Location: Balkans Type: 1 week trip; road trip; Montenegro Suitable for children: yes, but babies and toddlers may find the road trip a bit tiresome
Montenegro was on our to-do list for some time, so this summer we’ve decided to finally visit it. It was so worth it! The tiny country on the Adriatic cost is simply enchanting. The majestic mountains end in the sea and everywhere you look, you encounter picturesque views.
Heading for Montenegro, we got the idea to visit Croatia, Montenegro’s neighborhood country, too. The plan was set and we embarked on our south-east European adventure.*
This was our first stop, travelling from Bulgaria to Montenegro by car. We decided to stop for rest and lunch in Emir Kosturica`s little town in Serbia, close to the border with Bosna and Herzegovina.
According to the information from internet the director build the town for a movie he was filming back in the early 2000s – Life is a Miracle. He even won an award for the town in 2005 – the Philippe Rotthier European Architecture award.
Drven grad, also known as Küstendorf and Mećavnik, is indeed really beautiful. Set high in the mountains, all the buildings in the town are made from wood (“drven” means wooden translated from Serbian), the name of the streets bear the names of famous people (like Nikola Tesla, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Diego Maradona, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman) and the altogether feeling is of peace and relaxation.
High and majestic mountains welcomed us in Montenegro. It’s no wonder that the name of the country means black mountains – they are everywhere and they are really impressive. The most impressive part is the bay of Kotor, so when we were planning our trip we knew that we’d want to rent a house there.
We stayed at Zelenika village, next to Herzeg novi – in a beautiful old stone house in the mountains, with a lush garden and a setting straight form a fairy tale. We found this place through airbnb.com and we were very happy with our choice. This was our view…
We highly recommend that you also stay at a place by the Kotor bay for your time in Montenegro. There are many villages around the bay like Zelenika, as well as bigger towns like the infamous Kotor, the perfect Perast and the lively Herzeg novi, and many more tiny cottages with views of the sea or the mountains.
We had 4 days in Montenegro and we had a plan to visit all of them and more. Below you can take a look at our planned routs around Montenegro.
And now a little bit more about the places that we visited in Montenegro…
This is the most beautiful and atmospheric town that we toured in Montenegro. Kotor old town has a very Venetian vibe, with narrow streets and stone houses, tiny squares and lots of cats.
We asked a lady from a shop we visited why are there so many cats everywhere and she told us that once upon a time every family in Montenegro used to have at least one cat because it was considered that they bring good luck (and also chase the mice).
When in Kotor old town, you definitely have to visit the fortress above the city – the view from the top is marvelous. But be prepared – there are 1350 stairs to climb. Afterwards you can treat yourself with a lunch or dinner in some of the cozy restaurants around the town.
We didn’t had big expectation for Perast after the beauties of Kotor, but Perast surprised us pleasantly.
The city doesn’t have a distinct old part like Kotor, but the beautiful old stone houses are everywhere. There is also an old belfry that you can visit and make scenic photos from above.
The beach in the beginning of the town is pebbly, but nice and with a terrific view.
The old town of Herceg novi is also very nice, but we marked this destination because it was the starting point for a boat trip to the so called blue lagoon.
Unfortunately, most of the boats leave at 10 a.m. and we were a little bit late. So we took a walk around the city, had lunch at a nice restaurant by the sea and relaxed at the beach – not a bad way to spend your vacation time either.
If you are in your 20s and like to party, Budva is your place. The city has an old town just like Kotor and Herzeg novi.
But unlike the places around the Kotor bay in Budva there are a lot of ugly big hotels, loud music from every café and young people in beachwear everywhere.
The biggest lake on the Balkans deserves a visit. We arrived at the village of Virpazar and almost immediately they offered us a boat trip around the lake.
The trip was around 2 hours and the best way to get a good look at the beautiful nature. It featured some snacks, free beer and a stop at a small beach where we swam.
Need more reasons to visit Montenegro? Go and see for yourself!
And now, check this useful information that may help you better plan your trip…
Montenegro doesn’t have a lot of sandy beaches so be prepared to recreate scenes from the Walking Dead, getting in and out of the water – the seabed is entirely from pebbles. We have marked 2 sandy beaches when researching for our trip – Plavi horizonti near Kotor bay and Drobni Pijesak near Budva, but we manage to visit only Plavi horisonti. The beach is indeed sandy but overcrowded and you have to walk in order to reach the deeper part.
Montenegro was part of Serbia till 2006 so pleskavica should go on your menu at least once. Don’t know what pleskavica is? Simply put, it is a giant meat ball with filling which diverses from yellow cheese to vegetables. In most restaurants you will be brought bread without any prompting and the service will be included in the bill. Staying in Zelenika, we had only one option to dine in the vicinity – restaurant Moreto, which is in fact a really good place – with big portions and good prices.
*On the Road
Getting in and out Montenegro and Croatia was really an adventure for us. We travelled by car for 18 hours and more. On our way to Montenegro we travelled through Serbia and Bosna and Herzegovina.
And on our way back home to Bulgaria we went through Albania and Macedonia.
Bosna and Herzegovina and Albania impressed us with majestic mountains and blue rivers, but the roads, especially in Bosna and Herzegovina were a little bit scary – narrow and with lots of turns, and the locals are driving fast and very irresponsible.