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Montenegro Travel & Holiday Tips
 
 
 

General

Montenegro is one of Europe’s hidden secrets, but that could be all about to change. The country became the world’s newest sovereign state in 2006 when its population voted for independence, bringing to an end the former Union of Serbia & Montenegro. Now this tiny republic plans to put itself firmly back on the map.

Visitors can relax on one of 117 sandy beaches along the Adriatic coast, wander through the Old Towns of Budva, Kotor or Bar, climb the peaks of Durmitor National Park, raft down Europe’s deepest canyon, explore Europe’s last virgin forest or sail into the continent’s southernmost fjord.

Many lakes, such as Plavsko, Pesica and Siska, as well the Lim River, offer good conditions for swimming and water sports. The Biogradska Gora National Park, formed by glacier activity, is located in the centre of the country, with scenic lakes, primeval forests and an abundance of flora and fauna.

All of Montenegro is dotted with impressive monasteries, some of which date from Byzantine times, including the most prominent Ostrog Monastery.

Podgorica

The centre of Montenegro’s administrative, cultural and economic activity, Podgorica offers a range of tantalisingly different sights and sensations to the visitor.

Podgorica, the capital city of this new state, is a modern capital that never set out to conquer the planet with its beauty, but visitors soon recognise it's a deliciously different and practically unknown Balkan city. On a hot summers' afternoon the place is deserted, but come late afternoon and you'll be sucked up in a lively and friendly crowd of students, pretty girls, body-builders, old ladies and chubby chaps with man-bags, all strolling around the pedestrianised streets.

The old Turkish bath complex (Tursko Kupatilo), Podgorica's largest remaining historical building, can be found hidden in the Ribnica river gorge east of the centre. It was unfortunately decapitated by city planners who apparently insisted on building a bridge following the grid structure of the city, even if it meant ruining this building. Roofless, it is now stuck underneath the Novi Most bridge, and has been transformed into a rather wonderful cultural centre. Nothing remains of the original interior.

Every Ottoman-ruled town had a clock tower to indicate the Muslim prayer times, and Podgorica's 18th century tower is one of the few remaining structures from the time. The tall stone tower hasn't actually got a clock, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone. The tower isn't open for visitors.

In a suburb east of the centre, Podgorica's Catholic church, Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus (Crkva Presvetog Srca Isusovog), is an amazing work of modern architecture. Replacing the city centre church that was destroyed in the war, the bold and brutal concrete building was built in 1969 to look like a ship. The façade was never finished, so it looks a bit like a disused factory. From the dark interior, an ingenious 25-metre high tower sticks up, filtering light to illuminate the main altar. There's a 40-metre high free-standing bell tower too, as well as smashing concrete spiral staircases.

Podgorica Museum, the city's main museum has a good collection of archaeological, religious icons, books and other historical objects. Especially the elegant Copper age, Illirian and Roman items from nearby ancient Doclea are worth looking up.

Podgorica's most elegant building, the pretty white Petrović Palace that formerly belonged to King Nikola, is home to the modern art collection of the city museum. The museum features a lot of African and Asian paintings and sculptures, but also has rooms with Montenegrin 20th century art with works by Risto Stijović, Milo Milunović, Filo Filipović and others. If they're not on display, ask to be shown the collection of gifts made to Tito by presidents and dictators including Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. Find the palace up the stairs in the lush park behind the US embassy.


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