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18 Facts About Montenegro You Need To Know Before You Go
Written by Anya Kay from Road Is Calling
A long time ago, the tiny country of Montenegro won the title of one of the most popular tourist destinations. Many consider this beautiful corner of the planet a wonderful place to visit, retire and live. Some people who have been to Montenegro once return for the second and third time. And no wonder why.
There are not so many places in the world where you can find so many natural beauties being so close to each other. Mountains, sea, forests, glacier lakes, and canyons – Montenegro has it all.
I have been to this Balkan country many times, and then last year, together with my husband, we decided to go and live there as digital nomads. In this post, I would love to share some fascinating and, at the same time, useful facts about Montenegro that should help all travelers to get the best out of their trip.
And here they are:
Interesting Facts About Montenegro to Help You Better Plan Your Trip
1. The country is located in 4 climatic zones, which means that even on a hot summer day, you can take one of the many Montenegro day trips to the remote mountainous areas and find snow there! It is changing with global warming, and winters are getting milder now, but last summer, we still saw snow in the Prokletije National Park on the Montenegrin side.
In winter, several ski resorts operate around the country. So imagine, on a January morning, you can be drinking coffee by the sea and enjoying +15 degrees and the gentle winter sun, but in the afternoon of the same day, you can be in Kolasin or Zabljak; skiing or playing in the snow?
2. The sea coast with a Mediterranean climate is green for 12 months a year! Sure, you won’t be able to swim in Winter (brr, way too cold), but the surroundings are warm and green. There are flowers all year round. Snow falls very rarely, and if it does, it usually melts immediately.
3. The transparency of the Adriatic Sea in the region where Montenegro is located reaches up to 56 meters. In summer, the sea temperature is usually between +23 +27, in winter about +12. But under the influence of cyclones from the Atlantic Ocean, the sea can become surprisingly cold even on a hot day in August, and if there are no winds, it can warm up in May to +25.
If you are one of those people who are afraid to swim in waters where you can’t see the bottom, Montenegro is a perfect destination for you. On any day from April to October, swimming in a transparent sea is such a pleasure.
4. The Sahara desert periodically (from late January to mid-March) sends sandy “greetings” to the entire Balkan Peninsula. Sandstorms can be really bad, and visibility is low.
During those days, the air temperature rises sharply, and the wind brings high waves of 2-4 meters. The transparency of the air decreases, the sky becomes reddish-gray for several days.
Generally, this type of weather lasts for a day or two and then subsides. However, being outside during this time is not the best experience. If on your travels along the Montenegro coast, there will be a day of the sandstorm, you can just move inland and see other parts of the country. They will see winds but not as much sand in the air.
5. The farther away you go into the mountains from touristy places, the more hospitable people will be. They’ll be sincerely loving you for being a foreigner. The price of products and services will also significantly go down, even in the summertime.
Fun Interesting Montenegro Facts to Know
6. The depth of the Boka Kotor Bay reaches 60 meters. That is why cruise ships sail and park here. They need a draft of 9-12 meters, and Kotor Bay offers that. In winter, in calm weather, the water in the bay becomes a mirror surface, which you will not see in hot summers.
7. The highest peak in Montenegro is Bobotov Kuk (2523 meters) in the national park Durmitor. But there is a controversial peak – Zla Kolata (2534 meters), which is located on the border with Albania.
8. Montenegrins, together with the Dutch, are considered the tallest people in Europe. This fact is definitely not something you have to know before visiting the country, but I thought it’s interesting to know. Especially for that time when you are in Montenegro and seeing how tall people are.
Facts About Montenegro Holidays, Culture And Traditions
9. In this small country, religious holidays are more important than secular and state holidays. Depending on the religion, the employer is required to give an official weekend to the employee. Montenegro has about 70% of Orthodox, 20% of Muslims, and the rest are Catholics.
So, if you are traveling here during the Orthodox Easter, Christmas, Epiphany, Pentecost, Dormition (death of Mary), keep in mind that a lot of business can be closed and people be slow. During the Great Lent and Nativity fasting (which lasts six weeks), many family-owned restaurants and cafes may substitute meat dishes.
For Montenegrin people who heavily depend on meat, not having it for more than 30 days comes as a challenge. Not everyone will follow through. There definitely will be places offering the same food as they offer in any other season. Although it is something to keep in mind and not be surprised when coming to visit.
10. The birth of a son is a big celebration for the Montenegrins. In the countryside, people can be celebrating this event “in a big way” in front of the house with constant shots from pistols so that the whole district can hear.
This is why, if you happen to travel through one of the distant villages and hear some music accompanying yelling and shooting, don’t worry, it’s not an act of domestic abuse. People are celebrating and are happy.
11. Montenegrin people smoke a lot and smoke everywhere. Women even smoke in the maternity hospital. Goodness, such a surprising fact about Montenegro, right? Every second, Montenegrin in the country smokes without putting much thought into it.
Since the summer of 2019, it is forbidden to smoke in closed restaurants, but it is acceptable anywhere on the street and terraces.
12. Montenegrins love children and somewhat worship them. Even with a stranger’s child, locals can ask questions, talk to a child, give treats and make jokes. Don’t be alarmed; they mean well.
No one will most likely be trying to talk to your kid when your family is visiting Montenegro on vacation. If it happens, just relax, remember this post and the fact that it is a part of the local culture.
It may even happen that the person will be speaking in Serbian, not a foreign language, while giving fruit or candy to your kids. Again, that’s totally normal within Montenegro, don’t overthink it.
Facts About Montenegro to Help You Understand the Country
13. Often, in supermarkets, there are no locks with keys on lockers for bags (you know, those ones where you put your belongings before getting into the store). At first, we were baffled and couldn’t understand why someone would try to make lockers for personal items if there is no key to locking them.
We then learned that those lockers were made not because owners were worried about customers stealing something and secretly putting it into their bags. Lockers in stores in Montenegro are aimed to help others while they are shopping. If your bag is heavy, you just drop it in the locker without locking it but knowing that no one will touch your things. If you don’t feel like leaving your belongings, take them with you to the store. No one will turn you back.
People in Montenegro trust each other. There is almost no petty theft in the country, except that time when tourists come. So don’t worry and know that Montenegro is safe.
Nonetheless, if during the stay you are renting an apartment in a touristy area and living on the 1st or 2nd floor, do not leave windows or balconies open at night and when you leave. But if you are somewhere among locals-only, that shouldn’t be much of a concern.
Another note to add, Montenegrin people do not like conflicts, and they rarely argue. And, the country is very safe for solo travelers.
14. To this day, Montenegro stays in a patriarchal country. It won’t mean much for you as a tourist. But it’s something to remember since gender inequality still takes place in this country.
The first time I experienced this inequality was on a day when I wanted to rent a car. Many times before, my husband was hiring a car under his name, but then we decided to have a change and make me a primary driver.
We arrived at the rental car office just to find out that I needed a particular type of insurance as a woman-driver. The guy was pushing really hard because I was a woman, and women don’t drive as well as men and get into accidents more often, so I needed extra coverage. It was really awkward. Once we decided to have my husband drive, the need for additional insurance went away.
It was the only time when I had such an experience. Of course, everything depends on the person and the place you go to. But Montenegro is still a patriarchal society, unfortunately to some of us, but that’s a fact.
A Few Other Facts to Know…
15. Montenegrin people are embarrassed to dance in bars and clubs. If you have high expectations from nightlife in Montenegro, I have to disappoint you and say that it is relatively chill. You definitely won’t see people cutting loose on the dancefloor.
Usually, everyone is rather modest and relatively quiet. People love to stand at the high tables with drinks and move a little to the music’s beat.
16. Tea lovers, this Montenegro fact is for you. There is no culture of drinking tea here. People in this country mainly drink coffee.
When/if ordering tea in a restaurant, do not hope for much. Most often, you’ll get a bag of the cheapest tea with a slice of lemon and honey. In fact, Montenegrins believe that tea is useful only in times of cold and flu. Funny, but true. So, if you love having your cuppa tea every morning, better pack a few leaves with you.
17. Montenegrins are meat-eaters, and meat dishes in restaurants are much cheaper than fish and seafood. So, keep in mind that Montenegro is not much in the way of a seafood destination.
18. And the last fact about Montenegro is pretty standard across Europe – supermarkets do NOT work here on Sundays and holidays. Get all you need the day before!
How many of these facts about Montenegro did you already know – what others should we add?Share