Last year in the summer of 2007 the Montenegrins voted on a referendum proposing separation from the republic of Serbia-Montenegro. What country likes being hyphenated especially the country which comes after the hyphen, so in July 2008 Montenegro broke away from Serbia and made itself the newest youngest country in the world. The Serbians simply agreed peacefully to the separation making the country entirely landlocked and I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful country of Montenegro
Montenegro is situated between the rump of Serbia to the north and east and to Albania to the south. What Montenegro is most well known for other than being a new nation is that when you are in Montenegro you are never more than a hundred kilometres from the beach.
Our destination was Budva, which is Montenegro’s top beach resort. First we flew to the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia which is 30 miles from the border and we then caught the bus which travels along the stunning coastal cliffs, and extremely close to the edges of the limestone ledges that are covered with palm trees. On the other side of the bus, the view is slightly different but equally beautiful you can see the underwater coral which is visible through the shallow crystal clear waters,
Halfway through the journey to Budva we stopped at Kotor, a small village situated at the very head of Kotor fjord, which is the deepest in southern Europe. The waters here are turquoise blue, and is surrounded by a looming circle of cliffs. Kotor lies at the end of the ford and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Modern Budva stretches out along a huge stretch of pebbly crescent beach set amongst the greenery of the mountains the surround the cove on three sides. Budva also has a lovely walled old town that is actually is not that old,as the original was destroyed in 1979 by an earthquake. The new walled town sits at one end of the beach on a jutting into the sea.
We strolled from one end of the beach, beginning on the south side, the beach here was wall to wall with tourist the sand was covered in human bodies and it was a struggle to get past them let alone try and get into the clear waters of the sea. There are plenty of bars and clubs located close to the beach and you can here the thumping bass beats blare out in the background.
The further north you go then the landscape changes the beaches are still packed but the scenery is different large gleaming white yachts line the piers, super sexy men and women dip their feet in the water , umbrelled tables crowd the beach, and super cool bartenders offer fruity cocktails.. This is where the rich and famous of Montenegro hang out and it was very plush but not my idea of fun.
Once we finally reached the walls of the “old town” it was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the beach. The interior of the town is cool and shaded by large honey coloured stone towers and turrets. The pretty narrow streets are lined with small cafes, all located in a quaint and quiet village. We stopped for a quick cup of tea and a snack before wandering to the turrets of the town fortifications, all at the ready with cannons ready to fire. We eventually made our way to the local Romanesque style Greek Orthodox Church, undergoing which had some brilliant religious murals. To finish of the night, we had dinner in a cafe on a broad square of the plaza, where we enjoyed some lovely pasta with seafood while watching the people finish their day off at the beach.
We also visited the monastery of Ostrog which is situated above the Bjelopavlic valley, the monastery is carved in the rocks and feels as though it is keeping century old secrets of this shrine. The Metropolitan Vasilije (Saint Basil) founded the monastery in the 17th century. The most amazing part of Ostrog is the Upper monastery. There are two churches, the upper church which is dedicated to Holy Cross and the lower church in the Upper monastery which is dedicated to the Vavedenje of Holy Mary.
If you every get a chance to visit the Skadar Lake then you really should. The lake is the largest lake in the Balkans. The Skadar Lake plays an important part for the habitat of water birds in the area. The rare curly pelican is the mark of the National park and we were lucky to catch a glimpse of the bird. The average depth of the Skadar Lake is 6m and some parts of the bottom are actually under sea level, it takes the depth up to 60m.The shore of the Skadar Lake is extremely picturesque and there are numerous species of flora and fauna. The Skadar Lake is rich with cultural and historic monuments which are spread out across this National park. We came across small abandoned fishing habitats located right on the water and other amazing things.
Montenegro is a beautiful country and the countryside is absolutely stunning with its amazing coast line and clear streams. For such a new country Montenegro is rich in history and there is plenty to do here.
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