Bečići (beach) (near Budva): this is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic Sea. With a small tunnel that connects Bečići beach with Budva, it has become a tourist enclave (with several exclusive resorts along the coast). The amenities found here are water sports, tennis courts, volleyball, basketball courts, mini golf and other facilities. To emphasize the growing state of this beach, it appeared in the 2006 James Bond movie, “Casino Royale.”
Bazar (Blaža Jovanovića 8, Podgorica) – this shopping center in the capital has a number of local & regional retailers that sell various types of goods (from apparel to footwear, cosmetics, electronics, as well as home improvement supplies). There are also a couple of restaurants, and play areas for local school children. What is not found here are American fast food outlets like McDonald’s, Burger King, or Domino’s Pizza, nor any multiplex movie theaters.
Alpe Bar (88 Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog, Podgorica) – given Podgorica’s limited nightlife options, this bar & restaurant is one of that city’s more popular hangouts just as much as the pizza that’s served here, as for the drinks.
Black Iris Café & Sushi Bar (TQ Plaza, 85310 Budva) – opened in 2011, this Japanese restaurant offers delicious sushi, Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, and a large selection of exquisite appetizers, which is daily prepared by top chefs using fresh ingredients of the highest quality. A large selection of wines and cocktails follows the meals served here.
CAR RENTALS – the following car rental agencies operate in Podgorica:
Contact: +382 20 23 51 41
Delta Car: +382 67 64 08 00
Ideal: +382 68 00 10 01
Meridian: +382 20 23 49 44
Renault: +382 69 01 23 25
Roksped: +382 20 44 55 55
Budva – this is one of the oldest ports in the Adriatic Sea (reputed to have existed since the Phoenicians). What defines the city is its high walls that were built during the 15th century, when the Venetian Empire controlled it. Flying over the city, one can’t help but think that the city looks frozen in time from that period, with historic points that still exist from those years, such as the Church of St. Sava (built during the Nemanjić dynasty’s rule in the 14th century). There are even older sites within Budva, such as the Church of St. Ivan from the 7th century (with paintings and icons done by Venetian artists between the 15th and 17th centuries).
Bird of Peace Statue (Serdara Jola Piletića, Podgorica) – this statue, located outside the Plada shopping mall (and within walking distance of the Millennium Bridge at the country’s capital, Podgorica), is made of 500 old guns (that were voluntarily handed over after the 1990s Balkan Wars ended), along with the seats around it. Unveiled in 2005, this was part of the “Weapons in Art” initiative by the local government in collaboration with UNDP (U.N. Development Programme). Both local Montenegrin artists, as well as those from Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina contributed to this artwork.
The former Yugoslavian republic of Montenegro gets its name from the Medieval era, when the Republic of Venice once controlled that country’s coastal areas and Italianized the local language’s name of the land (“Crna Gora” – which translates into “Monte Negro”, or “black mountain” in Italian).
Of course, like other countries that face the Adriatic Sea (like Croatia), Montenegro’s history goes as far back as the Romans (when they started occupying it around 9 AD), later becoming part of the Byzantine Empire (when the country was known as Duklja). The Republic of Venice, interested in occupying coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas for commercial reasons (going as far as Cyprus), dominated Montenegro’s coastal areas (including the seafaring town of Kotor) from 1420 to 1797. Given the turmoil happening in the rest of the Balkans during the medieval period, the rest of Montenegro became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1496. By the demise of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century, the inland portions of Montenegro were already freed from Ottoman rule.
Throughout much of the 19th century, Montenegro, as an independent country, still endured occasional skirmishes with the Ottomans, and would see its sovereignty seized by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire during World War I. After that war, Montenegro ended up becoming part of the constitutional monarchy of the “Kingdom of Yugoslavia” (bringing it together with other Balkan republic, such as Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia). Montenegro endured more political turmoil in World War II, when it was occupied by Italian Axis forces (under its dictator Benito Mussolini – making Montenegro a puppet regime under the “Kingdom of Montenegro”, until it was liberated by Yugoslav partisans in 1944).
When that war ended in 1945, Montenegro became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito (composing not only of Montenegro, but Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia). When Socialist Yugoslavia was dissolved in the early 1990s, Montenegro remained part of the smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with Serbia. During the rest of the 1990s, Montenegro was occasionally caught up with fighting involving Serbia and nearby countries like Bosnia and Kosovo. By 2003, the country was renamed “Serbia and Montenegro” – reflecting the loose political union with the powers that be in Belgrade (the Serbian capital). In 2006, the local Montenegrin population vote for independence from its union with Serbia. Five years later (2011), the country restored the Royal House of Montenegro (in effect, enabling a limited parliamentary monarchy
The Yugoslav wars in the 1990s hurt Montenegro’s efforts to promote its tourism (including its picturesque coastal areas, and mountainous north region) in the past. However, in recent times, with such woes long forgotten, tourism has made a huge comeback — generating a growing portion of the country’s GDP (14.4% in 2013, according to World Travel & Tourism Council/WTTC). Montenegro’s most natural attraction is its 293 km. long coast along the Adriatic Sea – with destinations like the historic port city of Kotor and beach resorts like Budva lending a Mediterranean flair to this Balkan state. In addition, these coastal destinations (such as Kodor – which was once a Venetian outpost) have a number of tourist-worthy historical sites.