After visiting Montenegro aka “Black Mountain” this summer, we are convinced that everyone should visit this beautiful country. From its mountains to its pomegranates, Montenegro is truly a hidden gem! If you’ve never considered visiting this non-extradition country, check out these 7 reasons why it deserves a spot on your bucket list…
- Montenegro is BEAUTIFUL.
Imagine being surrounded by mountains, a peaceful, crystal-clear bay filled with adorable boats, a stunning castle fortress, delicious pomegranates ripe for the picking, hot pizza fresh out of the oven, beaches glistening next to the Adriatic Sea, nightlife in the Balkans, ridge walking, skiing on mountain tops with panoramic views and mountains for miles on end… this is Montenegro.
Panoramic views from the fortress!
- It’s less touristy than Croatia.
Kotor, despite having a gigantic fortress and city views filled with orange rooftops, is less touristy than Croatia so the prices are cheaper. Compare Dubrovnik’s whopping 20 Euro/pp VS Kotor’s 3 Euro/pp entry fee!! AND to be honest Kotor’s walls are much more interesting and produce incredible views as seen in the picture above 😊 Apart from its coastlines there is much more to Montenegro that Croatia just doesn’t have the land mass for. Mountains are everywhere, rivers and lakes abound, plus snow sports are a possibility!
Selfie from Horseshoe Bend! #WeWokeUpLikeThis
- There are tons of activities!
Montenegro offers a wide variety of activities including hiking, shopping, sailing, dining, and of course, sightseeing. Simply driving the coastline in your really cheap rental car results in epic cliffsides, caves, mountains and unending natural beauty. Renting a car is a must if you want to experience the entirety of the fairytale country known as Montenegro. Walking around the narrow, pedestrian only streets of Kotor, visiting the masoleum in Lovcen National Park, seeing the Ostrog Monastery carved in the side of the mountain, getting an epic selfie at Horseshoe Bend on Lake Skadar, hiking the ridges on a mountain in Durmitor National Park, taking a small boat to Our Lady of the Rocks island in Perast, exploring the Blue Cave and Mamula, the Alcatraz of Montenegro, or climbing the side of a mountain to much on goat cheese while sipping a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. There is no limit to the number of activities and experiences to be had in Montenegro.
- The people are kind.
During our 10 days in Kotor, our Airbnb host brought us fresh ham and cheese croissants, fresh pomegranates, mandarin oranges, juice, milk, washed(and folded) our laundry, and made us coffee and tea. The Montenegrin people are generous and kind and are happy to see their country’s tourism on the rise. We spent multiple morning sipping coffee and swapping stories with the father of our host. They will treat you like guests and not customers!
Group photo from our Blue Cave day cruise!
- The foodie scene is on point.
Okay, but really… let’s just talk about the food here for a second. Due to the Italian influence many moons ago, you can find some DELICIOUS pizza, pastries, Burek, every other kind of carbohydrate. Thankfully, the fresh pomegranate juice and mandarin oranges help to balance it out. And don’t forget the smoked ham aka Njeguski Prosciutto! This tasty smoked morsel can be found all over Montenegro but visiting the source is half the fun. The famous ham originates from a tiny town on the top of a mountain called Njeguski. It is so small that we drove right through it without noticing…plus the drive there is incredible! While it is a long journey, we would do it over again (and will) when back in Montenegro.
- It’s cheap.
How is it still so cheap? We honestly don’t know, we’re just grateful that it is. We’ve traveled in every Balkan country (except Kosovo) and Montenegro honestly had the most dramatic coastlines, epic interior mountains and enchanting Rivieras out of the bunch. While each country has its own charm, Montenegro is the double-edged sword of the Balkans…containing both beauty and affordability. We are not sure how long the cheap prices will linger so our advice is to get there as quick as you can before the ever-growing number of visitors lead to the inevitable price-hikes as seen by its neighbor Croatia.
The extreme diversity found in Montenegro is exemplified by our experience when traveling form the Bay of Kotor close to the coast to Zabljak on the edge of Durmitor National Park in the north. We left on a warm, clear morning and there were already swimmers in the bay as we pulled out. By the time we reached Zabljak it was below freezing and the entire terrain was covered in a blanket of snow! That is just craziness. Both of these environments hold their own beauty in vastly different ways. There are not many places in the world where you can drive a couple hours from a sunny coast into a snow-covered mountain but Montenegro is one of them. Along with the weather Montengro has cliffs, caves, mountains, hills, coastlines, lakes, islands, bays, valleys, rivers and much more. There is no shortage of wild beauty to be found here and an unending number of ways to explore the natural wonders of Montenegro.
A drive up into Durmitor National Park you will find mountain biking, hiking or snow skiing depending on which season you visit. We visited the first weekend in October and were pleasantly surprised to experience the first snowfall of the season. Other popular cities include Perast, an adorable seaside town, Budva, with its beautiful beach, and Herceg Novi, with access to the Blue Cave. Montenegro rivals Croatia with its fortress, stunning panoramic views, and cheaper prices. The food scene is also worth mentioning! Walking the streets lined with pomegranate and mandarin trees, you will wonder why you didn’t visit Montenegro sooner!
Montenegro is growing in popularity and for good reason! The entire country is breathtaking and its mountain views bring about a peaceful serenity. If you are looking for a tranquil getaway, consider visiting Montenegro!