Here are Some of the Best Things to Do in Ulcinj!
So, you’re considering stopping in for a visit to Ulcinj, Montenegro? Good plan! We discovered the entire coast of Montenegro (and the capital, Podgorica, for that matter) and we can find tons of reasons why you’d want to visit Ulcinj. From the Ulcinj old town and rich history (that includes pirates) to the amazing food choices, Ulcinj is a fascinating place near the Albanian border. We actually took the bus from Ulcinj to Tirana, Albania after our stay!
Ulcinj tourism isn’t quite booming yet which makes it a perfect spot to stop in for sunny skies and so many beaches. There seems to be a big nightlife scene (at least during the summer season), but we didn’t really experience it so we won’t include it in here. We just went for drinks with a friend but we know that the clubs exist!
Unfortunately, we also didn’t get to Ada Bojana – but we will for sure get to the beautiful island next time we are there! We loved the whole country of Montenegro so we know we will be back. Arrrrrr you ready to discover Ulcinj like a pirate? Let’s go!
Where We Stayed in Ulcinj
Since we mention a couple times below “it is XX minutes from the hostel”, we briefly wanted to address where we stayed in Ulcinj. The city is a popular summer vacation spot so there are lots of apartments available – and we almost stayed at one, too. However, we had some last minute changes – so we ended up at Hostel Pirate. We are glad we did!
Hostel Pirate is located closer to the bus station than the Old Town in Ulcinj. Kind of where “real” life happens and not just where you find tourists with lots of bakeries, supermarkets, and restaurants close by.
The hostel is run by Dijana, a super nice woman who has everything under control. You’ll also get to meet Linda who makes sure that everything is clean, washed, and that everyone has a freshly made coffee. Overall, these are two amazing women.
And then there’s Don, the German Shepherd. We gave him numerous cuddles every day (if you didn’t know yet, we love dogs). However, if you don’t like dogs, then don’t worry – he’s not allowed inside the house and you can just avoid him if you want.
The hostel is quite small with less than 30 beds in total. There is also one private twin room and a standard private double room – funnily enough, we got to stay in both. Both were fantastic. The hostel has a cozy atmosphere. In the evening, people often gather outside on the porch enjoying a beer and chatting away.
It’s perfect if you’re looking to meet some people but also want to relax. We also loved our stay there because of the great recommendations we got for things to do in Ulcinj. Some of which you can find below. If you want to stay at Hostel Pirate, you can check the prices and availability here!
(Friendly Info: Of course we paid for our stay with our own money – just wanting to share our positive experience.)
Things to Do in Ulcinj
Now, if you’re looking for those things to do in Ulcinj, perhaps this short list will get you started! We really enjoyed the fact that there were so many day-trip-type activities. It made each day a new adventure!
See Wild Flamingos at the Salinas
When we first heard about the wild flamingos we told ourselves that we had to go and see flamingos. Because they are flamingos – which is awesome. Turns out, on the grounds of an old salt factory, there is now a nature reserve.
If you look at Ulcinj on a map, it is the area with a lot of artificial lakes slightly to the east of the city. You can either take a cab from the centre or walk there (around 40 minutes). Once we arrived we weren’t really sure where we were considering it looks quite abandoned.
But you just go through the gate and there will be a security guy who writes down your name. Make sure you bring a form of ID! You don’t have to pay an entrance fee, it is just so he knows who is on the premises since it would actually be possible to get lost. He’ll also give you a tiny map and show where to walk and where you’ll be most likely to see the flamingos.
After we entered the park, we walked for a good 1.5 hours in hot weather. Be sure to bring lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat in the summer. Finally, we got to see some flamingos – 9 of them to be exact. We were super excited about it even though they were still quite far away.
Later we found out that seeing only nine is actually a very small number – usually there should be a lot more. So maybe you’ll have more luck. It was still a cool experience. We also decided to turn around after this since the heat was getting to us and we still had to walk 1.5 hours back + the 40 minutes from the entrance back to the hostel. All in all, a great day in the sun!
Relax at the Beaches
Ulcinj is supposed to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Montenegro – and we believe it. Most of the Montenegrin beaches are rocky, but Ulcinj actually has some very nice sandy beaches. Actually, the “Long Beach” – the longest sand beach in the whole country – is very close to Ulcinj. If we were to walk from the hostel it would take approximately one hour to reach the beginning of it. We’ll mention the Long Beach again separately below since it is also a great place for physical activities.
If you don’t want to walk that far you can also go to the beach close to the Old Town. We went there a couple times to enjoy the sun and the water. The water is very shallow and thus was pretty warm in the middle of May already. In the summer, it can get really hot there and the sand was almost unbearable to walk on in May so actually watch out for the hot sand.
See the Olive Trees (+ Valdanos Beach)
Dijana at the hostel told us that it is a Montenegrin tradition to plant Olive Trees before getting married. That is one of the reasons why there is an area close by with a few thousand olive trees in it. It makes for a very nice walk. You’ll walk on the side of the road for the most part but it is not very busy so that’s not a problem.
It’s just one road that goes towards a beach called Valdanos which is apparently beautiful to check out. We didn’t make it all the way but would recommend that you do it if you have the time.
At one point there was a gate which you had to pass to be able to continue the road down to the beach. On the sign, it said that it was only open until 7 pm (we think) but we are not sure if the gate actually gets closed in the evening.
Just to be on the safe side make sure to visit during the middle of the day to not get locked in or out. If you want to you can also buy some olive oil along the way as different houses had set up small tables with the olive oil goodies.
Eat Seafood at The Fisherman Hari
One evening, we went out with a friend to have a nice fish dinner. The Fisherman came recommended by the hostel owner and we can see why. The restaurant is run by a fisherman who catches the fish in the morning and then has it prepared for his guests in the evening. He spoke German to Lisa and was overall very pleasant!
Lisa had a delicious fish while Eric opted for calamari. His portion was quite small so looking back he wished he’d also gotten fish. All the meals were really, really good though!
The restaurant is located in the old town towards the outside of it. If you walk around that will make sense. The view was beautiful – we got to watch the sun set over the water from our spot on the patio.
Address: In the Old Town of Ulcinj (Map on TripAdvisor)
Get Active at the Long Beach
With 12 km of sand and fun, the Long Beach (Velika Plaža in Montenegrin) is the longest beach on the Adriatic Sea. Just walking a good portion of it would probably fill up most of your day.
Of course, you can just grab your towel and relax on the beach while cooling off in the water every once in a while. However, you can also get active if that is what you’re looking for. Kite surfing and wind surfing are two very popular sports. You’ll find kite-surfing schools along the beach if you want to give it a try.
Walk the Pine Forest (+ Find Your Own Cove)
If you walk to the Long Beach, you’ll pass through the pine forest on your way. In the summer, it is very nice because the trees give you a break from the hot sun.
Apparently, there are “legless lizards” that look like snakes which can be found there – at least that’s what multiple people in the hostel told us. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to not come across any – but honestly, they aren’t that bad.
One afternoon, we walked part of the pine forest and then found our own little secluded area on a piece of rock by the water. It was nice to just sit and relax while enjoying the waves just a few steps away. You couldn’t really swim from there since it was quite steep, but maybe there are other spots that are better for that – just keep your eyes open!
Take a Day Trip to Lake Skadar
Ulcinj is not far from the Albanian border and it is also not far from Skadar Lake. If you’re looking for more nature and fresh water, then this might be the perfect day trip for you.
You can either rent a car and drive yourself if you’re confident to handle the Montenegro traffic. You could also take a bus there. As far as we know, there are direct buses from Ulcinj to Virpazar (a town very close to the main entrance). Since we didn’t do the trip ourselves, unfortunately, we can’t give you any more details.
Either ask at your hostel/hotel or go to the bus station to ask there. When we bought tickets there the woman was nice and spoke English quite well. Just make sure to tell them that you want to go to the National Park Lake Skadar or Virpazar and not Shkodër – a city in Albania just across the border. Side Note: We ended up passing through Shkodër (it looked really nice) on the way to our stay in Tirana, the capital of Albania. You can read more about things to do in Tirana, Albania here if you’re considering heading down!
The lake area is supposed to be very beautiful (you can also bathe there). However, we have heard of people complaining about boat guides being very pushy and trying to sell expensive tickets. As long as you’re aware of it and can say “no”, it shouldn’t be a problem. This also mostly occurs in the main season from June-September – if you go at a different time it shouldn’t be that bad.
And there you have it – 7 of the top things to do in Ulcinj! Honestly, we ended up there kind of by accident heading into Albania. Looking back we are so glad that we stopped in for a while. There was always something to keep us busy, and our stay at the hostel allowed us to meet so many new people and share traveller tales. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than finding your community.
As always, Happy Ulcinj Waddlin’,