DUBROVNIK DIGEST >> EXCURSIONS
EXCURSIONS >> Montenegro
Montenegro is half an hour's drive from Dubrovnik. As soon as you cross the border you'll be in the Bay of Kotor (Bokokotorski Zaljev), a unique bay in the Mediterranean. You might be mistaken for thinking that you're in a Norwegian fjord, not a Mediterranean bay.
The Bay of Kotor is home to the small town of Risan, one of the oldest towns in the whole mediterranean. Founded in the 4th Century B.C, it was the capital of the Illyrian Queen Teuta. It later became a Roman city and today you can see well-preserved Roman mosaics.
After Risan comes Kotor, a town that you must visit. It's surrounded by 4km long wallsand is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. It was an important town for the Ventian Republic. Be sure to visit the Cathedral of St. Tryphon and the Church of St. Nicholas. Above Kotor there's a road that leads to the Montenegrin hinterland which offers a beautiful view of Kotor bay and two islands – Gospa od Škrpjela and Sveti Juraj.
Gospa od Škrpjela is an artificial island and Sveti Juraj is home to a benedictine monastery. Gospa od Škrpjela's formation is an interseting one. Over 250 years sailors from the village of Perast thre stones until the island was formed. They later built the church as a sign of gratitude to Our Lady for healing a young boy. The village of Perast also has a long cultural and historical tradition so is well worth a visit.
The coastline of Montenegro beyond the Bay of Kotor is completely different. It’s dotted with long, sandy beaches, some several kilometres long. Among the cities that stand out is Budva, which goes back to the time of the Phoenicians. Budva is also surrounded by walls.
Near to Budva is the peninsula of Sveti Stefan, a unique town connected by an artificial bridge to the mainland. The island is today home to the most luxurious tourist destination in all of Montenegro. Thw whole island is a resort and has been visited by many famous people.
Bar and Ulcinj are two other interesting places to visit on the coast. These too are decorated with long sandy beaches.
The interior of Montenegro is different from the coast. You can see many monasteries built in inaccessible places. Visit the town of Cetinje and try the unique cheese and ham from there. Cetinje is surrounded by the Lovcen National Park, a place where Mediterranean and continental climates collide, making for a unique natural environment.
Nature is a really important asset of Montenegro. The Tara River canyon in the north of Montenegro, it is the deepest canyon in Europe and second in the world right after the famous Grand Canyon in the United States. On the River Tara you can enjoy white water rafting and other activities.
Part of River Tara is located in the Durmitor National Park, which is a natural treasure and has been listed on UNESCO's list of protected natural treasures. The park’s high peaks of more than 2,000 metres in height attract climbers from around the world. The highest is Bobotov kuk at 2523 metres.
Particularly beautiful are the 18 lakes in the park and all are located at an altitude of over 1,500 metres. Particularly noteworthy is the Black Lake, the largest and most attractive. In winter this area is the centre of ski tourism with Zabljak as its flagship. Also on Durmitor there are dense virgin forests offering healthy mountain air.
Not far from the national park Durmitor is Bilogradska gora. It is surrounded by mountain peaks, streams and lakes, thick forests and gentle meadows making it the ideal place for rest and relaxation. In Bilogradskoj gora is a true forest, one of the last three remaining in Europe. It is strictly protected. Regardless of when you visit you will not go wrong.
Skadarsko Lake National Park is located on the border between Montenegro and Albania. The Bojana River flows into the Adriatic Sea .This lake is the largest in the Balkans, which is characterised by endemic animal and plant species. Some parts of the lakes are below sea level. Many birds nest her tooe. Around the lake are numerous monastic complexes that stand out with their beauty and authenticity.