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Montenegro is the rising star of the Mediterranean – discover its heart-stirring beauty and charming culture

Sharing a close border with Croatia’s capital Dubrovnik makes Montenegro popular with day trippers, but it’s a destination that deserves to be savoured for longer. Spend a few nights in Montenegro and you’ll soon find that the country has everything you could dream of. Expect mountainous walking trails, astonishing views, and historic buildings. And, of course, gorgeous beaches that are perfect for day long spells of relaxation.

The country’s complex history makes it an intriguing place to visit. You’ll get the chance to learn about Rustovo Monastery’s bloody past, the controversy surrounding the burial of one of the country’s greatest Prince-Bishops, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, and the country’s links to Greek mythology. You’ll return home from your holidays with at least one new fact about Montenegro, and a thirst to learn more. Visit this growing destination before everyone knows about it and you’ll quickly become infatuated with Montenegro.

 

A sun-kissed beach

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Culture and history

Around 70% of Montenegrins are Orthodox Christian and nearly 20% are Muslim. There are also a small number of Catholics, but the most prevalent Church in Montenegro is the Serbian Orthodox Church. Serbia and Montenegro once formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, after Yugoslavia began to break down in the early 90s, but in 2006 Montenegro voted for independence. The countries continue to share many ties and similarities, but Montenegro is working to solidify its own traditions and identity.

Kačamak is one of Montenegro’s most well-known traditional dishes. The dish is made with boiled potatoes which are mashed with the cooking water and mixed with cornmeal and a white cheese such as feta. It’s a heavy dish that’s usually eaten in the morning to prepare for a long day of work or exploring. For something sweeter, why not seek out Montenegro’s famous dessert priganice. Priganice are light, airy doughnuts that are dusted with sugar and served with honey – delicious!

One of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Montenegro is rakija, a fruit brandy which is well loved throughout the Balkans. Rakija is sweet but packs quite a punch! Bars and restaurants will serve rakija that’s about 40% proof but if you’re lucky enough to try some homemade fruit brandy, then the alcohol content can be as high as 90% – so keep an eye on those post-meal drinks.

Things to do

Montenegro is a versatile country that’s ripe for adventure and relaxation. Book a Saga holiday package or choose something a little more active with a walking holiday. Saga offers walking holidays all over the world, and Montenegro is an ideal destination for avid walkers. You’ll get the chance to discover Montenegro’s national parks, nature trails and deep forests on foot with the help of our guides. Make sure to set aside a few days relaxing on a Montenegrin beach, and you’ll see why this budding destination is becoming so popular.

Kotor

The Bay of Kotor is renowned for its spectacular scenery – towering cliffs plunging into tranquil, deep blue waters. Some have even likened the breathtaking landscape to an Adriatic equivalent of the fjords of Norway. UNESCO certainly agree, as they declared the bay and it architecture as a unique site worthy of World Heritage status. To see what the fuss is about, try a boat trip to take in some beautiful Romanesque cathedrals.

Budva

The stunning backdrop to Budva is distant mountains, vibrant green trees and whitewashed stone buildings – this small town is a place to be admired. To learn about the history of this medieval town, you could take a trip to the City Museum of Budva.

The museum exhibits archaeological discoveries from the town such as jewellery, ornaments and other objects, some of which date all the way back to the fifth century. Among the most intriguing items are a pair of gold earrings and a brooch with an engraving of an eagle clutching a little boy in his claws, which are associated with ancient Greek myths about Zeus and Ganymede.

Rustovo Monastery

Rustovo Monastery was originally built in memory of 1,400 people from Pastrovici who were murdered by the Hungarian king in 1378. Located in Rustovo Village, just outside of Budva, the monastery became a convent in 2004. This religious attraction is particularly beautiful because of its lush surroundings in the forest of Pastrovka.

Take a trip to the hilltop here, and you’ll be rewarded with an unbeatably clear view down to Montenegro’s striking coastline. Remember to take a camera with you so that you can capture the wonderful views!

Lovćen National Park

Head inland for a day trip to Lovćen National Park and you’ll get to witness Montenegro’s distinct natural beauty for yourself. The park is home to Mount Lovćen, the huge black mountain that gave Montenegro its name. Lovćen National Park is also an important cultural site as the remains of one of Montenegro’s greatest Prince-Bishops and poets, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, were laid to rest at the top of the mountain.

Njegoš’ last wish was to be buried in a chapel that he designed at the top of Mount Lovćen and, for a time, his wish was granted. Unfortunately, during Austria-Hungary occupation of Montenegro in the First World War, the chapel was mostly destroyed and many years later it was rebuilt. However, communist authorities decided to replace the chapel with a mausoleum in 1952. The site itself is still impressive, and promises the best panoramic views of Montenegro, but the controversy surrounding Njegoš’ burial still remains.

Flight time

Flights from London to Montenegro takes just under 3 hours, so you shouldn’t need more than a magazine from the airport duty-free section to keep you occupied for your trip.

Currency

Euro - Although Montenegro isn’t yet a part of the European Union, the country’s official currency is the euro.

Passports and visas

British citizens don’t need a visa to visit Montenegro unless they’re staying for more than 90 days.

Phrases

Many people in Montenegro speak English, especially those who work in hotels and restaurants, so you shouldn’t worry about communication. But if you’d like to try and meet people half-way, here are some basic phrases to help you:]

Zdravo – Hello

Molim – Please

Hvala – Thank you 

Da – Yes

Ne – No

Dali pricate Engleski? – Do you speak English?

Izvinjavam se, ali – Excuse me

Koliko kosta ovo – How much is this?

Zivjeli! – Cheers!

Timezone

Montenegro uses Central European Time (CET), so it is only 1 hour ahead of the UK.

Electricity

Montenegro uses a standard Type F plug, so you’ll need a two-pin European adapter for your trip. Use an adapter from a previous trip to Europe, or pick up a pack online or at the airport.

Language

Montenegrin -

Montenegrin is a developing language which is similar to the Serbo-Croatian language that was once spoken throughout Yugoslavia. After the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, and Montenegro’s successful independence vote in 2006, the language of the country has been under question. Although it still shares similarities with Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian, Montenegrin now has its own grammar and linguistic standards to be taught in schools.

Tipping

Montenegro is a growing holiday destination, and tipping expectations are changing as the industry continues to develop. Smaller, family-run restaurants will be happy with a small tip, but more upmarket restaurants that don’t include a service charge will expect a 10% tip as standard. If you’d like to tip the cleaning staff at your hotel, then you can leave around 2-3 euros for each night of your stay. For taxi drivers, rounding up to the nearest euro is appropriate. Although, if you’ve received exceptional service, then leaving a few euros will be greatly appreciated.

Climate

Montenegro is a country of two seasons: summer and winter. The coast benefits from a Mediterranean climate, and the summer months between April and September are always warm and sunny. Between July and August, there are average temperatures of a blissful 27 degrees Celsius.

Montenegro’s mountains are much colder and experience a lot of snowfall over the winter. With averages of 0 degrees Celsius in the winter months, places such as Kolašin are popular ski resorts. For a holiday of warm weather, visit Montenegro’s coast between April and September. For optimal temperatures and fewer crowds, take your trip before the most popular months of July and August.

Health

As health information can change at any time, you should make a GP appointment at least 12 weeks before departure to get their up to date advice.

You can also do some research yourself before your trip. You will find country-specific information through the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and information for British citizens travelling abroad through The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit.

Population and size

Montenegro is a Balkan country that’s bordered by Croatia and Serbia. The country is well-situated for holidaymakers looking for sun and sea as its coast is on the warm Adriatic Sea. Montenegro has a population of over 600,000 people – slightly less people than Oxfordshire – and a size of 13,812 square kilometres, which is slightly smaller than Northern Ireland.

Smoking

Montenegro’s smoking ban is similar to the one in the UK. Smoking inside public places like cafes, restaurants and offices is prohibited. However, a large portion of Montenegrins are smokers, so you needn’t worry about finding somewhere to smoke. There are a lot of outside smoking areas for smokers to use, and non-smokers can avoid them easily if they want to.


Places in Montenegro


Climate