So, despite being relatively small country, Montenegrins enjoy huge landscape’s and climate’s diversities. From warm Mediterranean beaches on the south cost to snow covered mountain tops in the north, it’s a traveller’s “dream come true”. With so many amazing places to visit, we couldn’t simply stay in one spot and not seize the opportunity of exploring.
Soon after arrival at our accommodation, Jet2’s representative offered newly arrived guests to join him for a short presentation. He passed on some useful information regarding the hotel, region we were staying in and the country of Montenegro. In case we wanted to visit more places of interest, he recommended a tour company Kompas (they offer services in many countries, including United States, Great Britain and Germany amongst others). We planned our days around the ideas of seeing as much of the country as reasonably possible and being able to rest. A train/bus tour to Biogradska Gora National park fitted our schedule best and, together with what we wanted to do on our own, allowed us to see the most of Montenegro.
The name of the tour is Montenegro by Train and it was €55 per person, however, we’ve been advised by Jet2 representative that from 2018 the price was raised to €60 per person. A mini-van picks up participants from meeting points near their hotels. As this is likely to be earlier than your dining room opens, the evening before ask at the reception if you can be provided with a lunch or breakfast box – there will be no time for breaks until you reach the country’ capital, so you’ll likely get hungry. First part makes for a scenic drive with views of coastal areas covered in fog alike freshly fallen snow cap. You’ll drop off at the train station in Podgorica, where you may have few minutes to grab something to eat or drink, but don’t count on it, as it depends on traffic conditions. Time will not allow sightseeing here.
Old trains are still comfortable and their appearance adds a lot to the charm of the ride. The route leads through mountains, passing through countless tunnels and bridges, offering dramatic views of the surrounding landscape and making you feel like you’re a passenger on The Orient Express. It truly is an experience not to be missed. Make sure you take time to exchange a conversation with your guides, as they will have many interesting facts to share.
When you arrive, same mini-van will pick you up from the station and drive you to the National Park, where you’ll have time to explore an area around a Lake Biogradsko on your own. When we visited, autumn was in full swing blending shades of green, yellow and orange into a beautiful October picture. Together with turquoise colour of the lake, your photos will be a masterpiece! On your way back, you’ll stop for lunch in picturesque Kolasin. The restaurant serves fresh and tasty local food and drinks – make sure to try red, house wine, it’s really smooth.
On your way back you’ll stop at a Moraca monastery, where you’ll find out a little about this lovely place, as well as some history of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the people of Montenegro. You’ll be following Moraca River with more dramatic views; you’ll stop for pictures at one of them. You’ll also stop by restaurant Jezero at the shore of Lake Shkoder. You won’t have time for a full meal, but they have good variety of cold cakes and awesome coffee, make sure you try. A shop of Plantaze Company specializing in manufacturing wine and brandy is also nearby. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll by passing by Sveti Stefan just in time for sunset. The van driver will stop and let you take some pictures, so makes sure you take advantage.
Montenegro can still be considered an uncharted territory when it comes to tourism; this may be because it’s not yet a European Union state, so you’ll still need to go through the process of crossing a border. Budget airlines don’t serve any of the country’s airports and its infrastructure is far from the one of neighbouring Croatia. All the above adds to the charm of this amazing country and if you’d like to experience it while it’s still fairly unspoiled, I suggest you hurry …it’s not going to stay like this for far longer!
We’ll be talking about Budapest soon, so make sure you come back and get more tips for your trips.