Travel Tuesday: Blue Waters and Pure Honey - My Trip to Montenegro

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Article and Photography by Jack Angus Nevin

When I stepped onto the asphalt pavement of the Podgorica International Airport on the outskirts of Montenegro, armed with just my Ryanair-approved travel-sized luggage, I had no real expectations of how I would spend my time here. I had never been excited by tales of grandeur of the Montenegrin capital city, nor turned off by stereotypes regarding Montenegrin food or culture. 

Other than knowing the location of my Airbnb, I truly had no idea what was in store for me. After a half an hour journey from the airport to the city, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a straightforward and unassuming city. Podgorica may not possess the glamour or height of many other European capital cities, but its post-Communist streets are imbued with a certain sense of mystery. Visitors can easily glean from looking at Podgorica that there is much more to this small city of just under 200,000 people that meets the eye. 

From visiting areas of the city dating back to ancient times, to wandering through one of Podgorica’s many public parks filled with modern art installations and monuments, to having my breath taken away by the majesty of the newly constructed Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, my first day in Podgorica alone shocked me. I couldn’t believe how much natural and constructed beauty could be found in such a small area. I can now assure you that Montenegro is rightfully renowned for its astonishing blue waters, and its pure honey and rich wines, both of which I recommend enjoying in high doses! 

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If you find yourself in Podgorica for just one day, I recommend visiting the Millennium Bridge, the open air produce market in the Mall of Montenegro, the ancient St. George Church and the Museum and Gallery of Podgorica. Another place to visit which I would highly recommend is the breathtaking Ostrog Monastery, which is about a two-hour journey from the city, and is carved high into the mountains of rural Montenegro. 

As for food, my visit to Podgorica left me wondering why more major cities don’t have Montenegrin restaurants. Cured meats, fresh cheeses, yoghurts and varied breads abound in heaped portions. If you enjoy traditional Eastern European cuisine, Montenegro should definitely be on your list of places to visit. I specifically recommend Pod Volat and Lanterna Podgorica for traditional food, as well as Culture Club Tarantino for more modern dishes. 

The culture and atmosphere of Montenegro is extremely inviting and open: strangers exchange greetings and smiles on the streets, and more than once I observed groups of friends suddenly break into traditional song and dance in the middle of the street. I felt welcome in Montenegro, and I was intrigued by the country. I hope to be able to return to Podgorica one day and explore the city further.

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