While its wild beauty often steals the spotlight, our country’s true heart lies in the warmth and hospitality of the people of Montenegro.
Montenegrins are a South Slavic group of people, also known as “Black Mountain People” because the country’s name translates as “Black Mountain”. The name was given by the sailors arriving from the Adriatic Sea who saw Lovćen Mountain, constantly cloaked in its dark, evergreen forests, rising from the sea like a fortress of greenery.
Some might wonder if the pure mountain air or the rugged majesty of Montenegro’s towering massifs contribute to our distinctive qualities. It is widely acknowledged that Montenegrins have frequently been noted for their remarkable height, and they officially claimed the title of the world’s tallest nation in 2022. Montenegrin men are considered dashing and charismatic, while Montenegrin women are known for their beauty and wit. Despite being a part of the Slavic community, Montenegrins typically have striking black and dark brunette hair, adding to their distinctive appearance. These qualities are a testament to the rich Montenegrin heritage and the enduring spirit that defines our people.
One of the first things you’ll notice about them is their warm hospitality and generosity. To today’s younger generation, it might seem unimaginable, but in the past, it was customary to drop by a friend’s or cousin’s house without notice, and hosts would always be prepared to welcome their guests. This tradition still thrives in smaller towns and villages, where strangers and tourists are often invited into homes and treated to local delights like Turkish coffee or rakija, a regional fruit brandy. Montenegrins extend open arms and share various local dishes, demonstrating their genuine affection and hospitality.
To truly experience the rural regions of the country, stay in a katun in Montenegro and admire the nature that surrounds you. Enjoy organic and homemade meals that are served in ethno-villages. Here are some national dishes you should try if you decide to visit: kačamak, cicvara, priganice, popeci, njeguški pršut (prosciutto from Njeguši village), roasted lamb, cevapi, homemade cheese, and kajmak. In the evenings we recommend sitting by the fire with the locals and listening to their stories and legends while sipping on rakija.
The stereotype of Montenegrins as lazy is an oversimplification that misses the rich essence of our culture and history. Montenegro’s mountainous terrain historically posed challenges for farming, leading to a slower pace of life. This has sometimes been misunderstood as laziness, but it’s more about savouring moments and not rushing through tasks. Long meals, coffee breaks, and extended family gatherings reflect this approach. The word “Lagano” encapsulates this, translating to “Chill / No Worries/ Sure, whatever!”
In Montenegro, you’ll often hear “Lagano” in response to various situations, signalling a laid-back attitude.
Montenegrins are renowned for their sense of humour, often leaning toward the dark and ironic. They tackle any topic with a knack for infusing even the most solemn situations with dry wit.
To Montenegro people family is not just a cornerstone of an individual’s life; it is the very essence of our society. Our culture places great emphasis on the importance of family bonds, which extend beyond immediate relatives to encompass the broader family network. Family gatherings are not just routine events but cherished traditions where generations come together to share stories, wisdom, and laughter over homemade meals. Despite the rapid pace of modernization, Montenegrins hold steadfast to the belief that family remains the most crucial and enduring pillar in our lives and our society as a whole.
This is a land of contrasts, where the old meets the new, where nature’s beauty is complemented by human warmth, and where stereotypes are shattered by the rich depth of culture and tradition.