Montenegro is tiny and proud, boasting a landscape of cobalt-blue fjords, fishermen’s huts, palaces, a church in a cave and an island built on the wrecks of enemy boats. Along with the mild Mediterranean climate and 240 sunny days on average per year, Montenegro boasts outstanding countryside, including UNESCO-recognised fjordscapes, culture and history, a variety of leisure activities and rich authentic cuisine, making it a perfect destination for your next holiday.
Montenegro has been a border between east and west ever since the division of the Roman Empire some 1600 years ago. Its cultural history is reflected in the mosaic floors of Roman villas, glamorously painted Orthodox monasteries, ornately decorated Catholic churches, elegant minarets of mosques and sturdy fortresses built by the numerous powers that have fought over this land. Also, the legacy of 50 years as a communist state, when Montenegro was independent of both the Eastern Block and the West, is very noticeable here.
With as many as 240 sunny days on average per year, pristine beaches and whitewashed old towns, the coast of Montenegro has become one of Europe’s hottest beach destinations. It boasts the charming town of Herceg Novi, stretching along the coast and absorbing former villages on either side – such as Igalo, which was once a health spa famed for its mineral-bearing mud – and the dazzling Kotor, located at the end of a fjord and steeped in tradition and history. South of here, the littoral swings back out to the beaches of Budva and Bar, where the amazing remains of the old town walls of Stari Bar can be found.
Although the beaches of Montenegro can be pretty crowded in summer, there are lots of other places where you can find peace and solitude. Head to the rugged mountains of Durmitor and Prokletije, stroll through the ancient forest of Biogradska Gora or stop in one of the hamlets to explore the daily lives of Montenegrins. Search for hidden corners where you might even spot a bear or wolf, go hiking, mountain biking or kayaking and enjoy the endless opportunities of Montenegro’s wild landscape.
The Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska, or simply 'the Boka') is often described as the Mediterranean’s only fjord. With its breathtaking natural surroundings of majestic mountains, the medieval old town of Kotor on the edge of a giant bay is considered one of the top places to visit. Stroll through cobbled alleyways and streets, where cafés spill out from glorious buildings, or visit the Rector’s Palace and the leaning clock tower, the fascinating Maritime Museum or St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, a perfect spot for photo-ops. If you’re feeling energetic, hike up to St. Ivan’s Castle, which will reward you with breathtaking views of the fjord. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Perched on a small peninsula, Budva, with its dazzling old town is by far the most popular coastal town of Montenegro. Apart from numerous beaches, Budva is also intriguing for its history and culture. Numerous churches, including the Church of Holy Trinity, St. Ivan, St. Bogorodica and St. Sava, and monasteries dotted around the town’s narrow cobbled streets and piazzas create a perfect setting for a number of summer performances and shows. Sip a coffee in one of the cafés and enjoy the easy-going atmosphere that surrounds you.
If you’re prefers something more luxurious, then the picturesque town of Sveti Stefan 5km southeast of Budva is the right choice. Located on a tiny island connected to the shore by a causeway, this former fortified fishing village with terracotta-roofed stone houses has recently been refurbished into one of the most luxurious resorts on the Mediterranean. It is great for families and romantics alike, boasting 50 rustic island cottages, an elegant villa and grounds with 3 beaches, 3 pools, a spa and the Myriad Restaurant.
The breathtaking scenery of the UNESCO-certified Durmitor National Park could easily be the setting for a Disney movie. Apart from the dramatic landscape carved by ice and water and a majestic mountain range with 6,500-plus-foot Alpine peaks and 18 glacial lakes, the park is home to numerous animals, including 163 bird species, about 50 types of mammals and probably the greatest variety of butterflies in Europe. Durmitor is a major ski resort from December to March (the best-known is Zabljak) and a popular place for hiking, rafting, rowing and kayaking, with the latter two being extremely popular, especially on Crno Jezero Lake.
Podgorica, formerly known as Titograd, is the inland capital of Montenegro. Thanks to its favourable location at the confluence of the Morača and Ribnica rivers in the southeast of the country, the town has become by far the largest city in Montenegro. Although it is relatively new, with modern buildings, as it was completely demolished during WWII, it boasts lots of green spaces, some excellent galleries, theatres and bars and a lively repertoire of cultural events throughout the year. The must-visit spots are the Clock Tower, the ruins of Nemanjica Grad and remains of the city of Doclea, Stara Varos, and Vezirov. Excellent bus and train connections make Podgorica easily accessible from the other parts of Montenegro and there is also an International Airport located only nine kilometres from the city.
Less than an hour’s drive inland from Budva, in an imposing mountain setting, lies the town of Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro. Known especially for its rich cultural heritage, it boasts grandiose mansions which were once home to ambassadors, the pedestrianised Njegoševa Boulevard lined with pretty, pastel-coloured shops and cafés, the National Museum of Montenegro, which is actually a collection of four museums and two galleries, and Montenegrin Art Gallery, where you can find all of the Montenegro’s great artists, including Milunović, Lubarda and Ðurić.
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