Veljko Vlahović (1914-75) is poignant when writes of Montenegro as “sea foam and snow dust, a dance of steep cliffs and headlong streams, uproar of battles and inebriation of wars. . . a land of reality and dream(s)”.
I am pleased to introduce you to the hidden gem of the Adriatic Coast: Montenegro.
Montenegro happens to be a very small country with a population of 625,266 citizens. The country derives its name (literally, “black mountain”) from its dark mountainous forests. Its coastline houses the glory of some of our most-ancient towns: Kotor, Budva, Herceg Novi and Ulcinj. Interestingly, the towns have sustained their medievalist aura, allowing visitors (and natives alike) to absorb their culture, architecture, food, nature, and history.
These ancient towns are the oldest in the Balkans, just to let you know.
Old town Kotor with its Venetian and old-Austrian fortifications has also been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Budva is a metropole of tourism and nightlife and is not something that you should miss out on.
Also, one of Montenegro’s most picturesque destinations is Island Saint Stefan – an exclusive resort, pumping natural beauty and energy.
Herceg Novi (my beloved hometown) is on the border with Croatia and is less than one hour away from Dubrovnik (which you may know as King’s Landing in the Game of Thrones). Between Herceg Novi and Kotor’s coastline, you can further enjoy the charm of two small islands: Saint Marco and Lady of the Rocks. It is famous because of its wild beauties and untouched nature.
Furthermore, Montenegro has five national parks: Durmitor, Biogradska Gora, Prokletije, Lovćen and Lake Skadar. Durmitor is also famous for nestling Europe’s deepest river canyon, which is also another UNESCO World Heritage Site credited to Montenegro: the Tara River Canyon.
Lovcen is famous as the home to the mausoleum of one of Montenegro’s famous poet and ruler, Peter II Petrovic Njegos. The mausoleum serves as a symbol of Montenegrin identity, which is further re-echoed in our national anthem, “Lovcen is our holy altar”.
Lake Skadar treasures the largest lake in the Balkans and is lauded for its biodiversity. Also, it is the home to many endemic species of flora and fauna. Within the vicinities of the lake, one may find an ample number of churches, fisherman’s villages, fortresses, and sacred monuments that speak of Montenegrin history since the 11th century. What a striking beauty!
I can certainly vouch for one thing: if you are a nature-lover, Montenegro could be your paradise. Having a Mediterranean climate, Montenegro allows visitors to revel in its captivating beauty across seasons, and it is this factor (intermingled with its enthralling history, culture, food) that is enough to make this country, my mon amour, reach the pinnacle of your bucket list. I’m not prejudiced over here (because, naturally, I am a native), and can vouch that once you get a hold of Montenegro’s air, you would not want to go back. You can stay back, though. We love you!