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Montenegro

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Montenegro

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[[File:Beautiful place in Montenegro|250px|frameless|Montenegro]]
Location
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Flag
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Quick Facts
Capital Podgorica
Government Republic
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area 13,812 sq km
Population 684,736 (July 2007 est.)
Language Montenegrin
Religion Orthodox Christian 74%, Muslim 17%
Internet TLD .me (.cg.yu being phased out)
Time Zone UTC +1

The Republic of Montenegro [1] (Serbian: Crna Gora) is a country in the Balkans, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, Serbia and Kosovo to the north, and Albania to the east. To the west of Montenegro is the Adriatic Sea.

Montenegro's tourism had suffered greatly from Yugoslavi's tragic civil war in the 1990s, temporarily giving the Balkans a bad name once again. In recent years, along with the stabilized situation in the region, tourism in Montenegro began to recover, and Montenegro is being re-discovered by tourists from around the globe.

Regions

Map of Montenegro

Montenegro is divided into 22 municipalities, which can be grouped into 3 main geographical regions:

  • The coastal region, stretching along the 295 km long Montenegrin coast. The region is of main interest to tourists, with 72km of beaches, many picturesque old towns, and luxury hotels.
  • The central region, in the Zeta river valley, in which the capital Podgorica is situated.
  • The northern region has some of the most beautiful nature in Montenegro. High mountains, clean rivers and mountain lakes, and in the winter lots of snow for enjoying the ski resorts. In the summer the typically continental climate is good for swimming in the river Lim or on the lakes (Plavsko, Pesica, Siska...) during the day, and in the evening there is fresh air and temperatures around 5-10 C.

Cities

Coast

File:GradBudva.jpg
Budva coast in Montenegro.

Central

North

Other destinations

  • Boka Kotorska, some say is most beautiful bay in Europe, with historic old towns of Kotor (Unesco world heritage site), Perast, Herceg Novi...
  • Tara canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe. Rafting down the Tara river is among the most popular tourist activities in the Montenegro.
    Northern Montenegro
  • Biogradska gora, the last rainforest in Europe.
  • Skadar lake, the largest lake on the Balkans, and the natural habitat of the very diverse flora and fauna.
  • Ostrog monastery, situated on the almost vertical cliff of Mount Ostrog.
  • Sveti Stefan, picturesque town-hotel, a former fishermen town on the small peninsula near Budva.

Understand

Climate

Montenegro's lower areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate, having dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Temperature varies greatly with elevation. Podgorica, lying near sea level, is noted for having the warmest July temperatures in Montenegro, averaging 27°C (81 F).

Cetinje, in the Karst at an elevation of 670m (2,200 ft), has a temperature 5°C (10 F) lower. January temperatures range from 8°C (46 F) at Bar on the southern coast to -3°C (27 F) in the northern mountains.

Montenegro's mountainous regions receive some of the highest amounts of rainfall in Europe. In the northern mountains, snow is present throughout the winter.

Terrain

The terrain of Montenegro ranges from high mountains along its borders with Kosovo and Albania, through a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only one to four miles wide. The coastal plain disappears completely in the north, where Mount Lovcen and other ranges plunge abruptly into the inlet of the Gulf of Kotor.

Montenegro's section of the Karst lies generally at elevations of just below 1000m (3,000 ft) above sea level-although some areas rise to 1800m (6,000 ft). The lowest segment is in the valley of the Zeta River, which flows at an elevation of 460m (1,500 ft).

The high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. They average more than 2100m (7000 ft) in elevation.

History

In June 2006, following a referendum in which a 55.4% majority chose to split from Serbia, Montenegro declared its independence.

Umjetnicki.jpg

Get in

By plane

Podgorica airport is Montenegro's main international airport. It is situated 12km (7.5 miles) south of Podgorica. It is a hub for Montenegro's national airline carrier, Montenegro Airlines, which maintains regular flights from Podgorica to Belgrade, Budapest, Zurich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome and Vienna.

One can get from the airport to Podgorica center by taking the minibus, which usually waits in front of the terminal. Taxi to the center will be more expensive, usually 10+ euros. There are also bus lines connecting the airport with some other Montenegro cities.

Tivat airport is situated near the city of Tivat, on the Montenegin coast. It has regular flights to Belgrade throughout the year, and has charter flights to major European destinations during the summer. Tivat airport is 20km from Budva and Herceg-Novi and 60 km from Bar.

Dubrovnik airport in Croatia is half hour drive from the Montenegro border, and coastal city of Herceg-Novi, and is served by many major airlines, so it might be a good option for tourist coming by plane.

By train

There is regular passenger train service from Subotica through Novi Sad and Belgrade. Train goes through Bijelo Polje, Kolasin, Podgorica and ends in Bar, Montenegro's main seaport. Travel by train is cheapest way to get to Montenegro, but the quality of service is not very good. There are overnight trains with sleeping cars for around €25, which must be booked in advance, but are a more comfortable option.

By bus

Montenegro is well connected with neighbouring countries, except Albania, and ticket prices are all under €25. During the summer, more seasonal lines are being introduced.

By car

European routes E65, E80, E762, E763 and E851 pass through the country. Coming in from Serbia during the winter requires additional caution, as curvy mountanious road is not in good condition. Hiring a car to drive in to Montenegro from one of the surrounding countries can be problematic. Not all car hire companies will permit the journey. You will need a border pass.

By ship

There are regular ferry lines from Bar to Bari and Ancona in Italy. Lines operate almost daily throughout the year, and get more frequent during the summer. Trip to Bari takes around 16 hours.

Get around

Beach of Becici

By train

There is local train service, operating from Bar, through Podgorica and Kolasin and Mojkovac to Bijelo Polje. It is the cheapest way to travel from north to south and vice versa, quality of service is not on the high level. It might also be dangerous, an accident with over 200 casualties occurred in 2006. Tickets can be purchased on board.

By bus

This may be the easiest way to get around Montenegro. Buses are frequent(especially during the summer), safe and on schedule. Ticket prices within Montenegro are all under €15. Local buses usually have no airconditioning. In addition, it is common for people to smoke on a crowded bus.

Besides the buses, there are minibuses at bus stations that are usually slightly cheaper, but are actually faster and more comfortable option.

By car

As there is no real highway in Montenegro, all roads are two-lane only, and generally are not up to European standards.

Roads from Podgorica to Bar and to Niksic are fairly good, easy to drive on. The road from Podgorica through Cetinje to Budva is in good condition, but is a curvy mountanious road which rarely permits speeds over 70km/h.

Road from Podgorica north to Kolasin, and then on to Zabljak or Serbia, is considered dangerous during the winter, especially the part through the Moraca canyon. It is recommended one takes the bus to the north during the cold or rainy days, as bus drivers are expirienced and know the road.

Speed limit is 80km/h on the open road, unless sign specifies otherwise. Speed limit inside the cities is 50km/h. Use of safety belts is compulsory, and use of cellphone while driving is prohibited. Signposts used in Montenegro are almost identical to those used in EU countries.

Also be aware that it is necessary to use headlights 24 hours a day in Montenegro.

Talk

Serbo-Croatian is the official language. In some municipalities with an Albanian majority (Ulcinj, Plav, Gusinje) and the Malesia district in Podgorica municipality, the Albanian language is commonly spoken. Slovene and Macedonian are also universally understood.

In Podgorica and the coastal area almost everyone can speak English, but that is not always the case in the north. Older people often have a working knowledge of German.

Eat

Apart from the hotels located in towns and summer resorts offering half-board and full-board accommodation, and those along the roads and communication lines such as restaurants, pizza places, taverns, fast food restaurants and cafes, there is a choice of national restaurants offering traditional Montenegrin cuisine.

In addition to the standard European and Mediterranean cuisine, Montenegro offers a variety of healthy food products and local specialities. Cold hors d'ouevres include the famous njeguski prsut (smoked ham) and njeguski cheese, pljevaljki chesse, mushrooms, donuts and dried bleak. The main courses specific for the northern mountanious regionare boiled lamb, lamb cooked in milk, cicvara in fresh milk cream (buttered corn porridge), boiled potatoe with cheese and fresh cream. A selection of traditional recepies of the central and coastal parts will include the kastradina (dried mutton), smoked and fresh carp (from Skadar lake) and a variety of fresh sea fish and seafood dishes. Donuts served with honey and dried figs are traditional desserts in these parts of Montenegro.

Products of animal origin are supervised and approved by veterinary and health authorities according to EU standards.

Drink

Montenegrin vineyards and the production of quality wine is part of the tradition of southern and coastal wine makers while the continental region and north are more oriented towards the production of aromatic fruit flavoured brandy (plum brandy - sljivovica, apple brandy). Grape brandy "Montenegrin loza", "Prvijenac", "Kruna" or home made grape brandy (lozova rakija, lozovaca) is a must-try.

The best known Montenegrin wines are the premium "Vranac", "Pro Corde", "Krstac", "Cabernet", "Chardonnay" and the famous home made Crmnicko red wine.

Also don't miss "Niksicko" beer. It is produced as a draught beer, or bottled, in both "Nik Gold" and lighter "Nik Cool" variant. Dark variant, "Nik tamno", is praised among beer lovers.

Stay safe

Montenegro is generally a safe country. There is, like all countries in the world, a number of criminal activities, but police forces are generally fast in their duties. The number is 92, as well as the international distress call 112. When travelling in the areas bordering Kosovo it is recommended you keep to the main roads. Unexploded landmines may remain along the Kosovo border. You should also avoid areas where there is military activity.

Respect

Short pants are usually not permitted inside the public institutions (hospitals, etc). Wear modest dress when visiting Serbian Orthodox monasteries.

At beaches, taking off the bottom part will likely create a stir, and is generally reserved for designated nude beaches.

Being obviously drunk is a sign of bad taste and worse character in Montenegro: You may be invited to drink gallons, but are expected to be able to hold your drink.

Contact