Montenegro is a hidden gem on the Adriatic that offers a refined fusion of sea views, mountain walks, cultural sites and city tours.

21 May 2006 was an important date in Montenegro’s history. On this day, the country held a referendum that saw almost 90% of its people turn out to vote, of which 56% were in favour of independence. Two weeks later, Montenegro, once a part of Yugoslavia, and later the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, became a sovereign republic and the map of Europe was redrawn.

In the early days of its independence, Montenegro, meaning “Black Mountain”, was pretty much like a black box to foreign visitors, with many questioning its political stability and tourist safety. Thankfully it didn’t take tourists too long to figure out that Montenegro is indeed a safe and splendid holiday destination, offering something for every discerning tourist.

For train enthusiasts, an escorted rail holiday to Montenegro often includes train rides to the Adriatic port of Bar, the city of Nikšić, and the mountain resort of Kolašin, along with visits to Lake Skadar, Lake Biograd, and course, the capital city of Podgorica. Talk to PTG Tours today about your Montenegro rail holiday.

Podgorica - escorted rail holidays

Montenegro at a glance


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Capital: Podgorica
Language: Montenegrin, although Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian are also spoken
Money: Euro
Travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/montenegro

Tipping: As restaurants don’t tend to include service charge, a 10% tip is always appreciated.

  • New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Orthodox Christmas Day – January 7
  • Orthodox Good Friday (date varies)
  • Orthodox Easter Monday – date varies
  • May Day – May 1
  • Independence Day – May 21
  • Statehood Day – July 13

Zdravo (Hello), Dobro jutro (Good morning), Kako ste (How are you?), Hvala (Thank you, informal), Molim (please, informal), Da (Yes), Ne (No), Ćao (bye, informal)

Exploring Montenegro


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According to Montenegrins, Balkan is a Turkish word and it means ‘mountain’, with respect to the many mountain ranges extending across the peninsula. And Crna Gora, the native name of Montenegro, means ‘Black Mountain’, in reference to Mount Lovćen that rises from the Adriatic basin. With the word mountain being used to describe the geographical region and also the country, it should come as no surprise to learn that Montenegro is indeed mountainous.

Among the mountain ranges in Montenegro, Bjelasica is perhaps the most popular one among tourists as it is a prime skiing destination in the winter as well as a recreational centre during the warmer months. The jewel in the crown though, is the Biogradska Gora National Park, home to one of Europe’s last remaining virgin forests.

 

Montenegro has fertile lands where livestock roams freely and a coastline that sees fishermen delivering their catch to the markets daily. As a result, you get meat and cheese in the hilly interior but fresh seafood closer to the coast.

You’re also likely to come across dishes that are common throughout the Balkan. For example, burek (a meat or vegetable pie wrapped in flaky dough), sarma (cabbage roll), ćevapi (Bosnian sausages) and crni rižot (black risotto) are widely available.

Artisan cheeses in Montenegro deserve a mention and the must-trys include Pljevaljski sir (a creamy cheese ripened in wooden barrels), Njeguški Sir (slightly sour hard cheese made from sheep’s milk), and Prljo (low-fat but sour cheese made with milk left after the production of Skorup, a variation of clotted cream).

Like its neighbouring countries, Montenegrins have strong coffee and rakia (fruit brandy) drinking habits. The local café scene is a hive of activity, buzzing with people mulling over daily affairs over many cups of coffee. In restaurants and at home, rakia is poured and shared as friends and family members catch up and warm their souls with the fiery brandy that has pride of place on every table.

When travelling through the coastal region of Montenegro or around Lake Skadar, one is likely to pass by lands with rows of grapevines hugging the supporting posts. The most popular variety grown here is the indigenous Vranac, which produces intense, ruby-red wines with massive black fruit flavours.

White wines are less popular, although Smederevka (a popular Balkan variety) and Chardonnay are cultivated in some vineyards.

Montenegro has a continental climate in the mountainous interior and a Mediterranean climate along its narrow coastal plain. The period between May and September is the best time to visit Montenegro, as you can expect plenty of sunshine. However, some mountainous areas, like the karst field rising above the Gulf of Kotor, receive abundant rainfall, particularly from September to April.

Bright light clothes for the day but add a warm layer when visiting the inland areas from May to October. If visiting outside these months, a thick jacket and waterproof will make a sensible choice.

If you’re heading to the coast in the summer, pack light and loose-fitting clothing, but add a scarf for the breeze and perhaps a light sweater for the cool evenings.

The 12-hour 296-mile Bar (a coastal resort in southern Montenegro) to Belgrade (capital of Serbia) rail link is often considered as one of Europe’s best-kept rail secrets and very much revered by train enthusiasts. Those who have ridden it can easily spend hours recounting the remarkable engineering work, describing some of the 254 tunnels and 435 bridges, recapping the thrill when crossing the Mala Rijeka Viaduct (Europe’s highest railway bridge), and of course, sharing the magnificent scenery captured as the train negotiates deep valleys and soaring mountains. It really is an unforgettable experience, which is why at PTG Tours, we include an escorted tour to Montenegro (and Serbia) in our programme year after year.

  • Realm of the Black Mountain: A History of Montenegro by Elizabeth Roberts
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Why choose PTG Tour’s escorted rail tours through Montenegro


  • Established in 1998, PTG has evolved into a leading tour agency offering rail-based holidays with a focus on culture and heritage.
  • You can choose from a diverse product range, based on your preference and budget.
  • Your escorted rail tour comes with a professional tour leader who will take great care of you, plus local guides when applicable.
  • All hotels and restaurants included in your package are vetted and approved by the local teams.
  • You can travel in confidence as all of our tours are ATOL and ABTA protected.