Unexpected Pleasure on the Coast and in the Mountains

For a country so small, Montenegro has a surprising amount of diversity. Many people think of this country, which ranks 37th of 51 states in Europe and borders five countries—Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo*, and Albania—as a coastal paradise. And, in fact, Montenegro continues to pop up on fastest-growing-tourism lists in world financial reports and travel magazines. The reasons are easy to see. A beautiful seaside—highlighted by the UNESCO-inscribed Kotor Region and its dramatic, fjord-like bay—an ancient culture, and a tradition that treats visitors as honoured guests.

What many travelers don’t see, however, is the depth of landscape and cultural variation within Montenegro, which was once a republic within Yugoslavia and then part of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The country, which gained independence in 2006, is located on the Adriatic coast at the southwestern corner of the Balkan Peninsula.

Nestled in the Dinaric Alps, Montenegro’s southwestern, coastal profile is balanced with its untouched and mountainous northeastern identity. Villages tucked under peaks characterize the settlements in and around the country’s famous Durmitor National Park, which also contains its tallest peak, the 2,525-metre Bobotov Kuk. In its inscription of the park, UNESCO states: “This breathtaking national park was formed by glaciers and is traversed by rivers and underground streams. Along the Tara river canyon, which has the deepest gorges in Europe, the dense pine forests are interspersed with clear lakes and harbour a wide range of endemic flora.”

*All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

How to get there?

Visitors can reach Montenegro by car, plane—with international airports in Podgorica and the coastal town of Tivat—bus, and train. Active travelers can also pedal through the country by bicycle, which crosses the border through the EuroVelo 8 route, or trek on the Via Dinarica hiking trail, which traverses the entire Western Balkans region.

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EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Montenegro for stays of 90 days or shorter.

Cultural Routes in Montenegro

Part of two EU macro-regional strategies—the Adriatic-Ionian and the Danube—the Iter Vitis Cultural Route runs through the country and the point of contact is the city of Podgorica.

Iter Vitis Route

This route is predicated on the idea that the terroir and history of wine-growing is essential to a destination. According to the route’s website: “The culture of vine and wine and the wine-growing landscape are a material and immaterial heritage of the community, an essential component of the history of a territory, signs that can be read and experienced: this is the assumption at the base of the European Cultural Route of the Vine and Wine ‘Iter Vitis – Les Chemins de la Vigne,’ promoted by the European Federation Iter Vitis and certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 2009.”

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