Small in size and shrouded in a long history, Montenegro is somehow emerging as a favourite for all-inclusive holidays. Situated in the Balkans, it received a peak level of tourism in 2007, which almost equalled its pre-war volumes. Take a look at these ten facts on why there tourists have got it so wrong about the Adriatic coastline, rustic traditional cuisine and diverse natural landscape.
1. The history is boring
In its turbulent history, Montenegro has been ruled by Illyrians and Romans who have battled against Huns, Slavic tribes, Venetians and Ottomans. There are plenty of sites to tell the story, especially on a half hour drive along the coast. Here, visitors can snub prehistoric rock art, Roman mosaics and even a Venetian naval town. There is also a Roman Catholic chapel and Serbian Orthodox Church. No, not fascinating at all.
2. There are not many activities to do
Watersports are a great way of exploring a new country’s coastline and pumping some adrenalin with fellow travellers. Unfortunately, in Montenegro, there are only a few on offer. Groups take bookings for water rafting on Tara River, scuba diving clubs take people on dives around the remains of a submerged town and a kayaking adventure takes place in the Blue Cave. There are also online activity opportunities like hiking and skiing… but that’s about all.
3. It’s basically a less expensive Croatia
Croatia is a gem on the Adriatic ocean, so why would you want to go to a cheaper version of it? Yes Montenegro offers similar views, landscape, cuisine and activities, with the company of less tourists, as well as having cheaper flight and accommodation rates. But it’s just not the same as actually being in Croatia, is it?
4. Far too mountainous
Montenegro actually translates to ‘Black Mountain’, so you should obviously expect mountains.Durmitor National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with pretty lakes, dramatic peaks and lots of fellow backpackers. There are also lots of fjords that have been crafted from ancient glaciers — popular with hikers and swimmers. In the north of the country, the skyline is busy with craggy rock ranges and erupting peaks.
5. The food’s pretty standard
Sometimes you just want a classic British meal and you won’t find that here. You’ll find strong Italian and Balkan influences on menus throughout. The north is known for its juicy lamb dishes and the coast makes the most of its fishy produce. A favourite local dessert is doughnuts served with honey and figs.
6. Such a lacklustre coastline
The views of the Adriatic really aren’t all that. Need proof? Take a look at this photo. Eugh!
7. There isn’t a good choice of restaurants
When night falls, it’s natural to want to get involved with the locals at a restaurant and bar.Restaurant Koliba Bogetici, Langust, Przno, .Konoba Stari Grad, and Stari Mlini are renowned for serving traditional grub to happy customers but wouldn’t you prefer a McDonald’s or something?
8. Kotor is not worth a visit
The walled town of Kotor, which sits at one side of the Vrmac massif, is like something you would find in a kids fairytale book. It’s all quaint houses and welcoming atmosphere, nothing like the comforting confines of a reliable and overcrowded resort. The Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but that’s no big deal.
9. You definitely don’t want to take a boat out to Our Lady of the Rock Island
Nobody enjoys a boat trip out on crystal clear waters during a sunny afternoon with friends. This island is home to the 16th centuryGospa od Skrpjela that’s decorated with traditional interiors and artefacts that some people might find interesting.
10. It’s not very popular
Just because more visitors are enjoying a visit here every year, doesn’t mean that you should take their word for it. It’s probably wiser to go to the usual European destinations that you’ve visited many times before.
Of course, you might actually be tempted by intriguing history, incredible landscapes, warm welcomes and action packed watersports. If that’s what you’re into, make sure to book for next year and find out for yourself whether or not the hype is to be believed.