Since my first trip to Montenegro this year, I’ve made it pretty clear how much I fell in love with the country. When you travel a lot, it’s rare to stumble on a place that you feel you’ve known your whole life.
But that’s what happened to me in Montenegro.
Of course, I’m not saying that you’re definitely going to fall in love with the country too. But I’d be willing to bet on the fact that you’d at least really like it. So if these posts don’t convince you to visit Montenegro, here’s another 21 reasons you should…
1. Sunrise in Kotor
For reasons unknown to me, I was up at the break of dawn on my first morning in Kotor and the calm blues that soften the mountains before the sun rises above and over them is the perfect introduction to the country and an experience not to be missed!
2. Sunset at Jaz Beach
That very same day I took an incredible coach tour with 360 Monte and we ended the day at Jaz Beach. I actually revisited the beach after midnight a couple of times for a moonlight swim… which I highly recommend!
The beach is pretty busy during the day (not my thing) but my sunset the crowds have started to retreat and you are treated to a rainbow of colours in the horizon…
3. Tara River Canyon
The Tara River Canyon is a natural wonder of epic proportions! At 1,300 meters deep it is one of the deepest river canyons in Europe and at 82 kilometres in length it doesn’t just flow through Montenegro but also crosses the border into Bosnia.
4. Old Town Hostel Kotor
You didn’t think I’d get through this list without talking about a hostel did you? The Old Town Hostel in Kotor is literally built into the old walls of the city and not only are the rooms comfy, but their bar crawls are so much fun!
5. Fresh Seafood
Seafood may not float your boat, but if you’re into your shellfish as much as I am then Montenegro’s restaurants will have you drooling for days. Black squid ink risotto anyone?
6. Serpentine Road
Until fairly recently, the only way to get from Kotor to the villages high above in the mountains was to hike. And trust me, it’s a tough hike. But then a road was built.
But due to the nature of the mountains and the difficulty of building a steep road leading up towards the villages, the road had to be built with a seemingly never-ending sequence of tight twists and turns. It gave it its name – the Serpentine Road – and offers some of the best views of the Bay of Kotor at each turn.
One of those villages now made more easily accessible by the Serpentine Road is Njegusi. Its claim to fame is Kod Pera na Bukovicu, a restaurant that has served traditional Rakija liqueur and Prsuta ham since 1881!
You can’t visit Montenegro and not try the food here!
8. Mount Lovćen
Not only does visiting Mount Lovćen give you the chance to stand on one of the highest points of the Montenegrin mountains, it’s also home to one of the most incredible statues I’ve ever seen. Lovćen is home to Njegoš Mausoleum.
Not everyone is happy with the mausoleum. Built by the communists, they believe it goes against Njegoš’ wishes to have a humble burial in a chapel he built himself. But you can’t deny that the location is just as stunning as when Montenegro’s King Bishop used to visit there himself before his death.
9. The Montenegrin People
I mentioned in the introduction that Montenegro was a country I instantly felt at home in. I am in no doubt that this stems from my interactions and time spent with the local people.
I’ve written extensively about my experience with the Montenegrin people in this post. But lets just say they are welcoming, keen to share what they know of their country and they have a great sense of humour!
10. Passion for History
This is another thing I love abut the people of Montenegro. Whether it was time spent with 360 Monte or my private guide to Kotor and Perast, the people I met had such a passion for retelling the stories of their history.
One of my favourites was the story behind the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, which you can read more about here. But I think the main reason I was so enthralled by the country’s history is because there is so little written about it outside of Montenegrin literature.
11. River Crnojevića
If there’s one word I could use to describe Crnojevića, it would be ‘peaceful’. The river cuts dramatically through the landscape that skirts the edges of Skadar Lake National Park and a trip along it by boat is a must-do experience.
12. Lion of Kotor
At the end of my day tour with 360 Monte, our guide Slavko offered to show me some local bars and tell me a few more secrets about Montenegro. One of those, he said, was the giant Lion that watched over the Bay.
I was convinced he was having me on. Is it a stone statue? I asked. Nope. He said. A natural monument? I tried again. Nope! He replied. Alright then, I don’t believe there is a huge lion in Kotor!
Well, he proved me wrong. Can you spot the lion illuminated by the lights of the fortress walls and reflected in the Bay…?
13. Island of Our Lady of the Rocks
I’ve already written about the mythical story and creation of this Church in the Bay of Kotor. But I didn’t mention that one of the most stunning moments is the approach to it by boat.
14. Konoba Trpeza
I was lucky enough to be taken to Konoba Trpeza for my first ever Montenegrin meal and, along with the wine served, the reception and menu in this restaurant is to die for!
It’s not the most budget friendly place to eat in the city (there is also a killer €2 pizza slice bar!) but it’s well worth stretching the budget if you want to try some of that incredible seafood I told you about earlier.
15. City Walls of Kotor
You’ll find Kotor’s city walls on any list of Things to do in Kotor, but they’re there for a reason.
The walls are a reflection of the city’s past as a strategically fortified maritime settlement, and once you’ve climbed over 1,300 steps you’re rewarded with a view that can only confirm why the Old Town of Kotor deserved this protection.
16. Manmade Lakes
Natural beauty is something so rare that as travellers we’re often skeptical of anything that could have ‘ruined’ nature by being created by man.
Yet the artificial lakes in Montenegro are a testament to how ecological advancements that hope to reduce our impact on the planet can also create stunning landscapes…
17. Piva Hydro Power Plant
Those advancements I was talking about? Piva Hydro Power Plant is one of them and the 220 metre Mratinje Dam that holds back the River Piva is an astounding project that will give you a serious case of vertigo.
18. Modra Rijeka Rafting Camp
Situated on the banks of the Tara River (reason to love Montenegro #3), the owners and staff of the Modra Rijeka Rafting Camp have created more than an activity centre.
What they have built stands on generations of family land and their personality shines through in the beauty of the camp, kindness of the staff and great value of their awesome activities!
If you don’t fall in love with Montenegro before Rakija, chances are you will after tasting it. Unless you drink too much of course and then the outcome will be less love and more someone find me a bathroom!
Rakija is the 40% liqueur of choice in Montenegro and is served hospitably with breakfast, lunch and dinner! We even took a bottle of it with us when we went rafting in the Tara!
20. Old Streets
Being from the UK, I’ve seen my fair share of small, winding cobbled streets. But whether you’re used to it or not, the authentic experience of shopping amongst tall and tight old town walls is like stepping back in time.
Similarly, the architecture of Montenegro also acts as a time machine. Whilst most of the buildings now have different uses (aside from the protected churches and monasteries) they still emanate an aura of what they once were.
Take the building below for example. It’s now the Maritime Museum of Kotor, but it was once a palace and home to the noble family of Grgurina! There are still plenty of palaces in Kotor and Perast and I couldn’t help but try to imagine what it once must have been like to live in them…
So, do you want to visit Montenegro yet?
I was a guest of the Tourism Organisation of Kotor and Old Town Hostel Kotor in Montenegro but as always, opinions are honest and my own! I really wouldn’t put this much effort into promoting a destination I didn’t truly fall in love with and as for Montenegro… I’m just counting the days until I return!