Nestled between Croatia and Albania along the Adriatic Coast is the tiny country of Montenegro. Once part of the former Yugoslavia, today the country is enjoying its independence and tourists from all over the world are slowly discovering just what makes Montenegro so special.
Known as the Jewel of Europe, Montenegro is made up of charming medieval towns, emerald lakes and stunning beaches. The country enjoyed its day in the spotlight when it was depicted in the James Bond film “Casino Royale.” Every summer, hordes of visitors pass by its shores by boat from the Croatian coast, merely stopping by for the day before setting sail again. But for the real Montenegro experience, stay for a few days – or even a week – and discover the area’s hidden gems.
While plenty of visitors access Montenegro by boat, you can also drive over the Montenegro-Croatia border from Dubrovnik or take a flight into the capital city of Podgorica. Many visitors use Podgorica as a base from which to explore the rest of the country. Don’t miss Montenegro’s legendary Skadar Lake National Park and Budva Riviera.
Montenegro has a Mediterranean climate, and temperatures can often reach a sizzling 30 C (86 F) along the coast in July and August. The mountains tend to stay cooler, hovering around 21 C (70 F). December through March can be very cold with temperatures dipping below freezing in the mountains.
Montenegro’s peak season runs from May until September, with July and August being the busiest months. Ski season runs from December to March.
The best time to visit is during the off season in the months of May, June and September. During this time, the cities are less crowded, accommodations are cheaper and the weather is more pleasant than it is in the height of summer.
The best and easiest way to get around Montenegro is by bus. Buses run all over the country (not always directly from one destination to another) and are very affordable.
Getting around by car is another option and many car hire companies have offices in the major cities, but bear in mind that Montenegrin drivers can be rather aggressive and the roads aren’t always well marked. In peak summer season the roads can get extremely congested, especially closer to the Croatian border. Metered taxis are readily available in the larger towns and are fairly cheap.
Two airports serve Montenegro: Airport Tivat (TIV) (www.montenegroairports.com) located 4 km (2.5 miles) from Tivat, and Airport Podgorica (TGD) (www.montenegroairports.com) situated 11 km (7 miles) south of Podgorica.