Short-but-sweet little Montenegro visit

Short-but-sweet little Montenegro visit

We came smoothly via public bus from Dubrovnik, Croatia, and left just three days later on a transfer heading south to Tirana, Albania. I would love the chance to explore this country more building on our little Montenegro visit, particularly it’s south coast and the Grand Canyon of Tara River (the second largest in the world after Colorado’s). This is a write up of tips for the Bay of Kotor.

3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:

KOTOR FORTRESS WALLS | I really think these shizz all over Dubrovnik! Yeah, they’ve got Game of Thrones fame now, but the scale and height of these impressed me more. And minimal crowds to boot. Wait for sunset to avoid the heat.

little montenegro visit
View from the fortress which is named after the mountain Sveti Ivan, or St. John
little Montenegro visit
The first fortifications pre-date the Romans and Greeks and were built on almost vertical cliffs above Kotor during Illyrian times
little montenegro visit
One of the spectacular entrances to the Fortress walk, near the Church of St. Mary Collegiate

PERAST | a 30 minute 1 euro bus ride from Kotor, this small town layers on the charm. Also nestled right on the waterfront, it offers some top class views across to the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. You can visit (we didn’t) for an easily negotiated boat fare. Also check out: lunch at Djardin.

little montenegro visit
Perast is a great day trip: there’s a string of cafes dotting the water front
little montenegro visit
A rare stretch of ‘beach’ at Perast
little montenegro visit
Star-jumpin in the Bay of Kotor, at Perast

BAY OF KOTOR | I’m sure you couldn’t go wrong staying anywhere within this area of obvious natural beauty. I loved the fact that bells toll on the hour, every hour, literally everywhere! (The same goes for Croatia). Also check out: good value dining at local favourite Tanjga butchers.

little montenegro visit
Beautiful view of the Bay of Kotor for the top of St. John’s Fortress

3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:

KOTOR OLD TOWN | you could cover this place on foot in an hour, but it’s lovely to keep getting lost in and there’s an abundance of bars and restaurants to savour. We stayed in a fab airbnb overlooking Pjaca od salate (Piazza of salad), where the locals bar became our living room in the evening.

little montenegro visit
Kotor Clock Tower is an unmissable landmark as soon as you enter through old town’s Sea Wall
little Montenegro visit
St. Luke’s was built in 1195 as a Catholic church, and is the only building in town that did not suffer significant damage during the earthquake in 1667.

COASTLINE TO BAR | I just wish we’d had a car to be able to stop, get out, or stay over. Instead we were on a transfer in a people carrier (very handy, versus 3 non-connecting buses) arranged by the great Old Town Hostel in Kotor through to Tirana, Albania.

WINE | versus Croatia (which was a either a bit hit-and-miss, or quite expensive) I actually found the eating and drinking better in Montenegro, and enjoyed great meals. Apparently it is cheaper to source meat versus fish in Kotor, probably why the butchers is so popular.

3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:

SWIMMING | now this is where Croatia really holds all the trump cards versus the Bay of Kotor. It’s actually a Ria (a drowned river valley that remains open to the sea), and there’s a lot of algae, even rubbish, in parts and it’s not quite as heavenly.

little montenegro visit
The view from the far end of Kotor, outside of the old miniature town section (beautiful, but see the greener water?)

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TRAVELLING SOUTH | we really wanted to capture a real sense of the country beyond the Bay of Kotor on the trip to Albania, but it proved pretty tricky without the luxury of time.

BUDVA | this is unfair as I didn’t visit, but thought it worth sharing that we chose to by-pass the capital due to a small handful of neutral/ negative reviews from friends. One to save for a longer trip I guess.

1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:

ULCINJ | in researching this trip (for which Montenegro and Albania tips in any depth were scarce) I became obsessed with The Blonde Gypsy blog, who waxes lyrical about this place. Check out her pictures for inspiration and tonnes of helpful detail.

AND KNOW THIS: Brad Pitt’s first proper movie role in Dark Side Of The Sun, was filmed by Yugoslav director Bozidar Nikolic in Kotor way back in 1988.

2 Responses

  1. Great write up and hope what I wrote was of some service. Beautiful blog as well, keep it all up! 🙂

    • Totally helped Larissa – we were just gutted we hadn’t factored in enough time to get to more of the places in your write ups. Another trip, another time!

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