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Found in the Balkan Peninsular in south-east Europe, Montenegro boasts a short, picturesque coastline where dramatic mountains meet the Adriatic Sea.
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature is Mt Lovcen, nicknamed ‘The Black Moutain’ due to its dark complexion. It is a national park in the southwest to which the country owes its name, with ‘Monte’ as ‘mountain’ and ‘negro’ as ‘black’ in Italian.
The park offers fantastic cycling and hiking along the winding mountain paths, with the vast wooded area teaming with wildlife. It is home to over 85 species of butterfly, various reptiles, brown bears and around 200 species of bird. In fact, Montenegro has the highest levels of biodiversity in Europe, with over half of the continent’s bird species regularly seen there.
Cycling along the 295km coast is a great way to enjoy the charming towns and historic landmarks.
Some notable stops include Herceg Novi in the Bay of Kotor, a popular spa and health centre with healing sea mud and mineral water springs nearby. It’s also home to Forte Mare, built in 1382 and an impressive 19th Century clock tower.
The Old Town of Kotor is laced with 9th Century walls and offers unbeatable views across the mountainside. At night, it becomes spectacularly lit up and glistens in the water, making the perfect romantic setting.
The Old Citadel in Konoba Stari Grad is another fine example of the nation’s unique architecture, a 19th Century castle offering more stunning views and a fascinating library full of rare literature.
Venturing slightly inland, you’ll find a small historic town called Stari Bar nestled in the wooded mountainside. It has church remains, an 11th Century fortress, foundations of St George’s Cathedral and a 17th Century aqueduct, so remember to bring a camera.
The National Museum of Montenegro in Cetinje comprises two galleries and four museums and is definitely worth a visit. It provides a comprehensive insight into the country’s tumultuous past, namely the many conflicts with the Ottoman Empire.
There are four sailings every week departing from Bari in southern Italy, which arrive in Bar on the south coast and last around ten hours. If you are travelling to northern Montenegro, sailing from Bari to Dubrovnik, Croatia, then crossing the border would be a more time efficient journey.