Nature & Culture in the Jewel of the Balkans: An Escorted Tour to Montenegro

Join us on a unique autumnal exploration of the relatively unexplored Balkan state of Montenegro. You’ll discover a country rich in awe-inspiring landscapes and steeped in culture on the tour Montenegro – The Jewel of the Balkans.

Montenegro punches well above its weight in its appeal to visitors. Its wildlife, mountain ranges, lakes and canyons coupled with a vibrant cultural identity and turbulent history make this tiny country a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Our 12-day tour to Montenegro will give you a chance to experience some of the best of its diverse qualities.

Here are some of our favourite highlights that give you just a taste of what you’ll see on this tour.

Culture & History Highlights

One of the most appealing aspects of this tour is the blend of cultural and natural experiences that we offer. Montenegro’s historical sites are legion, and our guide has picked some of the most interesting and impressive ones for our clients.

Budva Old Town

The founding story of Budva is unrivalled in Montenegro. When the Greek hero Cadmus fled the persecution of the gods in Thebes where he was king, he and his wife arrived in their new home on an oxen-drawn cart. They named the town Budva from the Greek word ‘bouthoe’ meaning ox.

Naturally this makes a great starting point for a tour of cultural Montenegro and we’ll be taking you to some of Budva’s most famous sites:

  • The Citadel, part of the town’s ancient walls and now a venue for the lively theatre culture in Budva which evolved from the religious processions and masked balls that are part of the town’s fabric.
  • Church of St John, built in the 7th century, nestled into the town walls with stunning views across the sea.
  • Roman public baths constructed in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.

Cetinje, The Former Capital City

Founded as the capital in the 15th century, Cetinje always delights our guests by its architectural grandeur and beauty. Many of our clients have asked why on earth the Montenegrins abandoned it for Podogrica as their capital in 1946.

Our guide loves to show off the elegance and sophistication of Cetinje to our guests, and these are some of my personal favourites that you won’t want to miss:

  • Njeguševa Street – this is where you’ll experience the essence of Montenegrin culture. The pretty pedestrianised street is lined with bars and cafes that are open to all hours, as well as elegant architectural statements like the Blue Palace, the art nouveau French Embassy building and the former British Embassy.

King Nicola’s Castle, famous for being the site of the nation’s first billiard table.

Ulcinj Old Town

Ulcinj is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Coast and began its life in the 5th century BC. You’ll be guided through this cultural melting pot on this tour, encountering traces of the Illyrians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Venetians and Ottomans. I do not exaggerate when I say that there is something for everyone here.

Nature & Wildlife Highlights

Montenegro has a wealth of opportunities to experience some of Europe’s most dramatic mountainous landscapes. It is also a treasure trove of biodiversity – UNESCO has awarded it the status of a World Heritage Site and deemed its unique natural beauty must be preserved and protected.

This tour encompasses many of these amazing locations and gives our clients a significant insight into some of the lesser known natural riches on the Continent.

Durmitor National Park

Montenegro is home to the Durmitor National Park and when you visit you will recognise it immediately as one of the spectacular triumphs of Mother Nature. The glaciers and underground streams that forged this area have left a legacy of towering canyons, sparkling glacial lakes and almost 50 peaks that soar to over 2,000m in height.

The area is vast and rugged – our tour guide has an itinerary that will introduce you to some of its most inspiring sights:

  • Sušica Canyon – this tour will take you to Sušica Canyon, one of five breathtaking canyons that ring the National Park. Sušica was formed by a glacier that was 10km in length and it has left behind some dramatic geological phenomena as well as the stunning Škrka Lakes Valley.
  • Brown Bears – it is possible that you might be lucky enough to spot a brown bear in the Park. The bears are a herbivorous species but their numbers are rather low these days. Nonetheless, the declaration of the Dormitor as the ‘World Heritage Site of Mankind’ is entirely justified and you are guaranteed to spot many of the no fewer than 130 species of birds who breed here.
  • Tower of Balshic – built by the local reigning Balshic dynasty in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was crowned with a domed roof by the Ottomans. With views over the sea on 3 sides, the edifice is now an art gallery and venue for literary events.
  • The Slave Market – this square in the Old Town was the gruesome setting for the trade in slaves who were captured by Ulcinj pirates. This practice peaked in the mid 17th century and today there is a local community who can trace their ancestors to these victims.

Plavsko Lake & Area

This area is less well known to foreign visitors than the Durmitor National Park, but this makes it all the more magical to visit when we go there with our guests.

The Plav region sits beneath the imposing Prokletije mountain range, which provides the backdrop for yet more awe-inspiring landscape:

  • The Lake – Lake Plav is the second largest lake in Montenegro and is rumoured to contain whirlpools. It is a glacial lake and is situated at 920m above sea level. Hiking and biking opportunities along its shores make it an ideal holiday spot.
  • Ali-Pasha Springs – the water that comes from these natural wells is a major attraction for locals as well as visitors. You’ll have a chance, so rare in today’s world, to taste some of the cleanest water straight from the source.

If you’d like to discover this hidden gem in the company of likeminded travellers with an experienced and passionate guide, then please give our team a call to book your place on the autumn tour.