Montenegro boasts a beautiful shoreline as well as a hilly northern area. In the 1980s, the country was a popular tourist destination. Nonetheless, the Yugoslav conflicts waged in neighboring countries throughout the 1990s devastated the tourism sector and harmed Montenegro’s reputation for years.
The Montenegrin Adriatic coast is 295 kilometers (183 miles) long, with 72 kilometers (45 miles) of beaches and many well-preserved historic old towns. National Geographic Traveler (published once every decade) names Montenegro as one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime,” with the Montenegrin beach town of Sveti Stefan serving as the magazine’s cover. Montenegro’s seaside area is regarded as one of the major new “discoveries” among international visitors. The Ulcinj South Coast area of Montenegro, including Velika Plaza, Ada Bojana, and the Hotel Mediteran of Ulcinj, was named one of the “Top 31 Places to Go in 2010” by The New York Times in January 2010, as part of a global ranking of tourist destinations.
Montenegro was also named one of Yahoo Travel’s “10 Top Hot Spots of 2009” to visit, with the country described as “now rated as the world’s second fastest expanding tourist market (dropping just behind China).” Every year, renowned travel publications like as Lonely Planet rank it as a top touristic destination, among Greece, Spain, and other global touristic destinations.
The tourist sector did not begin to recover until the 2000s, and the nation has subsequently seen rapid increase in the number of visitors and overnight stays. Montenegro’s government has made the development of the country as an elite tourism destination a major priority. It is a national plan aimed at making tourism a significant contributor to the Montenegrin economy. To entice international investors, a variety of measures were made. Some major projects, such as Porto Montenegro, are currently underway, while other sites, such as Jaz Beach, Buljarica, Velika Plaa, and Ada Bojana, may have the greatest potential to attract future investments and become premium tourist destinations on the Adriatic.
Geography and environment
Montenegro has borders with Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania. It is located between the latitudes of 41° and 44° N, and the longitudes of 18° and 21° E.
Montenegro’s terrain varies from high hills along its borders with Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania, a section of the western Balkan Peninsula’s Karst, to a small coastal plain just one to four miles (6.4 km) wide. The plain suddenly ends in the north, when Mount Loven and Mount Orjen fall into the Bay of Kotor’s entrance.
The vast Karst area of Montenegro is usually at heights of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level; however, certain sections reach to 2,000 meters (6,560 feet), such as Mount Orjen (1,894 meters or 6,214 feet), the tallest massif among the coastal limestone mountains. The lowest section is the Zeta River valley, which has an elevation of 500 m (1,600 ft).
Montenegro’s mountains include some of the most severe terrain in Europe, with elevations average over 2,000 meters. Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountains is a prominent peak in the nation, reaching a height of 2,522 meters (8,274 ft). The Montenegrin mountain ranges were among the most ice-eroded regions of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial era due to the hyperhumid environment on their western slopes.
- Longest beach: Velika Plaža, Ulcinj — 13,000 m (8.1 mi)
- Highest peak: Zla Kolata, Prokletije at 2,534 m (8,314 ft)
- Largest lake: Skadar Lake — 391 km2 (151 sq mi) of surface area
- Deepest canyon: Tara River Canyon — 1,300 m (4,300 ft)
- Biggest bay: Bay of Kotor
- National parks: Durmitor — 390 km2 (150 sq mi), Lovćen — 64 km2 (25 sq mi), Biogradska Gora — 54 km2 (21 sq mi), Skadar Lake — 400 km2 (154 sq mi) and Prokletije.
- UNESCO World Heritage sites: Durmitor and Tara River Canyon, old town of Kotor.
Montenegro is a member of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) since the Danube catchment region encompasses more than 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of the country’s territory.
Montenegro’s lower coastal regions have a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and warm, wet winters. The climate in the central and northern areas is Continental, with temperature varying significantly with elevation. Podgorica, located at sea level in the middle valley, has the highest July temperatures in Montenegro, averaging 35-40°C (95-104°F).
Cetinje, located in the Karst at a height of 670m (2,200 ft), has a 5°C (10°F) lower temperature. Temperatures in January vary from 8°C (46°F) in Bar on the southern coast to -3°C (27°F) in the northern area.
Montenegro’s hilly areas get some of Europe’s heaviest rainfall. Snow remains in the northern highlands into the spring.
Montenegro has 620,145 people, according to the 2003 census. If the 1991 methodology had been followed in the 2003 census, Montenegro would have officially reported 673,094 people. Montenegro has 620,029 people, according to the 2011 census data.
Montenegro is a multiethnic country with no ethnic majority. Montenegrins (pноори/Crnogorci), Serbs (ри/Srbi), Bosniaks (Bonjaci), Albanians (Albanci – Shqiptart), and Croats are the major ethnic groupings (Hrvati). The number of “Montenegrins” and “Serbs” varies greatly between censuses owing to changes in how individuals perceive, feel, and express their identity and ethnic affiliation.
Montenegro has traditionally been at the crossroads of diversity, and this has created its unique type of coexistence between Muslim and Christian populations throughout centuries. Montenegrins have traditionally been members of the Serbian Orthodox Church (ruled by the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral), and Serbian Orthodox Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in Montenegro today. The Montenegrin Orthodox Church was established lately and is followed by a tiny minority of Montenegrins, but it is not in communion with any other Christian Orthodox Church since it is not legally recognized.
Despite the increased tensions between religious groups during the Bosnian War, Montenegro remained relatively peaceful, owing in part to its population’s historical view on religious tolerance and religion variety. Montenegrin religious institutions all have guaranteed rights and are independent of the state. Islam is the country’s second biggest religious group, accounting for 19% of the total population. The Islamic Community of Montenegro organizes the Islamic religious life in the country. The majority of Albanians are Sunni Muslims, and in 2012, a protocol was passed that recognizes Islam as an official religion in Montenegro, ensures that halal foods will be served in military facilities, hospitals, dormitories, and all social facilities, and that Muslim women will be permitted to wear headscarves in schools and public institutions, as well as ensuring that Muslims have the right to taqwa. There is also a tiny Roman Catholic community, mainly Albanians with few Croats, split between the Archdiocese of Antivari, which is led by the Primate of Serbia, and the Diocese of Kotor, which is affiliated with the Church of Croatia.
Montenegro’s economy is mostly service-based, and it is in the process of transitioning to a market economy. Montenegro’s nominal GDP in 2009 was $4.114 billion, according to the International Monetary Fund. In 2009, the GDP PPP was $6.590 billion, or $10,527 per capita. According to Eurostat statistics, Montenegro’s GDP per capita in 2010 was 41% of the EU average. The Central Bank of Montenegro is not a member of the eurozone, but the nation has “euroized,” utilizing the euro as its only currency.
GDP increased by 10.7% in 2007 and 7.5 percent in 2008. As part of the global crisis, the nation experienced a recession in 2008, with GDP falling by 4%. Montenegro, on the other hand, remained a target for international investment, being the only Balkan country to grow its quantity of direct foreign investment. The nation is projected to emerge from the recession in mid-2010, with GDP growth of about 0.5 percent. However, the Montenegrin economy’s reliance on foreign direct investment makes it vulnerable to external shocks and has a large export/import trade imbalance.
In 2007, the service sector accounted for 72.4 percent of GDP, with industry and agriculture accounting for the remaining 17.6 percent and 10%, respectively. Montenegro has 50,000 agricultural families that depend on agriculture to supplement their family’s income.