Welcome to Montenegro
Where is Montenegro
Montenegro is a great place to spend a successful holiday for both backpackers and families with children. Climate state forms it’s intimate and unique landscapes.
Montenegro (Crna Gora, Црна Гора ) is a small country located in Southern Europe on the Coast of the Adriatic Sea. It borders with Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.
Yet for all that it’s modest size would initially suggest it is home to five wild and stunning national parks: Lovcen (Lovćen, Ловћен), Skadar Lake (Skadarsko jezero, Скадарско језеро), Biogradska Gora (Биоградска Гора), Durmitor (Дурмитор) and Prokeltije(Проклетије) cover 7.7% territory including the world’s second deepest canyon – river Tara canyon , the spectacular fjord which is the Bay of Boka (Boka Kotorska, Бока Которска) only in this region of Europe and an abundance of breathtaking scenery. The Boka Bay and the historic walled Old town of Kotor (Stari grad Kotor, Стари град Котор) are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The fjord penetrates 28 km into the mountains lined with ancient towns and stunning scenery from every sweep and curve of the road which skirts its perimeter. Steep, forest covered mountains plunge straight into the bay here while the coastal drive from Budva to Bar offers spectacular views with every turn.
Bay Of Boka – one of the 25 most beautiful bays in the World.
The coastal regions boast a typically Mediterranean climate, with the interior mountains rising to a height of 2522 m in Durmitor National Park. Sailing, swimming, diving and many other water sports can be enjoyed throughout a long summer season extending from April to October. The traditional beach holiday is also catered for here, especially at Ulcinj’s aptly named 13 km ‘Long Beach’. The mountains are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, camping and climbing in summer. Skiing is popular in the winter months. Fishing, bird watching, special interest holidays and Eco-tourism are also increasingly being catered for.
Declared in 1991 as an ecological state, that the future success of this country is dependent on managing the delicate balance between promoting the growth of tourism and sustaining the ecological wildernesses in their pristine condition.
History of Montenegro
Montenegro has a very different story.
The name Montenegro is mentioned for the first time in 1276 in the Charter of King Milutin. It is believed that the name derived from the forests which covered Mt Lovcen and were so dense that they gave the impression of the mountain being black. The area which is now Montenegro was first settled by the Illyrians in about 600 BC, although civilization in the Balkans can be dated back to the 7th Millenium BC. The Romans moved into the area around 400 BC and although the Illyrians remained, the Roman influence strengthened. When the Byzantine Empire gained control of the eastern half of what is now Serbia, the Romans remained in control of the western portion (today’s Western Serbia and Montenegro). Roman settlements are found at Kotor, Budva, Ulcinj, Duklеy, and Bar.
The Croats and Serbs along with the Poles and some Baltic peoples came into the region during the 6th century AD and from here on the Slavic influence strengthened. The influence of the Orthodox church spread through the Kingdom of Dukley (1017-1169) as the region was next known, and the Cyrillic script was introduced – Oktoih.
In the mid 14th century the Ottoman Empire expanded northwards and the region began to be known more commonly as Crna Gora (Black Mountain – Montenegro). Despite several attacks, this small country resisted actual Turkish occupation. An alliance was made with the Venetians in the 1450s and led to the Venetian influence which is still visible today in the area around the Bay of Boka, both architecturally and also in the use of some Italians words in everyday spoken language.
The fifteenth century is another lasting almost three centuries of domination in Turkey. Seeds of the true state arose in the late eighteenth century during the reign of Peter I Petrovic Njegos when Montenegro was recognized by Turkey. During this period there was also the largest cultural flowering of the country, which had its apogee during the reign of Peter II Ruler.
A victory of the Montenegrin Army and Surrender of the Turkish Flag
Montenegro’s independence was recognized by the Ottomans by 1800 and the country then went forth into battle with Napoleon at Kotor (aided by Russia) and independently in Herceg Novi. In 1814 Boka Bay was given to the Austrians. Petar II Petrovic Njegos, today considered Montenegro’s finest ruler, came to power in the early 19th century. He is credited with the establishing the foundations of modern-day Montenegro. Montenegro remained standing on its own two feet until the end of the I World War when Serbia took advantage of the post-war chaos to enter Montenegro. Initially welcomed as protectors and allies in the new Slavic states, relations soured quickly as the Serbs annexed Montenegro. From all of the Allied countries, Montenegro had the unwanted title of being the only country to lose its freedom. However, the independent Member functioned only until 1918.
The II World War saw Montenegro divided by the Italians and Albanians. The Royal Yugoslav army formed a group called the Chetniks and the man known then as Josip Broz – Tito – formed the Partisans. The Chetniks wished to maintain Yugoslavia in a state that could be handed back to the King after the war, while the Partisans wished to turn Montenegro and Yugoslavia at large into a communist state. With the help of the Russians, Belgrade was liberated in autumn 1944 and the Partisans quickly took over the rest of Yugoslavia from there.
Despite the common interests of the Russians and Tito during the war, their relations soured afterward and once Tito decided to take his own road to socialism, Yugoslavia was effectively isolated from the rest of the Eastern bloc and set about its own brand of communism. Montenegro formed part of the New Yugoslavia and gained a larger share of the coastline than previously. The six Yugoslav republics had a degree of autonomy, but rugged, inaccessible Montenegro lagged behind in development in many areas. After Tito’s death in 1980 each republic increasingly went their own way and by the early 1990s, the Balkans were, not for the first time in history, the firecracker of Europe. Only Montenegro and Serbia remained joined, with the other republics seceding from the old Yugoslavia and from which war ensued between all but Slovenia, Macedonia and to a large extent the actual territory of Montenegro.
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA; Albanian: Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës – UÇK), was an ethnic-Albanian nationalist paramilitary organization that sought the separation of Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and Serbia during the 1990s and the eventual creation of a Greater Albania, stressing Albanian culture, ethnicity, and nation.
Finally the civil war ended but it did not herald the arrival of peace for Montenegro and Serbia, when Milosevic ordered the forced evacuation the Kosovo Liberation Army, was an ethnic-Albanian nationalist paramilitary organization that sought the separation of Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and Serbia during the 1990s, from semi-autonomous Kosovo. Milosevic’s failure to reverse his orders led to the NATO bombings of both Serbia and Montenegro in 1999 and once again the region became a no-go area.
Today Montenegro is taking steps towards future stability with the increased promotion of tourism and investment in the country, a pro-western government, the referendum is now scheduled for 21st, May 2006 as a result of the referendum, Montenegro became independent.
The accession of Montenegro to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) (
Montenegro is one and only country in the world who is part of NATO and aggression by NATO in 1999 with uranium depletion and unallowed cassette bombs.
Montenegro offers tourists a wide range of diverse attractions ranging from historical
The most famous and frequently visited resort is a seaside
Going further along the coast we find the next lovely city called Bar. It is famous for its magnificent olive trees, and also boasts a beautiful old town. Going further towards the border with Albania should stop in the town of Ulcinj. It is currently the most popular resort in Montenegro. Its popularity owes a beautiful, extremely broad beaches so unusual for the coast of Adriatic Sea. An additional advantage of the city is up in the deep sea, old town.
A real rarity is a city of architectural Old town Kotor, after Dubrovnik second jewel of the Adriatic. Even the location of the city makes an impression – on the one hand entering the city of
In addition to beautiful architectural monuments of Montenegro has to offer the richness of nature. For people who like to spend rental in a proactive manner and in close proximity of nature is recommended national park Lake Skadar. Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkans and the largest bird sanctuary in Europe. Only here on Europe continent can meet pelicans.
The big attraction is the island of Ada Bojana on the river
Another unique miracle of nature is Durmitor National Park, which includes the picturesque and Europe’s deepest canyon of the river Tara. It abounds in many deep canyons, caves
Cities in Montenegro
Podgorica – Montenegro’s Capital City
Montenegro’s capital city is located at the confluence of the Moraca and Ribnica rivers. 60km inland from the coast, the city sits in on a plateau surrounded by mountains. Completely destroyed by the end of WWII, the city has been rebuilt in modern times, first of all under the name Titograd and in 1992 reverting to its the original name of Podgorica. With almost nothing left of the original city Podgorica is not a tourist destination in its own right, however the ancient ruins of the city of Duklja are located about 5km north west of the city and is thought to be the remains of a Roman city built in the 1st century on the foundations of the Illyrian city of Docleati.
In addition, Podgorica boasts museums, is a main air and road transport hub and the jumping off point for excursions to the mountain resorts, coastal regions, and Skadar Lake.
Cetinje – The Historical Capital
Cetinje, the historical capital of Montenegro for many centuries, lies at the foot of Mount Lovcen. Founded in the XV Century the town was home to the Cetinje Monastery, the residence of the Prince Petar II Petrovic Njegos, Montenegro’s most famous poet and ruler.
Despite losing its capital city status to Podgorica, Cetinje is still considered the cultural and educational center of the country, with museums, libraries, art galleries, and a university.
Fact: Cetinje, located almost 700m above sea level, boasts Europe’s highest rainfall in excess of 3,250 mm annually.
Archeological finds suggest the existence of Kotor dates back to Illyrian times, followed by Greek and Roman settlement thereafter. Taking on a Slavic character in the 7th century, Kotor has long been the most important town in the Bay of Kotor.
Today the walled old town with steep battlements clinging to the mountainside almost vertically above is a sight to behold. Within the town walls narrow, paved streets conceal architectural treasures such as the Cathedral of St Tryphon which dates back to 1166. Shops, houses, and small hotels are hidden amongst a maze of alleyways with squares and gardens now home to open-air cafes and restaurants. The harbor quay outside the old town is a relaxing place to take a stroll and watch boats arriving into Kotor. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site this town is not to be missed.
The small, baroque town of Perast sits on a hillside beneath the towering mountainsides of the Bay of Kotor and was founded principally as a defensive citadel protecting the inner bay. First mentioned as a town in the 1320’s, Perast is protected as a UNESCO heritage site today and real estate prices here are among the highest in Montenegro.
Sitting before the town, in the still, clear waters of the bay are the two tiny island churches of St George and the Lady of the Rocks. St George is a natural island whilst the latter is an artificial island built in the XV century. A church was originally built over a sandbar and the island grew over the centuries with the addition of rocks and stones. Every July, the founding of the island is celebrated by groups of men who row out to the island in boats and deposit rocks and stones in imitation of the founding of the island.
Formerly a summer resort for the local nobility, Tivat is located at one end of the outer bay with the foothills of Mount Lovcen sweeping up to one side and the gentler hills of the Lustica pensinula on the other side. Tivat has an international airport with direct flights from London in the summer.
A medieval town founded in 1382, formerly known as Castel Nuovo, Herceg Novi is actually the ‘youngest’ town in the Bay of Kotor. Known for its fortresses, the Spanish tower, Mare fortress, Kanli Kula and Citadel are now used as open-air stages for concerts in the summer months. The town has many gardens with sub tropical plants and in the eastern part of the town is the Savina Monastery, originally built in 1030 and rebuilt in the 15th century.
A 7km long promenade stretches from Herceg Novi to Igalo, the nearby holiday resort with a highly regarded health spa center and rehabilitation facilities. Mineral sea mud and springs here provide a relaxing range of therapies. Many shops, restaurants, and cafes can be found along the promenade.
Sveti Stefan and the Budva Riviera
An image synonymous with Montenegro, the small island of Sveti Stefan is picture postcard perfect. Since the 1960’s the resort has played host to numerous film stars, royalty, and other members of the jet set. The town was built in the 15th century by locals seeking refuge from the Turkish occupation. Known as Pastrovici the island is supposed to have been the starting point for pirating expeditions by local sailors. The resort is soon to undergo renovation and will re-emerge as an exclusive resort, once again to host the rich and famous.
Close by is the Milocerska beach and smaller, tree-lined Queen’s Beach and the Milocer hotel, formerly a royal summer residence of the Karadjordjevic family.
The Old Town of Budva itself is an architectural delight. Within the town, walls are churches dating back to the 7th and 8th century. Budva is well known for its summer festivals celebrating theatre and poetry. The coastline around the Budva area boasts many fine beaches including Jaz, Becici and Slovenska, as well as many hotels. Close by Przno and Becici are well-known tourist destinations for the region.
The coastal road south from Bar to Ulcinj claims to have the oldest living olive trees in Europe, with one at more than 2,000 years old according to local history. The town of Ulcinj itself is an old port and the beaches which stretch to the south of the town are among Montenegro’s finest. The ‘Velika Plazha’ or ‘Great Beach’ is 13km long.
Niksic is Montenegro’s second largest town and home to the country’s favourite beer. Recent investment from a Belgian company into the town’s brewery has heralded a change of fortune for the town which suffered badly as a result of the Balkan unrest in the 1990’s and was slow to recover. Niksic is the starting point for excursions to the beautiful Savnik region which is abundant with waterfalls and rivers. Access is not always easy and 4WD is recommended especially in winter.
The gateway town to Biogradska National Park, Kolasin is reached from Podgorica by way of the Moraca river valley, a spectacular drive along a steep sided canyon emerging into the mountainous massif of central Montenegro. Kolasin has several hotels and adventure tour operators, providing sports and activities for all tastes. The town is small but makes up for it’s size by providing many bars and cafes with a reportedly buzzing social scene.
The locals refer to Zabljak – the small town which serves Durmitor National Park as the ‘real’ wild. It is the only resort town in the Park and offers hotels and activities for those with a taste for adventure or simply wishing to soak up the pristine wilderness, fresh air and stunning scenery.
Close to the Serbian border this town is mineral rich but thus far has not exploited it’s tourist potential. Mineral and hot springs and a wealth of caves (many as yet unexplored and not open to the public) make this town a potential tourist goldmine for the future if managed in the correct way. For the time being one can fill a bottle with spring water from the Kisela Voda springs and spend time exploring the surrounding countryside. Close to both Durmitor and Biogradska parks the town is a good starting off point if arriving from Serbia.
Accomodation in Montenegro
Regarding the accommodation facilities, Montenegro has to offer both private accommodation apartments and hotels with the highest European standard. Prices accommodation and apartments are lower in June and from mid-September. The cheapest is in the vicinity of Ulcinj, more expensive in the Budva. The database is still a tourist in this country in the development phase, so you should go to Montenegro as soon as possible, while there, you can find peace and rest from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Montenegro Traditional Food And Drink
The legacy of Venetian occupation and the fusion of Serb, Austrian and Ottoman influences has left Montenegro with a very rich and varied cuisine. This variety is reflected regionally with Northern, Continental, and Mediterranean specialties. Montenegrin food, like its landscape and
Meat: Montenegrins will tell you that meat dishes are their specialty. Njeguški pršut, a locally smoked prosciutto style ham is found everywhere and makes a delicious starter with olives and cheese. These days, some of the pork is imported from Holland to meet demand but the traditional curing process is unchanged. Njegusi, the village below Mount Lovcen, is the center of production and visits can be arranged to see the process and sample the finished product. Lamb cooked in milk, Durmitor lamb, Durmitor steak, Japraci, mutton smoked ham, stewed sauerkraut, sausages flavored with wild herbs, cabbage stuffed with minced meat and local venison dishes are highly recommended.
Salad and vegetables: For economic reasons, virtually everything in Montenegro is homegrown and completely organic. The combination of warm sunshine and high winter rainfall is perfect for most crops. Olives, peppers, grapes, oranges, pomegranates, apples, leeks, wild mushrooms, watermelons, and tomatoes are all in their element here. It is even possible to grow banana along the coast. Aubergine salad, peppers in kajmak and
Fish: Skadar Lake and the mountain streams provide carp, trout, salmon, and eel. The Mediterranean catches regularly include gilthead bream, amberjack, squid, dentex, grey mullet, st. Pierre, among others. The fish is always fresh with fishing boats delivering directly to seafront restaurants especially in the Bay of Boka and Budva riviera. Boka fish stew, black risotto, grilled fish, mussels,
Desserts: The Eastern European style predominates with a Turkish flavor. Rich sugary pastries and cream combined with wild berries, strawberries, raspberries, and fresh fruit are very popular. Portions are usually large, it is surprising that Montenegrins are so slim! We highly recommend the Crnogorski pancakes either as a dessert or with coffee/herbal tea as a snack!! Rustule and Patispanj should also be sampled, perhaps after a long walk or energetic swim. My favorite is Sveti Helene, a pastry filled with custard, cream and topped with caramelized sugar.
Cheeses/Yoghurt: All are excellent and widely used in cooking. Cheese from (olive) oil is a favorite starter and highly recommended, even if you are not a fan of olives.
Wines and Spirits: Both red and white wines are produced locally. Vranac is an excellent value red wine (a personal favorite) and suits most palates. The local Merlot compares favorably with many medium priced European varieties. Perhaps the best whites are the Krstac (dry) and the Sauvignon. Rakija is the local Loza/grappa and drunk everywhere in toasts and universally offered to guests and visitors upon arrival. It can be quite fiery and should be sipped, (as your host will continually fill up your glass). Best drunk chilled as an aperitif with smoked ham and cheese. The smoothest variety is Kruna distilled with vine twigs.
The first surprise is the cost. Everything is ridiculously cheap in comparison to Europe. Even more remarkable are the standards. Montenegrins are rightly proud of their hospitality, this is evident in the levels of service, the size of the portions and the high standard of hygiene in even the smallest cafes and unassuming roadside restaurants. English is spoken widely and English menus are quite common.
Recommendations: There are few ‘upmarket’ restaurants in Montenegro though they are coming. Kotor restaurants, Tivat restaurants, Herceg Novi restaurants and Lustica restaurants in the Boka Bay (Boka Kotorska) are at the high end as are the restaurants at Sveti Stefan restaurants and Budva restaurants, as well as having stunning locations. Delightful seaside restaurants abound, many in the Bay of Boka are best reached by boat and have their own landing stages. The fishermen also tie up here so ask for the catch of the day, although the fish is always fresh. In general, the standard is so good in most restaurants that you do not need to spend a lot of money or go to a prestigious restaurant in order to enjoy excellent food and wine.
|Kotor restaurants||Perast restaurants||Tivat restaurants||Budva restaurants|
|Lustica restaurants||Dobrota restaurants||Herceg Novi restaurants||Sveti Stefan restaurants|
|Cetinje restaurants||Podgorica restaurants||Porto Montenegro restaurants|
The Best Beaches in Montenegro
Montenegro has 293 km of coastline and approx 73 km of beaches. The longest, sandiest beaches are found in the south around Ulcinj which boasts the longest beach of all at 13km. Between Tivat and Budva is the famous ‘Jaz’ beach offering watersports and a traditional beach resort feel, along with several other popular beaches. The Milocerska beach is fringed with trees and the sand stretches into the clear blue waters of the Adriatic.
The Mediterranean climate gives long hot summers and at least six months of swimming. This area of the Mediterranean boasts the warmest waters and the sea temperature is ideal all summer long.
The wild Lustica Peninsula has a rocky coastline with small inlets and beaches, some reached only by sea on one of the regular small boat ferries which ply these waters in summer. The famous ‘Blue Grotto’ – a cave on the sea coast hides a secret of deep, shining blue waters and the magic of swimming inside is simply wonderful. The Lustica beaches have beach bars and barbeques, where local fisherman ply their catch and the barman, will cook the day’s catch on the grill for you.
Around the Bay of Boka, the beaches tend to be smaller and mostly of shingle, but of a good standard and many with beach facilities such as sunbeds for hire, small bars, and restaurants. The mountains here fall dramatically into the bay and the water is deep and clear.
Diving and other traditional watersports are offered at many of the beaches or can be arranged in the local resorts.
|Herceg Novi Beaches||Kotor Beaches||Tivat Beaches||Lustica Beaches|
|Budva Beaches||Bar Beaches||Ulcinj Beaches||Skadar Lake Beaches|
Montenegro national parks
Durmitor, Skadar Lake, Biogradska Gora, Lovcen and Prokletije National Parks cover a total area of more than 90,000 ha or 7.7% of the territory.
Durmitor National Park is the giant of them all with the highest mountain in the country at 2522m. In winter the small town of Zabljak provides a base for skiing and winter sports. In summer the mountains of the park provide a stunning backdrop for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The Tara river runs through part of Durmitor National Park and provides visitors with the second deepest canyon in the world after the USA’s Grand Canyon reaching 1,300m at it’s the deepest point. White water rafting on the Tara is a popular summer pastime.
Pricelist For National Park Durmitor
Biogradska Gora is Montenegro’s oldest protected park and mostly consists of primary forest. The park boasts five glacial lakes and covers an area from the Tara river to the summit of Mt Bjelasica. Superb summer hiking is available and wilderness camping. A comprehensive map of the hiking trails available in the tourist offices. The snow cover in this region remains on the highest peaks for six months of the year, so is best for summer hiking unless you have specialist equipment.
Pricelist For National Park Biogradska Gora
Skadar Lake National Park covers an area of around 40,000 ha including the lake itself. It is known as a bird watchers paradise and offers excellent fishing as well. Villages around the shoreline offer local accommodation and restaurants. The scenery of the surrounding mountain peaks reflected in the lake’s waters is bound to provide inspiration for painters and photographers alike.
Pricelist For National Park Skadar Lake
Lovcen National Park is the most accessible of the National parks from the Bay of Boka. The second summit of Mt Lovcen at Stirovnik (the highest summit is Jezerski at 1,657 m) is home to a Mausoleum dedicated to Montenegro’s most celebrated King and poet – Petar II Petrovic Njegos.
The breathtaking views from the summit far reach northwest to the Bay of Kotor, towards Skadar Lake in the southeast and across the central inland plateaus and mountain ranges of Montenegro. The village of Njegos, where the poet was born, is 19km away and is famed for the locally cured prosciutto ham.
The road from Njegos to Kotor descends through 32 hairpin bends, known locally as the ‘Serpentine’ and gives a spectacular view of the Bay of Kotor.
Pricelist For National Park Lovcen
Prokletije received the status of a National park in 2009, which makes it the youngest protected area in Montenegro. Beauty and natural resources of Prokletije have been known since earlier in the entire region and in Europe, so in that aspect it does not fall behind the other Montenegrin National Parks which have been under the protection of the country for much longer.
It includes territories of the municipalities Plav and Gusinje, and its total area amounts to 16630 ha. Prokletije has been recognized as the centre of diversity of alpine flora and fauna, not only at the Balkan, but also at the European and world level. Flora of Montenegrin Prokletije includes over 1700 species of plants which is 20% of the total Balkan flora. Except the separated 40 typical plant communities, great number of those is considered to be endemic.
On the area of 1052 ha, there are two reserves within the National Park: Hridsko Lake and Volusnica. In cultural-historic context, this National Park may pride with the monuments and material traits, some of which date back to prehistoric times. Drawings on rocks, remains of settlements from the Copper and Bronze, but also from the Palaeolithic era, as well as the important religious objects and examples of traditional architecture are just the part of the historical heritage of Prokletije.