In the Balkan region in south-eastern Europe, there is a small country, only about 14, 000 square kilometers of heaven and populated by 600, 000 lucky people, called Montenegro. If you think the Balkans are a niche in the tourist world and that Montenegro is a hidden gem there, then you won’t be surprised to hear that there are even more hidden gems within it. Usaully, when tourists come to Montenegro, they visit the coastline, specifically towns like Budva and Kotor which offer a lot of historical monuments paired with some of the most beautiful beaches and the best night life. However, if you’re more into winter tourism or cultural and natural beauty, you would be inclined to think that it’s not worth a shot. I’m here to tell you that you would be so wrong. In this article you will find top ten hidden attractions of Montenegro.
The 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Montenegro:
Cetinje, the old royal capital of Montenegro, the place of pride in the heart of every Montenegrin is a small southern town is home of the vast and rich Montenegrin culture and history, as it accommodates the most important museums and galleries of this country. You will learn about this little coastal country in southeastern Europe influenced history and will see the artistic talent of its painters and filmmakers. If you get tired of walking and wish to stop for coffee, almost every coffee shop here will welcome you with a hazy but pleasant vibe of being lost in time. The night life isn’t dead either, even though this is a small touristic place.
However, the heart of Montenegro is preserved on top of Lovcen – a mountain that rises up to 1, 749 km in height on top of which is a mausoleum for Njegos: Montenegro’s most influential ruler, writer and philosopher. Not only is the rise to the top breathtaking, but it is rewarded by the beautiful sight of this monumental symbol of respect and pride.
9. Krupac Lake
Krupac lake is around 5 kilometers away from a town named Niksic and in the summer days, the temperature of the water goes up to 28 degrees celsius! The water is very clean too, as Montenegro is an ecological state. There are many things to do nearby, such as camping and fishing and the hotel nearby has a bar. The warm water isn’t the only reason the summertime is the perfect time to visit this place, as every July Lake Fest – a music festival is held at the Krupac Lake where mostly rock artists, both regional and international, come to perform and is one of the best music festivals in Montenegro, next to Sea Dance.
8. Hajla Mountain
Located in a small town on the east of Montenegro, bordering Kosovo is a mountain standing 2, 400 meters tall dubbed Hajla. Surrounded by rivers Bistrica and Ibar, this mountain is a place of untouched and refreshing natural beauty.
Springtime is the best and most popular time to visit as the snow starts to melt and the rivers get exuberant. There are many small wooden houses where you can set up camp. The view from the top of the mountain makes the climb worth it as, depending on which direction you’re looking in, your sight will be blessed by either mountains, basins, hills or rivers each more gorgeous than the latter.
Depending on your agility or, let’s be honest, your climbing ability, you can choose between two beaten paths to get to the top. If you are not that keen on climbing, but still want to enjoy the view, you can go by car for a part of the way. The descent takes a little over an hour, so it’s not a lot of work for such a gratifying experience. If your definition of beauty is “aesthetics should have no purpose other than simple enjoyment” then you certainly enjoy flowers. And there is flowers galore on Hajla, as well as a lot of remedial herbs. If you’re not familiar with the use of herbs in medicine; I’m sure you will find some kind old lady to teach you all about it in nearby towns.
7. Ostrog Monastery
Religious monuments are a great part of a country’s culture and Ostrog Monastery is perhaps the most important one to orthodox Christians, not only in Montenegro, but also in neighboring Serbia. In fact, this place is so solemn and sacred that even people with different cultural and religious back pay it a visit. Even if you’re not religious you will be blown away by this church that was literally set in stone. There is a lower and upper part of the church and I strongly advise visiting the upper part as it has more significance and offers a mesmerizing view from the Bjelopavlići mountain.
If your main purpose of traveling is meeting the locals, trying out the food and learning about culture, Pljevlja may be the perfect place for you. This town crowning Montenegro in the norhternmost point of the country has a long history and monuments dating back from 1500s; Such as the Husein Pasa Mosque, one of the most beautiful and largest mosques in the Balkan region. It still has it’s original carpets from the age of Ottoman Empire on the Balkans.
There is also the beautiful park Vodice, where you can go on a picnic, or just rest and enjoy the nature around you. As this town used to be one of the sport centers of former Yugoslavia; You can pass time with soccer, volleyball, basketball and much more. The Monastery of the Holy Trinity is another religious monument paired with untamed nature. So this town has almost everything. Oh and not to forget, some of the friendliest locals and a lot of places to eat traditional.
5. Island of Flowers
There aren’t many things that sound more heavenly than Island of Flowers. This island is actually a peninsula in the Tivat bay right off the homonymous town. This little paradise is only 300 meters long and 200 meters in width, yet is a home of a number of various palm trees and flowers many of which are region-specific and old. There used to be even a legendary olive grove that got destroyed during the fall of Yugoslavia.
However, the beautiful Mediterranean type of green nature and the surrounding sea is still garnishing this mysterious place. There are many water-related activities for adventurists and for history lovers there are traces of Roman culture still being found on this island, as well as ancient buildings. The fact that this place is so niche and small, yet rich with cultural and natural wonders only adds to the feeling of wanderlust.
4. Eco village Nevidio
Eco village Nevidio offers accommodation that truly captures the spirit of a village in the mountains. If you need a rest from technology and the urban modern world, look no further. The clean air and homemade food will make you feel in touch with yourself again. But this does not mean you will be bored in the least.
Surrounding this village in the northern Montenegro is one of the most beautiful mountains in the region: Durmitor, as well as the beautiful Nevidio canyon. Next to the bungalows is a traditional restaurant that offers not only local food, but the local alcoholic drinks as well, such as rakija. If you descend from the accommodation, you can enjoy the small, but beautiful lake. There are also many biking tracks that take you on a tour of the serene scenery.
One of the smallest towns in Montenegro, Zabljak truly captures the spirit of the northern part of the country. Friendly locals, old style accomodation and diverse landscapes bulging with opportunity for adventure – it’s all there. Zabljak is mostly known for its winter tourism and famous ski center Savin Kuk which will give you a thrill of the lifetime, but even if you’re not into winter sports, you can find something for your soul.
Nearby Black Lake is perfect for family hikes and picnics and it’s only one of the four nearby lakes. The Skakavica waterfalls are a must if you decide to visit this town and Bobotov Kuk: The highest mountain peak in Montenegro will certainly be a challenge for mountain climbers. It doesn’t end there, you can go exploring the Zabljak woods and visit local stores and restaurants. The last week of the year would probably be the best time to visit as youth usually rents out housing for New Year’s parties.
2. Perast – The Beautiful Places to Visit in Montenegro
Sometimes referred to as the Venice of Montenegro, Perast and its cute uniform houses truly invoke the ancient coastal spirit. The mix of French, Italian and Austrian influence on the architecture is due to the beauty of the Boka Bay being as hauntingly charming as a mermaid, and the conquestors are the sailors trying to hold onto it: unsuccessfully. Our Lady of the Rocks, a church related to an old town legend which still influences Montenegrin sailors and St. Nicholas’s church are one of the most inspiring pieces of architecture on the Balkan region. Near Perast is St. George’s Island, dominated by cypress trees and a burial ground for Perast natives. If you enjoyed books about adventures on the open sea as a child, this place will awaken the inner child you forgot.
1. Tara Canyon – The Hidden Attractions of Montenegro
Okay, maybe this one was a little bit expected. However, what you probably didn’t know is that the canyon of river Tara is the longest canyon in Europe! And not only that, it is the second longest canyon in the world, of course preceded by the Grand Canyon in California. Powered by the mountain snow, this river has a very rapid course which makes it ideal for rafting. Rafting through the Tara canyon may be one of the most adrenaline-filled experiences you will have. Because it not only flows fast and deep, but it is also very narrow. So it takes a bit of skill to steer.
For my adrenaline maniacs, if just rafting isn’t enough, there is an opportunity for bungee jumping from the historically important bridge on the river Tara, as well as zip-lining above the terrifying canyon. And the bridge itself is not only breathtakingly and even intimidatingly beautiful, but it is also historically important. When it was build in the 1940s, it held the record for the largest concrete bridge arch in the world (116 meters on it’s first arch) and for the largest wooden scaffold required to build it.
Because the bridge was built during the World War two, its creator was forced to take it down to prevent the Italian and other enemy forces from passing and he did so. Even though he spent an enormous amount of money, creativity and energy into building it. However, the enemy captured him eventually and the engineer Lazar Jaukovic was shot on one of his greatest projects.
Villages near the canyon are homes to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people in Montenegro. They will be happy to let you try some of their traditional meals, as well as enjoy the view of the starry, non-poluted skies on one of their properties.
In conclusion, Montenegro is a perfect spot for all the wanderlust free spirits who wish to explore the world to its depths and are sick and tired of the classical go-to places. If you wish to get lost joie de vivre and experience the most beautiful, yet the most simple things in life, maybe you should book your ticket today and start your adventure!