For those of you who still don’t have a clue about where to go on holiday this summer, I’ve got some advice. And obviously, since you’ve read the title of this wonderful blogpost, you know my advice is Montenegro. Sure, it could have been Middle-earth as well, but I’ll tell you a little secret: this place does not exist! Luckily Montenegro does.
Montenegro is one of the newer and smaller countries in the Balkan, surrounded by Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania (perhaps Bosnia as well, dunno, look on Google Maps if you want to be sure) but still has 300 kilometers of coastline. Which is quite a lot for a country the size of Flanders (which is the northern part of Belgium, if for some reason you’re clueless). Anyway, one could say Montenegro is an up-and-coming travel destination. Which would be the truth, although it’s primarily infested with Russian tourists. Luckily, there are no masses of them if you go in June or September (don’t really know about July and August though).
But why choose Montenegro? Very simple! Cause it has Middle-earth like qualities, such as dramatic scenery. Actually Montenegro means Black Mountains, which already sounds pretty Middle-earthian, doesn’t it? Luckily there’s no Smaugs, Balrogs or Saurons to be seen. Only pristine nature, beautiful lakes, old forests, unicorns (it actually was a white horse, but it still scared me shitless).
One of the most beautiful areas in Montenegro is the Durmitor National Park. Here you’ll find Tara Canyon, the second biggest canyon in the world (of course after Grand Canyon) and Tara Bridge. If you don’t really like heights, perhaps the Black Lake (Crno Jezero) is more your cup of tea. Please spend a few days here hiking, enjoying the scenery, the wildlife, the friendly locals in the town of Zabljak.
Another big Montenegro attraction – perhaps the biggest – is Kotor Bay. Which is the bay around Kotor, duh. This is the most southern fjord in Europe and it’s absolutely stunning. Kotor Old Town is probably the most touristy place in this area, but you can stay anywhere in the 100 km long bay area. A nice day trip here is the drive to Lovcen Mausoleum, high up in the mountains, via the crazy serpentine road.
If you drive further south you’ll enter Budva, which is the party town of Montenegro. Most tourists will come here, which means you will probably avoid it. But, ladies and gentlemen, Budva does have a fantastic walled old town. Don’t miss it. In this same area you’ll also find Sveti Stefan, which is a very small private island, connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand. You can’t visit the island unless you’re a guest at the Aman Resort, which is the most fancy place to stay in Montenegro.
Anyway, I’ve talked enough. Should I mention you can find ridiculously cheap flights to the capital, Podgorica, with Ryanair (yes, also from Charleroi). Please rent a car and just keep driving. You’ll absolutely love it!