Called ‘Little Russia’ and ‘the Switzerland of the Adriatic,’ the uniqueness of Montenegro provides many moods. Meaning ‘black mountain,’ Montenegro is a stunning destination that was once part of the former Yugoslavia.
Inheriting its beauty from both the Balkans and the Adriatic, Montenegro is home to many natural extremes; the country has the largest vineyard in Europe and the second largest canyon in the world (Grand Canyon is the largest). Montenegrin is its native tongue, but other Serbo-Croatian languages are spoken there. A variety of observed religions provides a heterogeneity of church architecture and clergy. That mood conveyed is the somber one.
Reportedly, the Adriatic is called the cleanest sea in the world. Spending time seaside gazing at the harbor is a must. A marina in Montenegro is a lively scene; the locals guide the tourists into embracing the casual and content vibe. They start conversations and greet you with a convivial salutation from their boat. This mood is their carefree one.
Verige 65 Restaurant sits atop the sparkling Bay of Kotor, and it will take your breath away. Blooming in the sun while on the deck, you’ll stare at the seagulls and the occasional boats drifting by peacefully. Now, you’re in the relaxation mood. Adriatic zen.
Although there are many cities to see, Perast, Kotor and Budva are the stops that make up the Montenegro touring trifecta. In Perast, you’ll take a water taxi out to the quaint Lady of the Rocks, the only man-made island of the Adriatic. The history and symbolism is uplifting and elevates the aesthetics of the architecture and experience there. You’re already in love with Montenegro, just starting with Perast. The town, the clock tower, the elderly ladies selling embroideries, the fig and pomegranate trees, towering sunflowers and shimmering sea creates a winsome visual you’ll never forget.
Kotor is the town within the labyrinthine fortress fortified since the early Middle Ages. Kotor buzzes with an energy perfect for sightseeing. Monasteries, clergy, vendors, cafes and even a cat museum make up the menagerie. Dine al fresco on cevapcicci sausage at the Dekaderon restaurant while you enjoy the buzz of clergy and tourists milling about. This is the boisterous mood of Montenegro. Even a brief, light rain shower won’t dampen your spirit.
Last but not least, Budva is the town that captures Montenegro’s flirty side. Nearby Europeans who retire there are happy to chat and share what they love about the country. Sailors lounging in their boats in the harbor wave jubilantly to you as if beckoning you to join their on-board party. They have no immediate itinerary other than basking in the pleasure of being on-board. Budva’s town square is delightful, with stores and advertisements of upcoming festivals. The rocky beach is peaceful and picturesque, and around the corner is a quaint chapel and small amphitheater promising culture and entertainment. Now, the mood is contentment and curiosity.
Scenic stops as you wind around the landscape are the climactic moments of your Montenegro sojourn. The scenery is a romantic vision hearkening back to a time when stars like Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor vacationed there. The moods now are awe and infatuation.
Ultimately, it’s Lord Byron who summarized Montenegro best when he proclaimed: “At the birth of our planet, the most beautiful encounter between the land and the sea must have happened at the coast of Montenegro.”
This writer could not agree more.