Featured as one of the ’50 Places of a Lifetime’ in the prestigious decennial National Geographic Traveler magazine (in 2010), the southern European nation of Montenegro is one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world. A major tourist spot till the 1980s, tourism in Montenegro – then a part of Yugoslavia – took a severe hit during the civil war in the 1990s. Now, as an independent nation, Montenegro is promoting tourism with renewed vigor and attracting millions of tourists to its pristine beaches, picturesque medieval towns, and luxurious facilities.
- Bay and Town of Kotor
The Bay of Kotor (or Boka Kotorska) is located 90 km west of Podgorica. It is the southernmost bay of glacial origin and, along with the town of Kotor and the surrounding areas, is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bay area and the town of Kotor are attractions in their own rights. A casual stroll along the Old Town or along the Bay, or simply a drink at one of the many pubs around town, could well be the quiet getaway that one is looking for while visiting this region.
Located in the central part of the Bay of Kotor, Tivat is the youngest town in the region and has a number of interesting attractions for the visitors. It is also the only town, other than the capital, to have an international airport. This coastal town, with a land area of merely 46 sq km, is being promoted as a center for nautical tourism – emphasis on boating and sailing. The pristine beauty of this place is best enjoyed by exploring the hiking trails. One of the most popular is the Pjesacka staza. Other natural attractions include the Island of Flowers, Island of Lady of Grace, the Solila Park, and the Gradski Park.
Located northwest of Kotor, the small town of Perast is located on the Bay of Kotor. It is the gateway to the beautiful islets of St. George’s and Our Lady of the Rocks. This quiet town, with a population of less than 400, is good for a leisurely stroll for a couple of hours to enjoy the natural beauty along with the preserved medieval buildings. Perast is at the foot of the St. Elijah Hill, opposite the strait where the Bay of Risan and the Bay of Kotor converge.
- Skadar Lake National Park
Located on the border of Montenegro and Albania, Lake Skadar (or Lake Scutari) is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. The Skadar Lake National Park is on the Montenegrin side of the lake. This freshwater lake, surrounded by the Karst Mountains, is two-thirds in the Montenegrin territory and one-third in Albania. The lake is only a 20 minute drive from the Adriatic Sea through the newly built Sozina Tunnel. The lake region is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe with 270 bird species, including pelicans, which have become very rare in Europe. The lake not only is a cradle of Mediterranean flora and fauna, it is also the home to Montenegro’s wine country. Visitors can take part in the wine tours that are popular in the park area.
The city of Podgorica is the capital and the largest city of Montenegro. Podgorica, built among five rivers – Zeta, Moraca, Ribnica, Sitnica, and Cijevna – is also the commercial and cultural capital of the country. Podgorica not only has some historical sites and parks within the city, it is also the gateway to a number of tourist destinations of the country including Kolasin and Zabljak. One can spend a day or two in Podgorica before heading to their final destination, thus having the opportunity to enjoy the city and some of its attractions.
The ‘Valley of the Gods’ – Cetinje – is the former royal capital of Montenegro. This 15th-century city is located at the foothills of the limestone mountains that include Mt. Lovcen, or Black Mountain, from which Montenegro got its name. It is known for its historical heritage and beautiful architecture that includes embassies and palaces built in the 19th century. Once in the city, one can see most of the attractions by foot. There are a lot of sights in and around Cetinje, both man-made and natural, that make Cetinje a popular stopover for tourists visiting Montenegro.
- Tara River Canyon
The 82 km long Tara River Canyon (or Tara River Gorge) is the longest canyon in Montenegro. With its deepest point being 1300m, it is also the deepest canyon in Europe. This tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site is the biggest drinkable water reservoir in Europe. The Canyon is the 2nd longest in the world, second only to the Grand Canyon in the USA. Today, the area is not only popular for its flora and fauna, but it also attracts adventure lovers and thrill seekers from all over. White-water rafting, river rafting, kayaking, and boating are popular activities.
- Durmitor National Park
Located in the northwestern region of Montenegro, the Durmitor National Park is made up of three canyons and consists of woods, grazing lands, and a large plateau. The rivers Tara and Piva pass through the Park area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to more than 3 dozen endemic plant species and is home to one of the last few virgin black pine forests in Europe. The best seasons to visit the park are spring and summer, when one can engage in a host of activities including swimming, hiking, rafting, kayaking, cycling, and fishing. The mountain village of Zabljak, located near the border of the park, is Montenegro’s largest ski resort.
- Ostrog Monastery
Located just 45 minutes from Podgorica, the Ostrog Monastery, perched amidst the rocky Ostroska Greda, is the most popular place of pilgrimage in Montenegro. It is also regarded as one of the 3 most visited Christian destinations in the world. The Monastery is dedicated to St. Basil of Ostrog. The monastery, nestled on a vertical backdrop of the rocky mountain side is a sight of wonder in itself. The monastery was originally built in the 17th century. However, the present look was given in the early 20th century after a fire destroyed a major part of the building.
The Miami of Montenegro – Budva – is the most popular tourist town of the country with beautiful beaches, medieval architecture, and a vibrant nightlife. Budva is alive with activity round the clock. There are a number of festivals and events to keep the visitors happy and entertained. The place is also a delight for food lovers with the fresh Mediterranean catch coupled with the spices and olives that are special to the region.
Originally posted 2017-04-03 06:36:43.