Dates: June 22nd
Main Language of Country: Montenegrin
Transportation Used: Tour Bus, Ferry
Capital City of Country: Podgorica
Number of Photos Taken: 220
Favorite Place: Kotor
Average Cost of a Full Meal: 7 – 9 Canadian Dollars
Favorite Foods Eaten: Oysters in Budva
My visit into Montenegro was very brief, but it is a tiny country, so I guess it’s somewhat fitting. I was staying a few days in Dubrovnik, Croatia and I came across a tour that was offered to Montenegro that I thought looked interesting.
In general, I don’t really enjoy organized tours as they are usually rushed and don’t allow you much freedom. That was definitely the case with this tour to Montenegro, but at the time it seemed like the easiest way to visit the country. I also booked the tour late the night before as it was a last minute decision, so it would have been nearly impossible for me to get to the country otherwise, so for those reasons a tour made sense.
TIP: In hindsight, there is a lot to see in Montenegro, and the towns and coastlines are beautiful so if I were to do it again, I would rent a car or find a bus route to travel there by myself (and without the constraints of a guided tour) as the country definitely warrants some exploration. You could easily spend a few days exploring the area around Kotor, and I’m sure that the country has plenty of other unexplored and less popular places that would be interesting.
Bay of Kotor: (June 22)
The tour centred around a visit to the Bay of Kotor, as well as the town of Kotor itself, and this was definitely the highlight of the day. A couple of hours south of Dubrovnik, Kotor is a small city on the edge of the water. There is a large port in front of the city, and thick walls around the city itself.
Kotor sits at the bottom of a steep hill and the walls surround the city from the bottom of the hill, all of the way to the top. This makes the walls one of the highlights of exploring the city because you can walk to the top on a steep staircase for some great views of the city, all of the way down to the Bay of Kotor that it sits next to.
Besides the walls, the town itself is a lot of fun to explore as well. Some people compare it to Dubrovnik because they are both walled cities and are relatively close to each other. But Kotor is a lot quieter and smaller, but just as much fun to explore and amble around.
Unfortunately, the tour that I was on had a pretty rigid timeline for the stop in Kotor, so my exploration of the city ended up being quite frantic and rushed. I was able to see all of the town and walk up to the top of the wall above the city, but it was a lot more rushed than I would have liked. I felt like Kotor was definitely the kind of place that needed time and patience to be able to appreciate fully and by rushing through I was doing it an injustice.
In Dubrovnik, I found that the afternoons were the worst time to wander around the city as the streets were crowded with tour groups. In Kotor, however, the tables were turned as I was part of one of the tour groups that I had become so frustrated with in Dubrovnik. Because of this, I think Kotor would be a great destination to travel to independently as you could roam the streets in the morning and evenings when they are quieter and more natural.
I don’t mean to sound bitter about the tour that I took to Montenegro as seeing only a small part of the country with limited time is definitely better than not seeing it at all, but if you’re able to do it independently and give yourself enough time to explore the city, then that is definitely the way to do it.
Some of the other places that we made quick stops at along the tour were:
Our Lady of the Rocks:
There is a small island in the Bay of Kotor that has a church built on it called Our Lady of the Rocks. We were only able to see it from a roadside pull off as we drove around the bay, but if you’re interested and aren’t travelling as part of a tour, you can hire a boat and get out to the island.
Sveti Stefan is a small island just off of the coast that has been connected to land with a small land bridge. It’s now a high-end luxury resort so we weren’t able to see any more of it beyond the view that we had from the road above where the bus stopped in a roadside pull out.
It’s fairly unique and makes a cool picture, but other than that there isn’t much to see here.
The city of Budva was our last stop on the tour before we headed back to Dubrovnik. Like Kotor, it has a walled section and a fort that you can pay a small admission fee to explore. It has a more modern feel than places like Dubrovnik and Kotor and the city is more appealing because of the beaches and nightlife rather than the city itself.
If you feel like swimming in Budva, there is a great beach on the south side of the old town. Just like everywhere else along the coast of Montenegro and Croatia, the water is a perfect crystal clear turquoise blue that seems to beg you to jump in.
Beside the harbour of Budva, which you will find filled with gigantic yachts, is a line of restaurants. If you’re looking for somewhere to have lunch beside the water, then there is no better place. I ate at one of these restaurants and had some of the best oysters that I’ve ever had. I should probably mention that I don’t eat oysters very often so that’s not a huge claim, but it’s true nonetheless.
If you find yourself in Dubrovnik or any of the other areas nearby and hadn’t considered travelling to Montenegro, why not make a quick stop to see the country. Kotor is definitely the highlight and would be the most appealing place to explore as a traveller.
You can either travel independently through Montenegro, or hop on a quick tour like I did. Your choice probably depends on the amount of planning that you’re able to do, as well as how much time you have. You definitely have more freedom travelling independently, but it’s better to see the country on a brief tour, rather than not see it at all.
On the tour that I took, our last stop was Budva, before we headed back to Dubrovnik on a ferry across the Bay of Kotor. From Dubrovnik, I then continued the rest of my Croatian adventure.
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