The Republic of Montenegro, situated on the southernAdriatic coast of Eastern Europe was, for a long time, consideredunsafe for tourists. Now it is deservedly being extolled as the newdream holiday destination. The charm of this country lies in itspicturesque medieval towns and villages, river valleys, beaches,lakes, and mountains.
The most popular area for tourism is the narrowcoastal section, which stretches from Igalo in the west to theBojana river mouth in the east, indented by numerous fjords, andwashed by the Adriatic Sea. Across the Dinarian Mountains is thecentral plain, where the capital, Podgorica, swelters through hotsummers and the scenic Skadar Lake region offers a retreat. Thenorth of Montenegro is dominated by mountains, where rivers havecarved spectacular canyons through the forests. Winter in thisregion is particularly attractive, with the ski resorts of Zabljakand Kolasin. There are also two national parks in this area, whichdraw keen eco-tourists.
Montenegro, while a small country, certainly does not lack incharacter and beauty. Considered to be the pearl of theMediterranean and located in the south region of the Adriatic sea,this unique Balkan country has breath-taking scenery and is home toboth rugged mountain terrain as well as a spectacular strip ofbeach and shoreline.
The Bay of Kotor is a beautiful region to visit and explore. TheBay, resembling a fjord, is home to some quaint coastal churchesand towns, such as Kotor and Herceg Novi. Although the region canget incredibly busy during the summer months, Kotor somehow managesto hold on to its charm.
The Ostrog Monastery is a must-see sight when in Montenegro. Setinto a mountain face, the Monastery is considered to be one of themost important pilgrimage sites in the Balkans. Visitors enjoyreceiving a blessing once there, and can experience the eerieatmosphere off the cliff-side holy place too. The Durmitor NationalPark is worth a visit for those who enjoy outdoor activity; notonly is it one of Montenegro's most spectacular national parks, italso offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter months and hikingand kayaking in the summer making it a versatile destination. Thosestill chasing open-air entertainment will also enjoy Lake SkadarNational Park, made notable for its scenery and outstandingwildlife.
Maritime history buffs will enjoy the Maritime Museum; one ofthe most popular cultural sites in Montenegro and suitable for allages. The Budva Riviera is also a brilliant tourist spot; a 22-mile(35km) strip of Adriatic coastline offering tourists more than 20beaches and some lively restaurants and nightlife too.
A wonderfully unique destination, offering outdoor splendour aswell as history, those who visit Montenegro will not leavedisappointed.
Kotor's Maritime Museum is one of the most popular sights inMontenegro. Housed in a stately Baroque palace that used to belongto the noble Grgurina family, the Maritime Museum proudly displaysartefacts and documents chronicling Kotor's rich naval heritage. Awell-run and ably financed operation, the exhibitions at theMaritime Museum are filled with some truly beautiful pieces thatwill capture the imagination of young and old visitors, 'sea-dogs'and 'land-lubbers' alike. In addition to bronze reliefs, oldportraits, ancient maps, and aquarelles, there are also antiquenavigational instruments and models of old galleys and sailboats ondisplay, as well as a poignant collection of bottles that,presumably once carried messages from sailors back to shore.
Ideal for tourists who like their holidays off the beaten thetrack, the ruins of Stari Bar provide a dual-attraction of being afascinating archaeological site as well as being located in simplygorgeous natural surrounds. Situated at the top of Lundza Hill, inthe shadow of the towering Mount Rumija, the ruins of Stari Bar fitseamlessly into this rugged terrain, giving visitors the raresensation of having 'discovered' something when they arrive. Theruins themselves have an extraordinary history, having beeninhabited by various civilisations since the year 800 BC. Turnedinto a Roman settlement, then invaded by the Turkish before beingwrested back by the Montenegrins in 1878. The sheer scale of theruined city and its fortifications is guaranteed to impress eventhe most jaded of travellers. Budget at least half a day to explorethe area properly, and don't forget to wear comfortable walkingshoes.
One of the European tourist scene's best-kept secrets is surelythe Budva Riviera, a 22-mile (35km) strip of Adriatic coastlinesurrounding the town of Budva on Montenegro's west coast. For mostpeople, Montenegro does not immediately spring to mind whenconsidering ideal destinations for a beach holiday in Europe, butfor those in the know, it provides the perfect setting for aholiday filled with sun and surf. The Budva Riviera is theheartbeat of Montenegro's tourism industry, attracting 300,000visitors in 2010, only to rise as word gets out of its spectacularjagged coastline, which is home to bays, inlets, caves, smallislands, and more than 20 beaches - not to mention a vibrantnightlife and plenty of sophisticated restaurants, cafes andbistros.
Tourists looking for a piece of sand to call their own will bespoilt for choice, but highlights include Jaz Beach, Mogren Beach,which gets the most sun, Milocer Beach, which is surrounded bywoods filled with rare tree species, including Lebanese cedar, andBecici Beach, the most famous of Montenegro's beaches, and winnerof the 1935 Grand Prix prize for most beautiful beach inEurope.
The Monastery of Ostrog, the Serbian Orthodox Church, dedicatedto Saint Basil of Ostrog, is the most-visited pilgrimagedestination in Montenegro. Thousands of devotees travel here everyyear to pray by the remains of Saint Basil for good health andalleviation of their suffering. However, the Ostrog Monastery alsohappens to be a massively popular tourist attraction in Montenegro,drawing day-trippers to gape at its truly remarkable construction,and to savour the unforgettable views of the Bjelopavlici Plainsthat it affords from its balconies. Set within the huge rocks ofOstroska Greda, the monastery has a nearly vertical backdrop ofsheer cliffs. The Ostrog Monastery is said to have been constructedin this way to fill approaching pilgrims with a sense of God'sgrace, but even non-religious visitors are sure to be spellbound byits unique beauty.
The coast of Montenegro enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate,with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The capital,Podgorica, on the central plain is the hottest spot in the country,with mid-summer temperatures averaging 81°F (27°C). The northernmountains are much cooler and snow-covered throughout the winterwhere temperatures average
The official currency is the Euro (EUR). Visitors enteringMontenegro with more than €10,000 (including travellers cheques orthe equivalent in another currency) should declare the amount onentry. Without declaration on entry large amounts may beconfiscated on departure. Serbian Dinars are not accepted inMontenegro and should be exchanged for Euros. There are ATMs, whichaccept international bank cards in major cities and towns, and mostof the larger hotels, shops and main restaurants accept DinersClub, Visa, American Express, Maestro, and MasterCard. Money can beexchanged at the numerous banks in the towns and cities.
Montenegrin (very similar to Croatian) is the officiallanguage of Montenegro, although Serbian and Albanian is commonlyused in some areas. English is widely understood in the capital,Podgorica, and in the coastal resorts.
Electrical current in Montenegro is 220 volts, 50Hz.Two-prong round pin attachment plugs are in use.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival inMontenegro. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90days.
British citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrivalin Montenegro (or for at least three months beyond the period ofintended stay in Montenegro, if their passport is not marked'British Citizen' or 'British National (Overseas)').
No visa is required for British Citizens and British Nationals(Overseas) for touristic stays of up to 90 days, but Britishnationals with any other endorsement in their passport shouldconfirm official requirements before travel to Montenegro.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid uponarrival in Montenegro. No visa is required for touristic stays ofup to 90 days.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid uponarrival in Montenegro. No visa is required for touristic stays ofup to 90 days.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for atleast three months beyond the period of intended stay inMontenegro. A visa is required, except for a max stay of 30 daysfor holders of a valid visa issued by Ireland, the UK, the US, or aSchengen Member State.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrivalin Montenegro. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90days. If the traveller only has a passport card, the visa-free stayis reduced to 30 days.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival inMontenegro. No visa is required for touristic stays of up to 90days.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid uponarrival in Montenegro. No visa is required for touristic stays ofup to 90 days.
Visitors are advised to carry their passports on them at alltimes. Furthermore, visitors must register with the local policewithin 24 hours of arrival in Montenegro (however, this is doneautomatically when checking into a hotel or official touristaccommodation). Failure to do so could mean a fine or imprisonment.Travellers must only enter Montenegro through recognised bordercrossings, and may be required to show proof of a return or onwardticket, the necessary travel documentation for their nextdestination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenseswhile in Montenegro. NOTE: It is highly recommended that yourpassport has at least six months validity remaining after yourintended date of departure from your travel destination.Immigration officials often apply different rules to those statedby travel agents and official sources.
Montenegro is generally a healthy country with few risks. Onlybottled or purified water should be consumed, and food should bewell prepared and well cooked. Those intending to hike in thecountryside should take precautions against ticks. Medicalfacilities in Montenegro are limited, and supplies are lacking.Medical insurance with evacuation cover is strongly recommended.There are some private clinics in Podgorica, which treattravellers, but payment in cash is expected. A reciprocal healthagreement entitles visitors from the UK to free emergencytreatment.
Service charges are generally not included in restaurant andhotel bills in Montenegro. A tip of 10% is appreciated. Taxidrivers do not expect tips; but a small gratuity would beappreciated.
Montenegro is a safe destination for travellers, although it iswise to take sensible precautions against street crime in the townsand cities, as you would in any other European country. Travellersshould note that car thieves tend to target four-wheel-drive andluxury vehicles and that unexploded landmines may still remainalong the Kosovo border, so necessary precautions should betaken.
Wearing shorts is not permitted inside public institutions suchas hospitals and dress should be modest when visiting monasteriesin Montenegro. There are designated nudist beaches andover-exposure is frowned upon elsewhere. Being drunk in public isconsidered in bad taste, as is discussing national politics andethnic issues. Littering is considered the ultimate insult.
Business relationships in Montenegro are founded on hospitality,so expect to be wined and dined. Dress is formal and conservative,and handshakes are the norm at the beginning and end of meetings.Business hours are generally between 8am and 4pm.
The international dialling code for Montenegro is +382 (theprevious code of +381 is still in use). The outgoing dialling codeis 99. There are local area codes (Podgorica is (0)81). Thetelephone system is undergoing modernization with digital linesbeing slowly introduced. There is good GSM mobile network coveragethroughout the country provided by two operators. There are Wi-FiInternet zones available in Podgorica and all the main towns haveInternet cafes, charging around €1 an hour.
The following can be brought into Montenegro without payingduty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; two litres ofwine and 750ml of spirits; perfume for personal use; personaljewellery and clothing; up to two cameras and one movie/videocamera; electronic equipment (such as radio) for personal use; andsports equipment. Pets can be brought into the country with aveterinary certificate of good health.
National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro, Podgorica: +382(0)81 9797 or +382 (0)81 235 155. Visitwww.visit-montenegro.com
Embassy of Montenegro, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 78638806.
United States Consulate, Podgorica: +382 (0)20 410 500.
British Consulate, Podgorica: +382 (0)81 205 460.
Canadian Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (also responsible forMontenegro): +381 (0)11 306 3000.
South African Embassy, Athens, Greece (also responsible forMontenegro): +30 210 610 6645.
Australian Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (also responsible forMontenegro): +381 (0)11 330 3400.
Irish Embassy, Budapest, Hungary (also responsible forMontenegro): +36 1 301 4960.