Lake in Durmitor National Park

If you are looking for somewhere different and unspoiled to go on holiday, Montenegro is a relatively undiscovered gem. Set in the Adriatic Sea, just off the Croatian coast, the island enjoys Mediterranean sunshine throughout the summer and autumn months. Its coastline boasts dozens of beaches, and the scenery is spectacular, with snow-capped mountains, deep gorges and pine forests. 

The Durmitor Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the stunning Boka Kotorska Bay is Europe’s most southerly fjord; while the Tara River Canyon, with its spectacular gorges and waterfalls, is the second-largest river canyon in the world, second only to Colorado. It is small wonder, then, that the island was chosen as a location for the Bond film ‘Casino Royale’.

The name Montenegro (black mountain) dates back to the 13th century, and is believed to relate to the dense, dark forests that covered Mount Lovcen.  The island has had a turbulent history. Once part of the Roman Empire – known then as ‘Doclea’ - it became one of the very first independent Balkan states in the 11th century; but was later taken over by the Turks. After World War I, Montenegro was annexed by Serbia, and became a full republic of the Yugoslav Federation in the 1940s. It was not until 2006 that the island was internationally recognised once again as an independent state, and its official currency is now the Euro.

For those who want to enjoy a more relaxing holiday, there are walled historic towns and coastal villages to explore, or country markets where you can purchase the local specialities of smoked meats and cheeses. You can travel around the island by hire car, train, local buses or taxi.

However, if you are looking for an action-packed holiday, Montenegro is definitely the place to go.  Activities available on the island include: kayaking, canoeing, diving, hiking, climbing, paragliding, horseback riding, sailing, white water rafting and mountain biking; while in winter, there is excellent skiing.  Visit the Adventure Park within the Lovcen National Park, where you can try out a whole range of outdoor activities against a background of magnificent scenery.

Accommodation ranges from five-star luxury hotels and resorts to self-catering apartments. One of the most popular tourist destinations is Becici, with its long, golden beach and vibrant, sea-front cafes. Close by is the historic town of Budva, where one can enjoy a lively night life, with open-air nightclubs all along the promenade, and Bar Street, which more than lives up to its name!

If you wish to dine out, there are plenty of pizza parlours and fast food outlets, but it is well worth trying out the regional cuisine in tavernas and sea food restaurants. The local wines are highly recommended too.

For shopaholics, the best retail therapy opportunities can be found in the modern capital, Podgorica, which is also a cultural centre, with a large number of theatres, museums and galleries, playing host to festivals and events throughout the year.

A visit to this beautiful island is highly recommended, where the friendly local people will make you very welcome.