In order to fully appreciate each name, where it came from and what it means to this town, tourists should plan a visit spanning several days—this visit would also give tourists the opportunity to explore the city’s past, its intrigue and its color.
Bosnian King Tvrtko I founded Herceg Novi as an important stop on the route of the salt trade. Positioned at the entrance of Boka Kotorska Bay, it is not only conveniently positioned for trade, but it is also the youngest of all the old towns on the coast here.
Herceg Novi has been known by several other names throughout history including St. Stefan and Novi (New), and then, in the 15th century, Stjepan Vuksic added his title, Herceg, to the name, giving us Herceg Novi.
From the sea, the view of Herceg Novi is breathtaking. A tradition of importing seeds, exotic plants, trees and fruits from around the world has transformed Herceg Novi into a veritable botanic garden, carefully tended and expanded over centuries. Built on a series of terraces, this Town Garden is positioned perfectly, with a view of the open sea and two peninsulas, Lustica and Prevlaka.
The sea traffic in front of the town is always very busy, regattas with local and foreign yachts, anglers catching fish for the morning market, tourist boats sailing towards popular holiday resorts—Zanjice, Mamula Island, Plava spilja (Blue Cave) and many others.
Cruisers, mega yachts and both restored and remade ships provide additional viewing pleasures for those enjoying a coffee in one of numerous cafés with a view on the open sea. The town harbor, Skver (meaning shipyard), is also the town center. To the right (towards Igalo) and the left (all the way to Meljine) of this marine center runs the longest promenade in Boka Kotorska Bay.
The promenade is a favorite amongst tourists for the wonderful aroma coming from the sea as well as for its numerous plants, trees and flowers. Some on the plants on the promenade are so rare that many biologists visit Herceg Novi for the chance to see several types of palm trees, cactuses, banana trees, magnolias, mimosas, authentic citrus trees, camellias, oleanders, hedges and eucalyptus that grow few other places, if anywhere else in the world.
Herceg Novi has two town squares, including the small, stone-paved Belavista (nice view), which is easy to get to from the main town square, Trg Nikole Djurkovica, once referred to as Salt Square, by walking up the stairs that lead through the town’s clock tower. Here, old stone buildings encircle the delightful church St. Arhangel Mihailo, a building unique in its architecture. This Orthodox Church is neo-Byzantine styled with Gothic and Romanesque details. But it is not only the church that is surrounded by old buildings. Other institutions, including the archive, library, radio station, art gallery, pharmacy, cafes and private condominiums are surrounded by historical buildings.
When in Herceg Novi, a must visit is the Orthodox Monastery of Savina, a monument not only to religion, but also to beauty. Located in the Savinska Dubrava Grove, this monastery features unique Mediterranean vegetation and provides a breathtaking view of the Bay. The monastery complex includes three churches—two large churches dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin from the 11th century and the 18th century, as well as the Church of St. Sava Serbian, located uphill from the main monastery.