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With its towering mountains, medieval towns, fjord-indented coastline, sandy beaches and the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, tiny Montenegro is an undiscovered gem hidden away in the Balkans between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.
Montenegro is one of the world’s newest countries. Formerly part of Serbia, Montenegrins voted overwhelmingly for independence in 2006 and became a sovereign state the same year. With a population of just over 600,000 and a land area of nearly 14,000 square kilometres, the country is sparsely populated, with swathes of forested mountains lying inland from the fertile coastal strip. Due to its diverse landscapes and location on the Balkan Peninsula, Montenegro has extremely high levels of biological diversity, being described as one of the "hot-spots" of European biodiversity, with more species per unit area than any other country.
With its long, complex and often turbulent history, Montenegro is rich in cultural sights, from the walled coastal towns of Budva and Herceg Novi, with their narrow streets, picturesque squares and attractive Orthodox churches, to the ‘hanging’ monastery of Ostrog, built dramatically into a cliff face, and the spectacular medieval walled town of Kotor, sitting at the head of a deep fjord surrounded by limestone mountains.
Inland you can explore the Durmitor National Park, with its multi-coloured mountain lakes, plunging gorges and forested peaks. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a paradise for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. You can walk through a rich landscape of towering peaks, glacial lakes and high alpine pastures, looking down onto the canyons and ancient woodlands below. In the late spring and summer the landscape becomes a blaze of colour, with the alpine meadows covered in wildflowers including gentians, anemones, violets and wild strawberries.
The peaks, which rise to 2,534 metres, are home to a rich array of flora and fauna, including mammals such as bears, deer, martens, foxes and wolves. The park is also home to the Tara Canyon, where you can raft between the towering walls of Europe’s deepest canyon.
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