Free things to do in Montenegro

2013-01-09 08:08

When Lonely Planet announced its top 10 travel destinations for 2013 earlier this year, the tiny country of Montenegro with its pristine coastline, rugged mountains and picturesque riviera beat popular spots like Turkey, Ecuador and Madagascar to the second position after Sri Lanka. 

Lonely Planet cited the Southeast European city as a hub for travellers seeking adventure and wilderness activities. 

So, if you're planning on adding it to your travel list for the next year, but have a budget to stick to, here are five great activities that won't cost you a single cent. 

Relax on the beaches of the Budva Riviera

The 35 km long strip of the Adriatic coastline that surrounds the picturesque town of Budva is by far Montenegro's most famous tourist attraction. With no less than 17 beaches, there's always more to explore and discover. 

If you want to visit one with a bit of pop culture history, check out Jaz. This pebble beach with a 2000-lot campground close by played host to a Rolling Stones concert in 2007, which formed part of their A Bigger Bang Tour. 

Ostrog Monastery 

Built into a practically vertical rockface of Ostroška Greda, this Serbian Orthodox monastery dates back to the 17th century and provides spectacular views of the Bjelopavlici plain. Sadly a fire destroyed much of the complex in the early 1900s, and the present-day look was given to the Monastery in 1923-1926. Fortunately, the two little cave-churches were spared and they are the key areas of the monument. 

Ostrog has become a pilgrimage site for Serbian Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims. The body of its founder Vasilije, the Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina, who was glorified as a saint in the late 1600s has been enshrined in a reliquary kept in the cave-church dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple. Many pilgrims claim that praying by his body, cured and helped many of them in lessening the difficulties in their lives.

Hike in the Prokletije Mountains

Known as the Southern Alps of Europe, the vast Prokletjie Mountain range stretches from northern Albania to Kosovo and eastern Montenegro.

The name Prokletije means the accursed mountains, and local lore suggests that the devil himself, unleashed from hell for a single day of mischief, created them. While there are some pretty scary peaks that should only be scaled by ultra fit professionals, a lot of more relaxed routes can be found close to the Albanian border. 

Take in the sites of Kotor

Founded in the 5th century, the secluded coastal city of Kotor is a feast for those with a historic sensibility. While it is home to gems like the Maritime Museum (which has a cover charge) that are definitely worth a visit, even just roaming around the old town's web of streets is an incredible experience. 

Stari Bar

Okay, we're cheating a bit with this one... you see, it's not entirely free, but the entry fee for this amazing site is so minimal for what you get to see and experience. 

Located on top of Londša hill, at the foot of Mount Rumija, this ruined little town has a complex history that dates back to roughly 800BC. It was destroyed by Romans in the 3rd century, but rebuilt a little while later. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Turks reigned over it and the surrounding area, and the town of Stari Bar was mostly destroyed during the fierce fights between Turks and Montenegrins in 1878.

These days, the site is a picturesque mixture of ruins and modern revival.

 
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