Montenegro is Not the ‘Next Croatia’

Montenegro is Not the 'Next Croatia'

It’s more the fact that Croatia was the next Montenegro and there is a bit of history behind this that people who run around making uninformed off-the-cuff statements like this often don’t know.

You see, the areas of Croatia that are now the real hot spots for foreigners, namely the southern Dalmatian coast, were traditionally some of the poorest areas in Croatia and then Yugoslavia. It wasn’t until the Germans started popping down there in the 1950’s to roast themselves in to oblivion that tourism started to develop and escalate through the 1980’s until the war, pause, then start up again. In contrast, Montenegro has always been a popular spot for summering Serbs (as well as affluent Russians it would appear.) Much like how it seems just about everyone in Sarajevo has a summer home in Makarska, it seems that everyone in Belgrade has a summer home somewhere on the Montenegrin coast, in places like Budva. The tourist infrastructure was built up rapidly here and radically more planned than it was in other places.

Take for instance Dubrovnik. That town can only hold so many people and has already reached this limit, but more still come. Because there were never any methods created for dealing with all these people, it’s something of a free for all right now. While they’re trying some quick fix methods, it doesn’t seem that anyone was prepared for the mass influx of tourists, despite the fact the government advertised like hell to get people there. All I can see if that everyone who visited the city previous to 2005 should count themselves lucky.

Now take Montenegro. While the roads are just as twisty as Croatia and the terrain by the coast even more rugged, we had no trouble making our way along on a bus. There seems to have been more thinking behind their design (there are quick ferries to bypass some very slow parts) and a long time ago, people saw that it would all hit the fan if access wasn’t made easier. I mean, there’s even a train out to Bar on the coast, which I hear isn’t a great town (I’ll know for certain in the next day or two) where there is no train to Dubrovnik. Then there are the cities which have the touristy areas planned out and separated from the old areas. They have bus lines and the even have room for growth.

Undoubtedly, this type of thinking was making its way up the coast and would have been in Croatia a while ago, had Yugoslavia held together. So it’s only fitting that the last vestige of the former YU in former Serbia-Montenegro broke off last year with MNE getting the coast that had ironically been developed inland by the powers that were in Belgrade that they now have separated from.

So, to all those who thought and possibly still think that there are all these opportunities in this “new” country, wake up. All that passed while people had their focus on the “old Croatia”.

2 Replies to “Montenegro is Not the ‘Next Croatia’”

  1. I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble to understand this ‘Next Croatia – Next Montenegro’ thing. Are you saying Montenegro has somehow pioneered tourism on the Eastern Adriatics? While Croatian coast still awaited for German tourists, Montenegro ‘has always been a popular spot for summering Serbs’?!? You even praise the transportation lines in Montenegro. I mean, the transportation in Croatia was nothing to brag about, but, Dubrovnik got its narrow trail line (sorry, don’t know the exact term in English) in 1901. and (sadly) it was discontinued some 30 years ago (along with the lines to Opatija and Senj, while croatian ports of Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Split and Ploce still have their lines). The port of Bar, the only one in Montenegro, got it’s line after WWII, through ‘Youth Labour Actions’, and it is in terrible shape. Finaly, an excellent highway now connects Zagreb with Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik and Split, with extensions to Makarska, Ploce and Dubrovnik under construction. After that, even Montenegro is beginning to be quite reachable.

    1. Well, the bit was written more as a “Shut up.” to Americans who always like to compare one country to another when they know nothing about them. Also there is the fact that based upon my most recent trips to these areas in the last two weeks, cities in Croatia where tourists go are not as well built up as a place like Budva. I’ll definitely give you that the infrastructure in Montenegro is seriously lacking and that once the auto cesta from Split to Dubrovnik is completed, that will be an effortless trip by car.

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