It’s not very often you get to say that whilst on holiday in a very beautiful country that you get to spend a day in another very beautiful country; But that is what we did. On the third day of staying in Dubrovnik we decided to book with an excursions and tour company to go on a day trip to Montenegro, we were not disappointed! Croatia is stunning and Montenegro is similar to Croatia however it’s beauty is magnified by hundred, this place is a little piece of heaven surrounded by lush mountains and lakes. Even the locals here are beautiful, their beauty is effortless and organic, no wonder many Montenegrin women become models! We almost booked another day trip to Bosnia however we sadly ran out of time plus needed to keep to our spending budget. During the day trip we spent time in three separate places and it really gave us a taster of what Montenegro has to offer. That being said, our guide even stated that Montenegro is rather small as a population in comparison to the country and it’s civilians are proud of that because they try to keep population numbers under control to prevent further industrialization or development of towns, they want to keep Montenegro largely unspoiled and natural. The majority of Montenegro is covered by lush mountains, epic lime stone peaks, glacial lakes and nature reserves with only a few small towns dotted in between. So it is safe to say we did actually get to see the majority of Montenegro in the space of one day however I do recommend slightly longer stays if you fancy going further afield and trekking in the national park where wildlife such as bears and wolves are dwelling.
Our first stop was a pit stop to view ‘Our lady of the Rocks’ which is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro. It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rocks is the largest building on the islet; it has a museum attached. There is also a small gift shop close to the church and a navigation light at the western end of the islet. According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada in the local dialect, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place.
Next we spent four hours in and around the town of Kotor which is situated in the secluded part of the gulf of Kotor. This town has a population of 13,510 and has an old Mediterranean port surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period.Together with the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen, Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive and picturesque Mediterranean landscape. In recent years, Kotor has seen a steady increase in tourists, many of them coming by cruise ship. Visitors are attracted both by the natural beauty of the Gulf of Kotor and by the old town of Kotor. The town is now a world heritage site and is so pleasant to walk around, cafe’s, restaurants and fashion boutiques are plentiful, as are sweet little catholic churches the size of one room and can only fit 5 people at time are dotted around the cobbled streets. You feel safe and relaxed here and life in this place enjoys a slower, peaceful pace. Many wealthy families live or travel here, even Madonna has plans to build a casino on the sea front and numerous massive yachts and boats owned by millionaires glimmer like huge white doves on the shallow waters of the bay.
During our time in Kotor, Jon & I attempted to climb the serpentine steps up towards the fortress Sveti Ivan. It is situated above the bulwarks of the Kotor’s Old town and at the very top of the fortress it is 280 m above sea level. Walking up and looking down, the views are out of this world, there are no words to describe how beautiful everything looks. I actually didn’t make it to the top simply because the day’s temperature was baking hot and I dehydrate rather quickly, I managed to make it over half way and then let Jon continue without me, I waited for him to walk back down whilst resting, drinking plenty of water and enjoying the views.
Soon after Kotor we headed to another town called Budva. In Budva our visit lasted about three hours and again it was another quaint medieval town with cobbled narrow streets, street performers and artists selling their work, beautiful women owning and working in boutiques and a lovely promenade to enjoy home made ice cream, basque in the sea and soak up the sun. Budva, like Kotor is situated on the coast of the Adriatic sea and has some stunning views along the sea front with a backdrop of rich green mountains. Budva is 2,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast. The Old Town of Budva is situated on a rocky peninsula, on the southern end of Budva field. Archaeological evidence suggests that Illyrian settlement was formed on the site of the Old Town before Greek colonization of the Adriatic. The layout of the town is roughly orthogonal, although many streets deviate from the grid, resulting in somewhat irregular pattern, with many piazzas connected with narrow streets. Today, the entire city within the walls is pedestrian-only.
Our day trip in Montenegro was refreshing, we are restless souls (Jon more so than me) and we do love change, we essentially spent 3 days leisurely walking around Dubrovnik and Lokrum and it was just so exciting waking up at 6:30am to go on a day’s adventure and be surrounded by something different. Needless to say, Montenegro is ravishing and elegant and there really is no place like it.
After four days based in Dubrovnik we ventured over to Split and stayed there for three days, tune in for next weeks blog post about our time there.
If you missed any previous blog posts about Croatia so far, here they are:
four days in Dubrovnik
Day trip to Lokrum Island
I am also on Tripadvisor.