Tom Barber, Co-Founder and Head of Product at luxury travel company Original Travel believes Montenegro to be one of the most exciting destinations in Europe for them right now. With its stunning natural beauty and a huge amount to see and do, this country is fast becoming the perfect short haul destination to explore. In a recent interview with Tom we found out more about some of the exciting outdoor activities on offer.
What outdoor activities are there on offer for thrill seekers here?
What I like is that visitors can be deceived by the relatively sedate nature of the coastal stretch. Sure there are some mega yachts and speedboats zipping around, but there’s no real clue to what you can do inland, which is the real thrill seekers’ paradise. There’s mountain biking and paragliding along the coast, or you can head inland for rafting in one of the world’s deepest canyons, Tara Canyon. Located in Durmitor National Park, it is certainly off the coastal track yet the area is also fantastic for walking and horse riding. We also highly recommend a trip to Lovcen National Park for its excellent hiking trails. (link to our post).
Would you say it is the country’s varied terrain that makes it appealing to adventure seekers?
Absolutely. As before, the Tara Canyon is seriously dramatic, and Lake Skadar is stunning, particularly in May and June when huge parts are covered in huge Lily pads. That’s before you even get to the staggeringly attractive coastline, described thus, by Lord Byron. “ At the birth of our planet, the most beautiful encounter between land and sea must have happened at the Montenegrin littoral .” Praise doesn’t get much higher than that.
What watersports would you recommend trying when in Montenegro?
The rafting in the Tara Canyon is superb, and paddling through the Lily pads on Lake Skadar is magical. Off the coast there’s waterskiing and kayaking, and the coastline is beautiful to behold from on board a super slick yacht, naturally.
What outdoor activities are there to do in and around Tivat?
There’s plenty to do in and around Tivat such as waterskiing, speedboat trips, kayaking, hiking and cycling.
Is the Bay of Kotor and its surrounding areas good for outdoor activities?
It’s absolutely beautiful, and best viewed from a high, looking down on to what is essentially a massive fjord. There are endless trails along ridges and through lovely meadows and forests. One absolute highlight is on the walk along the ramparts to Sveti Ivan fortress above Kotor Town, where you can climb through a hole in the wall and walk down a hill to find yourself in a beautiful deserted village. (Link to our Kotor post)
Would you say there’s hiking trails and activities for all abilities?
Absolutely, because you can either follow the water’s edge, or head up to the ridge line where you will be rewarded by some of the most memorable and dramatic panoramic views in Europe. (link to walking post)
Are some of the activities on offer seasonal?
You’d probably not want to be walking or biking in winter, but there is skiing, and the Lake Skadar paddling is best in May and June because of the Lily pads.
Any other surprises or highlights for visitors?
Another great reason to visit Montenegro is the food and wine. It has taken Croatia a few years to realise the importance of good grub to tourists (which is something of a surprise for a country next to Italy!) but there are no such worries in Montenegro. The emphasis along the coastline is, of course, on fresh fish, and the Adriatic benefits from relatively cool water so fish migrate from warmer parts of the Med, resulting in an abundance of fresh fish and delicious shellfish. The main method of cooking is wood fired ovens, so expect excellent steaks and pizzas as well, with some local cheeses now winning awards. Best of all is to wash it down with a glass of the local wine. As a general rule, look out for anything by the best local producer – Plantaze. The best red wine variety is made from the Vranac grape, and try the excellent dry white with improbably few vowels – Krstač.
Montenegro is just one of the 90 countries that Original Travel offers holidays to. These include bespoke adventure holidays and expeditions in unusual locations, safaris on seven continents, inaccessible private properties, opulent city breaks, skiing in all its guises and simple flop and drops on the best beaches in the world.