Montenegro may be one of Europe’s smallest countries, but the incredibly varied landscape – from sandy beaches, to river gorges, to wooded mountains, to medieval towns – means that you’ll never be at a loss for things to do. If you’re looking for ideas for your summer holidays, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here.
Whether you’re a nature-lover or a culture buff, a thrill-seeker, a foodie, or a family looking for a place to relax – read on to discover the best things to do on holiday this summer in Montenegro. Then get planning your trip.
Inland, Montenegro is dominated by mountains – after all, they are what give the country its name. For the best activity holidays, head to Montenegro’s national parks (incredibly, for such a small country, there are four). Adrenalin-junkies will love white-water rafting down the Tara Canyon – Europe’s deepest – as it cuts its way through the Durmitor National Park . The 2-3 hour rafting route down the rapids from Brstnovica to Scepan Polje is one of the best the continent has to offer.
The Biogradska Gora National Park protects some of the last untouched forests in Europe – a rare, true wilderness that’s ideal for hiking and backpacking. Or visit Lake Skadar, also a national park, and the largest lake in the Balkans. Despite its renowned beauty, the freshwater lake retains a feeling of almost otherworldly peace and remoteness. Arrange a bird-watching trip through Undiscovered Montenegro to experience the local fauna and explore the waters.
Culture and history buffs
Perast and Kotor are obvious must-visits, with churches, monuments and art galleries aplenty. But a trip to the former capital of Cetinje is essential if you want to really understand the national psyche. With barely more than 15,000 residents, until the late 19th century this most modest but beguiling of capitals was accessible only by winding mule-track. Former embassies are now university buildings or pleasingly low-key restaurants. Visit the austerely beautiful Cetinje Monastery and the remarkable Ethnographic Museum .
The country has many fine restaurants, but for the authentic taste of traditional Montenegro, head to the village of Njegusi, on the pass road between Kotor and Cetinje. The birthplace of the legendary poet-king Petar II Petrović-Njegoš , it’s also where you’ll find the finest pršut , Montenegro’s famous air-dried ham (a close cousin, as the name suggests, of prosciutto ) which can compete with the best from Italy or Spain.
Eat it as the Montenegrins do, sliced thickly so the smokey, woody flavours are intensified, mellowed by the rich marbling of fat. The village is also known for its cheese ( sir ), and local restaurants specialise in hearty alpine dishes smothered in melted sir and wrapped in pršut . Peruse the shops and stalls selling both products, along with richly flavoured honey, jams and local herbal liqueurs.
Give children a sandy beach, sunny skies, clear waters and a bucket and spade and they’ll be happy all day – and so will their parents. Montenegro’s beaches are small, secluded, often gloriously quiet, and much sandier than those in neighbouring Croatia. The Kraljicina Plaza (Queen’s Beach), near Budva, truly is fit for royalty, but it’s worth exploring the coastline on either side of the town and settling down wherever takes your fancy. Children will also enjoy the easy stroll around Budva’s medieval walls – especially with an ice cream on the promenade as their reward.