Haj-Nehaj Fortress

Ruins in Adriatic Coast

If you wasted your youth playing Dungeons & Dragons or you just like poking around old ruins, the lonely battlements of Haj-Nehaj Fortress should be added to your itinerary. Haj-Nehaj was built in the 15th century by the Venetians to defend their southern border from the Ottoman Turks, whose conquests had brought them as far as the river that runs into Šušanj Beach in modern Bar.

To get here from Bar, follow the highway north for 6.5km and turn left where the fortress is signposted. At the intersection of the first sealed road to the right, a rough unsealed road heads hard right through the houses. Walk straight up this road with the castle directly in front of you and turn right at the end into a rough car park. Look for the start of the track among the bushes on the slope. From here it’s a steep but attractive walk through the pines for 30 minutes on a stony path that’s often hard to distinguish.

When the gate finally does come into view, the fortifications rise so precipitously from the stone that you’ll be left wondering how it was ever built. Once you’re inside, there are extensive ruins to explore, rising charismatically from a blanket of wild sage and flowers. At the very top, looking over Bar, is the shell of the 13th-century St Demetrius’ Church (Crkva Sv Dimitrija), easily recognised by its vaulted roof and stone altar. It predates the fort itself and once had separate Catholic and Orthodox altars.