Montenegro’s name – literally meaning Black Mountain in English – conjures up images of treacherous mountain ranges and a harsh, even barren, landscape. In fact, Montenegro is exactly the opposite.
Montenegro has increasingly become a firm favourite with holidaymakers, from the adventurous backpacker to the laidback cruiser due to its magnificently beautiful landscape that is anything but dull. Along picturesque coastlines lie pristine beaches looking out onto the Adriatic sea, and inland you’ll find pretty medieval towns and rolling green hills. What’s more, the country is tiny, you’ll be able to see the full thing in a matter of days! Here are our top seven things not to be missed.
Although the Adriatic Coast can get unbearably busy in the summer months with snap-happy tourists arriving on mass from cruise liners, the Bay of Kotor and more specifically the walled town of Kotor still manages to retain its beauty and charm. A somewhat steep climb to its fortress will give you the perfect snapshot of this beautiful part of the country.
2. Ostrog Monastery
A slightly uneasy drive up winding mountain roads with perilous drops could not be more worth it. Set into a mountain face, Ostrog Monastery is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Balkans. Inside is equally atmospheric, with people queuing – some of whom have walked barefoot up the mountain – to receive a blessing and visit its shrine.
3. Durmitor National Park
For adrenaline junkies a visit to one of Montenegro’s most beautiful national parks is a must. In winter it is packed with skiers and snowboarders and during spring, summer and autumn it has some great hiking routes and kayaking opportunities.
4. Perast’s islets
A trip to the pretty town of Perast is a must – enjoy fresh fish in one of its restaurants that look right out onto the Bay of Kotor. From here you can also take a boat out to see two tiny but equally impressive islets. According to legend, Our Lady of the Rock was made over the centuries by local seamen who found an icon of the Madonna on the bay. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they threw a rock in the sea creating the islet, where now stands a pretty church and museum. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event is hosted called fašinada where local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea.
5. Sveti Stefani
Just outside the thriving resort of Budva, this once traditional fishing islet is now a luxury five-star resort. Although you might not be able to stay in one of its exclusive rooms, you can still admire the view of it from its public beach.
6. Njegoš Mausoleum
Atop one of the highest peaks in the Balkans is the magnificently lavish mausoleum of one of Montenegro’s most beloved leaders. Although he originally wished to rest in a small chapel that he built himself, it was destroyed during the first world war and this was built as its replacement. The inside has gold covered walls and huge intimidating statues and from the outside the views stretch across the majority of Montenegro.
7. Lake Skadar
See where Skadar meets Albania at Lake Skadar National Park. Famed for its spectacular scenery and diverse wildlife, this is one of the most tranquil parks in Europe, a third of which belongs to Albania.
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