Despite the country’s small size, Montenegro is full of hidden treasures. Here is a list of exceptional sights that are just waiting to be discovered, from century old cities to pristine national parks.
The famous island is a must-visit: it is part of the nearby town of Budva and is joined up with the coast by a large sandbank. This ancient fishing village was fortified during the 15th century. Inside the ramparts, the medieval streets whisk visitors into the past. Reminiscent of France’s Mont St Michel, Sveti Stefan is one of the most prized destinations on the Adriatic coastline.
Guarding the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi flows down the hillside towards the sea. The fortified city still shows traces of its extensive past. After being destroyed by an earthquake in 1979, the historically impenetrable medieval fortress of Kotor rose from its ashes. Discover a unique and fascinating location, since classed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The city’s trendy atmosphere is fuelled by local festivals and culture, attracting visitors from all over the world.
On the south-facing bank of the inner Bay of Kotor, this tiny city is built around a central street, forming a white stretch between the dark waters and tree-covered hills. Discover Perast’s many beautifully designed baroque palaces and magnificent churches.
Nested behind ramparts on the Adriatic coast with its bay facing the nearby peninsula, the old town of Budva hasn’t aged a day! The top of the citadel offers an unequalled view of the rooftops below. Don’t forget to visit Saint-Sava Church.
This splendid troglodyte building was erected during the 17th century and was mainly carved out of the Ostroska Greda ridge. Situated inland, it is the most visited monastery in the Balkan region. Its stunning white glow stands out at the foot of an impressive rocky cliff. It is a sacred sanctuary for Orthodox Christians and a place of pilgrimage, particularly during the Assumption. To reach the monastery, one must follow a narrow road up the cliff. The inside of the monastery is made of two small caves, which were restored after a fire broke out in 1923. Here, one can admire frescos by Master Radul. The artist used the caves’ walls and natural surface to depict his religious scenes.
The city of Ulcinj has both south-Mediterranean and oriental influences. It embodies a crossroads between cultures and therefore offers an absolutely unique atmosphere. Its amphitheatre structure is stunning and the old town is almost completely restored. At night fall, the local nightclubs bring out the town’s unsuspected effervescence.
In the north-west of Montenegro lies Durmitor National Park, a pristine natural area boasting sharp mountain peaks such as Bobotov Kuk (2,523 m). If you’re looking for large spaces and the sense of freedom that goes with them, you’ve found the right place.
Lake Skadar is the second largest lake in Europe and has been classed as a national park. Located in the south-east of the country, its vast marshy landscapes are a great nesting ground for birds. The road along the southern coast to the border with Albania is absolutely spectacular.
Mount Lovćen (or “the black mountain”) is a sacred location for the people of Montenegro. Situated several kilometres inland, the location offers an unbeatable view of the Bay of Kotor. The national park is home to the Njegoš mausoleum; an exceptional monument built in honour of the Bishop-Prince Petar II Petrović Njegoš. The site is guarded by two giants carved out of granite. The many trails in the area are sure to please any hiker.
Cetinje is located kilometres inland, not far from Lovćen National Park. It used to be a miniature capital in the region during the 19th century, before being dethroned by today’s Podgorica. Though the town’s embassies and parliament have long been deserted, many ancient palaces are still standing today… This cultural town is brimming with history. A museum tour is definitely in order!
Nested near a waterfall in the gorges of the Morača River, the eponymous monastery boasts a stunning collection of frescoes and icons from the 13th and 14th centuries. Scenes from the life of the prophet Elijah are signs of the Byzantine pictorial tradition in the region. Morača Monastery is one of the most frequented religious sites in all Montenegro.
The gorges of the Tara River are considered the longest in all of Europe, stretching 78 km into the country’s mountainous north. This awe-inspiring experience is on par with the Grand Canyon: the view from the riverbed is most impressive and the rafting ride down the river a must.
Biogradska Gora National Park is hidden amid the Bjelasica Mountains in the north-east of the country. The park spans 56 km² and is renowned for its beautiful and quite accessible summits. Take a Sunday stroll and discover Lake Biogradsko as it pierces a hole through the pine forest. In the heights of the park, the icy lakes are a great place to practice a variety of different sports.