Official language: Montenegrin with English being widely spoken.
Welcome to a world with wild mountains, Adriatic beaches and ever enticing resorts!
Montenegro, Crna Gora, Black Mountain… doesn’t that just conjure up thoughts of romance and drama? If so, then you’ll be happy to know that the enticing country of Montenegro by no means disappoints on any front. From sapphire beaches resembling Croatia to rugged peaks as dramatic as the Swiss Alps, canyons as deep as the one’s found in Colorado and palazzos as elegant as Venice’s, towns as ancient as Greek civilization and a heavenly Mediterranean climate. Montenegro is all of those wonderful things and more…crammed into an area two thirds the size of Whales! While you COULD easily drive across the beautiful country in one day flat, you COULD just as well get lost and hopelessly fall in love with magical Montenegro.
Ancient towns cling to the rocks and dip their toes in the waters along the coastline - the mere 100km of coast that is - but it is brilliant beyond compare. Mountains effortlessly form into crystal clear waters, but when the beaches get crowded; the primeval forest calls your name and lures you into obscure places where your heart can run free. Man-made marvels lurk in the ancient towns with features like Roman villas, Orthodox monasteries, ornate Catholic churches, magical mosques and the fortresses built here during the ages. Arguably one of Europe’s most magical summertime destinations, Montenegro is all you ever dreamed it could be and so much more!
Must see places in Montenegro
Kotor is like the cheese to Budva’s chalk. This beautiful UNESCO Listed town with its charming Old Town and bustling harbor might just steal your heart for good. Climb up the 1500 steps to the fortress that overlooks the town for a bird’s eye view. The city itself has a lot of character and it’s a great base for exploring the rest of the country.
Best known for its beautiful sandy beaches, captivating nightlife and stunning Mediterranean architecture, Budva is a seriously popular destination. The Old Town is one of its most fascinating aspects boasting intriguing historic buildings just waiting to be explored. Budva is also a great departure point for visiting the resort islet of Sveti Stefan.
Chances are, you’ve already seen Sveti Stefan…it’s the one you’re likely to see on a typical Montenegro post card. The former Old Town is built on an island about 30 meters offshore, but is now home to a top-end hotel, so you’ll have to pay to get in and use the beach, but it’s still impressive even if you can’t publicly enter it.
Lake Skadar is located in the aptly named Lake Skadar National Park and it’s also where Montenegro borders Albania. It boasts some of the most captivating scenery and its diverse wildlife perfectly completes the picture. The Lake Skadar Park is famed for being one of Europe’s most tranquil parks, albeit one third of it belongs to the country of Albania.
The description that you might have read about Montenegro just about sums up Perast. The city is also listed as a UNESCO town and with a population of roughly 500 people; the town is closed to cars as to best preserve its natural appeal. It’s a whole different world when compared with the likes of Kotor, and you’ll be captivated by the slow, sleepy and beautiful way of life that lingers here. Head out to sea and explore the nearby islets of St. George and Our Lady of the Rock. Perast is a true Balkan paradise and offers amazing swimming opportunities, a great beach bar and a few dozen other people to keep you occupied.
With its impressive mountain peaks towering out over the streams and valleys, captivating lakes and blissful meadows, Biogradska Gora is a nature lover’s delight. The park offers 12 overnight bungalows for those wanting to extend their stay, and you can also feast on the delectable cuisine on offer from the Biogradska Lake restaurant.
The Ostrog Monastery
Located in central Montenegro, the Ostrog Monastery and is equally as impressive as Balkan Petra. The mausoleum is built into the cliff roughly 1km up the valley. It’s one of Montenegro’s most impressive architectural masterpieces and quite unbelievable to see for yourself.
On Montenegro’s southern tip near the Albanian border you’ll find the ancient seaport of Ulcinj. This port was once known as the Pirate Capital of the Adriatic Sea. The city rose to become one of the most popular spots for beach days out, with its white sandy stretch of Plazhe e Mahed and Long Beach. Just offshore you’ll find the island of Ad Bojana that’s home to some truly spectacular beaches.
The highest peak in the Balkans is the mausoleum of one of Montenegro’s most beloved leaders, and the magnificent lavish surroundings just paint a picture that makes this an exceptional sight to see. The inside of the mausoleum is covered with gold and boast massive (and quite intimidating at times) statues, while the outside views stretch across the majority of Montenegro.
Lovcen National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Montenegro and you haven’t got the Lovcen National Park on your itinerary, there’s something wrong. Dominated by the 1750m high Mt Lovcen, the park is about 40 minutes away from Cetinje, but aside from the spectacular natural scenery, there’s a more important reason to see this park. The Njegos Mausoleum built on the park’s second highest peak, Jezerski, which requires a climb of 461 steps to get to the top. The reward is very rich…a bird’s eye view of roughly 80% of the country and 100% on a clear day. It’s really spectacular and definitely worth doing. You might also be interested in the tomb that is built into the mountain with cold marble.
If you haven’t got your backpacker’s culture badge yet, this is the place where you’re bound to earn it through and through. Located just across the mountain range that lurks behind Kotor and Perast, Cetinje was once the capital of Montenegro. The Main Square boasts the impressive King Nikola’s former Palace which is now a museum and the area is abundant in great scenery with the likes of museums and churches as the highlights.
As Montenegro’s main connection by water, Bar plays an important role in the touristic route of the country. Home to Montenegro’s biggest port, Bar has plenty of ferries that leave for Italy and surrounding countries. Its beaches are mainly rocky, so they aren’t as popular as the beaches found on Budva, but a day spent in Bar’s Old Town is well worth your time. The Ruins of the Old Town instantly transport you back in time while you gaze upon the buildings that date as far back as 800BC.
Pick the time right!
Tourists travel to Montenegro from April to September
April through to September is the best time to visit Montenegro. The coastal region of the country has a Mediterranean climate with very warm summers and mild winters, while the interior region has a Sub-Alpine climate with warm summers and bitterly cold winters.
Did you know?
- Salata od hobotnice - octopus salad
- Riblja čorba - fish soup
- Crni rižot - black risotto made with cuttlefish ink
- Riba na žaru - barbequed fish, either orada, brancin or cipol
- Šopska salata - salas consisting of tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onions, olives and feta cheese. Essentially a traditional Greek Salad.
- It is customary for the visiting guest to bring a bottle of wine and a box of coffee when invited by someone for a meal.
- This is an Eastern Orthodox country, so you should dress respectably for visiting churches and monasteries – legs and shoulders covered, for both men and women
- Nudism is allowed on designated beaches and topless bathing for women is generally accepted on all beaches.