Discover the Hidden Gem: Where is Montenegro? Your Guide to the Jewel of the Balkans in 2023

27 June 2023
Author - Jonathan Howe
Have you been wondering, where is Montenegro? Discover this hidden gem in the Balkans with our expert guide in 2023. Explore stunning landscapes, rich history and culture. Whether you're planning a holiday, looking for a retirement home, or you're a digital nomad interested in living in Montenegro, this guide is for you!

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Sounds perfect, doesn't it? But how far do you have to go to experience all of that in a small area?
Among all Mediterranean countries, where is Montenegro - one of the smallest? Its tiny territory, located in the south-east of Europe, on the Adriatic coast across from Italy, borders Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania. Barely more than half a million people inhabit this state, living in idyllic villages and old towns.
Visiting this magic country in the summer provides you with the possibility to climb on the snow-covered mountain peaks and to swim in the warm Adriatic sea in just one day - a perfect road trip experience!

Blue sea and black mountains

The poetic country's name translates as "Black Mountain" from native Crna Gora. Montenegro's mountains cover more or less its whole area, and they rise thousands of meters above sea level. No matter if you decide to check out Durmitor's lakes called "mountain's eyes" or the ancient rainforest under Bjelasica (Biogradska Gora). Lovćen's view on Boka Kotorska or Prokletije's rock 'sanctuary' - you will experience the unique power of raw beauty and meditative calmness. If you know how to explore them, these mountains will bestow you with unforgettable souvenirs. 
Besides the highest part of the Dinaric Alps range, the Montenegrin area includes almost 300 km of coastline on the Adriatic sea. Rocky, sandy, long, nudist, hidden, tiny, or medicinal beaches and turquoise sea color attract travelers from all over the world. Definitely, the most remarkable place on the Montenegrin coast is the Gulf of Kotor, with its stunning beauty and historical and cultural treasures protected by UNESCO. There is no wonder that this bay is listed as one of the 25 most beautiful bays in the world!

Ecosystem diversity and favorable climate

Even the birds know where Montenegro is! This country is one of the most important spots for them to rest while migrating from Europe to Africa and back. Some places, such as Ulcinj and Tivat's salinas, are a paradise for more than 300 bird species and bird-lovers. 
Its amount of natural resources and species per square kilometer lists Montenegro as one of the first in Europe. Thanks to diverse geographic conditions, there are many different kinds of ecosystems and climate zones. Mediterranean climate zone covers the coastal region, but the high mountain range blocks its further influence. On the other side of the stone wall, moderate continental weather transforms into the northern climate as soon as the altitude goes more than a few hundred meters up.
In just a few hours' drive, a traveler can achieve a phenomenal myriad of experiences.
Five areas of Montenegro, which have the status of national parks, offer numerous opportunities for active recreation. Skadar Lake is one of the biggest NP in the country and the largest freshwater surface in the Balkan peninsula. It is widely popular for the diversity of flora and fauna and unforgettable landscapes.

People, food... and wine!

Indigenous plant species play an important role in food and wine production, and some of them are real tourist attractions. The great olive tree in the coastal town of Bar is famous as one of the oldest trees in the world. The tradition of olive oil making in this region lasts for centuries, and it is strongly rooted in Montenegrin culture.
Speaking about wine, among the whole spectrum of small private wineries, it's important to mention Plataže - the biggest producer of grapes, wine, and grape brandy in Southeastern Europe. Made of local grape sorts (vranac, kratošija, krstač), all of these products are well known for their outstanding quality.
The development of Montenegrin national cuisine has been under various influences throughout history and geographic positions therefore it results in a rich offer of sea and mountain specialties.
Spontaneous and relaxed, Montenegrin people will welcome travelers and do all one can to present their homeland in the best light. The stereotypes spread concerning them show them as lazy, extremely tall, brave, and handsome. No matter what is true or not, one is sure: their hospitality is beyond expected.

Turbulent history

Independent since 2005, Montenegro is well known as a part of the former federation of Yugoslavia, which, by the way, means 'country of the southern Slavs.' Nowadays, its constitution is civil, democratic, environmental, and aims at social justice - based on the rule of law. Montenegrin language has the same root as Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian. Only very few differences in accent and expressions separate one from another.
Given its position between the East and the West, a large number of conquerors (Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Venetians, Austro-Hungarians, Germans) tried to take over this tiny state throughout History, which resulted in frequent conflicts and resistance by Montenegrin people. Their identity and tradition survived nonetheless, preserved despite centuries of struggle against invaders.
These influences have been assimilated into what is today's multiethnic Montenegrin culture and you will be surprised to find Venitian Catholic churches right by Serbian Orthodox temples and monasteries, all of this at a stone's throw from the Ottoman-style mosques that you can find in the north of the country.
Whether you are passionate about history, extreme sports, beautiful hikes, or just want to spend some sunny days on the beach, cocktail in hand, Montenegro is waiting for you. Millions of travelers have already found out about these hidden beauties, why not you? Be part of those who can proudly answer the question 'Where is Montenegro?'
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