This year’s holiday season is somewhat unorthodox/unusual. The global pandemic has limited travel, gatherings, and made New Year’s Eve mass celebration impossible. Accepting changes is often challenging, but at the same time it opens up new possibilities to transform mundane moments into something completely new. Wanting to make the most of our time during this holiday season we’re spending at home, we’ve been reading. One of our favorite reading material was a blog written in 2019 by Oliver Smith, a British digital travel editor. This blog offers a whole new perspective on Montenegrin attractions. We recommend you go through it and get to know our country.
You can prepare for an exciting adventure even from home!
We present 13 things about Montenegro that you probably didn’t know.
1. It is one of the world’s newest countries – but packed with history
“Montenegro has had a turbulent history and it bears its war wounds like medals, not like scars,” says Telegraph Travel expert Rodney Bolt. The tiny country packs in rich remnants of its past occupiers and invaders.
2. Europe’s biggest canyon is in Montenegro
In terms of volume, the Tara River Canyon, which straddles Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina is Europe’s biggest. The most dramatic section is a deep inverted triangle among the mountains, inaccessible except by rafters, for whom this is heaven. For those who prefer to stay dry, finding the best viewpoints takes some exploration, though a bridge crossing 500ft above the foaming water helps.
3. People in Montenegro are very tall
A typical man stands at 1.832m. (www.averageheight.co).
4. Montenegrins are always happy to see foreigners
The World Travel and Tourism Council reports that large per cent of Montenegro’s GDP comes courtesy of foreign travelers.
5. It has one of Europe’s sunniest capitals
Podgorica gets 2,480 hours of sunshine a year.
6. There’s a ridiculously underrated national park
The country’s Durmitor National Park is pure perfection. But it welcomes just 130,000 people each year.
7. Montenegrin beaches
There are 117 in total – they also deserve more visitors
8. You can sleep in a former ghost town
The spectacular little fortified island of Sveti Stefan, a few miles south of Budva, was once home to around 400 people. Emigration took its toll during the first half of the 20th century and the population dwindled to around 20 by 1954. Communist authorities turned it into a luxury hotel. In the 1970s it was a playground for the rich and famous, with Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, and Princess Margaret all signing the guestbook. The Yugoslav Wars put it off the travel map but in 2007 the hotel was snapped up by the swanky Aman Resorts chain and it is once again welcoming the great and the good
9. There are world heritage sites in Montenegro
For a lot of heritage in a relatively small area, it is difficult to beat Montenegro. Within its 13,812 km², there are four World Heritage sites: Natural and Cultural-Historical Area of Kotor, Durmitor National Park, Stećak – medieval cemeteries (3 sites within the multinational nomination: Greek Cemetery and Bare Žugića in Žabljak, as well as the Greek Cemetery in Plužine) and Venetian fortifications from the 16th to the 17th century (Kotor fortress within the multinational nomination).
10. There’s a glorious lake to explore – and fine wine to drink
Just south of Podgorica lies Lake Skadar, a lovely expanse of mountain-fringed water that stretches around into Albania. Here you can find the wild ruggedness and pristine nature for which Montenegro is also prized.
11. The Montenegrin domain ME is fastest selling domain
After gaining independence, Montenegro also gained the “.me” domain – what could be more appealing to the narcissistic social media generation? Between 2008 (when it went live) and 2010, 320,000 names were registered – including 50,000 on the first day, making it the fastest selling top-level domain ever.
12. Rail lovers are catered for
“When the vast Mala Rijeka viaduct was built in the Seventies, it was hailed as the tallest in Europe and was one of the many star attractions on a stretch of track linking the Montenegrin port of Bar with Belgrade,” adds Adrian Bridge. “The line is undoubtedly a great feat of engineering (in addition to the viaduct there are 435 bridges and 254 tunnels), and along the way passengers are treated to views of stupendous gorges, caverns and dramatic peaks. Tito used to travel to Bar in his own specially crafted Blue Train, his favored place for meeting foreign dignitaries and heads of state, including The Queen. While not as grand, public trains still ply the scenic route.”
13. There are many attractions in Montenegro that cannot be found elsewhere in the world
Don’t fancy cruising around the Bay of Kotor, yomping up mountains or relaxing on an Adriatic beach? Then make tracks instead for Stara Maslina, one of the world’s oldest olive trees (in Bar); Ostrog Monastery, which is carved into the side of a cliff; or the curious Cats Museum of Kotor, packed with art and paraphernalia related to felines.
We may be experiencing unusual times, but we can take this opportunity to spend precious time with family – time we often cannot find in regular schedules, we can also spend time reading about our country which was the goal of this blog, to get to know Montenegro better.
We hope that you and your loved ones will remain safe, happy and healthy.