Montenegro – the most detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of Montenegro, climate, geography, population and culture.
Montenegro (Crna Gora)
Montenegro is a small country located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is washed by the Adriatic Sea, and borders on Croatia in the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the northwest, Serbia in the north and Albania in the east. Montenegro is one of the youngest states of Europe. Until 2006, the country was part of Yugoslavia and later union with Serbia. Now this parliamentary republic is an official candidate for EU membership.
Montenegro is picturesque nature and comfortable climate, warm and clean sea, and excellent beaches. All this creates excellent conditions for active and beach holidays. Montenegro is ideal for those who love the history and architecture, old cities and beautiful natural landscapes. This is a country with Slavic coloring and typical southern European appearance, which attracts tourists with its inexpensive hotels and excellent gastronomy.
Flag of Montenegro
Useful information about Montenegro
- Population is more than 620 thousand people.
- Area – 13 812 km².
- Currency is Euro.
- The language is Montenegrin.
- Visa – not required if the period of stay does not exceed 90 days.
- Traffic is on the right.
- Time – UTC +1.
- The capital – Podgorica.
- The length of the coastline – 294 km.
- The number of beaches is 117 (their length is more than 70 km).
Geography and nature
Despite its modest size, Montenegro has an amazing geographical diversity. There is the sea coast, plains and high mountains. Montenegro is located in the heart of the Balkan Mountains, and is famous for its picturesque untouched nature. Forests occupy about 40% of its territory. The largest rivers of Montenegro are Tara, Lim, Cheotina, Moraca and Boyana. Here is the largest lake of the Balkan Peninsula – Skadar. Also in the mountains of Montenegro are located several dozen picturesque lakes.
Mountain Lake in Montenegro
The Montenegrin coast has a warm Mediterranean climate, characterized by dry and hot summers and mild and rainy winters. The central and northern areas of the country have a continental climate, the nature of which is determined by the altitude zonality.
The Sea around the resort of Petrovac
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Montenegro depends on the purpose of the visit. For a beach holiday here is better to go in July – September. In other cases, April – May and September – October are excellent.
In ancient times, the territory of Montenegro was inhabited by Illyrian tribes. From the 1st century BC, these lands were part of the Roman Empire. After the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 7th century these territories were occupied by the Slavs. In the 11th century the kingdom of Duklja, later called Zeta, was formed. Montenegro was a direct part of it.
An independent Montenegrin state emerged in the late 15th century. It was founded by Prince Ivan Chernojevic. It did not exist for long. Then the coast was occupied by the Venetian Republic, and in 1499 Montenegro became part of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).
Montenegro gained its independence at the end of the 18th century. During World War I, the state was occupied by Austria-Hungary. During World War II, Montenegro was under the protectorate of Italy. After World War II and until 2003, the country was part of Yugoslavia. From 2003 to 2006, it was part of the confederative union of Serbia and Montenegro. Since 2006, Montenegro is an independent state.
Cetinje – the historic capital of Montenegro
Administrative division of Montenegro
Montenegro is divided into communities, which are named according to their administrative centers: Andrievica, Bar, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Budva, Danilovgrad, Zabljak, Kolasin, Kotor, Mojkovac, Niksic, Plav, Pluzine, Plevlja, Podgorica (including Zeta and Tuzi), Rozaje, Tivat, Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, Cetinje, and Šavnik.
About 620 thousand people live in Montenegro. However, Montenegrins are only a small majority (about 43%). The remaining ethnic groups are Serbs (32%), Bosnians (8%), Albanians (5%). The official language is Montenegrin. Although more than 60% of the population speaks Serbian. The dominant religion is Orthodox Christianity. Also about 20% of the population is Muslim.
Montenegro has only two international airports – Podgorica and Tivat. Also nearby is the airport of Dubrovnik in Croatia. By train you can get here from Belgrade. By bus – from most neighboring and nearby countries. Also Montenegro has a ferry connection with Bari, Italy.
Cities of Montenegro
The most interesting cities in Montenegro:
– Montenegro’s capital and the country’s largest city. It is an interesting mix of history and modernity with a touch of Mediterranean flavor. – It is the main port of the country, whose old town is famous for its many cultural and historical monuments. – Montenegro’s most popular resort, known for its excellent beaches and vibrant nightlife, as well as a small but pretty historic center. – the first capital of Montenegro with many museums and ancient monasteries. – an ancient city known for its beautiful architecture and picturesque bay. Its historic center (the Old Castle) is surrounded by walls and is included in the list of World Heritage Sites.
- Niksic is the second largest city in Montenegro and a major economic center. – A small seaside town, which is becoming a major resort. – The southernmost city of the Montenegrin coast, which was a pirate base in the past. Several ancient monuments have survived here, and the city is surrounded by a 12-kilometer-long sandy beach.
Attractions of Montenegro
Our Lady of the Rock
Our Lady of the Rocks is a picturesque church on an artificial island in the Bay of Kotor. The island was created from rock debris and sunken ships laden with rocks. The current church dates back to the 18th century and contains many paintings by Tripo Kokol, a famous baroque painter of the 17th century. According to legend, the island was created over the centuries by local sailors who in the 15th century found a miraculous icon on a rock in the sea. Since that time there has been a custom to throw stones into the sea here.
St. Stephen Island
St. Stephen Island is an old 15th-century fishing village, now a prestigious resort. The island is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. It is surrounded by pink pebble beaches and the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Old Town of Budva
Old Town of Budva – atmospheric narrow streets and ancient monuments that tell about the ancient history of the main resort of Montenegro.
Kotor from the heights of San Giovanni
Kotor is a city with Venetian charm and a beautiful historic center that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is still surrounded by walls and contains several ancient churches.
In Kotor we recommend climbing to the top of the medieval fortress of San Giovanni, dating back to the 9th century. To enjoy the best panorama of Kotor you have to walk 1355 steps.
Tara River Canyon
Tara River Canyon is one of the most striking sights in Montenegro. It is the second deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA. The best way to see it is to come to the Djurdjevic Bridge, which was once the largest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe.
Lake Skadar is a huge body of water surrounded by picturesque karst mountains, traditional fishing villages, island monasteries and pristine beaches. Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula.
Ostrog Monastery is one of the most valuable cultural, historical and religious attractions of Montenegro. The monastery was built in the 17th century and is literally cut into the rock.
The Cetinje Monastery
The Cetinje monastery is the main center of Montenegrin education and culture over the last centuries. The monastery was founded in the 15th century and was the residence of all Montenegrin bishops.
Huseyn Pasha Mosque is an ancient mosque in the city of Pljevlja, in the north of Montenegro. It was built in the 16th century and has rich interior ornaments.
The Savin Monastery is a medieval monastery near the town of Herceg Novi. Includes three ancient churches with frescoes that are a magnificent example of the mix of Byzantine iconography and Gothic.
Montenegro offers a wide range of accommodation: from expensive hotels to budget hotels and apartments. The price for accommodation depends on the city and season. The cost of housing in the resorts in the high season can be several times higher. Although if you book a hotel in advance, you can find good options on the coast for 3000 – 4000 rubles per day for two people.
Ispod sača is a traditional Montenegrin dish.
Montenegrin cuisine combines features of Serbian, Mediterranean and Turkish gastronomy. The coast is famous for its fish and seafood dishes and salads seasoned with olive oil. Here we recommend to try risotto with seafood, grilled fish and traditional fish soup. In the central part of the country and in the mountains lamb with vegetables ispod sača is popular. Other traditional dishes and products include buttered corn porridge, cachamak (polenta counterpart – potato, cheese, and cream), prsut (smoked ham), cheese, and local wine.
€295 for an excursion
Fall in love with Montenegro
Wild landscapes, architectural beauty and traditions of the country: tour from Tivat
€190 per tour
Mini Montenegro Tour
Cetinje, Lovcen, Bay of Kotor, Negushi and Old Kotor: the history and beauty of the country on a driving tour
Montenegro is a young country with an eventful past. It sounds paradoxical, does not it? But it’s true, because the parliament proclaimed the independence of the republic quite recently, on June 3, 2006, although its name appears in the European chronicles since the Middle Ages.
Save on travel to Montenegro!
In the world, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula is known as Montenegro, but in the native language of the locals it would be correct to say Crna Gora. The Lovcen Massif, once called the “black mountain”, towers over the Bay of Kotor, the largest bay of the Adriatic Sea, and has been a national park for more than half a century. Despite the fact that the length of the land borders is only 625 kilometers, it has five neighbors: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and partially recognized Republic of Kosovo.
Today, more and more travelers are discovering Montenegro as a new destination for interesting and eventful vacation. A quarter of three hundred kilometers of coastline is occupied by excellent beaches, next to which is developed infrastructure for visitors with different financial possibilities. But the sea is not the only thing that Montenegro can brag of! The ancient architecture of Herceg Novi, Kotor, Cetinje and other cities, the picturesque nightlife of Budva, the beauty of Lake Skadar and Tara Canyon, the mountains and monasteries built on their slopes, noisy festivals and fairs, mild climate and temperamental locals… Everyone will find something to adorn his collection of vacation memories!
Mount Durmitor Kotor Skadar Lake The streets of Budva Ostrog Monastery
Cities of Montenegro
Geography and Climate
Montenegro – a country so compact, for example, that in the borders of the agglomeration of Greater New York could comfortably fit twice. At the same time on the area of 13 812 sq. km only 622 thousand people live: Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians, Roma, Croats and representatives of other nationalities.
Beach recreation in Montenegro
Let the name not mislead you. Montenegro – not the Balkan counterpart of highland Nepal, most of the country is located on the Dinaric highlands. The central regions, including the two largest cities, Podgorica and Niksic, lie in a relatively flat basin of Lake Skadar. Only in the northeast, where the border with Albania and Kosovo, ridge rises the North Albanian Alps. The slopes of Prokletije, as it is called, are covered with deciduous and coniferous forests till the height of 1700-1800 meters. 8% of the territory of the Republic are considered protected areas, here they try to preserve the endemic flora and fauna of the Balkan Peninsula.
The climate of most of the country is temperate continental, and the Adriatic coast belongs to the Mediterranean zone with long and relatively dry summer with average temperature of +23-25 °С. This allows you to open the holiday season in late April and actively accept holidaymakers till the end of October.
When to go
The most pleasant times of year in Montenegro are spring and autumn: from late March, when the snow and cold leave even the mountainous regions, to early June or September-October, when the summer flow of tourists is gone and the trees are covered with gold, but the sea is still warm and you can bathe in it. July and August are the best months for those who love crowds and a fun family vacation. As one hotelier recently put it about the “Montenegrin Riviera”: If those under thirty will like the hustle and bustle of nightlife and lively beaches in July and August, those who value a quieter holiday will benefit if they come in April-June or September-October. In the mountains in July and August the temperature is guaranteed to be moderate.
Autumn in Montenegro Summer Winter
A bit of history
The Slavs settled in the territory that once belonged to the Roman province of Dalmatia in the sixth century, and already in 1042 the Serbs, after a resounding victory over the Byzantines, defended the independence of their own state, known as Duklja. Soon it was recognized by the head of the Catholic Church and received the status of a kingdom. But the descendants of Stefan Vojislav, who did not have a firm hand and the strategic mind of their ancestor, gradually lost power over the conquered Travunia, Zahumia, Bosnia and Raška. In the twelfth century, these lands fell prey to more powerful neighbors, and the latter absorbed the Dukljand state by the end of the century.
Roman mosaics in Risan dating from the II-III century BC. Montenegrin refugees during the First Balkan War, 1913
The newly formed principality became known in Byzantine chronicles as Zeta, after the river flowing in the west of the Balkan Peninsula. After a short period of independence it was forced to accept the protectorate of the Venetians, to avoid capture by the Turks. However, the Ottoman army could not restrain the encroachments for long. The triumphant Feriz Bey annexed Zeta to the Skadar Sanjak. In one of the official Dubrovnik papers for 1376 the former principality is named Montenegro. It is believed that this is the first documented mention of the new toponym.
From 1516 to 1852 there was a church state of Montenegro, ruled by lords and metropolitans with the title of bishop. When the country became secular again, the rulers turned into princes and kings. During the Balkan Wars of the early twentieth century Montenegro expanded its territory, and in 1918 became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which after World War II was transformed into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Every European knows about the armed confrontation that followed the collapse of this state formation, but it is not worth discussing the painful subject with the locals.
From 1992 to 2003 Montenegro was a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and after its renaming – the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. According to the results of the referendum, held in May 2006, the country gained the status of an independent republic. Today it is a member of NATO and has an official status of an EU candidate.
Where to go for those who have decided to get acquainted with the nature and culture of Montenegro? The choice is quite wide, it all depends on what kind of leisure prefer you and your companions. For example, Sveti Stefan is an ideal option for wealthy travelers who are used to getting the best service and especially comfortable accommodations. Vacations in Herceg Novi will bring lots of bright and pleasant moments to families with children of different ages. Budva will not allow boredom to frequenters of night clubs and bars. Kotor offers its guests a chance to touch the heritage of ancient times. And Ada Bayana attracts plenty of naturists from all over Europe every year. But first things first!
It is first on our list not because of particularly enthusiastic reviews, but because it is the place where most tourists start their adventures – four kilometers from the city, in the Grbalj valley, is the international airport. It was built during the Second World War as a military airport, but since 1957 it is reoriented to work with civilian flights – first domestic, from Belgrade, Zagreb and Skopje, and after the construction of a modern terminal receives Boeings and Airbuses from London, Moscow, Paris, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Prague and other European capitals.
Port in Tivat Streets of Tivat Plavi Horizonti Beach
If you don’t like long journeys, you can stay right here. Not at the airport, of course, but in a hotel near one of the best sandy beaches of Montenegro – Plavi Horizonti – or in apartments on the Island of Flowers. Last, contrary to its name, is famous not for its flora (there are many flowers in any of the seaside resorts of Montenegro). Locals call it Miholska Prevlaka, because there is a monastery of the Archangel Michael.
The main disadvantage of this generally very pleasant place is that at the peak of the vacation season the city is overcrowded with holidaymakers, and a free chair on the sand is not easy to find.
The most famous resort of the country from the “Gates of the Adriatic” is separated by some 20 kilometers. However, the way from the second international airport of Montenegro, Podgorica, does not take more than an hour and a half. The developed tourist infrastructure is successfully supplemented by clean beaches with surprisingly clear water, interesting architecture of the old town, atmospheric restaurants and pubs, amusement parks for the whole family, night clubs and bars with an attention-worthy cocktail list.
The Streets of Budva, Montenegro
Needless to say, popularity goes hand in hand with price. But even on a modest budget, a good time in Budva is well worth it. The main thing is to think about booking affordable accommodation in advance – in the “high” season available rooms on arrival can offer only expensive hotels.
Within the city there are 6 equipped beaches, both sandy and pebbly. Most of them are free, you will only have to pay to rent chairs and umbrellas if you want to sit comfortably. Central “Slavyansky” rather “populous”, but this lack is compensated by showers with fresh water, changing rooms, children’s playgrounds and water slides.
Beach Mogren Jazz Beach Kamenovo Beach Sveti Nikola Beach Richard’s Head Beach St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Budva
The small municipal beach “Guvantse” also offers vacationers good infrastructure, a gentle shore with a comfortable entrance to the water and the opportunity to admire the sea sunset, but because of its location in the suburbs, there are much fewer people here. And don’t let this definition scare you – given the modest scale of the city, you can get here from the center on foot or by public transport, which moves towards Becici.
You can combine sightseeing in the old town with swimming on beaches “Richard’s Head” and “Pisana”, and if you don’t mind walking a bit, you will find yourself on the most picturesque beach of the Budvan Riviera, “Mogren”. To lie by the water, surrounded by flaky rocks and lush greenery, we recommend to take a place in the morning, by noon in July and August there is not an inch to spare. The area belongs to one of the hotels, so there may be an entrance fee, but in practice travelers rarely encounter it.
There is a certified diving center near Budva, where beginners can undergo training and order dives with an instructor at interesting places on the coast. Experienced divers will be interested in the coral reefs, the rock Galiola with tunnels and several shipwrecks in the bay.
The historical center will delight the lovers of antiquities with the medieval citadel, which is the trademark of the city and is depicted on most souvenir products, the ancient churches of St. John, St. Mary, the Holy Trinity, St. Sava and a rich display of the local museum of archeology.
Becici and Rafailovichi
These compact resort towns are located a few kilometers from Budva, and are easily accessible by Adriatic highway or by mini tourist train, which makes stops close to the hotels. Narrow and winding streets, covered with greenery, descend to the impressively clear water. Travelers can choose between hotels of different “stars”, villas and private guest houses. Accommodation here is often preferred by families with children or people who seek a quiet and secluded vacation. But peace does not mean boredom! When you want to diversify the “beach” days on the wide sandy beach, you can go in for sports. There are excellent conditions for water skiing, rafting, paragliding, tennis, beach soccer, basketball and volleyball. Dreaming of taking more beautiful photos from your vacation? Take one of the many bus tours of Montenegro and Albania. And if you have an open Italian visa in your passport, take the ferry to Bari to admire the medieval architecture and three dozen ancient churches, one of which houses the relics of St. Nicholas.
Another place for peace and relaxation. The town on the shore of a beautiful bay is surrounded by pine and olive groves, where it is pleasant to walk in the hottest hours. The rest of the time you want to spend by the water. The city beach has access to the seafront, along which there are cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops, boutiques. Lucice is a little more “wild”, but there are also showers, toilets, changing rooms and rental beds. And yet – the fish restaurant, the terrace which offers a wonderful view of the sea and the cliffs. Venetian fortress XVI century now transformed into a nightclub, but the music will not disturb the sleep of tourists. The main entertainment can be called a boat trip to the nearby islands. There is a small chapel on the rocky top of the island of St. Week, and Katich is interesting for its lighthouse.
Kotor is much richer in attractions than other cities in the Montenegrin Adriatic. In 1979, due to its unique architectural ensemble and well-preserved medieval quarters, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The old city is surrounded by really massive fortress walls: their height in some parts reaches 20 meters and the thickness is 16 meters. Inside are the Princes’ Palace, the Clock Tower, the palaces of the noble families, the 12th-18th century churches and the Cathedral of St. Trifon, where the first Croatian King Tomislav was crowned. Moreover, Kotor has for many years been the center of cultural life in the region, and it welcomes participants in various festivals.
The city and its surroundings are very beautiful, but as a place of permanent dislocation for a seaside vacation is not too suitable. There are no really good beaches and the water is not as clean as on the other parts of the coast.
It is an option for a relaxing family vacation and people who want to improve their health. It is here that the huge center of physiotherapy, rehabilitation and spa treatment “Igalo” is located. With the help of qualified personnel, modern medical equipment, sea mud, mineral radon baths in the mild climate of the Boka Kotor Bay the condition of people suffering from cardiologic, neurologic, gynecologic, skin diseases, or recovering after injuries of musculoskeletal system, surgical operations is improved.
But Herceg Novi has a lot of attractions for ordinary travelers as well. In the municipal gardens and parks there are more than a hundred species of tropical and subtropical flora, including relict plants. Over the centuries, the city remembers the memory of different rulers, so in its architectural appearance intertwined features of traditional Balkan, Ottoman and even Austrian architecture. The latter gave the town hall and the fort on the island-penitentiary Mamula, which is certainly worth visiting by boat.
Herceg Novi Promenade in Herceg Novi
The sea fortress built on the coastal rocks by the founder of Herceg Novi, King Tvrtko I, bears the evidence of the Bosnian nobles, the Turks and the Venetians. The Turks have left as a memento of their rule the Bloody Tower, which today houses a beautiful summer theater, and the Sat Kula – the Clock Tower. The monuments of religious architecture are the church of St. Michael the Archangel on Belavista square and the baroque monastery Savina, two kilometers to the east of the city.
Herceg Novi’s own beach is too small to accommodate all the holidaymakers, but the beautiful beaches of the peninsula Lustinice are nearby. You can get here by boat, which operates a few times a day during the season, or with the help of local boatmen.
If you can easily reach Croatia from Herceg Novi, Ulcinj is very close to the Albanian border. The country’s southernmost resort enjoys an average of 217 days of sunshine a year. More only in Spain, Italy and Cyprus! Features of the mineral composition of water and physical properties of the sand make recreation here not only relaxing but also therapeutic.
The ruins of the fortress The streets of the old city
Founded by the Greeks, named by the Romans, under the Ottomans it became a pirate citadel in the Mediterranean and a haven for Christians under the Venetians. In the streets of the old city you can see architectural monuments of different styles and peoples. Churches were rebuilt into mosques, and the palaces of the Venetian nobles became modern hotels.
According to local legend, the Turks kept Miguel Cervantes prisoner in the fortress of Ulcinj and it is here that the image of beloved Don Quixote – Dulcinea of Tobosca was born. If the beauty of nature excites you more than literary characters, go to the nearby Lake Skadar. In this national park you can observe bird life and just admire the scenery.
The small island is separated from Ulcinj by 25 km. The status of the reserve has allowed to preserve the nature almost untouched. An interesting feature is that the triangular-shaped piece of land is washed on one side by the salty Adriatic and on the other two by the fresh waters of the Bojan River. On the “sea” shore is a wide beach with unusually soft sand, which in the sunlight shimmers in different shades. Right above the water are the photogenic wooden houses of the local fishermen.
But it’s the naturist hotels and beaches that make the place famous on the continent. Nude vacationers swim, sunbathe, play sports on the tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, and even ride horses in the riding school.
There’s little in this corner for upscale vacations that could bring to mind the past of an ordinary fishing village. Luxurious suites with panoramic terraces, designer furniture and smart fixtures and fittings are designed to make the stay truly luxurious. Sailing, diving, cocktails in the cozy bars, promenade in the beautiful park of Milocer attract to the Montenegrin resort the rich and famous: businessmen, Hollywood stars and even members of the monarchy families of Britain and the Netherlands.