One of the countries in the Balkans experiencing a huge growth spurt in recent past is Montenegro. Just like its neighbor Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was plagued by the civil wars in the 1990s and has only been able to get back on its feet fairly recently. Like Croatia, the country enjoys a beautiful and long coastline against a mountain backdrop. The infrastructure is still playing catch up, the roads are curvy and single lane each way for the most part and aren’t built to full motorway standards. Add to it the traffic woes and you can easily be left drained at the end of the day trip if you don’t plan your itinerary properly.
We did a day trip of Montenegro from Dubrovnik and our plan was to visit 3 popular places along the coastline – Perast, Kotor and Budva. The day turned out to be very long as we got stuck in a bad traffic jam. Make sure to leave early in the day if you want to explore these places leisurely and account for few things unexpected on the road.
Attractions in Montenegro
Perast is a small but beautiful town situated on the bay of Kotor closer to the Croatian border. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are two islets off the coast of Perast, one of them being the ‘Old Lady of the Rocks’. The islet was created artificially by sinking rocks and old ships and has a wonderful backstory to why and how it got created. If you are interested, you can take a small boat ride to reach the islet and explore the museum there for about 5 Euros. We saw the islet from far and decided to skip exploring it as we were short on time.
Budva is the country’s most popular destination by far and boasts of some great beaches. It also has a lovely old walled town center. A private island and 5 star resort called Sveti Stefan lies about 5 to 6 kms away from Budva and is very picturesque. That’s the place where Novak Djokovik got married. There is a Hotel ‘Adrovik’ near Sveti Stefan which has a restaurant offering excellent views of the island. We finished our lunch here overseeing the island and spent the next hour exploring the old walled town center of Budva. The narrow winding lanes of the town center were much more peaceful than Dubrovnik and offered many opportunities for photography.
The Bay of Kotor is one of the most stunning bays in Europe. Located deep in the bay is the town of Kotor, offering some amazing scenery with the steep mountains dropping down almost vertically to merge with the adjacent water. The city’s old town is also much raved about and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best way to experience the scenery is to climb the upper town wall with stairs leading to the St. John Fortress. The climb all the way up to the fortress is about an hour one way for moderately fit person and the entrance to the upper walls cost 8 Euros. The climb can get very steep at some places and one can choose to stop at the church situated half way up if all they care is best views of the bay. Since we were short on time, we did the short climb halfway up to church and came back with some stunning photos undoubtedly worthy of being Montenegro’s best. We also dined at one of the many Italian restaurants in the old town before making our way back to Dubrovnik.