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Culture

Sitting on the border between the East and the West, Montenegro has a fascinating patchwork history, stitched together by different nations and influences. The country is dotted with cities and towns whose splendid architecture holds up a mirror to its past from Byzantine mosaics to Orthodox monasteries to Turkish spas and Venetian fortresses.
 
The enchanting UNESCO World Heritage town of Kotor is only ten minutes from Luštica Bay. Surrounded by Venetian fortress walls, the pan-tiled roofs of its Medieval old town tumble down to the sea and enclose a lively maze of cobblestone streets and squares. Tackle a 1350 step climb and you can admire the town and its vistas from the top of the Fortress St. Ivan. The nearby historical city of Perast is also worth visiting, not only to admire its picturesque Venetian buildings but to visit its two peaceful islets. Take a boat to the man-made island, Our Lady of the Rocks, or the mysterious island of St. George which houses a Benedictine monastery.
 
The central coast stretches out into long swathes of sandy beaches, punctuated by lively cities. Budva is a summer hotspot with buzzing beaches and a lively gastro and nightlife scene. Its old town, Sv. Stefan is resplendent with Venetian beauty and offers quieter streets, piazzas and cafés. Any visit to the bustling city of Bar should include a trip to Stari Bar, a ruined Byzantine fortress-city which includes a 2000-year-old olive tree. The southern hillside city of Ulcinj offers a more laid-back atmosphere, with its long, sandy beaches, including Velika Plaza, the longest on the Adriatic Sea. If you can drag yourself away from the beaches, the ancient town, dotted with elegant minarets of mosques, is replete with pretty galleries, cafes and restaurants.
 
Montenegro’s rich culture is celebrated throughout the year with numerous festivals. The nearby town of Herceg Novi plays host to Montenegro’s annual film festival and Operosa, a contemporary classical music and opera festival. Kotor offers a stunning stage for the international KotorArt festival where art is displayed, and performances are held in the town’s public spaces. Kotor also hosts the hugely popular Boka Night with boat parades and fireworks and an International Summer Carnival with carnival groups from all over Montenegro sporting spectacular costumes. For party lovers, Sea Dance Festival brings electronic and pop music to Budva’s Jaz beach. 
 
Montenegrin culture can only be truly enjoyed alongside its incredible food. Breathe in the mountain air, soak up nature and enjoy traditionally prepared meals which call on local, fresh ingredients. Famed dishes include the traditional kačamak potato dish, speciality cheeses, ham from Njeguši, lamb and seafood and the famous Dobrota cake. A glass of the country’s renowned wines are a must. The ancient, white Krstač grape is only found in Serbia and Montenegro and offers a bright, fruity and floral glass, or try Vranac, another ancient grape producing a powerful full-bodied red wine.

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