When Europe has so many beautiful countries and cities to offer a tourist, it can be hard to decide where to spend your heard earned holiday time. While sometimes you can’t beat the classics (Italy, Greece, Spain), there is something to be said for the less well known destinations like Montenegro.
Flying into Tivat, a new airport close to the coast, we decided to base ourselves just outside the walled towns of Kotor for the week. A popular tourist stop, in particular for a number of large cruise ships, Kotor is a beautiful old town perched on the side of a mountain, with the Bay of Kotor at the bottom.
The old town of Kotor is surrounded by an impressive wall, leading up into the mountain side behind the town. It is really worth a walk up around the Kotor fortress for impressive views of Kotor itself, as well as the stunning bay.
Inside the walled town, the streets are filled with narrow cobbled paths leading to small squares and beautiful buildings at every turn. Its worth going during the day, but beware – the town population does swell during the day while the cruise ships are docked in the bay. If you get a chance, its worth coming later in the day for a walk through the streets while the sun sets.
Our Lady of the Rocks
A short boat ride from Perast is the magical island “Our Lady of the Rocks”. A man-made island with a Catholic Church is a popular tourist stop off on a visit to Montenegro – its definitely something you dont see often, and is worth a trip.
Getting there itself is easy – there are lots of boats on the shore in Perast offering trips over to the island, and typically they will drop you off for 30-45 minutes which is more than enough time to soak up this small piece of paradise.
Perhaps one of the most visited destinations in Montenegro, and not without good reason, is the island of Sveti Stefan. A fortified historic village connected to the shores via a private walkway, which connects directly onto a stunning beach either side.
Today the island is a completely private resort, with access strictly restricted to guests only. However, in order to get a glimpse of this island, we learned that you can book a dinner reservation on the island, even if you are not staying on the resort. So, we packed our beach bags for a day of lazing on the pink toned sands of Sveti Stefan beach, followed by a luxurious dinner once the sun went down.
Just a few minutes drive up the coast from Sveti Stefan is Budva. A town known more locally as a party town, this is the place to go if you want to enjoy the nightlife.
Our lasting memory of Budva will be the meal we ate after exploring the beautiful old town. It might not sound like much, but here, in a local restaurant on the water, we sampled the local octopus. It was mindblowing – and we still talk about it to this day! In general, we had some of the best seafood we have eaten anywhere in the world in Montenegro – a must try if you are ever visiting.
Rose was one of our favourite discoveries during our time in Montenegro – a sleepy fishing village, which is off the usual tourist route, offering complete peace and tranquillity.
Given that its not a popular stop for tourists, there isnt much to do or see when you get there. But, find a seat in the local cafe, order a drink or an ice cream, and just listen to the waves splash against the harbour walls. Perfection!
We spent several hours just soaking up the atmosphere here, and left feeling truly relaxed. In fact, we even said that if we ever came back to Montenegro and fancied some time away from the bustle of Kotor or Budva, we could see ourselves staying here for a few days.
Porto Montenegro is a new and exclusive marina close to Tivat, which offers luxury dining, shopping and all manner of boating related activities. We drove over one evening to get a feel for the place, and was immediately transported to a place which felt so different to the rest of Montenegro – you almost forget where you are!
The above stops on our visit to Montenegro are by no means all this beautiful country has to offer. If we had longer we would have taken a trip into the mountains to explore another side to this destination. We hope that the above has inspired you to add Montenegro to your list of places to visit. If you have any other recommendations about things to do in Montenegro we would love to hear them!