For those looking for the ultimate fairy tale vacation destination, Montenegro is hard to beat. Small but perfectly formed, this nation in southeast Europe has a magical look and feel. Unsurprisingly, given that its name means ‘Black Mountain’, it features awe-inspiring peaks. The country is also home to everything from postcard-picture perfect villages and valleys to atmospheric forests and forts.
For a land just two-thirds the size of Wales, Montenegro certainly has more than its fair share of wonders, and here are just a few.
Even if you make a habit of visiting religious buildings on your travels, you won’t have seen anything quite like the Ostrog Monastery. This magnificent white structure is built into the side of a cliff, making it seem as though the rocks somehow enveloped the construction after it was completed. It’s easy to see why monks chose this spot to settle. Nestled high above the Zeta River valley, it commands spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. Up to a million people make the journey to Ostrog each year, meaning it’s one of the most visited Christian destinations in the whole world. Inside, the body of Saint Basil lies enshrined.
Skadar Lake National Park
Another must-see is the Skadar Lake National Park. Marking the boundary between Montenegro and its southerly neighbor Albania, this lush and tranquil park abounds with flowers, fruits and trees in the spring and summer, making the air beautifully fragrant. Skadar Lake itself is the largest lake in the Balkans and it’s home to an array of swamp birds. In total, around 280 species of feathered creatures can be found in the park, including the rare curly pelican. With its tuft of white feathers on the top of its head, this bird has a distinctive, almost cartoon-like appearance.
Durmitor National Park
With its mountains, canyons and plateaux, the Durmitor National Park offers breathtaking scenery. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this dramatic landscape was carved out by glaciers and it’s now home to winding rivers, still lakes and towering pine forests. The River Tara, which is one of the last wild rivers in Europe, features a 1,300-metre deep gorge and it benefits from pure, crystal clear waters. Keep a lookout for wildlife while visiting this pristine wilderness too. You might catch a glimpse of anything from wolves, brown bears and wild cats to eagles, rock partridges and capercaillie.
Wild and surprising, yet instantly and utterly charming, Montenegro makes the ideal setting for a fairytale getaway. There are plenty of companies, like Saga Travel, who make your Montenegro dreams come true throughout the year.
Image by Góry Durmitor used under the Creative Commons license.