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Montenegro… the basics

What’s this guide about?

This Montenegro guide aims to provide you with information about this wonderful country so that you can understand, and be excited by what it has to offer. There will be practical information, as well as recommended places to visit, things to see and do, as well as hints and tips to help you get the most out of your visit. But to begin with, here are the basics….

Montenegro you say?

Montenegro, although only a small country, has 295km (183 miles) of the stunning Adriatic coastline, along with excellent beaches on offer. With a stunning mountainous backdrop, set against the crystal clear waters, Montenegro’s coast is full of natural beauty. It also boasts picturesque towns which are full of culture and history. With mountains, rolling hills, and lakes, it is an ideal hiking, cycling, or sight-seeing destination.

First time in Montenegro?

This lesser known gem has only around 1.3 million visitors a year, with approximately 24,000 visitors coming from the UK. One of the most popular places to visit in Montenegro is Kotor Bay. With the mountains in the background it is one of the world’s most beautiful bays. Although it is popular it still has maintained its charm and Montenegrin authenticity, with the town of Kotor being thought to be one of the most well-preserved Old Towns in the Adriatic regions.

More about Montenegro:

Montenegro is located to the south-west of Croatia on the Adriatic coast. It can be reached from the UK in approximately 3 hours. The official language is Montenegrin, which is very similar to Croatian. Montenegro is a member of the UN, NATO, and currently in negotiations to join the EU.

Montenegro is split into three regions, the Northern Region, Coastal Region and Central Region.

The country got its name from its famous mountain, Mount Lovcen. It is a symbol of Montenegro’s identity, which you can find sitting boldly in Kotor Bay. Due to the black beech trees on its surface the mountain appears to be black in colour, so is known as a ‘black mountain’. The word negro, means black, and monte, means mountain and so they have been put together to name the country Montenegro (‘mountain black’) .

Where to visit in Montenegro?

Kotor, within Kotor Bay is one of the most popular destinations for many who visit Montenegro. It offers crystal clear waters, as well as history and culture within its Old Town. It also offers amazing views of the bay, especially if you climb the 1350 steps up the nearby St John’s Hill, where the views can only be described as spectacular.

The coastal region of Budva, also known as the Budva Riviera, is a very popular tourist destination. It has a beautiful coastline, with sandy beaches which are a rarity on the Adriatic coast, as well as having a well-preserved medieval walled city. It is full of culture, history, and beauty. A few km south of Budva, along the coast, is the famous Sveti Stefan resort. This small islet is a luxury ‘island hotel’ resort, which is popular with the rich and famous. It was originally a fishing village but was turned into an exclusive resort in the late 1950’s. It welcomed the likes of Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Sylvester Stallone, but reduced in popularity in the 1990’s. It has recently, in 2009, been rejuvenated, and is once again a luxury resort.

Lovcen National Park is also a must visit location. It is ideal for taking a relaxing stroll, an energetic hike or exciting mountain-biking. The park is full of flora and fauna, including reptiles, dear and fox. Its most unique feature is the mausoleum of Petar Petrovic Njegos, which can be found at the top of Mount Lovcen. Once you reach the top the views are absolutely breath-taking.

When to visit Montenegro?

Direct flight from the UK are not available all year, and usually only run between April and October. You can reach Montenegro by flying into Dubrovnik in Croatia, and then getting a transfer to Montenegro, but currently they also do not offer any winter flights. There are also flights from Gatwick to Tivat which is close to Kotor and low cost flights from Stansted to Podgorica, its capital).

The most popular time to visit is in July and August when the weather is at its hottest. During this time the average temperature is around 27c but can regularly increase to over 30c.

For those who intend to do a lot of walking, hiking or strenuous activities it would be best to avoid these months for two reasons. One is because the high temperatures are less suitable for these kind of activities, and the other is because July and August tend to be very busy. The weather in May, June, and September tend to be slightly cooler, at around 20c-25c.