Montenegro can boast of outstanding natural, historical and cultural treasures you can find in every corner of the country. We will visit viewpoints, canyons, islands, old parts of cities, long-forgotten fortresses, and monasteries. What are you most looking forward to? Starting with the highest peaks of Mount Durmitor and descending into the deepest parts of the Black and Skadar Lakes, here’s a preview of what's to come:
- Durmitor - A giant from the north
- Sveti Stefan - Montenegro’s luxury destination
- King Nikola's Castle - Winter home of Petrović family
- Ostrog Monastery - The most famous of Montenegro monasteries
Natural attractions of Montenegro - From the Adriatic to the heights of Durmitor
When we talk about what you must see in Montenegro, we must start with its greatest wealth - nature. On its territory, you will find some of the most beautiful lakes on the Balkan Peninsula and some of the highest and most beautiful mountain peaks. One thing is for sure, natural sights are all around you. Continue reading if you wish to experience lake shores, mountain slopes, peaks, valleys, and magnificent islands.
Lake Skadar - Was this bird habitat created overnight?
Lake Skadar is located in the Zeta-Skadar plain, about 19 km from the capital of Montenegro - Podgorica, and is the largest lake in the country with an area of 391 square km. Interestingly, the lake belongs to Montenegro as well as neighboring Albania. It is believed that it was created one night when the young bride forgot to turn off the tap out of happiness that her husband had returned. So, the water flooded and created a lake. Even though we wish this were true, nature tells a different story. During the summer months, the surface of the water is slightly smaller, while during the winter, it expands to 540 square km. Lake Skadar stands out as one of the largest reserves inhabited by birds, and pelicans are among the more than 270 species.
Black Lake - The deepest eye of Durmitor
At an altitude of 1,418 meters, near the town of Žabljak, stands the Black Lake. According to legend, the lake was created by Saint Sava himself, thus punishing disobedient monks who lived in this area. We recommend you visit both Big and Little lakes. The lake's depths hide a real natural rarity, as below the surface lie passages through which the water flows to Tara and Piva. Near Little Lake, there is another mystical place that is connected to an urban legend. It is believed that the plan for the famous battle on Sutjeska was made from the small cave, which was later called Tito's Cave. Along with hiking and exploring stunning nature, you can take a boat ride on the calm and transparent water surface. For fishing enthusiasts, there are certain licenses that are charged separately, so don't miss out on experiencing this magical lake.
If you have decided to visit this landmark, you can find all the necessary information on the Black Lake page.
Tara River Canyon - Montenegro's rafting paradise
The canyon of the Tara River represents one of the most famous Montenegro attractions. Over the decades, Tara formed a canyon at an incredible depth of 1,300 meters, making it the second deepest canyon in the world, right after the Colorado River Canyon. The canyon of the Tara River stretches across the territory of the Durmitor National Park. It thus cuts through the mountain relief, making the view from the lookout the most beautiful view of the entire country and perhaps beyond. If you are into adrenalin-inducing activities, rafting on Tara will be a breeze for you. Rafting involves going down the winding course of the blue Tara and its rapids and waterfalls. Once you get dry and before you decide on another round, you can also go on a jeep safari, as well as hiking tours to the top of Ćurevac viewpoint.
Helpful tourist information awaits you on our page - Tara river canyon.
Stradioti - The green paradise of Boka Kotorska
Stradioti is the largest island in the Bay of Kotor, also known as the Island of Saint Mark. This island covers an area of 34 hectares and is most easily reached by boat from Pine Quay. Stradiotti has a turbulent history behind it, but also incredible legends. It got its name from the Greek word stradiotes, meaning soldier, as the camp of Venetian soldiers of Greek origin was located on the island. A legend that tells of the terrible revenge of the Greek gods. They chose this island to be a resting place for the best soldiers, but had one condition - they were not allowed to go to war. Once the condition was violated, the gods got angry and sent a terrible storm that wiped out anything and anyone, leaving only olives on the island. It used to be a luxury resort consisting of 300 luxury reed houses, which are abandoned today. We must tell you about nature! Cypress trees, fresh air, and an incredibly beautiful beach with almost transparent water are just the start
If you want to know more about this island before your visit, our page is Stradioti.
Durmitor - A giant from the north
If you only have time to visit one of Montenegro’s attractions, let it be Durmitor. This mountain most likely got its unusual name from the Celtic word durmitor, which means water from the mountain. This mountain massif forms a plateau located at about 1,500 meters above sea level. The pompous plateau is dotted with valleys, canyons, and incredible peaks, of which more than forty are located at an altitude of about 2,000 meters above sea level. However, the beauty of Durmitor does not end here. The relief is also enriched with stunning lakes. Special permits allow swimming, diving, and fishing in the protected lakes. During the winter, water freezes enough to be safe for skating. All this fully justifies the double protection of UNESCO that Durmitor has.
If you want to enrich your knowledge, you can visit the Durmitor National Park page.
Valdanos - The oldest olive tree in Montenegro
Valdanos is a cove about 400 meters long, located in the northwest, some 5 km from the center of Ulcinj. The fairytale bay is bordered by two hills, Mendre and Mavrijan. Once this area was the main port of pirates, and today it is an authentic olive reserve with about 80,000 trees. They are also the symbol of the bay, as they are more than 2,000 years old. Its unique appearance is made by a gentle semi-arc that forms with the land. The Interior of the cove is adorned with a tourist village, where bungalows and other facilities are spread among olive groves. The beach that surrounds it has rocky parts, perfect for passionate fishermen and divers. The sea here is immaculate, as is the wind, which is ideal for sailing.
We have dedicated a page to this natural paradise - Valdanos, and there you will find everything to know before visiting.
Ada Bojana - A disappearing island
Ada Bojana is an island that covers about 600 hectares and is located at the confluence of the Bojana River with the Adriatic Sea. This is a must-see attraction in Montenegro, especially if you are a fan of nude beaches. Ada is located right next to the border with the neighboring country of Albania. The triangular-shaped island is surrounded by river water on two sides and salty seawater from the Adriatic Sea on one side. In addition to the nudist part, this area is also known for its 3 km long sandy beach. According to legend, Ada Bojana was created in the 17th century after a ship ran aground due to a storm in the open sea. Over time, with river sediment deposition, the ship and two smaller islands became a large island that divided the Bojana River into two parts. Lately, the sea has been taking back what it owns, and part by part of the island is irretrievably disappearing. Therefore, visit this landmark on the coast of Montenegro as soon as possible.
We have prepared the most important information about this always popular attraction on the Ada Bojana page.
Historical Montenegro attractions worth your time
We continue our journey in the shoes of history. Have you ever wondered what the main square of old Kotor looks like or where precisely the Kanli Tower is located? Heard the stories but need clarification on what Medun is? Let us uncover Montenegro's islands and towns' hidden and (sometimes) forgotten corners.
Medun - Mystery from the Illyrian days
Medun, from ancient times known as Meteon, is located in a small village called Kuči, about 12 km from the center of Podgorica. The city is mentioned as early as the time of Titus Livius and has caused many intrigues since then. Although underexplored, the city attracts curious visitors from all over the world. It is assumed that it was built somewhere between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC and that it was one of the centers of the state of Illyria and the Illyrian tribe of Labeata. The remains of the ancient city are preserved on the hill, while the medieval city of Medun emerged in the Middle Ages. It was demolished and rebuilt several times during the period of the Dark Ages. Within the walls are several buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, among which the most famous are the church of St. Nikola and the house of Marko Miljanov.
If you want to find out how it used to look and how you can get to this historical complex, visit the Medun page.
Perast - Tourist hotspot of Boka Kotorska
Perast is a settlement in Boka Kotorska located not far from the city of Kotor, some 14 km away. Since ancient times, this settlement has offered its visitors rich architecture but also a peace that cannot be found everywhere. The name of the city most likely comes from the name of the Illyrian tribe Pirusti. Over the centuries, this city was under the rule of the Venetian Republic, as evidenced by some Italian words and phrases still used in this area. The city is important and famous for the first open maritime school in the Balkans but also the former duty-free trade with Venice. In the 18th century, around twenty Baroque palaces, two Orthodox churches, and seventeen Catholic churches were built in Perast. Bajova beach, Pjaca Square and Bujović Matinović Palace should be on your must-see Montenegro attractions list. For more information, visit the Perast page.
The old town of Kotor - A living open-air museum
The old town of Kotor is almost like a museum that lives outdoors. Magnificent cobblestones, 300-year-old houses, palaces, museums, and squares keep old Kotor alive. It is not surprising that this locality represents the best-preserved medieval urban environment, so UNESCO protects it. During its highly turbulent history, the city was under numerous administrative authorities, starting with Nemanjić, under which it was one of the most important trading cities, through Bosnia, Hungary, and all the way to France and Austria. In 1979, the city was hit by a devastating earthquake that destroyed most of the old town, but the citizens rebuilt it using the stone found there. Napoleon's theater from the 18th century, the magnificent cathedral of St. Tripun, the Karampana fountain, and the palace of Byzantium are what make this spot in Kotor unique.
If you have decided that this is a must-see sight in Montenegro, visit the Old Town of Kotor page and find out what other secrets this time machine hides in the heart of the present.
Kanli Tower - Turkish Alcatraz
Kanli Tower is one of the most popular attractions in Montenegro. The fortress was built way back in 1539, and its name means bloody tower. Kanli Tower is located in the northern part of the Old Town of Herceg Novi, on top of a mountain at an altitude of 85 meters. Just imagine the views! Back in the 16th century, it served as a notorious prison for those who fought against the Turks. An urban legend tells us that there was no way to escape it as the doors opened only one way. During the 20th century, the fortress was opened to visitors and became a museum frozen in time. The courtyard was later turned into a summer amphitheater, with a summer stage overlooking the Adriatic.
Read everything we have prepared for you on the page - Kanli Tower and find out what you can see inside it.
Forte Mare - Fortress of the sea
The Forte Mare fortress is located in the southern part of the Old Town in Herceg Novi on the coast of the sea next to Škver, and its name means Sea Fortress. It’s believed it was built between the 14th and 17th centuries. Reconstruction followed during the time of the Venetians in the 17th century, after which it was reconstructed again and took its current form. In the middle of the 20th century, the fort was turned into an outdoor stage where concerts and plays are still performed during summer. People say that this is one of the most beautiful open-air cinemas. On the upper side of the fortress is the Sea Gate, while on the southeastern side, a wall and a small staircase remain.
To find the most important tourist information, visit our page dedicated to this important landmark of Montenegro - Forte Mare.
Sveti Stefan - Montenegro’s luxury destination
Sveti Stefan is a peninsula representing one of the most luxurious vacation destinations in Montenegro. It is located not far from the coastal town of Budva, about 19 km away. From the rich architecture to the clean beaches and natural beauty creeping through the streets that seem to have remained forever frozen in time, we don’t even know where to start fangirling over this place. One legend says it was created after the Turkish siege of Kotor. The fort was built from war booty, and 12 houses were built for each tribe. A church dedicated to St. Stefan, patron of this unusual city, was built along with the houses. Those who came here at least once kept coming back for years. A significant development took place in the 19th century, when the number of houses increased, after which it lost power and influence to see the final flourish of the city in the 20th century. Today, this is the most attractive hotel complex to visit on you European luxury vacation.
Which villas are worth your attention, as well as a word or two about the monasteries that adorn this island and its surroundings, are waiting for you on the page - Sveti Stefan Island.
Godinje - Wine mixed with history
The village of Godinje is located in the area of Crnica, which belongs to the municipality of Bar. This village is important because of its rich history of grape growing and wine production. This is the right landmark for you if you are a fan of rural landscapes, a combination of tradition and modern times. The village has many sources of clean and cold water. The history of this small town dates back to the 13th century. In it can also be found objects that belonged to the Balšić family, as well as a stone with a carved coat of arms of the Crnojević family. Clean air and a delightful climate will make your stay memorable. What you must visit in the village of Godinje are the Balšić mansions, which represent the summer home of this family. Don’t forget to visit the Godinje winery and tavern if you want to try the best Mediterranean wine and other local products such as cheese and brandy.
Cultural sights of Montenegro - Getting to know the Montenegrin heritage
It is time to pass through the corridors of some of the most important cultural sights of Montenegro. We will walk next to the curator of Petorvić museums. We’ll tell you all about the monasteries on the islands and those on the coast. From intriguing legends to architectural wonders, here are some of our favorite spots.
King Nikola's Castle - Winter home of Petrović family
King Nikola's Castle is a residence that was built way back in 1891 and is located in the very center of Park Petrović in Podgorica. During the lifetime of King Nikola I Petrović, this building was the official winter residence of the last king of Montenegro. The magnificent complex, next to which the Morača River flows, consists of several buildings, such as Perjanički Dom, the Church of St. Dimitrije, and the castle itself. The entire complex is surrounded by incredible nature in a park forest decorated with beautiful ornaments, benches, and fountains. Several necessary reconstructions were carried out, and today this is the Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro area. Interestingly, the first telephones in Montenegro were installed in this castle in 1895.
History and helpful instructions for travelers can be found on our page, so be sure to visit - King Nikola's Castle.
Our Lady of the Rocks - Island with an intriguing history
Gospa od Škrpjela is an island overlooking Perast with a Roman Catholic church of the same name. We can say it is one of the most visited cultural attractions on the Montenegrin coast. On the island, next to the church, there is a museum and a souvenir shop. The story of its origin is a doozy. The story follows two fishermen who found an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a rock, which they took to Perast and lost, or so it seemed, in the meantime. However, the icon was there again when they returned to the rock. And as befits the story quickly spread to every corner of the coast, and people built a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her honor. However, the space was not large enough. By throwing stones into the surrounding water, an artificial island was created. The church was first Orthodox and it became Catholic after the Venetians. It is believed that when someone places their hand in the opening behind the altar, all of their wishes will come true.
A quick read of our page Our Lady of the Rocks will equip you with the most important information before visiting this unique location.
Montenegro Monasteries - Explore the famous Balkan churches
Monasteries in Montenegro and their churches belong to the Orthodox Christian Church. Their architecture, as well as design, certainly stand out. They are different from Christian Catholic cathedrals, which primarily have a Gothic exterior style, while the sound of the organ often occupies the interior space. Montenegro has about 50 holy Christian buildings on its land, some monasteries, and some churches; thus, that tiny area acquires a more profound meaning and importance.
Savina Monastery - Keeper of frescoes from the Byzantine era
This monastery complex is located about 2 km from the center of Herceg Novi, in the town of Savina. The Savina monastery complex consists of three churches: the Small and Great Churches of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church of Saint Sava, after which the monastery itself was named. The small church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to 1030, but was first mentioned only 600 years later. The large church was most likely built in 1776. The temple is believed to have been built by Saint Sava in the 13th century, but there is no accurate information about the construction time and the founder. The monastery was destroyed several times and burned to the ground, but it was always and quickly rebuilt. The most significant renovation was at the end of the 17th century when the monks of the Tvrdoš monastery moved into it. The Savina Monastery hides numerous treasures in its treasury, such as the crystal cross of Saint Sava from the 13th century, the Gospel, and the Tvrdoš Monastery's ark from the 17th century.
Ostrog Monastery - The most famous of Montenegro monasteries
Ostrog Monastery is located between Danilovgrad and Nikšić and is the most famous monastery in Montenegro. It is dedicated to Saint Vasilij Ostroški, who lived in the 17th century, and whose relics are still here today. It is believed that his holy body was found intact seven years after his death. Ostrog has been an important stronghold of Orthodoxy since ancient times, and significant relics were kept there during the wars. It is carved into a steep rock at an incredible 900 meters above sea level. The monastery is known for the miracles that still occur today, allegedly, healing powers and the spiritual changes it awakens in a person. It has become one of the most visited places of pilgrimage that gathers believers from all over the world, regardless of religion. Visit this miracle-working monastery, but be prepared for a steep walk.
Cetinje Monastery - Holy keeper of relics
When we mention the monasteries of Montenegro, we must not forget to refer to one of the most visited ones. The Cetinje monastery was built in the 15th century, in the state of Zeta, on the territory of the capital of Montenegro - Cetinje. It represents the epicenter of culture, literacy, and education in Montenegro. It was demolished and reconstructed several times, but after the invasion by Suleiman Pasha, his original beauty was forever lost. The Cetinje monastery is also significant since Christian treasures are kept in its modest chambers. Segments of the Holy Cross, the hand of John the Baptist, and the Saint Peter of Cetinje relics are preserved in the monastery, making it one of the most spiritually rich guardians of the Christian world. It is an absolute miracle that they survived wars, thefts, and burnings in one piece.
Cathedral of St. Trypun - A witness to Kotor’s history
The Cathedral of St. Tripun is located in Kotor and was built in 1166 on a church site from the 9th century, which was demolished in the powerful earthquake that hit this area. Saint Tripun represents the patron of the city of Kotor. The Cathedral of St. Trypun preserves the saint’s relics, which were transferred from Constantinople to Kotor in an exceptional silver casket after his death. The saint's relics are brought out only once a year, on February 4. Inside the cathedral are three large altars, with a golden altar being the stunner. The Golden Fall is the work of Kotor masters from the 15th century, and it represents the life of the saints in 12 paintings. In the treasury, the remains of the former church we’ve mentioned have been preserved, as well as numerous gold relics made in this area. When you visit the cathedral, check out the view from the balcony. The most beautiful monasteries of Montenegro cannot be counted without this cathedral.
We’ve tried to bring you closer and introduce you to some of the most important Montenegro tourist attractions this country proudly preserves. We hope you will gather the courage and go on a grand adventure to visit the most significant natural, historical and cultural monuments. Have a glass of Montenegrin wine, eat as many olives as your heart desires and get ready for stunning views. Bon Voyage!