of Bari“ and made it an important port and military stronghold. The Byzantine Empire also had a presence in Bar, and in the 11th century, the city became part of the Serbian principality of Duklja.
Jovan Vladimir, the ruler of Duklja at the beginning of the 10th century, was born in Bar. His love story with Kosara and untimely death are among the best-known legends of this area, mentioned in the Bar chronicle (The Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja). He was later sanctified by the church. The biggest Orthodox Christian temple in Bar (and one of the biggest in the Balkans) bears his name and is worth visiting during your tour with our car rental.
Not long after, in the mid-11th century, Stefan Vojislav, the founder of the Vojislavljević dynasty, defeated the Byzantine army in the Battle of Bar. His son Mihailo, the first king of Duklja, established the Archdiocese of Antivari in 1089, which became the center of the Catholic Church in Montenegro. The new Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle was consecrated in 2017, while the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception served that purpose from 1828 to 2017. Both cathedrals are well worth visiting.
In the following centuries, Bar changed hands many times, as various empires and kingdoms vied for control of the strategically important port. The city was ruled by the Venetians, the Ottoman Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, among others. Each of them left its mark on the city’s architecture and culture, resulting in a breathtaking mix of styles and influences.
Things to see in Bar
Stari Bar (the Old Town of Bar) is among Bar’s most important historical sights. It is located on a mount above the modern city. It was built by the Illyrians, and later expanded and fortified by the Byzantines, the Venetians, and the Ottomans. The visitors can explore its well-preserved walls, the narrow streets, ancient buildings, and the picturesque squares that make up this charming district.
Another must-see sight in Bar is the Castle of King Nikola, which was built in the late 19th century by the Montenegrin prince, and later king, Nikola Petrović-Njegoš. The castle is a striking example of neo-Renaissance architecture, and it offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and coastline. Visitors can tour the castle’s rooms and learn about the history of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty, which played a key role in Montenegrin politics for centuries.
In addition to its historical sights, Bar is also known for its natural beauty. The city is surrounded by rugged mountains, dense forests, and pristine beaches, making it a paradise for nature lovers. If you rent a car in Bar, you can easily visit the Skadar Lake National Park, which is located just a short drive from the city. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including rare bird species such as the Dalmatian pelican and the pygmy cormorant. Situated on the lake is the small fishing village of Virpazar. Fish lovers will be delighted to try fresh fish from the lake prepared traditionally. If you are a passionate fisherman, don’t forget to bring a rod and relax while fishing from the bridge or boat on the lake.
One of the most recognizable symbols of the city of Bar is the Old Olive Tree (Stara Maslina) on Mirovica. Believed to be over 2000 years old, it’s one of the oldest olive trees in Europe. The city is also one of the main production centers of olive oil in Montenegro. Popular olive harvest festival – Maslinijada is held every January in Stari Bar. It features a range of food stalls, traditional music, and dancing.
Its unspoiled beaches are very popular. Among these, the beach Sutomore, which is known for its crystal-clear water and fine sand, is especially popular.
Another popular beach in Bar is Veliki Pijesak, which is located just a few kilometers outside the city. Its name which translates as the Great Sand says it all – it’s indeed long and sandy and is surrounded by cliffs and pine forests, creating a stunning natural backdrop.
Bar is also a center of cultural and artistic activity. It has several museums and art galleries, as well as a vibrant music and theater scene. Visitors can attend concerts, performances, and exhibitions throughout the year, and experience the rich cultural heritage of Montenegro. Overall, Bar is a fascinating city with a rich and diverse history, stunning natural beauty, and a vibrant cultural scene. Its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes has made it a melting pot of cultures and traditions, resulting in a unique blend of architectural styles and artistic expressions.
Bar was and still is an important center of trade and commerce. Its important strategic location on the Adriatic Sea and the presence of the largest port in the country made it a natural hub for merchants and traders. Over the centuries, countless ships carried various goods such as olive oil, wine, textiles, and spices, as well as people and ideas from all over the world.
Contemporary Bar is a modern and vibrant city that retains much of its historical and cultural heritage. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of cultural events and artistic performances, and experience the unique blend of Montenegrin and Mediterranean cultures that defines this fascinating city.
During summer, the city comes alive with music festivals, outdoor concerts, and cultural events. The annual Bar Chronicle festival (named after a famous medieval chronicle), for example, celebrates the rich history and cultural heritage of the city of Bar with a wide range of exhibitions, performances, and workshops. Other popular events include the Bar Theatre Festival, which showcases the best of Montenegrin and Balkan theater.
Bar is equally loved by both culture and nature lovers. Its rich heritage, unspoiled natural beauty, and lively cultural scene make it an amazing place to visit.
By renting a car you can explore this beautiful city and its surroundings effortlessly. So why wait? Rent a car today and experience the best that Bar and Montenegro have to offer.