Montenegro, the silent European country in the Balkans is quickly becoming the hottest place to visit. Montenegro, ‘the black mountain’, depends on the time of the day and location you are sailing or driving from because you have the impression that it is black because of the sun that is hiding behind the mountains hiding the colors of the mountain as a silhouette. It’s thanks to the Italians who called it ‘Mount Nero’ back in the day and today, Montenegro is quickly gaining popularity amongst travelers who want to explore hidden and undiscovered gems.
As the smallest, youngest, and least populated country in Europe, Montenegro is located in the southern part of the Balkans. The youngest independent country. This beautiful, filled with history and stories country has today a population of only 620,000 people!
Montenegro is a place for adventure, nature lovers, and history information junkies!
I worked side by side with excursion and tour guides, there are so many ways to see and explore Montenegro, but despite having a car, I still booked my tours with Marko from 360 Monte to get a better in-depth explanation and guided tour! Highly recommended!
1. VISIT TARA CANYON AND DJURDJEVICA TARA BRIDGE
YES, right after the Grand Canyon in the US you have the second deepest Canyon in the world called The Tara Canyon! The length of the river Tara is 156KM, the canyon valley is 93 KM long and the canyon depth is around 1,300 meters. If you are looking for an adventure, hike, and direct contact with nature, you will find it right here. They even have ziplining available and river rafting through will blow your mind!
2. OSTROG MONASTERY
The most famous Monastery and pilgrimage site in Montenegro is built on the steep rock overlooking the BJELOPAVLICKA plain. It was founded by Herzeg Archbishop Vasilije in the 17th century. Depending on the weather and resulting cloud formations, the Serbian Orthodox monastery can be in or above the clouds
3. LOVCEN AND NJEGOS’S MAUSOLEUM
Climbing up 465 stairs to the top is well worth the trip! The greatest Montenegrian Poet and Prince Petrovic Njegos (1813-1851) represent a highlight of the visit to the national park, the chapel at the top is 9 meters high with the arch covered in mosaic with 200,000 gold plated tiles.
4. OLD TOWN KOTOR AND BOKA BAY (UNESCO)
The bay is naturally divided into 4 smaller parts covered by smaller towns filled with history and legends. Herceg Novi Bay, Risan Bay, Kotor Bay and Tivat Bay. Kotor is on the old coast and has a cultural center. For centuries, it has been the crossroad of commercial roads under the strong influence of Venice. Perast, home to many world-known sailors, is a stone town from which the view is spread towards two famous islets: Gospa od Skrpjela (Our lady of the rocks) and SV Dorde (St.George), both unique attractions.
5. PORTO MONTENEGRO
The settlement built on the place of the former Austro-Hungarian naval arsenal, includes the promenade, exclusive apartments, hotels, cafes, and restaurants. It’s very popular amongst the rich and the famous and is also one of the most impressive ports.
6. ZANJICE BEACH
Zanjice is a resort village near Tivat airport in Montenegro. Many years ago it was a favorite beach of Tito – the former Yugoslavian leader. It is not the best beach in Montenegro, but it has easy access to the Blue Cave from here by kayak. You can visit here while on a boat tour or by car can be easily reached. Plan your lunch here too! You have a couple of different restaurants to choose from!
7. OLD TOWN BUDVA
More than two and a half thousand years ago as the “town of Illyria” the Old Town of Budva appears in the literature, today it is a place that must be visited during your stay, and surrounding beaches such as Slovenska and Mogren as the popular ones. Budva is the “touristic capital” of Montenegro. It unites the two sides of Montenegrian life: the modern dynamic aspect and the ancient spirit
8. NATIONAL PARK AND SKADAR LAKE
With an area of around 530 square KM, depending on the water level, Skadar lake is the biggest lake in the Balkans. Due to its geographic position, and sub-Mediterranean climate, it is one of the most important habitats of 280 bird species of swamp birds in Europe. It is incredibly beautiful while taking a tour by a wooden boat on the lake and having lunch nearby. Marko from 360 Monte would organize this for you for your tour. It is important to get a guide with you in order to understand the history.
9. THE ISLAND OF SVETI STEPHAN
Island stone houses were built more than 5 centuries ago for the families of nearby villages. Today, island houses are restored and transformed into one of the most exclusive summer resorts in the Mediterranean visited by many celebrities from all over the world. You can visit the beaches nearby and enjoy the view of the island. You have a choice of only visiting the island free of cost, parking is available at a rate or you can park your car outside and visit the nearby beaches and restaurants. Part of the other side of the island, there is an entrance fee of 100 euros per person. Booking at the hotel for any restaurants should be made in advance.
10. THE BLUE CAVE
The Blue Cave is located on the Lustica Peninsula, at the entry to the Kotor Bay which resembles Norwegian fjords, and beautiful illuminated blue water. Make sure you get your underwater camera and enjoy kayaking here too! You can get here by boat or kayaking. Bring your underwater camera the water can be a little too cold so pack a wet top suit if you get cold!
11. OUR LADY OF THE ROCKS
It’s a unique island church set just in front of a UNESCO Heritage-protected town. On 22nd July 1452 two brothers were fishing in front of Perast and found a picture of the Madonna and child painted by Lovro Dobricevic stuck on a protruding rock. They took it home and seemingly overnight, one brother who had been ill for a long time, was healed. They took this as a sign and vowed to build a church on the spot. The town began the tradition of throwing a rock into the sea at this spot whenever they returned safely from a voyage. Old ships were filled with rocks and scuttled here to help build up the island.
Make sure you wear the proper clothes before entering the island, no swimming suits. I suggest you get there really early to avoid the crowd or at sunset. Also, book your tour with 360 Montenegro, Nina, the tour guide is fantastic at giving you all the details you need to know!