Montenegro is a beautiful country abundant with variety of places you can visit and things to do. The famous English poet Byron once wrote “The most beautiful contact between the earth and sea took place at the Montenegrin littoral”.
Aside from enjoying a holiday soundtrack provided by extraordinary musicians from all over the world, festival-goers can also spend time discovering our exceptional country. Heralded as one of the “3 Top Travel Destinations for 2015 by Forbes”, Montenegro is full of surprises with its wild nature, beautiful beaches, rivers with unique canyons, clear lakes, giant mountains, old cities, home-made food and generous people.
Huffington Post tagged Montenegro as the “jewel of the Adriatic”: “Much of Montenegro's allure comes from its shining mix of colors: aquamarine waters, green pine-forested mountains, blazing blue skies and white pebble beaches. But if Montenegro is the jewel of the Adriatic, it's a rough and unpolished one.”
Read this blog post by an American girl who was extremely delighted by our beautiful country: http://www.adventurouskate.com/montenegro-the-most-beautiful-country-in-europe/
Bay of Kotor – with the ancient small town of Perast, old Town of Herceg Novi, old town of Kotor – listed with UNESCO world heritage sites, Porto Montenegro – Luxury Yacht Marina in Tivat, then a well preserved old town of Budva, Sveti Stefan – a small island hamlet turned into a luxury hotel and many splendid sandy and wild beaches make Montenegro a unique jewel of the Mediterranean.
Kotor is a city of traders and famous sailors, with many stories to tell. The Old City of Kotor is a well preserved urbanization typical of the middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site". Carnivals and festivals are organized each year to give additional charm to this most beautiful city of the Montenegrin littoral.
Perast is the hometown of many world-known sailors and a town whose destiny has always been related to the sea. By its lifestyle, it resembled Venice with which it had a very lively trade and cultural links. There are a lot of remains of the old aristocratic palaces that now bear witness to the ancient splendor and richness. In one of them, the Bujevic's palace, the Town Museum is located.
Porto Montenegro is the Mediterranean’s leading luxury yacht homeport and marina village, with 400 berths from 12 to 180m. Centrally positioned between Venice and Corfu it has easy access to over 4000 islands. Complemented by five private residential buildings, a five-star Regent Hotel and Residences, shops, restaurants, sports and leisure facilities, Porto Montenegro has attracted a vibrant year-round international community.
Budvanska Riviera is a 35 km long strip of the Adriatic coast surrounding the town of Budva, with 12.5 km of marvellous long sandy and intimate wild beaches. The best known places along the Budvanska Riviera areBudva, Becici, Milocer, Rezevici, Sveti Stefan, Milocer.
Budva is the centre of Montenegro‘s tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and beautiful examples of Mediterranean architecture. The Old Town of Budva has many different tales and stories of its origin. Scholars and Historians believe it to be originally an island, which later joined the shore to form a sand isthmus. Much of the architecture in the Old Town is of Venetian origin. Doors, hinges, windows, balconies and many other small but noticeable things seem to hold Roman style. There are also three main churches in the old town.
One of the most precious gifts of nature to Montenegro is the peninsula of Sveti Stefan. Legend says today, it is an attractive city-hotel with villas and apartments that display magnificent views to the sea horizon. On the peninsula Sveti Stefan there are also rich cultural and historic heritage left behind by its original inhabitants. On the left and right side of the sandy strip, connecting the island with the shore, there are two beautiful beaches of reddish color.
Montenegro has five national parks which cover approximately 10 percent of the country's territory.
Lovcen Mountain is a national park that rises above the coastal region and is the backdrop of the city of Kotor. Lovcen mountain range is natural, historical, cultural and spiritual symbol for all Montenegrins. On Lovcen is placed Mausoleum of the greatest son of the nation – Petar Petrovic II Njegos, a poet, philosopher, prince-bishop and statesman from 19th century, a prominent member of old Montenegrin ruling family Petrovic. Njegos was born in the village of Njegusi below the Lovcen mountain. Today, Njegos is buried in a sarcophagus in a Mausoleum on the top of Lovcen mountain.
The Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. Its specific beauty is revealed in the rich flora and fauna. Skadar Lake is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 bird species, among which are some of the last pelicans in Europe, and thus popular with birders. The lake also contains habitats of seagulls and herons and is abundant in fish, especially in carp, bleak and eel. Of the 34 native fish species, 7 are endemic to SkadarLake.The shore of the Skadar Lake is picturesque and abounds in peninsulas and swampy bays. It is decorated by Goricas, small islands covered by wild pomegranate laurel and ivy. The Skadar Lake is rich with cultural and historic monuments spread across this National park. Small abandoned fishing habitats located right on the water also represent exceptional cultural heritage. The Ramasar convention from 1996 listed the Skadar Lake in World list of swamps of international importance.
Because of its indescribable beauty and untouched nature, as early as 1952, Durmitor was proclaimed a National park. Durmitor National Park is surrounded by deep valleys and canyons from three side – on the north by second deepest canyon in the world and deepest in Europe – Tara river canyon, on the West by incredible canyon of Piva river and Pivska Planina mountain, and on the South by Komarnica river canyon. The canyon of the wild and untamed beauty of the Tara River is second largest in the world after the Colorado River canyon. Through centuries this “Tear of Europe” created this artistic masterpiece of priceless value by forging numerous breathless gorges and river paths. Waterfalls and calm parts of the River Tara create a scenery right out of fairy tales. Banks are full with vegetation and special forests of black pine trees that are four-hundred years old. This restless river challenges the visitors, with an adventurous spirit, to let it grow and pass unforgettable moments while rafting its white waters. Tara river canyon is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Giant Durmitor abounds in imposing mountaintops and numerous glacier lakes surrounded by rich evergreen forests. Plentiful flora and fauna of Durmitor attracts many nature lovers. Durmitor is World Natural Heritage. The Guardian readers listed Durmitor in TOP 10 national parks in Europe.
Although it is the smallest of four National Parks in Montenegro, Biogradska Gora National Park contains great diversity of flora and fauna. There are 26 different habitats of plants with 220 different plants, 150 kinds of birds, and 10 kinds of mammals live in this Park and in its forest, there are 86 kinds of trees and shrubs. In the waters of the park exist three kinds of trout and 350 kinds of insects. The thing that makes the national park unique is its virgin forest, Biogradska Gora (16 km²) with trees over five hundred years old. In the very heart of Biogradska’s virgin forest is Biogradsko Lake, the largest glacier lake in this National park. Biogradska Gora abounds in cultural and historic heritage consisting of secret monuments, national buildings and archaeological locations. Summer pastures and villages, lining the territorial boarders of the virgin forest of mountain Bjelasica, contain numerous authentic buildings of traditional architecture.
The Prokletije mountains are one of the highest and without doubt most hyper karstic mountain ranges of the Balkan Peninsula whose white naked karstic and jagged ridges and peaks, build form limestone and dolomite show many cirques that create an imposing wild image which sends shivers and fear to visitors (as geographer Jovan Cvijic said in 1913). Because of it’s impressive and amazing beauty, Prokletije Mountain is also known as “Southern Alps of Europe”. Prokletije is surely one of the last mountains in Europe that has not been discovered entirely yet, one of the most enclosed, most reserved and most romantic places in Europe. The Alps, the Dinaric Alps and the Prokletije Ranges represent a unique mountain system made by a folding action of the African plate which is under the European one.
Cultural heritage and tradition
This little country combines features of both the Balkans and the Mediterranean, with influences from both the Ottoman and Venetian Empires.
The architecture of Montenegro is a mixture of many influences, from Roman and Venetian to Ottoman and modern times. Montenegro has a number of significant cultural and historical sites, including heritage sites from the pre-Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods. The Montenegrin coastal region is especially well known for its religious monuments, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon,the basilica of St. Luke (over 800 years), Gospa od Skrpjela (Our lady of the rock) the Savina Monastery, the Cetinje Monastery and others. This area, sometimes called Venetian Montenegro, is full of Venetian architecture, mainly in Kotor (Cattaro) and Perast (Perasto). There is a strong Byzantine influence in Montenegro medieval architecture and painting, notably in the thousands of square metres of frescos in the monasteries and in the hundreds of icons.Village houses in the North of the country tend to have an Eastern appearance.
Montenegrin cuisine can be divided into northern,continental and Mediterranean. Nearly all produce is organic, and tastes are distinctive. A traditional from of cooking is – ‘ispod saca’ – in a pot known as a sac. The northern area features forests berries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, also herbal teas and wild mushrooms. They cook with sour cream (kajmak), yoghurt and both cow’s and sheep’s cheese. The finest kajmak, it is claimed, comes from Trsa, the highest pasture in Durmitor. Dishes include stewed sauerkraut, lamb cooked in milk, peppers in kajmak and Durmitor steak. Montenegrins are noted carnivores. The continental area uses a lot of fish from Skadar Lake, especially carp, trout and eel, smoked, fried and in salad. They prepare smoked ham, cheese in olive oil, sausages and smoked mutton ham. Around Podgorica they stuff cabbage leaves with minced meat and rice, and carp with risotto and dried plums. The Mediterranean holy trinity is wine, fish and olive oil. Olive oil is the basic of every meal with fish, salad and vegetables and sauces, with garlic and parsley. They gather a large variety of sea fish well as crustacean, and a lot of vegetables: chicory, asparagus, leeks, fennel and nettles.When you got sick of it turn to the local staples of Njegusi smoked ham, smoked cheese and olives. Wash it down with Vranac,Krstac or Niksicbeer.Montenegro produces both red and white wines: Vranac, Krstac, Merlot, Chardonnay. The real national drink is rakije, a white grape brandy which is the universal mark of Montenegrin hospitality and a great source of goodwill. The slightly upmarket version is Kruna, distilled in copper stills fired with vine twigs and wood, and the Podgorica variety is called Crnogorski Prvijenac.
Cetinje is the historical capital of Montenegro.Cetinje is mainly attractive as the cultural and spiritual centre of Montenegro, vital for understanding Montenegro’s history. Cetinje has numerous points of interest, among which are Cetinje Monastery, Vlaška church (built in 1450, with its fence made out of barrels of captured enemy rifles), Biljarda, numerous museums, Zetskidom royal theatre and historic foreign embassies. Many of the old embassies and other administrative buildings are now schools of various kinds, and the town is full of young people. Cetinje is also famous for its museums. Museums in Cetinje are: Museum of the Cetinje Monastery, State Museum, "Petar Petrovic Njegos" Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Electric Industry Museum, History Museum, Art Museum. Numerous museums and the huge fund of museum items that are kept there established Cetinje's reputation as a museum town. Cetinje has always been a cultural centre. Every second year the international art exhibition called Cetinje Biennial is held there.
Home to the world’s 2nd largest canyon – Tara – and with the majority of the country covered in mountainous landscape, lakes and parks, Montenegro is a dream for adventure seekers. From high adrenaline zip-lining and white water rafting, to the more traditional hiking and mountain biking, this country has it all.
Water sports are most popular around the Boka Bay and Ulcinj, while the country’s mild climate makes it possible to get out on the water from May through to October. Protected from the open sea the Boka Bay’s tranquil waters are ideal for all kinds of water sports, and in 2013 Tivat became the home of Montenegro’s first wake-park.
Lack of heavy industry and exploitation, left the beautiful Montenegrin coast vastly untouched and its waters clean. Over past several years, Montenegro has been becoming one of the Europe’s most exciting new diving destinations, known for its historical wrecks, steep limestone cliffs rich with caves, caverns and archeological sites. Dozens of military and merchant ships were sunk in these waters over centuries.
The centre of sailing in Montenegro is undoubtedly Bay of Kotor. As southern Europe’s only fjord, this idyllic 93km2 stretch of water is lined with mountain peaks protecting the Bay from the open sea. Here the waters are extremely deep and mill-pond calm, much like sailing on a lake. From here yachts can leisurely explore the rest of Montenegro’s 295km of unspoilt coast line or head further afield, with easy access from Corfu right up to Venice and the eastern Italian coast. In addition, the traditional cruising grounds of France and Spain are also just a two-day sail away.
Towards the south, the coastline becomes flatter with wide open sandy beaches perfect for kite and wind surfing.
One of the most enjoyable ways to explore the coastline during the summer months is from a sea kayak. Kayaking is available at the Bay of Kotor, Ulcinjska Riviera and also at the Skadar Lake and Rijeka Crnojevica.
Montenegro certainly offers some exciting birding destinations, either in the mountains or along the seacoast. Skadar Lake is perfect for bird watching, with 281 bird species. Breeding birds here include Pygmy Cormorant (2,200 breeding pairs!), Dalmatian Pelican (the westernmost breeding site for this species), Squacco Heron, Ferruginous Duck, Whiskered Tern, etc.
Paragliding in Montenegro is a truly once in a lifetime experience providing a unique view of the country’s breath taking landscape. Four paragliding clubs are organizing paragliding events on Montenegrin coast for those who love extreme sports.
With rapids of Class III to IV, the Tara River provides one of the most powerful and challenging rafting expeditions in the European continent. If you are on an all-day rafting expedition in the Tara River, you can offer yourself some break by stopping for occasional meals. Aside from rafting, enjoying an overnight camping on the river side is also quite an experience!
Montenegro has both fresh water fishing (trout and carp) in the mountains, streams, rivers and lakes, as well as sea fishing off the Dalmatian coast. Chartered boats can be hired for big game fishing (tuna, dog-fish and swordfish) in the Adriatic around the coastal cities like Budva. The Tara River is particularly good for trout fishing.
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