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Black Mountain
Pristina (Kosovo), January 12th 2014

It won’t surprise most people when they hear that Montenegro literally means "Black Mountain". This small and mountainous country in the southern part of the Balkan is a tourist paradise and you will understand it when you have the chance to spend a few days here. Only seven hundred thousand people inhabit the country and the national identity is mainly linked to the fact that the Montenegrins have been able to resist the Ottoman Empire, huge parts of the Balkan during most of the Middle Ages, and the centuries that followed.

Montenegro lies on the Adriatic Sea and is further sandwiched between Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. The coast of this small country is blessed with a beautiful coastline, picturesque bays, sandy beaches, a Mediterranean climate and some impressive medieval settlement that remained largely intact. Spectacular mountains raise almost immediately from the coast which makes it possible to undertake spectacular daytrips to mountain areas. And if you still want something more spectacular, then the Tara Canyon in the north of Montenegro is the ideal destination. This deepest canyon in Europe is at its deepest point 1,300 meters deep, which is just 200 meters less than the Grand Canyon in the USA!

Border between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro

But there is also a small downside to this success. In the typical European summer months (July and August) it is extremely busy in the coastal areas of Montenegro. Prices of accommodation reach extreme heights, if you can find a room at all. Expensive yachts manage to find the small ports of the Montenegrin seaside resorts and one has to fight for a spot on one of the many terraces. However, if you decide to come outside the main season, then you have the country almost for yourself, and can’t you only enjoy all the beauty that the country has to offer, but also at very reasonable prices. A nice apartment with everything you need for less than 30 Euro per night is quite normal outside the season.

We arrived in Montenegro in the middle of winter and crossed the border from Bosnia & Herzegovina near the village Vilusi. The weather was bad but despite that we were already treated some spectacular vistas. We drove down to the Bay of Kotor, for many visitors to Montenegro the highlight of their visit. The weather cleared up and we had a few beautiful days to enjoy the beautiful medieval town of Kotor and the view you have on it, from the mountain that rises almost vertically behind the town. After the visit to the Bay of Kotor, we took an awesome mountain road to Lovcen National Park. We were lucky, because normally the park is during most of the winter inaccessible due to snow. From the Njegos Mausoleum in the heart of the national park, at an altitude of 1657 meters altitude, you have a beautiful (360 degrees) view on the black mountains around you. Then you realize yourself why Montenegro is called Montenegro.

View on the Bay of Kotor seen from our apartment

From the national park it is only an hour drive to the capital of Montenegro: Podgorica. It is a pleasant town with no interesting sights. About a quarter of the Montenegrins live in the capital, but you can’t really call it a city. Therefore, a stay of one or two days is more than enough. Due to the winter conditions large parts of the mountainous north of the country were inaccessible, but the road through Mojkovac, Berane and Rozaje was open. After Rozaje the road climbed further, and after a great trip we arrived at an altitude of 1700 meters, surrounded by a snowy landscape, at the border crossing between Montenegro and Kosovo. It was time to say goodbye to this beautiful mountainous little country, and it might just be case that we will return here to see more of this beautiful country.

The old town of Kotor is in perfect condition
Climb the mountain behind Kotor for fabulous views on the old town and the bay
Hairpin roads on the way to Lovcen NP
The top of the world in Lovcen NP
Snowy landscape between the border posts of Montenegro and Kosovo

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