Montenegro

Montenegro (Crna Gora / Црна Гора, meaning “Black Mountain”) is a sovereign state in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania to the south-east. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital (prijestonica).

History

  • Formation of Duklja as a vassal of Byzantine Empire 625
  • Independence gained at Battle of Bar 1042
  • Kingdom of Zeta recognition 1077
  • Independent dukedom established 1356
  • Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro founded 1516
  • De facto monarchy established under the “Tsar” Šćepan Mali 1767
  • Proclamation of principality 1 January 1852
  • Kingdom proclaimed 28 August 1910
  • Formation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia 1 December 1918
  • Became a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 29 November 1945
  • Dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia 27 April 1992
  • Independence regained after the referendum 3 June 2006

Geography

Montenegro ranges from high peaks along its borders with Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania, a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only 1.5 to 6 kilometres  (1 to 4 miles) wide. The plain stops abruptly in the north, where Mount Lovćen and Mount Orjen plunge into the inlet of the Bay of Kotor.

  • 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
  • Deepest cave: Iron Deep 1,169 m (3,835 ft), exploring start in 2012, now more than 3,000 m (9,800 ft) long
  • 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.

Montenegro’s large Karst region lies generally at elevations of 1,000 metres (3,280 ft) above sea level; some parts, however, rise to 2,000 m (6,560 ft), such as Mount Orjen (1,894 m or 6,214 ft), the highest massif among the coastal limestone ranges. The Zeta River valley, at an elevation of 500 m (1,600 ft), is the lowest segment.

The mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe, averaging more than 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) in elevation. One of the country’s notable peaks is Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountains, which reaches a height of 2,522 m (8,274 ft). Owing to the hyperhumid climate on their western sides, the Montenegrin mountain ranges were among the most ice-eroded parts of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.

  • Capital and largest city  Podgoricaa
  • Official languages  Montenegrin
  • Other languages in official use
  • Serbian
  • Bosnian
  • Albanian
  • Croatian
  • Anthem: Oj, svijetla majska zoro/Ој, свијетла мајска зоро English:Oh, Bright Dawn of May
  • Area Total 13,812 km2 (5,333 sq mi) Water (%) 1.5
  • Population 2011 census 625,883
  • Density 45/km2 (116.5/sq mi)
  • Currency             Euro (€) (EUR)
  • Time zone          CET (UTC+1)
  • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
  • Drives on the    right
  • Calling code       +382

Infrastructure

The Montenegrin road infrastructure is not yet at Western European standards. Despite an extensive road network, no roads are built to full motorway standards. Construction of new motorways is considered a national priority, as they are important for uniform regional economic development and the development of Montenegro as an attractive tourist destination.

Current European routes that pass through Montenegro are E65 and E80.

The backbone of the Montenegrin rail network is the Belgrade – Bar railway. This railway intersects with Nikšić – Tirana (Albania) at Podgorica; however, it is not used for passenger service.

Montenegrin Railways EMU CAF train at the Bar Rail Station.

Montenegro has two international airports, Podgorica Airport and Tivat Airport. Montenegro Airlines is the flag carrier of Montenegro.

The Port of Bar is Montenegro’s main seaport. Initially built in 1906, the port was almost completely destroyed during World War II, with reconstruction beginning in 1950. Today, it is equipped to handle over 5 million tons of cargo annually, though the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the size of the Montenegrin industrial sector has resulted in the port operating at a loss and well below capacity for several years. The reconstruction of the Belgrade-Bar railway and the proposed Belgrade-Bar motorway are expected to bring the port back up to capacity.

Safety and security

Crime

Crime levels are low, but street crime occurs, particularly in larger towns. Watch out for pick pockets in public places like tourist hot spots, beaches, airports and on public transport. Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. You should report all incidents of crime to the local police station and get a report.

Road travel

The standard of roads is fair to poor with conditions worsening in rural areas, especially in the winter and after bad weather. In particular the two-lane Moraca Canyon in Montenegro can be dangerous when conditions are poor and there’s overcrowding. Roads leading to Montenegro’s coastal areas are in better condition, but can be busy during the summer season.

The only toll in Montenegro is the Sozina tunnel between Lake Skadar and the sea.

To drive you must have a valid driving licence. If you are taking your car, you must have vehicle registration/ownership documents and a locally valid insurance policy with you. Check if your insurance provides European Green Card vehicle insurance valid in Montenegro. Drivers of cars registered on foreign plates and without a valid green card will be asked to buy temporary insurance valid for Montenegro, and available for purchase at all official border crossings (“granichno osiguranje” in Montenegrin). You are required by law to wear a seatbelt. You must drive with dipped headlights on during the day and must not use a mobile phone while driving.

Montenegrin traffic law defines intoxication as a blood alcohol level higher than 0.3 g/kg, or 0.1 g/kg for drivers younger than 24 or with less than 12 months of driving experience. Exceeding the speed limit by just 10kph will get you a fine in Montenegro, while excessive speeding (30kmh over the limit in towns and 50kmh on motorways) and overtaking under dangerous conditions will lead to automatic confiscation of your driving licence. Fines for traffic offences range from €20 to €6,000. Prison sentences can also be imposed.

Usually the police officer issuing a fine requests payment be made to a bank account within a reasonable time. The police can also impose on the spot fines, but this rarely happens in practice. If you deny the charge you have the right to appear in court. In certain circumstances your passport may be seized. All fine receipts have serial numbers and can be monitored in a central register for three years.

You must equip your car for winter conditions when the weather requires it. Information on local road closures is available on the Auto-Moto Association of Montenegro website or by telephoning 19807, +382 20 234 999 or +382 63 239 987.

Local laws and customs

Drug laws are similar to those in the Europe. Possession or trafficking of drugs will attract strict penalties and often a lengthy prison sentence.

Taking photographs of military and police installations, personnel or vehicles may lead to difficulties.

Visas

Europen passport holders do not require a visa to enter Montenegro for stays of up to 90 days. For an extension of stay beyond 90 days you must apply for a visa or a temporary residence permit no later than one week before the 90-day period expires.

For more information  visit the Montenegro Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Border crossings

Only enter Montenegro through recognised border crossings.

On entering Montenegro, make sure the border police put an entry stamp in your passport. This helps avoid problems related to verifying the length of your stay in the country.

Registration

You must by law register with the local police or tourist organisation in the town/city where you’re staying within 24 hours of your arrival, unless you’re staying in a hotel or other commercial accommodation provider where you’ll be registered automatically on checking in. If you don’t register you may be fined and face difficulties leaving the country.

Passport validity

Your passport should be undamaged and valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required

Health

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 124 to contact the ambulance service directly. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

There is a reciprocal healthcare agreement for British nationals, which entitles you to free emergency treatment in Montenegro. In non-urgent cases, payment may be required, which would normally be in cash to the health institution. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Money

The official currency of Montenegro is the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country. Only Bank of England issued bank notes are recognised or exchanged in Montenegro. Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes are not accepted.

Important phone numbers

  • 112 General emergencies
  • 122 Police
  • 123 Fire department
  • 124 Emergency
  • 19807 Roadside assistance Auto-moto Association Of Montenegro
  • +382 20 444 244 Podgorica Airport
  • +382 32 671 337 Tivat Airport