Pathfinder pics: discovering Montenegro’s hidden gems

Lonely Planet Pathfinder Daniel Clarke recently visited Montenegro. Here he shares some of the highlights from his trip.

Montenegro is one of Europe‘s lesser-known gems – but the beautiful beaches, rugged coastline and popular cruise port of Kotor have started to gain some well-deserved attention lately. I wanted to discover what other magic was hiding here, and hiring a car was the perfect way to head into the mountains for some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable.

From the coastal roads and tempting clear waters through to the black mountains this country is named after, I don’t think I stopped gawping the whole week I spent here. My advice: hop in a car, grab a guidebook and get lost in the mountains.

Take a road trip through the mountains

Cruising along the winding roads of Durmitor National Park, weaving in and out of towering misty mountains, was possibly the best drive of my life. With lakes, hiking trails and free roaming goats, horses and dogs, nature doesn’t get much better than this.

Discover the Old Town

The old town of Kotor had me hooked within minutes of arriving. The views over the bay are stunning but it was the little mazes of cobbled streets that I fell for.

Kotor is home to hundreds of cats, so many in fact, they even have their own museum! Originally brought in years ago to solve a rat problem, they have now become part of the old town’s character.

Fall in love with clear waters and canyons

Close to the border of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Piva lake and Tara Canyon are hard to put into words. A popular spot for hiking and river rafting, I recommend staying in one of the tiny bungalows in Pluzine for a few days and using it as a base to explore.

Be surprised by what you find along the coast

Driving along the coastline of Montenegro offers so much more than beaches. Sveti Stefan offers an island of luxury accommodation accessed by a small bridge, whilst the Ostrvo Seta Nedjelja church perched on the rock in this photo is impressive.

DON’T MISS THE BEST BITS

I’m all for getting lost when exploring a new country, but the last thing you want to do is miss out on something special. This is even more important when visiting a country that isn’t as famous so packing an in-depth guidebook is essential.

Be blown away at the borders

Before leaving Montenegro, you can’t miss Lake Skadar National Park. It actually sits on the border of both Montenegro and Albania and is less than an hour from Podgorica, the capital city. It was surprisingly devoid of tourists even in the peak of summer and the viewing points are the perfect place to snap your last photo of this incredible country.

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