Montenegro yoga holiday

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01273 823 700

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2017: 30 Apr, 28 May
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Montenegro yoga holiday

Environment

We want our holidays to be high impact in experience but low impact on the environment! Once you’re at the villa, transport will be mostly on foot, kayak or bike, with car transfers provided to starting points for excursions or restaurants if needed.

Lake Skadar is a National Park and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and your visit and National Park fees will help promote and sustain responsible tourism and protection for this area. As such, our tour guides will encourage you to behave in an eco-friendly manner at all times by supporting the Leave No Trace principles – travelling where possible along marked water channels, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find (unless it’s other people’s rubbish!), respecting wildlife and being considerate of other visitors and the local community.

All our tours involve visits to USAid-financed tourist information centres dotted about the lake – a project which is locally managed, locally staffed and aims to educate visitors about the lake’s special ecology and cultural traditions.

We also work as volunteers for local and international NGOs (non-governmental organisations and charities) dedicated to conserving the environment and eco-systems at Lake Skadar, from the Austrian eco-tourism NGO GIZ, to Montenegrin charities, Green Home and CZIP (The Centre for the Research and Protection of Birds of Montenegro). Each year, we support the National Park's annual festival to promote nature at the lake, offering our kayaks and tuition free of charge to local people. When needed, we campaign to protect local wildlife reserves under threat of development, such as the nearby Ulcinj saltpans most recently.

The accommodation for this holiday, Villa Miela, has been sensitively restored by its British owners, drawing praise from the local community and visitors for conserving historic architectural features such as the solid stone archway in the "konoba" (ground floor), once used for storing wine and smoking hams and carp, or the tiny original windows which help maintain a naturally cool interior. As the first such renovation in the area, it is hoped that the villa will encourage more regeneration along these lines and deter less scrupulous investors from knocking down such buildings and replacing them with cheaper concrete structures.

With metre-thick stone walls, air-conditioning is neither needed, nor provided, and guests are encouraged to use fans only when necessary and to turn off all electric fans/lights on leaving the room.

Guests are also asked to keep water use to a minimum, especially important during the dry summer months. The village has no mains water connection and while Villa Miela's water reservoir is fed by mountain-spring during winter, this source dries up in the summer.

Community

We have built strong links with local communities at Lake Skadar and support their maintenance of threatened traditions – from bee-keeping, fishing and carp-smoking to the making of wine, cheese, olive-oil and flavoured brandies. By visiting home-producers and buying their wares, you will build pride, contribute to the local economy and encourage the development of eco-tourism in an area where tourism needs examples of how to develop sustainably. You’ll meet local people like Hassan Muratovic and his wife Nada at remote Murici beach and learn about their ethnic Albanian culture and traditional way of fishing. English isn’t widely spoken round the lake, but your guides will be able to translate to make each interaction create a valuable cultural exchange between you and your host community. Your visit really counts in a remote, beautiful and unknown Balkan destination which is still suffering from decades of impoverishment caused by urban migration and the 1990s Yugoslavian war.

Reviews of Montenegro yoga holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


So many things I could mention but for me, it was the fabulous scenery: Beautiful, lush mountainscapes and the wonderful Lake Skadar and its setting. So picturesque that, from the photos, it almost looks unreal.

A couple of other highlights that I just have to mention are the fabulous wine tasting tour and dinner at Tanja's: in both cases these were feasts of gourmet delights with all food and drink locally grown/ produced / prepared and cooked or fermented/distilled!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take your camera and keep it with you at all times.

This is not a holiday for vegetarians, let alone vegans!

The activities are probably not suitable for people who don't have at least a moderate level of fitness. However, the duration and route of some of the treks (and the kayaking trip) are negotiable or were in my case).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I felt that in almost all respects this holiday was as 'responsible' and 'sustainable 'as it could possibly be.
Our hosts and guides, Ben and Emma both live locally, with their young family and speak fluent Serbo-Croat (or the local variant). They have worked hard to establish themselves within the local community and are well-liked and respected. This has given them unrivalled access to local people and their produce (the vineyards, and Tanja's kitchen, for instance). This is an integral part of the holiday and the Montenegro experience. The local people benefit from the cash that we paid them for the meals we ate, and the wines that we tasted (and purchased). Montenegro is a poor country and I am sure that this must help the local people . All produce is produced in the traditional way, and without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers -and partly this is because they are not necessary in this very fertile area.

The area around Lake Skadar - unlike the coastal areas of Montenegro - is almost totally free of development. The Government are keen to protect this pristine natural habitat and the abundant ecosystem that it supports. They are more likely to continue to do so, if income can be generated from this landscape, in a sustainable way, supporting local businesses and people, along the way. This company’s holidays have a minimal impact on this wonderful environment: from the ecofriendly design of Villa Miela; its woodburning hot tub and use of the garden's natural spring to the fact that the tours it arranges, are mostly within easy reach of the base in Virpazar.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I would rate this holiday very highly.

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