Montenegro, 4thby Annalisa Rellie
Montenegro lies across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, its stark mountains rising up from the coast. It offers superb year-round eco-adventure and sports facilities. Thoroughly updated with all the practical information the independent traveler needs, this edition includes new hotels and restaurants on the coast and in the mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts will enthuse
Montenegro lies across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, its stark mountains rising up from the coast. It offers superb year-round eco-adventure and sports facilities. Thoroughly updated with all the practical information the independent traveler needs, this edition includes new hotels and restaurants on the coast and in the mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts will enthuse over the extended coverage on national parks, fishing opportunities and archaeological finds. The New York Times has ranked Montenegro 24th on its list of 31 best places to visit.
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There are four designated national parks. Firstly, there's Skadar Lake, which constitutes the greatest inland body of water in the Balkans and stretches beyond the Albanian border.The second is Biogradska Gora, a primaeval forest and nature reserve lying in the middle of the country and contiguous with Bjelasica, one of the two main ski resorts in Montenegro. A second and more challenging ski resort, Durmitor, with several peaks reaching to over 2,000m, forms, with themagnificent Tara Canyon beside it, the Durmitor National Park.The fourth park is Lovćen, which looms over and separates the ancient fairytale capital of Cetinje from the Boka. At the time of writing the awesome Prokletije massif, inaptly translating as cursed mountains and marching with Albania in the southeast, has been nominated as the fifth.In 1991 Montenegro declared its intention to make ecology a priority. Kotor, a mini-Dubrovnik on the Boka Kotorska, and the Durmitor massif are UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites.The country offers a wealth of possibilities for walking, and far beyond the borders of the national parks there are barely trodden trails where it is possible to find complete solitude. Throughout the country there are partially explored archaeological sites, reflecting Montenegro's many successive influences – Illyrian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Slavic,Venetian and Turkish – while the coastal areasfrom Herceg Novi in the northwest to Ulcinj in the far southeast have a romantic history of seafaring and pirates. A FISH PICNICWe are a party of ten and there is plenty of deck space for lolling and sunning. Soon we are underway, ploughing a furrow through the sparkling water and heading first eastwards down the coast and close enough to the shore that we may pick out each beckoning beach. We spot Drobni pijesak –the lonely strand where the noble Paštrovići clan, the tribe who once controlled this area, would hold elections to their Bankada or governing body– guarded by steep bluffs, above which sits Reževici Monastery, itself once the seat of that Grand Council. This is closely followed by Maiden's Leap,Skočidjevojka, the tallest cliff in the district and where, legend has it, a young girl jumped to her death rather than lose her honour.
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Annalisa Rellie is a freelance journalist who specializes in travel and food.
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