If a terrific all-in-one view of towering craggy mountains, winding scenic roads and an unending ocean of blue seems to tickle your fancy, Montenegro could truly be the place for you. Beach bums, mountain junkies, road-trip addicts and simple souls in need of a nice soothing vacation will take delight in knowing that this beautiful country will easily satisfy your cravings. Apart from the seaside goodness and natural wonder extravaganzas on offer, one unassuming department that seems to leave all its tourists in awe are the abundance of scenic architectural spots open to perusal. Here are the 5 most scenic architectural spots in Montenegro that you are neigh to find anywhere else in the world!
San Giovanni Fortress
Our first scenic spot brings us to the southern coasts of astonishing Montenegro. Perched atop an approximate 1,350 steps is the magnificent fortress of San Giovanni. Ideally dubbed Kotor’s majestic fortress, this historic wonder provides a sweeping panorama of the sparkling Adriatic coastline below, with sky-defying mountains to either side. The fortress dates back to the 9th century and features an astounding 4 kilometres-worth of ramparts, its width ranging from 2- 12 meters at various points. These walls snake their way through the hills of San Giovanni, and are a spectacle of engineering genius to behold from the top.
St George’s Island
Our next destination is located only a stone’s throw away (considering how huge Montenegro is). Based off the coast of Perast in the stunning bay of Kotor, it is one of two islets on display. In fact, the distance from its two furthest points measures just over 65 meters! Known to locals as the ‘Island of the Dead’, this mysterious hideaway has a history so rich that scholars and archaeologists continue to harp over the island till today. Here, a humble cathedral stands guard over unique heraldic emblemed tombstones of noble captains who lived centuries before. Beautiful cyprus trees sway in the tranquil ocean breeze as faint whispers echo through the cathedral’s walls on a peaceful midsummer’s afternoon.
Our Lady of the Rocks
It so happens that the second (also known as Gospa od Škrpjela) of the 2 islets has an extraordinary history rivalling even the ‘Island of the Dead’. Legend has it that the island was built by seamen on a fascinating base of debris and sunken decrepit ships many centuries ago. Its name thus derived, this historically-abundant island houses a church, museum and lighthouse. Inside the museum lies an extraordinary tapestry, woven from gold and silver threads. It is said that the maker of the tapestry famously entwined her lovely brown hair into her work – the masterpiece of loyal wife who waited 25 years at sea for a beloved husband that never returned. Upon closer inspection, the tail-end of the tapestry chillingly peters out in thin strands of snow-white hair.
Moving away from glorious rays of sunlight and the salty ocean spray, we travel to the chilly mountains of Montenegro. Balanced atop Lovćen’s (rather precarious) mountain top and located in the backyard of the Koto region, is the glorious Njegos Mausoleum. Built as the final resting place of Montenegro’s beloved poet and leader, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, this architectural wonder teeters 1660m above sea level. Visitors will have to navigate an unforgiving 461-step ascend to its peak for a view easily worth twice the effort. On a clear summer’s day, one can witness the breath-taking view of countless mountains and lush green forests spread out in every direction from its top. Upon closer observation, the sight of wispy strands of cloud nonchalantly floating by below the cliff’s edge is bound to capture imagination and set minds free.
Our last scenic wonder is nestled into the side of a cliff just 15kilometres away from the charming city of Nikšić. This 17th century monastery is the source of pilgrimages from devout Orthodox Christians around the world. The two cave-like churches squeezed into the side of a large rock of Ostroška Greda is truly an astonishing architectural sight to behold. Even more astounding is the magnificent sight from this holy sanctuary that awaits its visitors. Spread below is the stunning Bjelopavlići plain – an abundant valley culminating in sheer unforgiving cliffs to either side. Should you decide to pay the Ostrog Monastery a visit in the near future, do keep your eyes peeled for the adorable litter of kittens standing guarding on a little rocky outcrop just past the monastery’s entrance.