Montenegro combines a wild and mountainous interior, full of canyons, ravines and deep glacial lakes, with a spectacular Adriatic coastline.
Montenegro's spectacularly beautiful coastline contains multiple attractive tourist resorts, cozy little coves and beaches of endless stretches of sand and pebbles, mostly alongside rugged limestone (karst) mountains and lush slopes covered with olive plantations. As for rugged and inhospitable, the Gulf of Kotor barely has a few peers in the entire Adriatic; a series of deeply marked bays that are home to graceful quays and the medieval walled city of Kotor.
A little further south is a concentration of busy tourist resorts, led by Budva, a seaside town considered the party capital, and Sveti Stefan, a picture-perfect island retreat that has now been transformed into a five-star Aman resort (amanresorts .com). Beyond here, the less affluent southern part of the coastline has a totally different character, with a series of low-key and pleasant resorts arranged along the coast to the port of Bar and Ulcinj.
Beaches in Montenegro: most of the beaches have decent facilities, with showers and changing areas, lifeguards, and umbrellas and sunbeds for rent that usually cost € 2 or 3 per hour. The best beaches in Montenegro are:
- Przno Beach: light yellow sand, in its own sunny bay on the Lustica peninsula, and protected by clusters of pine trees, olive groves and fields.
- Petrovac and Sveti Stefan beaches: the first forms an attractive arc of reddish and stony sand; the other, a clamp of soft sand crescents on either side of a narrow isthmus.
- Velika Plaza: a huge belt of fine grayish sand that extends some 12km from Ulcinj towards the south, to the border with Albania; sand apparently harbors mild (and harmless) radioactive properties.
- The many beaches in Budva should please those looking for activities; In them you can practice jet skiing, parasailing, and even bungee jumping.
- Rafailovici or Kalardovo beaches: both are good for families with children.
Cultural tourism in Montenegro: Centuries of diverse reigns such as the Ottoman, the Venetian or the Hasburgs (the Illyrians, the Greeks and the Romans also exercised their dominance at some point or another) have endowed the coast with a rich complement of historical sights and a fabulous legacy of artistic and architectural styles. In Kotor (see photo), the old town hides a dense tangle of vaulted alleys, Italian-style squares, and exquisite little churches. It also has some top quality hotels: both the Vardar (hotelvardar.com) and the Cattaro (cattarohotel.com) overlook the Plaza de Armas and have beautiful rooms; you can enjoy a double from € 100, breakfast included. Surrounding the bay is Perast (perast.com), full of white stone churches and mansions; Its main attraction is the typical water taxis, which cost € 5 (round trip transportation to the mainland).
Further south, there are lonely Byzantine churches and monasteries scattered on the slopes above the coastal road, the architecture is different and the Ulcinj, its Ottoman past is reflected in its mosques and Turkish-style houses clustered around the bay of the area. old woman.
Nature tourism in Montenegro: Montenegro is a paradise for bird watchers and in its mountains you can see eagles, hawks and other birds of prey. Better yet, heading south is Lake Skadar, the largest body of water on the Balkan Peninsula (one-third is in Albanian territory) and home to a host of winged fauna, including the great white heron, pygmy cormorant and majestic pelican. Dalmatian (in danger of extinction). Around the lake there are several ornithological reserves. The best time of year to visit the area is from April to the beginning of June, and from the end of July to the beginning of October.
Adventure tourism in Montenegro: there are guided kayak tours to explore the coast, diving with Black Mountain and Hercep Novi (montenegroholiday.com); for € 55 newbies can spend a day in the water, and the price includes all equipment, instruction and a test dive. Black Mountain also offers sailing classes; Three hours of fun in the water for two people cost € 60. The mighty mountain rivers of Montenegro are becoming a great attraction for lovers of adventure sports, since they can be practiced rafting and kayaking, among other activities. The best time for rafting is just after the thaw, in May or June.
How to travel around Montenegro ?: The country's only train line runs from north to south between Bijelo Polje (to the north) and Bar, on the coast (but several daily trains start their journey in the Serbian capital Belgrade). The tour is one of the most spectacular trips in the Balkans. The buses are much more reliable; there is a constant flow through the coastal resorts and a fairly well-integrated network serves the inland towns. However, the best option is to rent a car, especially if you want to explore the inland areas. Utility cars cost around € 40-45 per day.
More information on Montenegro: The Montenegrin Tourist Board website (montenegro.travel) is an excellent source of information, and this week the first edition of Norm Longley's guide, The Rough Guide to Montenegro, is released.