Montenegro Sustainable Travel Guide
Montenegro may just be Europe’s little hidden gem. With a landmass of only 13,800 sq km and a population of only 620,000 people, little is known about this Balkan country. In recent years though, it has become a popular spot for cruise vacations as its coast along the Adriatic Sea is simply stunning. However, there is so much more to Montenegro than its coastline.
What you may not know about Montenegro is that once you get past the beaches, the country opens up with towering mountains. Montenegro contains over 60 mountain peaks, most of which are over 1,800 meters high. They’re protected by five national parks, making it a perfect place for hiking as well as other outdoor sports, such as river rafting. In fact, the Tara River canyon in Durmitor National Park is renowned for its river rafting.
Stunning lakes are another claim to fame for Montenegro. The most famous is Lake Skadar with its 400 sq km of unusually mirror-like waters, clusters of lily pads and the backdrop of the Prokletije or ‘Cursed Mountains’. It’s also a bird-watchers heaven, with over 280 bird species that either call it home or migrate here. Species you might catch a glimpse of include: flamingos, the Pygmy Cormorant, and the rare Dalmatian Pelican.
Back along the coast, casinos, cruises and beach resorts can all be found. Each of these are heavily criticized by those advocating for sustainable tourism, as they can all result in ‘economic leakage’. This occurs when a country receives little to no money from the tourism industry. By paying for everything up front, there is little incentive for you to spend more money at local shops and restaurants. Additionally, the majority of your money goes to a foreign-owned company as profit, instead of the local economy. Thus economic leakage is created. Instead, we recommend staying at independently owned boutique hotels where your money will make a difference to those who need it. It also allows you to step outside its gates to go hiking or on a road trip to explore the rest of the country, allowing you to see all of Montenegro in its natural beauty.
Montenegro may not stand out for many on their bucket lists. But it should. With so much beauty and nature packed into such a small area, the country is easy to explore and to draw inspiration from. It’s full of secrets and surprises just waiting to be found, a rare commodity in European travels. It’s so much more than its coast, casinos and cruises. Its moving mountains and stunning lakes make it a paradise for those wishing to travel off the beaten path and experience a slice of nature, wildlife and wonder.