Montenegro – The Inconspicuous Dwarf
Only 625,000 people live in the Republic of Montenegro. Hence the former Yugoslav territory is one of the mini-states in Europe. But the dwarf status doesn’t make Montenegro less attractive. Among travel insiders, the country is even assumed as a sleeper for summer vacations since recently. And rightly so. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” – as many residents Montenegro call their country – offers white sandy beaches, deep blue coves and tranquil islands, offshore.
Worth seeing is the Bay of Kotor in the northwest of the country, which is labelled as the Fjord of the south because of its geo-morphological characteristics. The Romans, the Dalmatians, the Venetians, the Ottomans and even the Habsburg Austrians have already settled here. The old captain villas in Perast, the medieval city walls in Kotor and the Benedictine monastery on the island of Sveti Djordje are silent witnesses of those settlements. On the island “Our Lady of the Rocks” is the tradition of stone throwing even still alive – a more than four hundred years old tradition, which goes back to the origins of the island. Based on history, sailors from Perast and Kotor created the man-made island by shipping heavy boulders on their boats. Some of them even perished in the Adriatic. Nevertheless, they brought new stones to the island every year and extended it thus. On June, 22 each year, residents commemorate those sailors by throwing small stones into the water.
From the Bay of Kotor we travel to the far south of Montenegro. Or more precisely to Utjeha in the municipality Bar. It is a place full of contrasts. The white pebble beach is framed by the panorama of the Rumija mountains, fresh water from the depth of sea intermingles with the salty Adriatic water and the tourist beach area is in sharp contrast to the quiet upstate. There are no big hotels. Small apartments and pensions, also privately rented, blend perfectly in the small town. Utjeha is therefore an ideal place for those tourists who want to vacation on the beach, but shy the mass tourism.
Who is looking for absolute relaxation should definitely pay a visit at the “Ladies Beach”. Among locals this place is known as a healing place. Thanks to the sulfur-containing radium water. Because this is – pursuant to faith – a true miracle weapon in the treatment of infertility and chronic diseases. Especially in the sea caves in the Ladies Beach, you can wonderfully relax, and also take a cure.
The small Montenegro packs a bunch. It doen’t only offer culture and recreation, but also adventure and pure nature. In the Dinaric Alps, hikers and climbers can discover true paradises, e.g. the Tara Canyon. With a depth of 1,300 meters this canyon is the second deepest one in the world – after the Grand Canyon. Likewise, the Biogradska Gora is a popular destination. This national park has been spared from the constant change and the hustle and bustle of modern times. Large parts of the park even consist of primeval forest – trees that have started to grow over five hundred years ago. Within the Biogradska Gora there are also six lakes that are used like for water sports such as rafting. Another well-known national park is the Durmitor National Park in the eponymous mountain range. The small town of Zabljak is a good starting point for excursions and hikes to those height ranges. Here you can discover small mountain villages, alpine pastures, deep blue mountain lakes and steep glaciers.
Of course for me, as an absolute sensualist, food shouldn’t be missed out. In Montenegro’s mountain villages, the hospitality is great. People serve homemade cheese and ham to plum brandy. In the restaurants you can order diverse meat and fish dishes; and also Mediterranean dishes, such as pasta, pizza and risotto, are typical for the cuisine of Montenegro.
The originality, the purity and versatility make Montenegro unique and incredibly fascinating for every human being who doesn’t look for an everyday experience, who looks for a special destination.