Montenegro is a small and naturally-diverse nation, nestled between the Balkan international locations of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, and Serbia.
Whereas few Canadians contemplate Montenegro as a European vacation spot of alternative, this little nation welcomes hundreds of vacationers (Brits and Russians specifically), each summer time. We selected to go for 10 days in early September and it was good—it was nonetheless heat and had only a few vacationers! I’ve additionally heard that Could and June are additionally good months to go to, for a similar causes.
Getting round Montenegro
Arrive by aircraft and drive throughout the nation
Whereas we opted to fly out and in of Dubrovnik, Croatia (it’s solely about 35 minutes from the Croatia/Montenegro border), you can even fly into Tivat or Podgorica, the nation’s capital metropolis. From the Dubrovnik airport, we rented a automotive to street journey throughout Montenegro. Having a automotive allowed us to set our personal tempo and itinerary—I extremely advocate it! Our rental automotive was superior on fuel, and parking was available; I additionally selected the place to remain in Montenegro based mostly on which Airbnbs and lodges provided free parking.
Arrive by prepare, bus or cruise ship
Among the best issues about Europe is the number of transportation choices! If you happen to’re trying to arrive from one other nation, doing so by prepare or bus are extra economical methods; for those who’re on the lookout for a extra luxurious strategy, contemplate a cruise!
My High 5 Locations to Go to in Montenegro
1. Kotor – travel again in time
My favorite Montenegro vacation spot is (hands-down!) Kotor. The street down from the border runs alongside the Bay of Kotor; alongside the best way, you come throughout a number of must-see cities, like Risan and Perast. You may also select to chop down on the drive to Kotor by taking a ferry from a small city known as Lepetane.
Upon arriving in Kotor’s “Stari Grad” or Outdated City, you’re rapidly swept again in time. As you stroll into the doorway of this walled metropolis, you possibly can’t assist however be charmed.
By day, you possibly can eat and store to your coronary heart’s content material. Dine within the open-air cafes, settle down with gelato, take within the metropolis’s little architectural particulars, and meander via the abundance of jewelry shops and reward retailers. There’s no scarcity of “Kotor City of Cats” souvenirs, to take again residence with you. Learn on to my “5 travel tips” under to search out out why…
By night time, the Outdated City continues to be bustling, however with a youthful crowd. The pubs and night time golf equipment refill rapidly with travellers and pub crawl teams. We opted for quieter nights, exploring the slim mazing streets and alleys inside the Outdated City’s partitions.
If you happen to’re planning your individual itinerary, take be aware: cruise ships have a tendency to return in on Sundays and Mondays and the town turns into filled with vacationers. To keep away from the crowds, plan to go to the Outdated City on different days of the week, or later within the evenings.
For us, Monday was the right day to hike as much as the fortress of San Giovanni / St. John, from Outdated City. The trek took about three hours and was fairly steep, so it deterred many cruisers from heading up. If you happen to select to do the hike, be ready; the climate within the space modifications in a short time! It may be gray and overcast one minute, however extraordinarily scorching the following. Put on layers and correct footwear, and produce a water bottle (or two).
2. Durmitor Nationwide Park – marvel at nature’s wonders
Even for those who’re not the most important out of doors fanatic, Durmitor Nationwide Park will likely be a spotlight for you. This UNESCO World Heritage web site is a pure surprise with its attractive inexperienced vegetation, craggy rocks, serene glacial lakes and wildlife. If you happen to’re not into mountaineering or climbing, driving via can be an choice… that’s, except the sheep determine you’re in their means.
three. Skadar Lake and area – lush solely begins to explain it
Do your self a favour and rent a neighborhood boat or fisherman to take you out onto the lake. We employed a non-public boat for simply the 2 of us that value the equal of $40 CDN; it was effectively value it! We went to the guests centre, which is true off the principle street. There are various fisherman there, able to make a deal.
The opposite spotlight of this space: it’s wine nation! Make sure you plan a go to to the close by village of Virpazar. If you happen to’re a wino, plan a day of it as a result of there are greater than sufficient vineyards to discover. A lot of them additionally provide meals.
However take be aware: for those who go to in September like we did, a lot of the vineyards are closed on the finish of August. However we lucked out and bought to go to one, a family-owned property known as Vinarija Durisic. Our host was so pleasant, spoke fluent English, and took the time to share the household’s historical past and complex particulars of every particular person wine and liquor. After our tastings, we wandered across the household property, taking within the lovely panorama, in addition to the home-grown grapes and olives.
If in case you have a chosen driver, you are able to do a self-guided wine tour, since a lot of the wineries reside on two streets operating via the city. You may also pre-book guided (and pushed) wine excursions. Different choices embrace taking the native bus or prepare, or perhaps a bike, and keep the night at one of many native inns.
four. Stari Bar – quaint village life
If you happen to’re a foodie, keep in Stari Bar, Bar’s Outdated City. There isn’t quite a bit to do apart from discover the ruins of the unique city and calm down with good meals, good bevies, and good firm (particularly for those who like cats).
I’d advocate exploring the ruins nearer to nightfall; we beloved the sundown from that view level. Stari Bar’s one important cobblestone road is so charming. Every little thing is only a few steps away; there are a variety of distinctive eating places, in addition to olive oil and memento retailers galore.
5. Budva – seashore and social gathering away
Budva is a beach-goer’s heaven; the water is heat, crystal clear and there are a ton of water sport actions. The Outdated city is just like Kotor in its walled options.
Budva is the wild youngster of Montenegro; by day, its boardwalk is carnival-like with video games and cubicles; by night time, it turns into a night-owl’s delight—with themed night time golf equipment that pump dance music into the early morning hours.
Not too far exterior of Budva, plan to make a fast cease at Sveti Stefan. As we speak, it’s an extremely unique and costly resort, however as soon as was a fortified city. If you happen to plan to seashore there, plan to pay for it; solar beds have been going for 30€ a bit! There’s a public space, however it’s fairly crude with its rocky seashore, versus the attractive white sands of the personal seashore (they usually’re actually side-by-side).
5 Journey Tricks to Bear in mind
- As soon as you understand how lengthy you’re planning your journey for, make certain your passport is legitimate for at the least 6 months following your return date and that you already know Montenegro’s entry and exit necessities for Canadians.
- Don’t stress if locals don’t welcome you with open arms; Montenegrins aren’t overly-friendly to vacationers. Our host in Kotor defined that Montenegrins will likely be respectful and handle your questions, however have little interest in pretending that they know you and such as you. As she described it, “We aren’t fake (like some other cultures are)”. If you happen to’re respectful, they are going to reciprocate.
- If you happen to’re planning to lease a automotive, add on the additional navigation system; we selected to not, and regretted it. We had a knowledge plan, so we thought Google Maps would direct us in all places we wished to go. Nope. We quickly discovered protection was spotty in lots of areas and surprisingly, Google maps pointed us in a number of fallacious instructions… we actually spent two hours in the future, driving across the Podgorica space looking for considered one of Montenegro’s hottest wineries. We have been despatched to the precise vineyards and the pinnacle workplace (the place nobody spoke English and weren’t happy about being interrupted by vacationers), however we by no means ended up on the property the place the excursions have been held!
- Make sure you do your analysis on rental automotive travel insurance. If you happen to Google round in the course of the planning part, you’ll see that many travellers warn of rental automotive vandalism and/or theft in Montenegro. Due to this, I used to be nervous this might occur to us and I didn’t need to get caught with one other expense, if it did. Fortunately, we didn’t should undergo that sort of travel nightmare, however I used to be ready for it… simply in case.
- If you happen to’re a cat lover like I’m, chances are you’ll be upset in regards to the variety of stray cats. However don’t be alarmed; our host assured us that they’re fed effectively by locals. Vacationers are suckers and feed them from their plates as a result of many cats roam round, howling at you beneath your restaurant chair. However like several grasping animals, they need your meals… not theirs. Cats are saved and fed to maintain away the rodents, particularly in walled cities like Kotor and Dubrovnik.
I hope the following pointers will enable you in planning your adventures in Montenegro!
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