Travel to Montenegro in the Balkans: between the fjords and the mountains of the Adriatic

Published on : 27 May 20218 min reading time
Montenegro is a country in the Balkans, in Southern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and bordering Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. The capital is Podgorica with 170,000 inhabitants, the former royal capital is Cetinje which also holds the title of “capital of the throne”. Montenegro applied for EU membership in 2008.

History

Montenegro was part of the former Yugoslavia and then part of Serbia and Montenegro until just over a decade ago, when it became independent. While its neighbour Croatia is on many European tours and has become a tourist magnet, Montenegro remains in the shadow of its neighbours. It became one of the two constituent states of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992, and after the dissolution of the latter in 2003 it became part of the transitional state union of Serbia and Montenegro. In the evening of 3 June 2006, the Parliament of Montenegro officially proclaimed the country’s independence and the dissolution of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, in accordance with the wishes of Montenegrins expressed in the referendum of 21st May, 2006. Iceland, through its Foreign Minister Geir Haarde, became the first country in the world to recognise Montenegro as an independent and sovereign country. Russia followed suit on 11 June, becoming the first major power to do so, followed two days later by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which took the same position, as did the Serbian government. On 22nd June, Montenegro became the 56th member state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and on 28 June it was admitted as the 192nd member state of the United Nations. On 15th December, 2008, Montenegro applied for membership of the European Union. The euro was already the de facto local currency even before the country’s independence. Montenegro became the 29th member of NATO on 5th June, 2017. But nothing could be further from the truth. A trip to Montenegro will make you fall in love with anyone and fill your heart. Montenegro’s culture goes back a long way, with the separation from Yugoslavia and even Serbia still open wounds and sensitive issues in the country. However, they are known for their “Samo polako”, a philosophy of life that means something like “taking things lightly, in a quiet life”. It is therefore the ideal country to visit if you want to “release stress”.

Culture and gastronomy

Known for resting first and working later, their laid-back culture amazes travellers. And of course, how can you relax on an empty stomach? Gastronomy in this country is a true art and proves that the “Mediterranean diet” can be reinvented. Imagine this “diet” so well known to the Portuguese, crossed with Turkish and Central European influence. It is in this context that a unique gastronomy is born that will delight you. Bread is served at meals, and ranges from Rumetinov with corn to mixed bread. To accompany the bread come soups, such as chicken soup. If you have never tasted lamb or beef broth, Montenegro is your chance. In fact, lamb is one of the most used meats in its traditional dishes, or was it not for the mountainous and green area where the country is located. Try the Kuvani Brav or the country’s official dish, Brav u Mlijeku. And of course, as in a Mediterranean country, squid, octopus salad and black rice also have their place in the delicious gastronomic menu of this country.

Breathtaking natural landscape

Once you have relaxed and satisfied your taste buds, it is essential to explore the breathtaking scenery of this country surrounded by green mountains. Travelling to Montenegro means visiting Kotor. It is a coastal town set in a stunning gulf, with one of the most famous bays in the Balkans. Its harbour, with fortifications dating back to the Italian influence, turns the whole landscape into a real fairy tale. Those who see this imposing gorge say that it reminds them of the imposing fjords of the poles. A landscape not to be missed, isn’t it? 

Durmitor

The Durmitor National Park also offers a pleasant trip to discover the best of Montenegro’s nature. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is a protected natural area with large trees, glacial lakes, imposing mountains, geological canyons, and a variety of other natural features.

Durmitor

The Durmitor National Park also offers a pleasant trip to discover the best of Montenegro’s nature. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is a protected natural area with large trees, glacial lakes, imposing mountains, giant canyons… Everything you need to be in harmony with nature. Walk around Lake Negro, or to Lakes Barno and Zminje. Enjoy the Tara Gorge, the deepest in Europe, stopping at the Curevack lookout, or walking across the Djurdjevica Bridge, considered the most beautiful in Montenegro. Durmitor is a karst massif in Montenegro, located in the Dinaric Alps. Its main peak, Bobotov Kuk, reaches an altitude of 2,528 metres. The park has an exceptional fauna, a relief from the ice age. The Capercaillie, the brown bear, the wolf and the chamois are worthy representatives. Birds of prey are not to be outdone with the presence of the golden eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, the booted eagle, the griffon vulture, the Egyptian vulture, the peregrine and hobo falcon, the Tengmalm’s owl, the eagle owl, etc. The park has many ecosystems, from Mediterranean to Alpine, located between 450 and 2,522 metres in altitude. The park has 48 peaks above 2,000 metres, 15 of which are above 2,300 metres. Mount Durmitor is the highest point at 2,522 metres. There are 13 glacial cirques and 18 mountain lakes, known as “the eyes of the mountain” (including the Black Lake, the largest), waterfalls and forests. Along the Tara River, which runs for 83 km through the park, is the last forest of black pines (Pinus nigra) in Europe: on 40 hectares, there are 400-year-old trees 50 metres high. In addition to the Tara, the Susica and Draga rivers also flow here, fed by 748 springs, which are themselves enclosed in deep canyons. Karstic and glacial phenomena have led to the formation of Ledena Cave, or Ledena Pecina, literally “ice cave”, a cavity situated at 2,160 metres above sea level and containing remarkable ice stalactites and stalagmites.

Budva

Take the opportunity to visit medieval towns such as Budva, which has a beautiful beach, or Perast, with a church in the middle of the man-made island that makes the landscape a real enigma. And for those who want something “super exclusive”, Sveti Stefan is a dazzling little island, with a luxurious resort designed for all those who are looking for something unique in Europe, becoming the perfect refuge of calm, peace, tranquillity. Budva is a city and municipality in Montenegro. In 2003, the city had 10,918 inhabitants and the municipality 15,909. The city and municipality are inhabited by a relative majority of Montenegrins with 48.17%, with a large Serbian population of 38.50%. The coastal region of Budva, called Budva Riviera, is the centre of tourism in Montenegro, and is appreciated for its sandy beaches and active nightlife. It has beautiful examples of medieval Mediterranean architecture. Budva is 2,500 years old and is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast.

Dubrovnik

Finally, as you visit one of the most charming regions in Europe, don’t forget to visit neighbouring Croatia and Slovenia. Dive in Dubrovnik, admire the Plitviče lakes, discover Bled or let yourself be enchanted by Ljubljana. Dubrovnik is a city and municipality in Croatia, capital of the county of Dubrovnik-Neretva. It was once the capital of a maritime republic known as the Republic of Ragusa. Its inhabitants, as well as everything related to them, are still called Ragusans. The municipality has a population of 42,615, of which 88.39% are Croats, 3.26% Serbs and 3.17% Bosnians, and the city alone had 30,436 inhabitants. Its motto is: “Freedom cannot be sold even for all the gold in the world”. Located on the southern Dalmatian coast, close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, the fortress city of Dubrovnik is an important tourist attraction in Croatia. The Placa, or Stradun, is a wide paved avenue in the middle of the city, on the former marshland that separated Latin Ragusa from the rock of Dubrava on the mainland. When the city expanded in the Middle Ages, it drained the marsh and turned it into an artery. The city’s climate is marked by hot, humid summers and cold winters, but tempered by its proximity to the sea. Its characteristics are similar to those of the Po Valley in Italy, north of the opposite Adriatic coast. The city is served by Dubrovnik Airport located 20 km south of the city near Čilipi. The city will in the future benefit from the A1 motorway. As Dubrovnik is cut off from the rest of Croatia by the Neum coastal strip, which belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the motorway will either have to pass through Bosnia and Herzegovina, with two border crossings, or more likely use the planned Pelješac bridge so as to avoid two long border crossings.

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