The old town of Kotor was destroyed by an earthquake in 1979, but there remain a few interesting buildings, such as Saint Triphon's Cathedral. The church treasure contains a whole bunch of relics such as Saint-Triphon's arms, legs and head. Herceg-Novi is a very busy seaside resort. It is a very picturesque old town, built as an amphitheatre and situated on woody hills. It has sand and gravel beaches and is a place where you can rest and recharge your batteries thanks to its sub-tropical climate. The city has 15th century fortifications, as well as a fortress, the Spanjola, built by the Ottomans in 1539. The famous Orthodox monastery of Savina is only a little over a mile from there. You can see many primitive frescos in the small 11th-century church. A collection of religious works of art from the Renaissance period, in the Baroque style, is exhibited in an adjoining building.
The Gulf of Kotor is undeniably the most interesting reason to holiday in Montenegro. Surrounded by mountains peaking at nearly 1,000 metres and literally plunging into the sea, the only fjord in the Mediterranean Sea extends 17 miles inland and is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. It can be visited in an hour by car, passing through some lovely little towns and villages. For example, Petrac, Risan and Prcanj are peaceful small towns on the water's edge that provide a pleasant place to stop for a few hours, the time to enjoy some tasty fish while looking out at the majestic Gulf of Kotor. The fortified citadel of Kotor promises a truly wonderful excursion. Surrounded by fortifications that climb several hundred metres up the mountain, this charming little town with its tumultuous past is a genuine gem that has remained well-preserved, located at the far end of this fjord. Don't miss going up to St. John's Fortress and the church perched on the heights of the city.
Just 31 miles south of Dubrovnik, the charming little town of Herceg Novi will take you on a journey back in time. A true maze of narrow streets and little squares, churches and citadels, the city is divided into two sections, the upper one, with cobblestone streets and numerous bars and restaurants, and the lower one, close to the harbour and its boats, a pebble beach and some lively bars. Each one has its own citadel watching over it.
- A visit of the Gulf of Kotor, village by village.
- In Kotor, climb up to St. John's Fortress 280 metres above the city. Take your time to climb the 1,426 steps up to the citadel, and take a break mid-way at the chapel, built by survivors of a plague in 1572. It will take a good hour with good walking shoes. Also remember to take some water! Up top, the view of Kotor and its bay is breathtaking...
- Evenings in the bars and nightclubs of Herceg Novi and Kotor are particularly lively...
- Herceg Novi, a charming little town just 31 miles south of Dubrovnik
- The old city of Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia, the pearl of the Adriatic listed by UNESCO, only 31 miles (1h) from Herceg Novi.
- The old town of Kotor, listed by UNESCO
- The adorable village of Perast
- The Savina monastery
Take some warm clothes and rain gear when you visit Lovcen National Park, as temperatures can drop rapidly.
As some of the beaches can be pebbly, for your comfort take a thick towel with you.
If you are planning on an excursion to Dubrovnik, plan on spending at least 30 minutes at customs, where you will have to pay an eco-tax of around £9 when you leave. GBP and Euros are easily exchangeable in Croatia.
Don't try to compare the way of life, the landscape or anything else here with what you may have seen in neighbouring countries. Montenegrins are a proud people and history has given them a few reasons to be resentful.
Montenegro is not known for its cuisine, and for good reason. Rich and greasy, it lacks finesse but is perfect when you're about to set out on an excursion for several hours, or even days. One of the finer culinary offerings is the range of cooked meats, which should be enjoyed in moderation! You can also try the numerous dishes with sauces and 'cevapcici', small pastries stuffed with meat and grilled onions. The local beer, Nik, is excellent and cheap. Montenegro produces very good wines, notably vranac, a delicious red wine. 'Kajmak' (cheese made from ewe's milk) mousse is traditionally served on 'proja' (small, flat pieces of bread made from cornflour, rather like Turkish bread) as an aperitif, all washed down with a glass of Rakija, which comes in various varieties.
There's not much to bring back from the Montenegro coast in terms of souvenirs, except copies of icons that you can purchase in the monasteries, or traditional costumes and jewellery. If you like Turkish coffee, you can buy some that has been finely ground to take home with you.