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Budva, Montenegro ©Igycg
It has been variously described as 'the new Riviera', an 'unpolished gem' and even 'a paradise', all of which are true to a large degree of the Republic of Montenegro, situated on the southern Adriatic coast of Eastern Europe. Whether it will stay that way or not is a matter for conjecture, because this little newly-independent country is being enthusiastically embraced by the world tourism market, which is ever hungry for fresh destinations.
Formerly a part of Yugoslavia, Montenegro was embroiled in the ethnic and civil unrest that plagued the region in the 1990s. After peace was brokered Montenegro was joined to Serbia as a combined state, but following a referendum in June 2006 the country declared its independence, and is now feeling its way into a new Republican era.
Montenegro, for a long while considered an unsafe no-go area, is now being deservedly extolled as the new dream holiday destination - but if truth be told, there is nothing new about it. The charm of this country lies in its picturesque medieval towns and villages, its timeless river valleys, beautiful beaches, glassy lakes and towering mountains.
The most popular area for tourism is the narrow coastal section, which stretches from Igalo in the west to the Bojana river mouth in the east, indented by numerous verdant fjords, and washed by the azure blue Adriatic Sea. The resort area known as the Budva Riviera offers sandy beaches and balmy summer days. Across the Dinarian Mountains is the central plain, where the capital, Podgorica, swelters through baking hot summers and the scenic Skadar Lake region offers a tranquil retreat. The north of Montenegro is dominated by mountains, where rivers have carved spectacular canyons through the tall forests and in winter the ski resorts of Zabljak and Kolasin provide snowy fun. There are also two national parks in this area, which draw keen eco-tourists.
Montenegro is undoubtedly a natural Balkan beauty, offering a real get-away-from-it-all holiday for everyone from beach bums to sophisticates. Don't forget your camera!
The international dialling code for Montenegro is +382 (the previous code of +381 is still in use). The outgoing dialling code is 99. There are local area codes (Podgorica is (0)81). The telephone system is undergoing modernization with digital lines being slowly introduced. There is good GSM mobile network coverage throughout the country provided by two operators. There are Wi-Fi Internet zones available in Podgorica and all the main towns have Internet cafes, charging around €1 an hour.
92 (Police); 94 (Medical emergency).
Serbian (very similar to Croatian) is the official language of Montenegro, although Albanian is commonly used in some areas. English is widely understood in the capital, Podgorica, and in the coastal resorts.
The following can be brought into Montenegro without paying duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; a litre of wine and 750ml of spirits; perfume for personal use; personal jewellery and clothing; up to two cameras and one movie/video camera; electronic equipment (such as radio) for personal use; and sports equipment. Pets can be brought into the country with a veterinary certificate of good health.
Electrical current in Montenegro is 220 volts, 50Hz. Two-prong round pin attachment plugs are in use.
The coast of Montenegro enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The capital, Podgorica, on the central plain is the hottest spot in the country, with mid-summer temperatures averaging 81°F (27°C). The northern mountains are much cooler and snow-covered throughout the winter.
All foreign passengers to Montenegro require a passport that is valid upon arrival in Montenegro, but some people will require passports valid for at least three months beyond the period of their stay in the country. Visitors are advised to carry their passports on them at all times. Furthermore, visitors must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival in Montenegro (however, this is done automatically when checking into a hotel or official tourist accommodation). Failure to do so could mean a fine or imprisonment. Travellers must only enter Montenegro through recognised border crossings, and may be required to show proof of a return or onward ticket, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in Montenegro. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival in Montenegro. No visa is required, for touristic stays of up to 90 days.
No visa is required for British Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas) for touristic stays of up to 90 days, but British nationals with any other endorsement in their passport should confirm official requirements before travel to Montenegro.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival in Montenegro. No visa is required, for touristic stays of up to 90 days.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival in Montenegro. No visa is required, for touristic stays of up to 90 days.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Montenegro. A visa is required, except for a max stay of 30 days for holders of a valid visa issued by Ireland, the UK, the US, or a Schengen Member State.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival in Montenegro. No visa is required, for touristic stays of up to 90 days.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid upon arrival in Montenegro. No visa is required, for touristic stays of up to 90 days.
Montenegro is generally a healthy country with few risks. Only bottled or purified water should be consumed, and food should be well prepared and well cooked. Those intending to hike in the countryside should take precautions against ticks. Medical facilities in Montenegro are limited, and supplies are lacking. Medical insurance with evacuation cover is strongly recommended. There are some private clinics in Podgorica, which treat travellers, but payment in cash is expected. A reciprocal health agreement entitles visitors from the UK to free emergency treatment.
Montenegro is a safe destination for travellers, although it is wise to take sensible precautions against street crime in the towns and cities, as you would in any other European country. Travellers should note that car thieves tend to target four-wheel-drive and luxury vehicles and that unexploded landmines may still remain along the Kosovo border, so necessary precautions should be taken.
Emergency Phone Number
92 (Police); 94 (Medical emergency).
* For current safety alerts, please visit Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK or Travel.State.Gov
The official currency is the Euro (EUR). Visitors entering Montenegro with more than €2,000 (including travellers cheques or the equivalent in another currency) should declare the amount on entry. Without declaration on entry large amounts may be confiscated on departure. Serbian Dinars are not accepted in Montenegro and should be exchanged for Euros. There are ATMs, which accept international bank cards in major cities and towns, and most of the larger hotels, shops and main restaurants accept Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard, but American Express cards are less welcome. Money can be exchanged at the numerous banks in the towns and cities.
Exchange RateNot available.
Embassies of Montenegro
Embassy of Montenegro, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7863 8806.
Foreign Embassies in Montenegro
United States Consulate, Podgorica: +382 (0)20 410 500.
British Consulate, Podgorica: +382 (0)81 205 460.
Canadian Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (also responsible for Montenegro): +381 (0)11 306 3000.
Australian Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia (also responsible for Montenegro): +381 (0)11 330 3400.
South African Embassy, Athens, Greece (also responsible for Montenegro): +30 210 610 6645.
Irish Embassy, Budapest, Hungary (also responsible for Montenegro): +36 1 301 4960.
Wearing shorts is not permitted inside public institutions such as hospitals and dress should be modest when visiting monasteries in Montenegro. There are designated nudist beaches and over-exposure is frowned upon elsewhere. Being drunk in public is considered in bad taste, and so is discussing national politics and ethnic issues. Littering is considered the ultimate insult.
Business relationships in Montenegro are founded on hospitality, so expect to be wined and dined. Dress is formal and conservative, and handshakes are the norm at the beginning and end of meetings. Business hours are generally between 8am and 4pm.
Service charges are generally not included in restaurant and hotel bills in Montenegro. A tip of 10% is appreciated. Taxi drivers do not expect tips; but a small gratuity would be appreciated.
Public Holidays in Montenegro
Montenegro, while a small country, certainly does not lack in character and beauty. Considered to be the pearl of the Mediterranean and located in the south region of the Adriatic sea, this unique Balkan country has breath-taking scenery and is home to both rugged mountain terrain as well as a spectacular strip of beach and shoreline.
The Bay of Kotor is a beautiful region to visit and explore. The Bay, resembling a fjord, is home to some quaint coastal churches and towns, such as Kotor and Herceg Novi. Although the region can get incredibly busy during the summer months, Kotor somehow manages to hold on to its charm.
The Ostrog Monastery is a must-see sight when in Montenegro. Set into a mountain face, the Monastery is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Balkans. Visitors enjoy receiving a blessing once there, and can experience the eerie atmosphere off the cliff-side holy place too. The Durmitor National Park is worth a visit for those who enjoy outdoor activity; not only is it one of Montenegro's most spectacular national parks, it also offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter months and hiking and kayaking in the summer making it a versatile destination. Those still chasing open-air entertainment will also enjoy Lake Skadar National Park, made notable for its scenery and outstanding wildlife.
Maritime history buffs will enjoy the Maritime Museum; one of the most popular cultural sites in Montenegro and suitable for all ages. The Budva Riviera is also a brilliant tourist spot; a 22-mile (35km) strip of Adriatic coastline offering tourists more than 20 beaches and some lively restaurants and nightlife too.
A wonderfully unique destination, offering outdoor splendour as well as history, those who visit Montenegro will not leave disappointed.
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