Montenegro may be a small country on the Adriatic coastline, but there’s no shortage of things to do. The twisty mountain roads will guide you to mausoleums, breathtaking monasteries, and cultural museums. Here are the 10 most popular things you should see and do while visiting this majestic destination.
1. Cats Museum
In Old Town Kotor, you’ll find the Cats Museum – and yes, it’s dedicated to cuddly, furry felines. The surrounding medieval town has a high cat population with various breeds. The animals initially entered Montenegro on the small ships of the Romans back in 168 BC. When the ships were left behind at the port, the cats decided to make the city their home. This museum is perfect for animal lovers who adore all things cat-related.
2. Mamula Island
The uninhabited island of Mamula is a remnant from WWII. It was the home to a concentration camp and it housed individuals who had been captured by Benito Mussolini’s forces. After 130 deaths and the camp finally shutting down at the end of the war, no one has lived on the island ever since, but boat tours allow you to explore the ruins.
3. Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos
Located high atop the mountains in this European country you can find the resting place for one of the country’s most iconic figures. Petar II Petrovic-Njegoš was a Montenegrin poet and philosopher who wrote some of the most important literature for the country, including the epic poem Gorski vijenac (The Mountain Wreath). His mausoleum can be reached after taking a long road up the mountain and hiking up 461 steps. Inside, you’ll find a statue of Njegoš, a dark room that contains his tomb, and a stone viewing circle.
4. Our Lady of the Rocks
In the inner portion of Boka Kotorska Bay, a quaint church rests on the man-made island, Our Lady of the Rocks. The island began as just a pile of rocks. However, legend states that in the mid-1400s, two fishermen discovered an image of the Virgin Mary in the rocks. They made it their mission to dedicate the sacred land to her by building a tiny Orthodox chapel. In the 1630s, the Venetians took over the region and replaced the church with a Catholic chapel.
5. Fortifications of Kotor
To protect the city from takeovers and sieges, Kotor was built aligned with a fjord to withstand an invasion. During your stay, make sure to take a tour of the crags of the hills and its structured walls that date back to the 3rd century.
6. Lovcen National Park
While visiting the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, don’t forget to take a look around and indulge in the sites of Montenegro’s wildlife. Lovcen National Park is located in the rocky region of Dinara Alps. As one of the country’s prized possessions, you’ll love this park just as much as the locals do. Available activities include skiing and hiking. Or, you can simply take a scenic walk through its trails.
7. Lake Skadar
Between the borders of Montenegro and Albania lies Lake Skadar – the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. Named after the city of Shkodër in Albania, this freshwater lake has stunning views of the mountains in the distance, rocky shores, and more than 260 species of exotic birds.
8. Aman Sveti Stefan
Aman Sveti Stefan is a tiny islet that’s home to an exclusive resort. Just one-mile in diameter, the land was once the home to a small village of 400 citizens. The villagers were relocated after the country went under communist rule, and the land was converted into a 5-star resort. You can view the resort from a distance, but if you want to gain access to the islet and its private beach, you’ll have to book a room.
9. Ostrog Monastery
A site that deserves to be seen is Ostrog Monastery in Ostroška Greda. The Serbian Orthodox Church sits against an almost vertical face of a cliff and is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, who was also buried there. More than 100,000 pilgrims from across the globe and travelers of all faiths visit the location every year.
10. War Memorial in Ulcinj
To pay homage to the Yugoslavian air force, the War Memorial in the resort town of Ulcinj was built. From the outside, the structure resembles two wings of a bird that sit high atop the beach known as Mala Plaza. If you want to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history while enjoying the gorgeous backdrop of the coast, this is the place to visit.