Modern Montenegro is originally derived from the kingdom of Duklja, a vassal of Byzantium that broke away from its chains of imperialism. It was then conquered by the Serbians and called Zeta, but like most of that region eventually succumbed to the Ottoman Empire. It currently has a total population of just 625,000 people with the capital Podgorica being the largest city with a population of 175,000.
Uniquely, Montenegro refused Ottoman rule, so rebelled and eventually beat the Turks in the Great Turkish War of the late 17th century. For a while it was a Theocracy, being run by the Orthodox Priests of Serbia, and later part of the Austrian Empire.
Montenegro was a very popular tourist destination in southern Europe in the 1980’s but the Yugoslav wars in the 90’s cut it dead. There are 295km of coastline in Montenegro, with 45 miles of beach, which, in short are stunning. It is considered a “new discovery” for tourists with many publications hailing its incredible natural beauty. New property developments like Jaz Beach, Buljarica, Velika Plaža and Ada Bojana, have are set to make the Montenegro one of the premium tourist spots on the Adriatic.
Montenegro gets very hot in the summer with temperatures over 40C common. The Dinaric Alps affects the weather during the year, but the average temperature along the coast is about 10C.
The next Croatia (which was once the the next Italy!)
“As I wandered the narrow alleys of Kotor it seemed like I was the only tourist in town, which I liked a lot, as its such a beautiful place.
Before I went people gave me mostly blank stares when I told them I was going to Montenegro on holiday. But when I mentioned that Montenegro’s beaches make up the southern section of the Dalmatian Coast and that, in fact, the country is already being dubbed the “next Croatia,” I had a list of people who suddenly wanted to come with me.
Croatia, Montenegro’s neighbour to the north, was once hailed as the “next Italy” and is fully on the tourist map as part of the cruise ship and mainstream holiday circuit. Now many travelers are drifting down to Montenegro, where medieval coastal towns hug the blue sea and the narrow cobblestone streets and intimate piazzas.
I climbed up the 1,350 steps to the 14th-century fortress of St. Ivan. Kotor’s walls are three miles long, a claim that makes the ramparts twice the length of Dubrovnik’s. What makes Kotor different is that its wall goes straight up the dramatic hills that keep the city in a the shadows. With great little markets selling locally made cheese and olive oil, cafe-lined squares and reasonably priced seafood restaurants in the town below, it took something to motivate me to make the effort. That is, till you get near the top and the view of the Boka Kotorska – southern Europe’s largest fiord – making you forget about the walk up. Only the herd of wild mountain goats nibbling at the grass might distract you”. Review by Amanda Thomas, Putney London.