Montenegro or Crna Gora, which means Black Mountain, is a small country in the Balkan region with less than 700,000 inhabitants. It became an independent state in 2006 with a peaceful referendum. Mainly mountainous, the territory of Montenegro astonishes for its variety of landscape.
As soon as you read the article go and check the video attached, is worth more than my 1060 words!
In the north of the country is the Tara River Canyon, a proper canyon excavated by the river throughout the mountains at the border between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is possible to do a sightseeing of the canyon from the road that separates the countries, but the most efficient ways to have an overview of the river are rafting on the river and flying over it with the zip line. We stopped at the Đurđevića bridge and I tried zip line, short, but very pleasant fly under the rain.
Going down you will come across Podgorica, that despite being the capital of the country is not very touristic. However, on the way to the seaside you will coast the Skadar lake, a beauty shared by Montenegro and Albania.
One of the most popular towns on the Montenegrin seaside is Budva. You’ll hear a lot of Russian, as it is probably one of the favourite destinations of Russian speakers in the Balkans. To be honest, I don’t think I would come back to Budva. It is too touristic and the new part of the town is almost kitsch. Nonetheless, the old town, that was part of the Republic of Venice, seems a proper stronghold ready to be explored.
The Hemingway café is a great place to start your day with a croissant and a coffee.
Budva is quite expensive, and not all the restaurants are worth the money. For the dinner I would suggest you to go to Porto, they serve really good fish plates. We ate at Jardan as well, we had a very cool table, next to the sea, but we did not enjoy the food.
The island of Sveti Stefan is very close to Budva. It is a small Mediterranean paradise that can be explored in a few ours. Here everything is very expensive, especially the restaurant in which the tennis player Novak Djokovic held his wedding (an espresso 5 euros), but definitely worth to see, especially in April when wisteria is in blossom.
I would advise you to stop for the lunch at Olive Tree. If you book a table by the window, you’ll have the best view of the island. They have a small variety of food, but everything that we tried was well prepared, and the prices are fair.
The bay of Kotor is a must visit place! Not only Kotor, but also Perast and Porto Montenegro. Kotor is a huge town, stronghold of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, whose churches and castle you can visit for a few euros climbing the stairs up on the mountain. The city is a shining jewel. You can spend hours wandering among its streets. It is not a case that almost every day shipping cruises stop bringing a lot of tourists in town. However, this is also a problem, because due to the amount of people visiting and ruining the city, the permanence of Kotor in the UNESCO World Heritage is at risk.
Up north on the coastline, just ten minutes from Kotor there is Perast. This is a very small town with an enormous number of churches. It is incredible to find so many churches in such a small piece of land. From the town you can buy a ticket for the ferry that will lead you to Our Lady of the Rocks, a church on a very small island, one of the symbols of Montenegro itself. It has a beautiful legend, that you can find here.
South of Kotor, no more than fifteen minutes by car there is Porto Montenegro, a small fraction of Tivet. This is an important destination for sea travellers that land here with their boats and yacht. Some restaurants are pretty expensive, but others have affordable prices. We had a dinner at Al Posto Giusto and did not regret it.
Leaving Kotor Bay you can choose to pass through the hinterland throughout the Lovćen National Park. Besides wonderful nature, you can take your time to stop at the Njegoš Mauseleum. Petar II Petrović-Njegoš was a cosmopolitan Orthodox Serb that ruled as a governor of Montenegro, the monument is a celebration of his historical importance for the region. From here you can observe Montenegro from the top.
Finally, you can conclude your Montenegrin trip through the visit of the Ostrog Monastery, near Niksič. This is another symbol of the country itself, and a popular religious destination, an amazing monastery excavated in the rock of the mountain.
The only thing I regret was not having time to hike in Durmitor National Park, but we left it for our next trip to Montenegro.