Eight Reasons To Visit Montenegro In 2018

Eight Reasons To Visit Montenegro In 2018

Gastronomy benefits from Italian, Greek and Balkan influences meaning food is creative and varied, while the coast is dotted with lively beach bars if you’re looking for a good time. Active travellers will also be kept occupied by hiking trails, kayaking routes and water sports. In a nutshell, Montenegro ticks a lot of boxes – here’s a snapshot of what to expect.



Lord
Byron described Montenegro as “the most beautiful meeting
of land and sea on this planet” – and we can see where he’s coming
from. This tiny European country harbours gin-clear waters and
white-blonde sand, yet surprisingly fewer sun-seekers than its
Adriatic neighbours like Croatia. Gastronomy benefits from Italian,
Greek and Balkan influences meaning food is creative and varied,
while the coast is dotted with lively beach bars if you’re looking
for a good time. Active travellers will also be kept occupied by
hiking trails, kayaking routes and water sports. In a nutshell,
Montenegro ticks a lot of boxes – here’s a snapshot of what to
expect.

1. Landscape

Despite its compact size, the topography of Montenegro is
impressively diverse. In the northwest, you’ll find the blinding
turquoise waters of Lake Piva. Best explored by boat, cruise
between the razor-sharp ravines, peer into Oteša Cave and cool off
in Europe’s largest reservoir. Quieter but just as attractive as
its Croatian counterpart, the Blue Grotto is a refreshing day trip
from the Herceg Novi marina. Not to be mistaken as just a summer
fling, visit Montenegro in winter when the Durmitor National Park’s
peaks become a powder-white playground.

2. Food

Balkan, Turkish, Austrian and Italian influences make for
interesting gastronomy with a focus on locality and seasonality.
Expect garlicky seafood and squid-ink risotto on the coast, while
further inland the village of Njeguši makes prosciutto with a cult
following – locals make the daily pilgrimage up the hair-raising
Serpentine Road to purchase pounds of Njeguši prosciutto that have
been dried and smoked for five months. If your palate sways to the
sweet side, be sure to stop by Byblos in Porto Montenegro for
fistfuls of their cashew baklava, rumoured to be the best in the
country.

3. Beaches

For now, sunburnt tourists are yet to sully Montenegro’s pebbly
shores. The glitterati will soon be washing up on the beaches of
Budva – dubbed the “Montenegrin Miami” – due to its lively bars and
dance-until-dawn beach clubs. Separated by a sweeping peninsula,
we suggest moving along Budva’s shoreline to Bečić. It’s far enough
from the main tourist drag to remain relatively low-key, but not so
isolated that you’ll pine for afternoon ice cream. Bordering
Montenegro and Albania, freshwater Lake Skadar is als blissfully
pretty with sandy shores and a handful of timeless villages.

4. History

An hour’s walk from the modern city of Bar lies the
thousand-year-old Byzantine city of Stari Bar. Following an
earthquake in 1979, roofs are missing from many of the buildings,
grand Ottoman bathhouses remain abandoned and the city’s fortified
walls lie in ruins, offering a fascinating snapshot of the past.
Perched atop one of the highest peaks in Lovćen National Park and
slightly off from the tourist trail are the remains of famed
Montenegrin poet, philosopher and literary icon Petar II
Petrović-Njegoš, preserved in a stone mausoleum. If that’s not of
interest, 360-degree views of Montenegro, Croatia and Albania will
be. Our Lady of the Rocks, a church dating back to the 12th century
and overlooking the Bay of Kotor is another notable monument.

5. Culture

Numerous art galleries, archaeological sites and museums are a
reflection of the country’s diversity. Visit the capital, capital
harbours the Centre for Contemporary Art and is one of the most
important cultural institutions in the country, housing collections
from Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. You’ll be hard pressed
to find a more diverse collection this side of the Adriatic. In
addition to flashy clubs and hedonistic open-air festivals, each
summer Budva earns the nickname “Theatre City” for its impressive
display of open-air theatre productions. Taking place throughout
the Old Town, al fresco stages pop up in the Citadel, the Kosmač
Fortress and a scattering of churches showing everything from
Shakespeare to Montenegrin slapstick comedy. Be sure to set aside a
day to explore the UNESCO-protected Old Town of Kotor.

6. Sailing

With an average of 250 days of sun, Montenegro has idyllic
sailing conditions. Sail from West from East passing by Herceg
Novi, the Perast twin islands, Porto Montenegro and Kotor. Potter
from craggy coves to the luxurious state-of-the-art marina in Porto
Montenegro, via the pirate hideout of Ulcinj, where you’ll find the
hidden coves of Zanjic and Mirista.

7. Affordability

Despite the crop of luxury hotels taking root in Kotor,
Montenegro hasn’t quite caught up with the likes of Italy, Spain
and Portugal. We can’t promise that this won’t change with the
country’s surge in popularity and bid to become part of the EU, but
for now it remains a purse-friendly summer alternative.

8. It’s not on everyone’s radar…yet

Former Ibiza-goers began visiting Montenegro when the White Isle
started to become that bit too obvious for them. You’d be wise to
go before the package holiday brigade gets wind.

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Once Upon a Sail in Montenegro