Montenegro holidays

Experience Montenegro

Best Places to Visit

Montenegro can be divided roughly into five regions, with Central Montenegro home to Podgorica, the capital, which is a pleasant blend of old buildings and modern architecture. About an hour's drive from the city is historic Cetinje, the former capital, now home to many interesting museums, churches and buildings. About 30kms from Podgorica, the village of Virpazar sits on the shores of beautiful Lake Skadar and is popular with hikers, birdwatchers, kayakers and anglers.

The pleasant main town of Herceg Novi was established in 1382 at the entrance of the bay. Visitors can explore the narrow streets, old forts and churches or swim and sunbathe on the pebble beaches.

The fortified medieval town of Kotor is a World Heritage-listed site for history, culture and natural beauty. The smaller village of Perast is known for its well-preserved Baroque architecture. Both towns are popular departure points for boat cruises around the impressive caves and islands of the bay.

The centrally located Budva Riviera is a popular destination for beach-goers. Budva is the main town, where holidaymakers can explore the old walled town, bask on the sandy beaches or party the night away on the waterfront promenade. Becici is a resort town near Budva where visitors can relax on the beach, enjoy water sports or unwind over coffee at one of the many seaside café. The family-friendly village of Petrovac has pink pebbled beaches and is popular with snorkellers.

p>The Montenegrin South Coast is home to a melting pot of ethnicities, with a rich cultural heritage. The main town of Bar is a major tourist destination, with pebbled beaches, stone fortifications and the world's oldest olive tree. It is also home to some of Montenegro's oldest churches and earliest written works.

 

The nearby towns of Susanj and Dobra Voda have long sandy beaches that attract visitors in summer. Ulcinj, near the Albanian border, has a hilltop castle style old town and nearby Sutomore has a 12km long sandy beach, the longest in Montenegro.

The North Montenegrin Mountains region in the north attracts hikers, nature lovers and adventurers. Kolasin is a mountain town that is popular with active travellers who are keen to access the pristine forests, lakes and rivers of the nearby Biogradska Gora National Park. The village of Zabljak makes an excellent base from which to explore the glacial lakes of Durmitor National Park or go rafting through the World Heritage-listed Tara Gorge. Both towns offer skiing in winter.

Top Landmarks

Known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', Montenegro has many unique and interesting landmarks. Ostrog Monastery in Central Montenegro is perhaps one of the most famous, set against the vertical backdrop of Ostro ka Greda Rock. In Podgorica, visitors can enjoy the mix of old and new, from the 1667 Ottoman clock tower Sahat Kula, to the ultra-modern Millennium Bridge and the beautiful new Orthodox Byzantine Cathedral of Hristovog Vaskrsenja.

Skadar Lake in Central Montenegro is a well-known beauty spot dotted with islands and unique wildlife. The island of Starcevo is home to the nation's oldest monastery, dedicated to the Assumption of the Mother of God, constructed from 1376 to 1378.

The World Heritage-listed Bay of Kotor is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful bays in Europe. Visitors can stroll through the historic streets of Herceg Novi with its old towers and 14th-century castle, Forte Mare. Within the stone walls of the World Heritage-listed medieval town of Kotor, visitors can step back in time through 12th-century buildings such as the Cathedral of St Tryphon.

In the Budva Riviera, Budva Old Town is famous for its Venetian walls, within which visitors can marvel at St Ivan's and St Mary's of Punta churches, established in the 8th and 9th centuries, respectively, or simply relax on the sands of Mogren Beach.

Another, perhaps more famous spot for sunbathing, is the 12km long sandy Sutomore Beach on the south coast.

Entertainment

Montenegro is a Mediterranean nation with a well-developed café culture, particularly in the capital, Podgorica, where cafés are open from early morning until late at night. The pedestrianised squares and streets of Nova Varos (New Town) offer the greatest concentration of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Podgorica is also home to the Montenegrin National Theatre, which hosts seasonal programmes of drama, music and film.

After Podgorica, the seaside tourist towns offer the liveliest evening entertainment. In the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi has lots of clubs and cafés, with most of the action centred around the main square. Nightclubs are often only open in summer while bars and cafés are open year round and often host live music at weekends.

In the Budva Riviera, the main town of Budva has a variety of entertainment on offer, ranging from pubs and restaurants to go-go bars. During summer, there are a host of music concerts and theatre performances to enjoy. The five-star island resort of Sveti Stefan, some six kilometres away, is where the rich and famous go to party.

On the south coast, the modern port town of Bar is not a major party town but is noted for its festivals and cultural events during summer. By contrast, the seaside strip at Ulcinj is particularly well known for entertainment, with lots of nightclubs, beach bars and restaurants to choose from.

The mountains of the north are not particularly lively during summer, but in winter the area comes alive for the ski season.

Dining Out

Montenegrin cuisine varies from the sea to the sky, with Mediterranean-style seafood dishes being more common near the coast compared with the heartier, more dairy-focused meals in the mountains. Montenegro also produces wine, with the dry white krstac and ruby red vranac being popular specialities. Two typical non-alcoholic beverages are kisjelo mlijeko (buttermilk) and crna kafa, a strong black Turkish style coffee.

In the capital, Podgorica, Hercegova''ka Street and Slobode Street in the city centre are the main restaurant promenades. Visitors may like to try kuvani brav, a lamb stew, or uklejeva, which is smoked and dried bleak fish, followed by baklava (pastry with minced walnuts) or malisorske priganice (a kind of doughnut served with honey, cheese and jam) for dessert.

Italian food is both common and popular, with lots of pizzerias and Italian restaurants across Montenegro. There are also some Mexican restaurants for those who fancy something less European.

Along the coast, the food focuses more naturally on seafood. One of the more famous dishes is riblja corba, Kotor fish stew, which is made from sprat, celery, onion, capsicum and white wine. The region is also known for olives, olive oil and the exceptional Ulcinj salt.

Beach

The settlements of ÄŒanj, Dobra Voda and Ulcinj near Bar on the south coast of Montenegro have the nation's best beaches. Sutomore, in the same region, has the longest beach with a 12km stretch of coastal sand that dips into the sea. The coastal towns attract many summer beach-lovers and are well set up to cater for tourists.

Romance

Kotor is a lovely destination for couples as it is set on the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean, with deep blue waters surrounded by rocky mountains. Kotor has a charming World Heritage-listed walled old town and visitors can rent a holiday cottage with a private pontoon reaching out into the waters of the bay. Kotor is also a good place from which to take a boat cruise around the bay or make daytrips to pretty Baroque Perast and historic Hercej Novi.  

Family

The Budva Riviera makes a good family holiday destination as the beaches and calm waters of the Mediterranean are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. Besides water activities, towns such as Budva and Bečići Petrovac have lots of historic buildings and old forts to explore, ensuring there will be plenty to occupy and entertain young visitors.

Adventure

Montenegro's mountainous north is ideal for adventurers. Zabljak village is a convenient base for an active holiday, offering white water rafting at Tara Gorge in summer and skiing and other snow sports in winter. Nearby Durmitor National Park is popular with hikers, campers and anglers.

Need to know

Language

The official and most commonly spoken language of Montenegro is Montenegrin, which is virtually identical to Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian. Albanian, Slovenian and Macedonian are also used in some parts of the country. However, Montenegrin has at least three more letters than Serbian and there are some profound differences in pronunciation. Tourist industry workers usually understand basic English and sometimes Italian or German, particularly along the coast. English is much less commonly understood in the north.

Currency

Although Montenegro is not a member of the European Union, it has adopted the Euro as its currency of choice. As a result of its Non-EU status, it has not been able to print its version of the Euro. Notes are available in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5, while coins are available in denominations of 1 and 2 Euros, with cents available as 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Other currencies are not usually accepted. Money can be changed at banks and official currency exchange agencies. Banks are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays and from 8am to 3pm on Saturdays. Travellers' cheques are not readily accepted or changed. ATMs are commonly available but often do not accept international debit cards. Credit cards are widely accepted although cash is more acceptable for small purchases.

Visas

 

Montenegro is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement, in which 26 separate European Nations have abolished their internal borders with other member countries. As a result, Montenegro is open to citizens of all Schengen states. Citizens of EU countries which have not signed the agreement, including the UK, are also granted access to the country without a visa and for an unlimited period. However, it can still be worth carrying a passport, credit card and driving license in the event of needing to hire certain things, such as car-hire. Non-EU citizens need a visa to enter as a tourist for up to 90 days. Other foreign visitors should visit the Montenegrin government website to ascertain visa requirements.

Climate

Montenegro’s Mediterranean climate means that holidaymakers are spoilt with glorious spells of sun when they arrive in the summer months. This is the period when most tourists decide to visit the country, however a trip to the inland mountains in the evenings still see temperatures fall to a colder 12°C.

In the shoulder seasons (May-Jun and Sep-Oct), temperatures hover around the 20°C mark, with the sun nicely warming ocean seas – perfect for a nice dip. In low season (Nov-Apr) temperatures remain relatively mild (around 7°C), however a lot of hotels and restaurants close down, opening again in the high-season.

Main Airports

Montenegro has two international airports. The main one is Podgorica Airport (TDG), situated 11kms from Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Tivat Airport (TIV) is located about four kilometres from Tivat town in the Bay of Kotor. The main carrier for both airports is Montenegro Airlines. Some other carriers run seasonal charters.

Flight Options

Montenegro Airlines operates regular flights from Podgorica to London-Gatwick (England), Belgrade (Serbia), Copenhagen (Denmark), Frankfurt (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Moscow-Domodedovo (Russia), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France), Rome-Fiumicino (Italy), Vienna (Austria), Z'rich (Switzerland). It takes just over 2 hours to fly from London to either Montenegrin airport.

Travel Advice

From the Arrivals hall in either airport, visitors can take a taxi or minibus shuttle to the city centre. There is no bus service from Podgorica to the coast. Visitors can avoid an overpriced taxi fare by pre-booking transfers through their hotel. Podgorica and Tivat airports both have car hire desks in the main terminal buildings.

Other Transport Options

Montenegro is located in mainland Europe, so people on the continent can drive here. Tourists coming from the United Kingdom must cross the channel by train or ferry (both take cars) to France before driving to Montenegro, which takes two or three days. An affordable train runs the scenic route from Belgrade in Serbia to Bar on Montenegro's coast. A ferry runs between Bar (Kotor, Montenegro) and Bari (Italy). Cross-border buses run from the main Montenegro hub at Podgorica to Belgrade (Serbia), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina).

Getting Around

Most visitors navigate Montenegro using trains or buses, with buses being the cheaper and often faster of the two. Hire cars are available and offer a viable alternative for getting around, although Montenegro's roads tend to be below the European standard. There are no real highways and, with a speed limit of 80kph, driving can be slow going. Traffic jams are common, particularly in summer.

Bus

Montenegro has a reasonable bus service that is cheap and tends to run on time. Prices are higher between popular tourist areas. Bus stations offer buses and minibuses. Route maps are not always available and fares for inter-city routes are typically paid to the driver when boarding.

Train

Trains are a good way to get around Montenegro, with tickets bought on board. There is a line running from north to south, with Podgorica as the hub. Trains are not as frequent as buses but are as comfortable and can be faster. There are no inner-city train services.

Car

Car rental is popular among tourists who prefer autonomy and convenience over public transport. Drivers must be over 18 years of age. Visitors may drive their own car but should bring all the relevant paperwork, including proof of insurance. Two-lane roads, with an intermittent third overtaking lane, are normal and driving conditions, particularly in mountain areas, can be hazardous. Drivers should be alert to jaywalkers in cities and towns.

MAP

MONTENEGRO`S WEATHER TODAY

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AVERAGE RAINFALL (mm)

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FACTS

  1. Montenegro is a small country, with a population of just under 1million people
  2. There are over 2500 flamingos in Montenegro and the numbers are continuing to climb
  3. The Tara River's Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest in the world
  4. The village of Mitrovica boasts what is thought to be the world's oldest olive tree, which is over 2000 years old!
  5. Despite its size, Montenegro has five airports
  6. Montenegro has been used as a backdrop to a number of blockbusting movies, including the Bond film, Casino Royale
  7. There are 117 beaches set along the Adriatic coast

FACTS

  1. Montenegro is a small country, with a population of just under 1million people
  2. There are over 2500 flamingos in Montenegro and the numbers are continuing to climb
  3. The Tara River's Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest in the world
  4. The village of Mitrovica boasts what is thought to be the world's oldest olive tree, which is over 2000 years old!
  5. Despite its size, Montenegro has five airports
  6. Montenegro has been used as a backdrop to a number of blockbusting movies, including the Bond film, Casino Royale
  7. There are 117 beaches set along the Adriatic coast

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