Whilst we were staying in Montenegro we opted to stay in a small town called Rijeka Crnojevica for a few days. Named after its river which leads to Lake Skadar it is a quiet village and if you’re looking for a rural retreat in laid back Montenegro, this might be the place.
A small, tranquil town located to the north of Lake Skadar, Rijeka Crnojevica is not somewhere most tourists would stay.
One end of the village benefits enormously from tourism and has a number of nice restaurants, a restored and well-kept bridge and boats whilst the other end does not receive any visitors and is, sadly, crumbling down around the residents that remain. However, this is what makes it a truly unique place, for people looking for an off the beaten track experience in Montenegro.
It Might Be Historically A Place Of War
We rented a house here for five days and the lady showing us around informed us that Rijeka Crnojevica was the location of battles and bad history.
A little research suggests that a war was started there but back in the 1400s although there is a rather large and dominating memorial to those lost in WWII. The town has an eerily, quiet feel to it that some travellers might find appealing.
The Town Has Seen Better Days
The town has definitely seen better day, but this adds to its rustic charm and if you like exploring abandoned buildings, this is a perfect opportunity.
Could this have once been a school or maybe a factory? It had a grand entrance with two sides of steps that were covered in green undergrowth and plants. The back of the building seemed to fare worse as it was now used as a rubbish disposal area. The inside had been decorated with graffiti long before nature took over. It seemed to be full of rubbish too but really didn’t look that old.
Derelict Houses In Rijeka Crnojevica
This house seemed to have been used as an animal shelter. Maybe a goat herder had been using it? There are still numerous animal herders in Montenegro but I never saw any near Rijeka Crnojevica.
The allure of this area is the friendliness of the locals, the rough and ready charm of the town and the beauty of the river.
I Now Know Why This Town Is Suffering
Before moving to Bulgaria, I’d never seen a town like this. However, I now know that it’s because there’s not enough local employment for the younger generation who leave to go to university or to find jobs. Houses are passed down on death to the younger generations who just cannot afford to renovate them or keep them in good condition.
These ancestral homes fall into disrepair and eventually collapse. You are unlikely to see this in coastal areas because they attract investment and offer employment. So by visiting this town and other rural towns, you can help local people stay in their towns and remain employed.
Stay In Rijeka Crnojevica
We booked our accommodation through AirBNB