The naturally rugged European gem of Montenegro earns its name from Black Mountain, aka ‘Crna Gora’ and with 294 km (183 miles) of glorious coastline; travellers can expect pristine beaches, traditional towns, Mediterranean climate and breathtakingly unspoilt landscapes.
Soak up the culture of Podgorica – Montenegro’s capital city, Podgorica, is lively yet laidback and quite unlike any other European city. The architecture is a curious blend of old and new: Montenegro was founded in the 15th century and the heritage is a diverse offering, with Ottoman, socialist and European influences in evidence. Don’t miss the stunning orthodox Hram Hristovog Vaskrsenja Church, wander the ‘Stara Varoš’, aka Old Turkish town area, admire King Nikola’s castle which now serves as a museum and explore Christ’s Resurrection Cathedral, which is the largest religious building in Montenegro.
Explore UNESCO listed Kotor – One of two World Heritage Sites in Montenegro is the beautiful old town of Kotor. It grew from the Old Town (Stari Grad) around Boka Kotorska Bay which is the deepest fjord in the Mediterranean. Aside from superb diving opportunities, don’t miss the pretty The Church of Our Lady of the Rock, the ancient City Walls and the interesting Maritime Museum.
Chill out in Perast – This charming village (pictured above) is the antithesis to the lively seaside resort of Kotor, with a handful of small museums and pretty churches. Climb St. Nikola Church and admire the panoramic view.
Hike to Krstac – Set off from Kotor’s Old Town north gate and follow the path which traverses the beautiful forested local landscape past soaring mountains and pretty little waterfalls – take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear water. Gawp at goats gambolling in the fields and look back over the ancient fort and walls of Kotor below.
Admire Herceg Novi’s Old Town – This quaint town within the Bay of Kotor was founded in 1382 and the highlight of authentic Herceg Nove is undoubtedly the ancient fortresses of Kanli Kula and Spanjola and the Savina monastery of the Old Town. Stroll along the 6km stretch of esplanade to fully appreciate the rich history.
Swim, sunbathe and snorkel in Budva – The central Montenegro coast is becoming more and more popular with travellers and the resort of Budva is more established. Expect superb beaches and vibrant nightlife. Culture abounds too: don’t miss the enigmatic Dancing Girl Statue, the tiny 14th century Church of Saint Sava and the reconstructed Budva Citadel.
Walk Durmitor National Park – The second World Heritage site in the country is the breathtaking Durmitor National Park, which is located within the North Montenegrin Mountains. Pack your walking boots and enjoy the trails that run through the vast untouched parklands and tackle the Tara River Canyon, where the banks soar some 1,300 meters about the rapid Tara River waters.
Sample the wintersports at Žabljak – Montenegro really is a year-round destination, with superb winter sports facilities on offer at Zabljak. Nestled within the Dinaric Alps, the highest point is the Durmitor Mountain which rises to 2,522 meters. Try skiing, rafting, canyoning, cycling, hiking and snowboarding.
Sample Bečići Beach – The main draw of this little laidback town is undoubtedly the 2km long gorgeous sandy beach, which was singled out as the best in Europe way back in 1935.
Discover Skadar Lake National Park — The Skadar is the largest lake within the Balkans and a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing. On dry land the natural habitat of the flora and fauna will captivate naturalists.
Admire the ancient capital Cetinje — This was the old royal capital of Montenegro and Cetinje is home to a great selection of religious buildings, museums and monuments. Don’t miss the interesting National Museum of Montenegro, the famous Serb Orthodox Cetinje Monastery and the old Vlaška Church whose fences are constructed of enemy rifles!
Explore Nikšić – Montenegro’s second largest city of Niksic lies in the heart of the country and is the economic powerhouse. The key sights include the 17th century Ostrog Monastery and the intriguing Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos. Beer aficionados will also appreciate the local popular Nikšićko beer.
Hike the Biogradska Gora National Park – Pack your hiking boots and explore this stunning national park, which remains one of the largest untouched forests within Europe.
Discover diverse Ulcinj – The small city of Ulcinj lies at the very south of the country on the border with Albania, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Wander the Stari Grad, aka old town district with its old castle and museum. Watch the sun set over the Adriatic from the beautiful Velika Plaza beach.
Chill out in Tivat – The small town of Tivat lies in the Bay of Kotor and fast becoming a firm favourite with travellers. It’s the antithesis of Kotor in that it’s much more laidback. Don’t miss the pretty Botanic gardens and be sure to check out the traditional bars and restaurants around the Porto Montenegro Marina.
Hike to Gornja Lastva – If you like your villages quaint and medieval then you’re in luck with the impossibly pretty Gornja Lastva. Head uphill into the Vrmac mountain range from Tivat to experience a slice of everyday Montenegran life.
Soak up the culture of Bar – Located on the southern coast is the small town of Bar, which boasts several impressive historical monuments. Highlights include the traditional Bar Old Town with its impressive Fortress. And catch a glimpse of the famous olive tree which is said to the oldest in the world, at 2,500 years old!
Get back to nature in Virpazar – This traditional fisherman’s town lies alongside Lake Skadar and offers fantastic opportunities for walking, birdwatching, wildlife spotting and generally enjoying life at a slower pace. Best spot is atop the old castle which has commanding views over the lake and pristine mountains.
Experience Rijeka Crnojevica first-hand – Another beautiful hiking spot has to be around the old trade routes around the town of Rijeka Crnojevica. Traces of the medieval routes remain and are punctuated with old bridges, fortresses and natural lakes. This is one of those really awesome things to do in Montenegro!
Lovćen National Park – If you came to this southern European gem seeking natural beauty and pure unspoilt landscapes, then we certainly recommend the pristine Lovcen National Park! Enjoy the gentle climb up Mount Lovćen which is likened to Olympus and witness Petar II Petrović Njegoš’ Mausoleum. Aim to get here for the impressive sunrise and spot Italy across the Adriatic on clear day!
MAP Credit; Wikitravel