Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Montenegrin resorts have recently been gaining ratings of popularity. Tourists are attracted to this small picturesque state by the mild climate and the azure of the warm waves of the Adriatic Sea.

The increased transparency and salinity of the water pleases both ordinary fans of splashing and seriously equipped practitioners of scuba diving. The natural resources of Montenegro are not just rich, they are very diverse. Even on the seashore there are rocky and stony surfaces, smooth pebbles and soft sand. Montenegrin resorts are able to please anyone.

Rest in Montenegro: the nuances and popular attractions - Photo 2

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

A fabulous country in the Balkans used to be visited mainly by supporters of a calm and measured rest: pensioners and tourists with small children. However, the sphere of services began to develop rapidly. There were areas for active recreation, the range of which extends from moderately athletic to outright extreme.

What else makes a holiday in Montenegro memorable? All of Montenegro is one continuous attraction. The most lively interest cause Skadar Lake, Pivskoe Lake, Tara Canyon, and the monastery Ostrog.

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 3

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

For those who are tired of the hot sun, sea and busy beach, the northern part of Montenegro is perfect. Here everyone will find an oasis of relaxation of the soul and pleasure to the eyes. There are a lot of excursions which lead tourists along the intricate trails through the marvelous places.

On Lake Skadar you can try your luck and catch unusual fish. Rare species of fish and birds are preserved in the protected area. Biogradska Gora, the oldest reserve in Europe, also welcomes tourists. In the reservoirs of this national park, fishing is allowed. Here you can take a ride in wooden boats, take a walk in the woods and climb the mountain.

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 4

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Park Durmitor is known for its blue-green lakes, which were given the name “Eyes of the Mountain”. A small piece of land has been transformed by mountain streams into a cluster of clear icy lakes. Durmitor offers not only lakes and canyons of rivers, you can use the services of the ski resort. At the foot of the mountain is a tourist town Zabljak. From there go those who want to visit the highest point of the Balkans – Bobotov Cook.

Holiday in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 5

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Here in the mountains there is also an unusual ice cave . So many visitors come to it that the road has long been marked with paint, precisely leading to the right place. In ancient times, there was a glacier on the site of this cave. The process of its melting shaped the landscape of Durmitor. Water flowed into the rivers. Rivers, making their way to the plain, split the mountains, forming canyons. The canyons of Montenegro have been called a journey into a fairy tale. Dozens of kilometers of the deep valley of the Tara River create a unique landscape, which is very much enjoyed by vacationers. Canyon of such depth can be seen only on another continent, in the American state of Arizona.

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 6

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Another interesting canyon is created by the Moraca River. Its turbulent current, making its way right into the rock, has carved narrow deep gorges. The birch-blue channel of the Moracha is the safest route for rafting fans. Tara river also gathers a lot of people who want to work with oars on catamarans. But the route of Tara is longer and more dangerous, there are about five dozen rapids in its delta.

Holiday in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 7

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Roads, going along the Montenegrin canyons, are also able to cause a lot of excitement. They, like a roller coaster, penetrate through rocks, plunge into tunnels, and, having come to the surface, fall into an abyss of bridges. Dzhurdzhevicha Bridge, connecting the high banks of the Tara Canyon, for example, has become a special attraction for tourists. On this unique engineering structure come specially to admire the panorama of Montenegrin nature from its height.

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Holiday in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 8

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

There are a lot of temples in Montenegro. The old spiritual center – monastery Dovolj; modest outside and rich inside the church Moraca; island monastery St. Michael the Archangel with skillfully performed and well preserved frescos; monastery Dobrilovina; wonderful monastery Ostrog, the building of which is cut out in the rock. This little country never ceases to delight and amaze.

Rest in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions - Photo 9

Holidays in Montenegro: nuances and popular attractions

Montenegro

Anthem of Montenegro

Montenegro – a young country with a rich history. It sounds paradoxical, does not it? But it’s true, because the parliament proclaimed the independence of the republic very recently, on June 3, 2006, although its name appears in the European chronicles since the Middle Ages.

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Video: Montenegro

General Information

In the world, the small state on the Balkan Peninsula is known as Montenegro, but in the native language of the local population it would be correct to say Crna Gora. The Lovcen Massif, once called the Black Mountain, towers over the Bay of Kotor, the largest bay of the Adriatic Sea, and has been a national park for more than half a century. Despite the fact that the length of the land borders is only 625 kilometers, it has five neighbors: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and partially recognized Republic of Kosovo.

Today, more and more travelers are discovering Montenegro as a new destination for interesting and eventful vacation. A quarter of three hundred kilometers of coastline is occupied by excellent beaches, next to which is developed infrastructure for visitors with different financial possibilities. But the sea is not the only thing that Montenegro can brag of! The ancient architecture of Herceg Novi, Kotor, Cetinje and other cities, the picturesque nightlife of Budva, the beauty of Lake Skadar and Tara Canyon, the mountains and monasteries built on their slopes, noisy festivals and fairs, mild climate and temperamental locals… Everyone will find something to adorn his collection of vacation memories!

Mount Durmitor Kotor Skadar Lake The streets of Budva Ostrog Monastery

Cities of Montenegro

Geography and Climate

Montenegro – a country so compact, for example, that in the borders of the agglomeration of Greater New York could comfortably fit twice. At the same time on the area of 13,812 sq. km only 622 thousand people live: Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians, Roma, Croats and representatives of other nationalities.

Beach recreation in Montenegro

Let the name not mislead you. Montenegro is not the Balkan analogue of high-altitude Nepal; most of the country is located in the Dinaric highlands. The central regions, including the two largest cities, Podgorica and Niksic, lie in a relatively flat basin of Lake Skadar. Only in the northeast, where the border with Albania and Kosovo, ridge rises the North Albanian Alps. The slopes of Prokletie Mountains, as it is called, are covered with deciduous and coniferous forests till the height of 1700-1800 meters. 8% of the territory of the Republic are considered protected areas, here they try to preserve the endemic flora and fauna of the Balkan Peninsula.

The climate of most of the country is temperate continental, and the Adriatic coast belongs to the Mediterranean zone with long and relatively dry summer with average temperature of +23-25 °С. This allows you to open the holiday season at the end of April and actively accept holidaymakers till the end of October.

When to go

The most pleasant times of year in Montenegro are spring and autumn: from late March, when the snow and cold leave even the mountainous regions, to early June or September-October, when the summer flow of tourists is gone and the trees are covered with gold, but the sea is still warm and you can bathe in it. July and August are the best months for those who love crowds and a fun family vacation. As one hotelier recently put it about the “Montenegrin Riviera”: If those under thirty will like the hustle and bustle of nightlife and lively beaches in July and August, those who value a quieter holiday will benefit if they come in April-June or September-October. In the mountains in July and August the temperature is guaranteed to be moderate.

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A bit of history

The Slavs settled in the territory once belonging to the Roman province of Dalmatia in the VI century, and already in 1042 the Serbs, after a resounding victory over the Byzantines, defended the independence of their own state, known as Duklja. Soon it was recognized by the head of the Catholic Church and received the status of a kingdom. But the descendants of Stefan Vojislav, who did not have a firm hand and the strategic mind of their ancestor, gradually lost power over Travunia, Zahumia, Bosnia and Rascia, which he had conquered. In the twelfth century, these lands fell prey to more powerful neighbors, and the latter absorbed the Dukljand state by the end of the century.

Roman mosaics in Risan dating from the II-III century BC. Montenegrin refugees during the Montenegrin-Turkish war First Balkan War, 1913

The newly formed principality became known in Byzantine chronicles as Zeta, after the river flowing in the west of the Balkan Peninsula. After a short period of independence it was forced to accept the protectorate of the Venetians, to avoid capture by the Turks. However, the Ottoman army could not restrain the encroachments for long. The triumphant Feriz Bey annexed Zeta to the Skadar Sanjak. In one of the official Dubrovnik papers for 1376 the former principality is named Montenegro. It is believed that this is the first documented mention of the new toponym.

From 1516 to 1852 there was a church state of Montenegro, ruled by lords and metropolitans with the title of bishop. When the country became secular again, the rulers turned into princes and kings. During the Balkan Wars of the early twentieth century Montenegro expanded its territory, and in 1918 became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which after World War II was transformed into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Every European knows about the armed confrontation that followed the collapse of this state formation, but it is not worth discussing the painful subject with the locals.

From 1992 to 2003 Montenegro was a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and after its renaming – the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. According to the results of the referendum, held in May 2006, the country gained the status of an independent republic. Today it is a member of NATO and has an official status of an EU candidate.

Resorts

Where to go for those who have decided to get acquainted with the nature and culture of Montenegro? The choice is quite wide, it all depends on what kind of leisure prefer you and your companions. For example, Sveti Stefan is an ideal option for wealthy travelers who are used to getting the best service and especially comfortable accommodations. Vacations in Herceg Novi will bring lots of bright and pleasant moments to families with children of different ages. Budva will not allow boredom to frequenters of night clubs and bars. Kotor offers its guests a chance to touch the heritage of ancient times. And Ada Bayana attracts plenty of naturists from all over Europe every year. But first things first!

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Tivat

First in our list is not because of particularly enthusiastic reviews, but because it is here that most tourists begin their adventures – four kilometers from the city, in the valley of Grbal, is an international airport. It was built during the Second World War as a military airport, but since 1957 it is reoriented to work with civilian flights – first domestic, from Belgrade, Zagreb and Skopje, and after the construction of a modern terminal receives Boeings and Airbuses from London, Moscow, Paris, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Prague and other European capitals.

Port in Tivat Streets of Tivat Plavi Horizonti Beach

If you don’t like long journeys, you can stay right here. Not at the airport, of course, but in a hotel near one of the best sandy beaches of Montenegro – Plavi Horizonti – or in apartments on the Island of Flowers. Last, contrary to its name, is famous not for its flora (there are many flowers in any of the seaside resorts of Montenegro). Locals call it Miholska Prevlaka, because there is a monastery of the Archangel Michael.

The main disadvantage of this generally very pleasant place is that at the peak of the vacation season the city is overcrowded with holidaymakers, and a free chair on the sand is not easy to find.

Budva

The most famous resort of the country from the “Gates of the Adriatic” is separated by some 20 kilometers. However, the way from the second international airport of Montenegro, Podgorica, does not take more than an hour and a half. The developed tourist infrastructure is successfully supplemented by clean beaches with surprisingly clear water, interesting architecture of the old town, atmospheric restaurants and pubs, amusement parks for the whole family, night clubs and bars with an attention-worthy cocktail list.

Budva, Montenegro Streets of Budva

Of course, popularity goes hand in hand with a corresponding price level. But even with a modest budget to spend a good time in Budva is quite realistic. The main thing is to think about booking affordable accommodation in advance – in the “high” season available rooms on arrival can offer only expensive hotels.

Within the city there are 6 equipped beaches, both sandy and pebbly. Most of them are free, you will only have to pay to rent chairs and umbrellas if you want to sit comfortably. Central “Slavyansky” rather “populous”, but this lack is compensated by showers with fresh water, changing rooms, children’s playgrounds and water slides.

Beach Mogren Jazz Beach Kamenovo Beach Sveti Nikola Beach Richard’s Head Beach St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Budva

The small municipal beach “Guvantse” also offers vacationers good infrastructure, a gentle shore with a comfortable entrance to the water and the opportunity to admire the sea sunset, but because of its location in the suburbs, there are much fewer people here. And don’t let this definition scare you – given the modest scale of the city, you can get here from the center on foot or by public transport, which moves towards Becici.

You can combine sightseeing in the old town with swimming on beaches “Richard’s Head” and “Pisana”, and if you don’t mind walking a bit, you will find yourself on the most picturesque beach of the Budvan Riviera, “Mogren”. To lie by the water, surrounded by flaky rocks and lush greenery, we recommend to take a place in the morning, by noon in July and August there is nowhere to fall. The area belongs to one of the hotels, so there may be an entrance fee, but in practice travelers rarely encounter it.

There is a certified diving center near Budva, where beginners can undergo training and book dives with an instructor at interesting spots on the coast. Experienced divers are interested in coral reefs, the rock Galiola with tunnels and some sunken ships in the bay.

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The historical center will delight the lovers of antiquities with the medieval citadel, which is the trademark of the city and is depicted on most souvenir products, the ancient churches of St. John, St. Mary, the Holy Trinity, St. Sava and a rich display of the local museum of archeology.

Becici and Rafailovichi

These compact resort towns are located a few kilometers from Budva, and are easily accessible by Adriatic highway or by mini tourist train, which makes stops close to the hotels. Narrow and winding streets, covered with greenery, descend to the impressively clear water. Travelers can choose between hotels of different “stars”, villas and private guest houses. Accommodation here is often preferred by families with children or people who seek a quiet and secluded vacation. But peace does not mean boredom! When you want to diversify the “beach” days on the wide sandy beach, you can go in for sports. There are excellent conditions for water skiing, rafting, paragliding, tennis, beach soccer, basketball and volleyball. Dreaming of taking more beautiful photos from your vacation? Take one of the many bus tours of Montenegro and Albania. And if you have an open Italian visa in your passport, take the ferry to Bari to admire the medieval architecture and three dozen ancient churches, one of which houses the relics of St. Nicholas.

Petrovac

Another place for peace and relaxation. The town on the shore of a beautiful bay is surrounded by pine and olive groves, where it is nice to walk in the heat of the day. The rest of the time you want to spend by the water. The city beach has access to the seafront, along which there are cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops and boutiques. Lucice is a little more “wild”, but there are also showers, toilets, changing rooms and rental beds. And yet – the fish restaurant, the terrace which offers a wonderful view of the sea and the cliffs. Venetian fortress XVI century now transformed into a nightclub, but the music will not disturb the sleep of tourists. The main entertainment can be called a boat trip to the nearby islands. There is a small chapel on the rocky top of the island of St. Nedeli, and Katich is interesting for its lighthouse.

Kotor

Kotor is much richer in attractions than other cities in the Montenegrin Adriatic. In 1979, due to its unique architectural ensemble and well-preserved medieval quarters, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The old city is surrounded by really massive fortress walls: their height in some parts reaches 20 meters and the thickness is 16 meters. Inside are the Princes’ Palace, the Clock Tower, the palaces of the noble families, the 12th-18th century churches and the Cathedral of St. Trifon, where the first Croatian King Tomislav was crowned. Moreover, Kotor has been the center of cultural life in the region for many years and it welcomes participants in various festivals.

The city and its surroundings are very beautiful, but as a place of permanent dislocation for a seaside vacation is not too suitable. There are no really good beaches and the water is not as clean as on the other parts of the coast.

Herceg Novi

It is a variant for a quiet family vacation and for people who want to improve their health. Here is located a huge center of physiotherapy, rehabilitation and resort treatment “Igalo”. With the help of qualified personnel, modern medical equipment, sea mud and mineral radon baths in the mild climate of the Boka Kotor Bay the condition of people suffering from cardiologic, neurological, gynecologic, skin diseases, or recovering after injuries of musculoskeletal apparatus, surgical operations is improved.

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But Herceg Novi has a lot of attractions for ordinary travelers as well. In the municipal gardens and parks there are more than a hundred species of tropical and subtropical flora, including relict plants. Over the centuries, the city remembers the memory of different rulers, so in its architectural appearance intertwined features of traditional Balkan, Ottoman and even Austrian architecture. The latter gave the town hall and the fort on the island-penitentiary Mamula, which is certainly worth visiting by boat.

Herceg Novi Promenade in Herceg Novi

The sea fortress, built on the coastal rocks by the founder of Herceg Novi, King Tvrtko I, bears the evidence of the Bosnian nobles, the Turks and the Venetians. The Turks have left as a memento of their rule the Bloody Tower, which today houses a beautiful summer theater, and the Sat Kula – the Clock Tower. Monuments of religious architecture are the Church of St. Michael the Archangel on Belavista Square and the baroque monastery of Savina, two kilometers east of the city.

Herceg Novi’s own beach is too small to accommodate all holidaymakers, but the beautiful beaches of Lustinice peninsula are nearby. You can get there by boat, which runs several times a day during the season, or with the help of local boatmen.

Ulcinj

If you can easily reach Croatia from Herceg Novi, Ulcinj is very close to the Albanian border. The country’s southernmost resort enjoys an average of 217 days of sunshine a year. More only in Spain, Italy and Cyprus! Features of the mineral composition of water and physical properties of the sand make recreation here not only relaxing but also therapeutic.

The ruins of the fortress The streets of the old city

Founded by the Greeks, named by the Romans, under the Ottomans it became a pirate citadel in the Mediterranean and a haven for Christians under the Venetians. In the streets of the old city you can see architectural monuments of different styles and peoples. Churches were rebuilt into mosques, and the palaces of the Venetian nobles became modern hotels.

According to local legend, the Turks kept Miguel Cervantes prisoner in the fortress of Ulcinj and it is here that the image of beloved Don Quixote – Dulcinea of Tobosca was born. If the beauty of nature excites you more than literary characters, go to the nearby Lake Skadar. In this national park you can observe bird life and just admire the scenery.

Ada Bojana

The small island is separated from Ulcinj by 25 km. The status of the reserve has allowed to preserve the nature almost untouched. An interesting feature is that the triangular-shaped piece of land is washed on one side by the salty Adriatic and on the other two by the fresh waters of the Bojan River. On the “sea” shore is a wide beach with unusually soft sand, which in the sunlight shimmers in different shades. Right above the water are the photogenic wooden houses of the local fishermen.

But it’s the hotels and naturist beaches that make this place famous on the continent. Nude vacationers swim, sunbathe, play sports on the tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, and even ride horses in the riding school.

St. Stephen’s

There’s little in this corner for upscale vacations that could bring to mind the past of an ordinary fishing village. Luxurious suites with panoramic terraces, designer furniture and smart fixtures and fittings are designed to make the stay truly luxurious. Sailing, diving, cocktails in cozy bars, promenade in a beautiful park in the village of Milocer attract to the Montenegrin resort the rich and famous: businessmen, Hollywood stars and even members of the royal families of Britain and the Netherlands.

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