The winter snows are thawing out and the beautiful colors of Spring are in sight, which can only mean one thing – travel time! If you enjoy being at one with nature, taking the active route, or simply appreciating Montenegro’s local flavour, there’ll always be something for you to do. Here are ten reasons why Montenegro should be on your list this Spring.
1. Pilgrimage to the Ostrog Monastery
Emerging from a rockface above the Zeta valley, the 17th Century Ostrog Monastery is a must-see for those with a taste for history, local tradition, and spectacular views. Located 900 metres above sea level, it’s thought to be a site of miracles, containing the relics of St Basil of Ostrog. On a clear day, a visit to Ostrog is considered to be detox for the mind. Head there early in the morning to enjoy the impressive sights of the mountain peaks in the morning haze.
2. Red Rock Zipline in Durmitor National Park
Want to zip line across the second deepest canyon in the world? From the 1st of May, Red Rock re-open their line over the Tara Canyon. Overlook the dramatic backdrop of the UNESCO protected Durmitor National Park at a gliding speed of up to 50kmph. You won’t be able to miss the adjacent Đurđevića Bridge, which stands tall and proud in all its might, as a symbol of ex-Yugoslav contemporary architecture.
3. Montenegro Express from Bijelo Polje to Bar
This Trans-Siberian of the Balkans is one of the best ways to enjoy Montenegro’s scenery. Start your journey in the rocky north, looking down on the turquoise waters of the Morača river, sunken into the bottomless shoulders of one of the world’s deepest canyons. If you’re afraid of heights, this might not be for you, as the birds eye view is enough to make you cry! The journey ends in the coastal south, in the town of Bar.
4. Picnic by the Stara Maslina
Located near Bar’s Old Town, the Stara Maslina, literally translated to mean ‘Old Olive’, is reminiscent of Montenegro’s quintessentially Mediterranean culture. Prepare a picnic of light snacks and mezze, washed down with fresh fruit and local wine, under the shade of one of the oldest olive trees in the world. Whilst you’re there, take a stroll across to Antivari, the old town, at sunset, to appreciate the Ottoman ruins painted orange, as the sun descends into dusk; open until 10pm.
5. Boat Tours on Skadar Lake
The largest freshwater lake on the Balkan peninsula and home to an abundance of fauna and flora, Skadar is a paradise for the nature enthusiast. Catch sight of blankets of wild crouses, violet in colour, which blossom here at this time of year. An idyllic spring pastime, drift along the water in a rustic paddle boat, and enjoy the wildlife, the lilypad-lined waters, and the horizon of Montenegrin peaks. Perfect for a romantic afternoon for two. You can stop off in one of Skadar’s many hamlets and sample the local delicacy of freshwater trout on the barbie.
6. Brunch and Retail Therapy at Porto Montenegro
For the chicest lunchtime hangout, head to Porto Montenegro. The springtime sun is perfect for strolling along the neatly tiled walkways of the marina, cooling off in the sea breeze and catching shade under the palms. Choose from one of the many restaurants, cafés and bars serving anything from drinks and light bites to fresh pastas and pizzas. Try One or Al Posto Giusto for brunch and a front-row view of the marina. Once you’ve fuelled up, head into the shopping quarter for some retail therapy; from Dior to Valentino, MaxMara and Heidi Klein, the retail complex offers tax-free shopping for visitors from outside of Montenegro at selected boutiques across the village… it’d be rude not to.
7. Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tours
Dotted along the southern coast are some of Montenegro’s most picturesque vineyards. For a perfect springtime activity, try a vineyard tour. Enjoy a day sampling local wines and Meditteranean-style tapas of olives and cured meats at Savina Winery, located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor
8. Climb Kotor’s Castle of San Giovanni
Get your walking shoes at the ready… Spring is the best season for this climb, as the summer temperatures make it far too hot to endure. Around halfway up the ascent of 1,355 steps (yes, you read that right), you’ll find the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, where you can take a break, hydrate, and soak up the already impressive views. The view from the top is a picture-perfect pano of the butterfly-shaped Bay of Kotor, truly breathtaking and a sight that your camera will struggle to do justice.
9. Explore the alleys of Budva’s Old Town
Lose yourself in the labyrinth that is Budva’s Stari Grad (Old Town). First stop – coffee. You’ll be spoilt for choice, with countless little cafés tucked away in the town’s medieval alleyways. Here, you’ll find an array of boutiques, offering distinctive jewellery, handbags, souvenirs, and books. You know you’ve hit the jackpot when you reach the 15th Century Citadel with a view onto the perfect blue waters of the Adriatic. Now to find your way back out…
10. Porto and Regent on a Rainy Day
No telling lies; when a storm hits Montenegro, there’s no going outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make plans. The Naval Heritage Museum at Porto Montenegro hosts a collection of historical artefacts, from the diaries of Princess Ksenija of Montenegro to the P-821 Hero Old Yugoslav Submarine – it’s a tight squeeze, but you can actually take a tour of the submarine, learn of the veterans and their experiences at sea, and escape the rain at the same time – result. Follow up your morning of culture with a five-star spa afternoon at Regent; a good pamper will be just what the doctor ordered after a busy few days of sight-seeing.