April 21, 2024

Why Montenegro is Europe’s Hidden Gem

Montenegro is a small country, tucked away in the Balkans. It shares borders with Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Like many of the Balkan countries, Montenegro is not on most people’s radar when it comes to booking holidays. But this is a real shame because it has a lot to offer. Read on for a Montenegro travel guide. We cover some of the attractions, plus give you an idea of the costs.

Outdoor Things to See and Do in Montenegro

Montenegro is stunningly beautiful, whether you are trekking through the mountains or relaxing on the Adriatic Sea. Rivers cut through steep peaks, there are azure blue inland lakes and a magnificent coastline.

Tara Canyon is popular with whitewater rafting enthusiasts, but there are also places where you can swim. Although the water can best be described as ‘fresh’!

Nevidio Canyon is another fun spot for adrenaline junkies. There’s no way out once you get in unless you climb, swim, or hike.

Lake Skadar is another famous natural attraction in Montenegro. It is the largest lake in southern Europe. You can swim in the lake, go kayaking, and enjoy the local wildlife (the lake is an important base for migratory birds). Book a boat sightseeing trip to see more of the lake in one day.

The Pavola Strana viewpoint overlooks Lake Skadar National Park and a natural horseshoe bend in the Crnojevic River. The amazing colours of the lush scenery make this a photo opportunity to die for.

The Blue Cave on the Lustica Peninsula is another Instagram hotspot and a must include in our Montenegro travel guide. It was named after the blue iridescent light inside the cave. The cave is only accessible via boat but tours are available from Kotor or Herceg Novi.

Lipa Cave inland is great for families. Hop on the miniature train, which takes visitors through fig groves on a scenic ride to the mouth of the cave. Inside the caverns, there are wonderful stalactite and stalagmite formations. Book a guided tour for the full experience.

Black Lake sits in the shadow of Durmitor National Park. It is a very pretty place for a picnic and you can hire a boat if you want to get out on the water. Don’t forget to explore the nearby caves.

Montenegro Culture

No Montenegro travel guide would be complete without mentioning the country’s culture. Budva’s Old Town dates back 2,500 years and the Citadel has many ancient artifacts. This lovely walled town is full of small bars and restaurants, and if you are in the mood for some after-hours fun, this is where you’ll find it. Nearby Mogren Beach is perfect for a lazy day spent nursing a hangover.

Cetinje is the former royal capital of Montenegro, but since the official capital was moved to Podgorica, Cetinje hasn’t changed much. This elegant city, founded in the 15th century, is full of culture, with royal palaces, intricate churches, the National Museum of Montenegro, the King Nicholas Museum, the Blue Tower, and lovely parks. One of the best sights in Cetinje is the Cetinje Monastery, built in 1484. It contains lots of important relics and artworks. There is a small museum on the site, which provides more information about the monastery’s history. The city is easy to explore on foot and there are local tours available.

Kotor is known for labyrinthian alleyways reminiscent of Venice. The town lies on Kotor Bay and has many old churches, historic barracks, and open piazzas. High above Kotor is the San Giovanni fortress. There are 1,355 steps to the top, but the spectacular views are well worth the energy expended. If you are looking for a more unconventional experience and would like to support stray cats, the Cat Museum is a must-see.

The village of Perast has 20 baroque palaces to explore, 18 churches, and the Perast Bell Tower. In addition, there is an interesting maritime history museum, as well as a lovely beach. If you can spare the time, it is well worth spending at least a day in Perast. Catch a boat out from Perast to the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, which has sat on the Island of St George since the 15th century.

Montenegro travel guide

17th-century Ostrog Monastery is a hugely important religious site in this part of the world and tens of thousands of pilgrims visit it every year. Some of the faithful even climb up to the monastery on their bare knees, as a show of faith. The monastery is built into the side of a sheer cliff and is a true feat of structural engineering.

Visit Risan on the Bay of Kotor to see Roman mosaics dating back to the 7th century.

Typical Montenegro Travel Costs

If you are searching for a budget travel destination, Montenegro should be high on your list. Flights from the UK to Montenegro are cheap on budget airlines – Ryanair offers direct flights from London to Podgorica from £44 and direct flights to Tivat from £81.

Accommodation can be found relatively cheaply if you don’t mind a room in a hostel dorm. Beds are available for as little as £11 a night.

Airbnb options are fairly limited, but if you want a flat to yourself in a coastal location, there are some very affordable ones.

There are not as many hotels as in other more popular countries but on the day we checked, a double room in a 4* hotel in Budva was available for £99/night, with breakfast included.

Food and Drink in Montenegro

Food and drink is heavily influenced by the nearby Mediterranean countries. Pizza and pasta are common, but you can still enjoy some delicious goulash and stuffed cabbage leaves in local restaurants. Food is generally quite cheap and even a three-course meal won’t cost more than about £13.

Drinks are also cheap, with local beer less than £1 and a cappuccino even less.

As you can see from our handy Montenegro travel guide, this small country is definitely worth a visit. Whether you want to explore the natural scenery, go on a hen weekend, or enjoy a relaxing beach holiday, you will not be disappointed.

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