Montenegro packs in more action per square kilometre than almost any other place I've ever known. It's one of the reasons we decided to settle here! During the warmer months, kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, canyoning, para-gliding, wild-swimming, kite-surfing, zip-lining and trekking are all on offer in some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, with stunning coastline, lakes and mountains as your playground. But what about when it gets colder? I had never really been into winter sports before. Growing up in the U.K. in the age before budget airlines, skiing was an expensive and far-flung undertaking, something only the rich kids did in far away places I couldn't pronounce. And that was before knee injuries playing rugby put skiing itself on the banned list before I'd even turned 20. The opportunity to hit the slopes learning to snowboard or ski simply never came a-knocking until I moved to Montenegro. Now, as you may have seen from my last blog post, most often my winters are taken up with some absurd building project or other - but when a couple of years ago Son No:1 announced he would like to have snowboarding lessons at Kolašin's nearby 1450 Ski Centre (2 hours drive from our door) - and after knowledgeable friends assured me that boarding was much less tough on the knees than skiing - I signed up to accompany him. Just to translate. You know, just to give him moral support. And that, inevitably, is how I wound up a snowboarding addict. Is it too late to learn to snowboard in your 40s? I know what you're thinking. Isn't 45 a bit old to take up something so obviously designed with youngsters in mind? Boarding is the rock'n'roll to skiing's classical guitar. It's the punkier, slightly scruffier ne'er-do-well younger sibling,
Montenegro packs in more action per square kilometre than almost any other place I’ve ever known. It’s one of the reasons we decided to settle here! During the warmer months, kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, canyoning, para-gliding, wild-swimming, kite-surfing, zip-lining and trekking are all on offer in some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, with
There is a special place I like to take people who are in Montenegro's mountains for the first time . One girl told me it reminds her of the end of the world. Are you familiar with a feeling when you wake up from a deep dream, and find yourself back in "reality"? For a few moments your back doesn't hurt, you cannot remember that your to-do list exists, and part of you is still there, in the warmth of a dream. That dream-like sense follows me every time I climb my favourite hiking trail on the Prokletije (in English, translated as the 'Accursed Mountains'). On the border between three countries, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo, lies a huge mountain with a scary name. She is open to those who follow her rules and those who are seeking freedom and silence. Many people approach her amazing valleys and enjoy views of big rocky summits, but her real beauty lies when you get a little higher - above morning fog and low clouds, face to face with rugged ridges and amphitheaters shaped by the forces of nature. Today Vlado is with me. This will be his first ever real hike. After my stories, he has high expectations. We had to start early, as we expect rain in the second part of the day. The only noise you can hear is that from light wind on the top of the trees, and a few shy birds letting other forest beings know that we are here. It is not uncommon to see a bear in these forests, but I don't want to scare Vlado, so I tell him that they are on the other side. As my friend slept just a few hours last night, he keeps asking me - how much
There is a special place I like to take people who are in Montenegro’s mountains for the first time . One girl told me it reminds her of the end of the world. Are you familiar with a feeling when you wake up from a deep dream, and find yourself back in “reality”? For a
As the pandemic has forced us all to slow down and take stock, more of us are beginning to consider the food we eat, our supply chains and how we can produce and make things at home. Learning how to identify and harvest wild asparagus with our friend Ilija in woodland by Lake Skadar connected us even more closely with the goodness of nature. Not only did it taste delicious in the three ways we prepared it (scroll down for the recipes), but it's loaded with health-boosting nutrients, especially folate and the vitamins A, C and K, as well as antioxidants. Wild asparagus is a delicacy adored by foodies in Montenegro and all over Europe, so our volunteer and forager-in-chief Beth is going to show you two classic ways to prepare it Montenegrin-style - as salad and with egg - plus a French favourite, quiche. She writes: "So many of us live fast-paced lives and have widely stocked supermarkets at our fingertips, so never thought to spend time and energy outdoors seeking and collecting edible food. Here in Montenegro, foraging never went out of fashion. It's also commonplace to have a productive vegetable garden, cramming every bit of fertile land with edible plants. Home produce even commonly extends to cheese, honey, wine and the distilled spirit, rakija (a bit like Italian grappa). "Now the cooler days of spring are beginning to fade and the summer heat is gearing up, the foraging season for wild asparagus has drawn to a close, but this is a local secret guests are going to love on next Spring's lake activity holidays! Wild Asparagus Salad Recipe 1x bunch of wild asparagus 1x clove of garlic, finely chopped (or a handful of wild garlic flowers) Olive oil Red wine vinegar Salt Break the asparagus stalks at
As the pandemic has forced us all to slow down and take stock, more of us are beginning to consider the food we eat, our supply chains and how we can produce and make things at home. Learning how to identify and harvest wild asparagus with our friend Ilija in woodland by Lake Skadar connected
How we've started 'foodie foraging' and a recipe for Wild Greens Pie Foraging for wild edible food is a huge and popular tradition here in Montenegro! So many of our local friends know exactly where and what to pick in nearby woods and fields, from wild leafy greens like nettle and garlic to serve in a pie or soup, or herbs such as sage, thyme, mint and oregano. This year we've decided to follow in their footsteps! This post is the first in a new blog series we're calling “Undiscovered Tastes” and we'll always include a recipe. Today our volunteer Beth is going to show you how to cook up Wild Greens Pie or 'Zelena Pita', a dish beloved throughout the Balkans (scroll down if you can't wait for the recipe!). Beth's become our forager-in-chief, helping us identify so many wild edibles right in our garden at Villa Miela. We're really getting into it and using a couple of brilliant plant-identifying apps for reference - PictureThis and iNaturalist. Future guests, expect to get roped in! Beth says “With blooming flowers and the new growth of spring at Villa Miela, now is the perfect time to learn foraging – especially if you're not a massive fan of dressing up like a bank robber every time you need to do a grocery run! It's amazing what you can find on your doorstep if you know what to look for...I've noticed that many of the lush new leaves sprouting around Villa Miela's gardens are actually edible! Most abundant and easy to spot is garlic mustard, (also known as jack-by-the-hedge), rampaging through the shadier corners, emitting a subtle oniony garlic smell when disturbed. Although it can be an invasive weed it’s actually a super nutritious plant and most elements of it can be eaten
How we’ve started ‘foodie foraging’ and a recipe for Wild Greens Pie Foraging for wild edible food is a huge and popular tradition here in Montenegro! So many of our local friends know exactly where and what to pick in nearby woods and fields, from wild leafy greens like nettle and garlic to serve in
In the middle of giant Lake Skadar National Park sits the tiny fishing "town" of Virpazar, one of Montenegro's historic trading centres dating from medieval times and, for the last 10 years, our home and activity base. The clue is in its name - 'Vir', which means confluence of rivers and 'Pazar', the Turkish word for 'market'. It's a beguiling, sleepy kind of place and the start point for many of our hiking and kayaking trips. These spectacular images will make you wonder why you'd never heard of it until now! All photographs are by the snap-happy me (Emma Heywood - co-founder of Undiscovered Montenegro). 1) Virpazar as seen from the 14th Century Besac Fortress 2) Summer view looking out from the old bridge 3) The historic monument to freedom celebrating 13th July 1878 and 1941 4) A magical autumn view of Virpazar cloaked in fog 5) We chose our activity base for its amazing location set by mountains and lake 6) Next to the lakeside are some great places to eat, like Konoba Badanj on the right 7) Reasons to love Virpazar #1 - it's surrounded by the incredible Lake Skadar National Park with all its nature! 8) When Lake Skadar's waters rise high, the reflected beauty around here is out of this world 9) There are some amazing hiking trails near Virpazar, you just need to know where 10) Virpazar is right on the shores of Lake Skadar, the largest pool of freshwater in southern Europe 11) This view of Virpazar has our activity base Villa Miela sitting pretty above it 12) This tiny fishing town oozes with characterful charm 13) Virpazar has a centuries' old port - the main gateway to vast Lake Skadar and the place to grab a boat tour 14) Our favourite view of
In the middle of giant Lake Skadar National Park sits the tiny fishing “town” of Virpazar, one of Montenegro’s historic trading centres dating from medieval times and, for the last 10 years, our home and activity base. The clue is in its name – ‘Vir’, which means confluence of rivers and ‘Pazar’, the Turkish word
As a UK business operating nature holidays and tours in Montenegro, including birdwatching, today (National Bird Day) seems the right time to tell you about one of the projects that we have been actively involved in recently as part of Undiscovered Montenegro's commitment to sustainable tourism and eco-awareness at Lake Skadar National Park. It's quite something to see the majestic Dalmatian Pelican up close. The pelicans are one of the biggest draws for visitors to the lake and we operate a stunning kayaking trip to see them in May/June that has left our lucky guests open-mouthed in amazement. Dalmatian pelicans are the heaviest flying birds in the world, sometimes topping the scales at 13kg and with wingspans over 3m. The trouble is, they are fussy breeders and are currently rated as "near threatened". Pelicans, you see, nest on floating vegetation, and when there isn't any, they don't nest at all. The National Park, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), the Noe Foundation and CZIP (Montenegro's RSPCB) therefore have installed five man-made rafts in the pelicans' natural breeding area of Panceva Oka to give them a helping hand. These rafts have been so successful that pelican numbers have nearly doubled in the last five years (2017 saw the hatching of over 60 chicks, an annual high) - but the rafts are made of wood, and wood, when soaked constantly in water, will not last forever. When it was brought to our attention this year that the rafts were in dire need of repair and that local bodies did not have sufficient funding to manage this before the vital breeding season, we decided to donate the money, also enabling an upgrade to the solar-powered remote video monitoring system that has proven so vital in maintaining this habitat. It felt like we owed the pelicans, as
As a UK business operating nature holidays and tours in Montenegro, including birdwatching, today (National Bird Day) seems the right time to tell you about one of the projects that we have been actively involved in recently as part of Undiscovered Montenegro’s commitment to sustainable tourism and eco-awareness at Lake Skadar National Park. It’s quite something to
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for this website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensure basic functionality and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for this website to function and are used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to using these cookies on this website.