Montenegro - October 2019
A day full of travel. Our First flight took off from BWI Airport with connections to Montreal, Canada, followed by Munich, Germany, and lastly to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Once we landed, we converted some money the local currency known as the Kuna, got a local SIM card, and picked up our rental car.
Ironically, our first destination was not Dubrovnik, or any city in Croatia for that matter. We drove south, and crossed the boarder into Montenegro. We were headed to the coastal harbor town of Kotor.
TIP: If you are renting a vehicle, and are planning to cross the Croatian boarder into Montenegro and/or Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will need a “Green Card”. This is something the car rental company will give you/may need to buy, which gives you permission to cross the boarder legally. Let your rental company know when you pick up your rental and this will be provided.
Montenegro is well known for being a “fortified city” along the Bay of Kotor. The historic walled city of Old Town Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On our first day, our journey was to the top of Kotor Fortress (aka St. John’s Fortress). Located up into the limestone cliffs behind Old Town Kotor. There are 3 main entrances into the fortified city, the Main Gate, North Gate and South Gate. The North Gate is the closest to the start of the trail.
Currently, (this post, as of October 2019) it cost 8 Euros per person to enter. We were told previously it was only 3 Euros and if you get there very early in the morning, you can get in for free. That no longer seems to be the case as they have a “checkpoint” and turnstiles at the main entrance.
Be aware the currency in Montenegro is the Euro, they do not accept Kuna (Croatian Currency)
Overall the hike up to the top can be challenging. Heerali and I hike quite a bit and we are use to uphill climbs with heavy backpacks and camera gear. I can see this being difficult if you are not very active. Recommend taking frequent breaks and having plenty of water. Good shoes are a must as the trail is steep and slippery due to the limestone rocks that have been worn down over the years.
Along the way, you will pass by the Church of Our Lady of Remedy. You can consider this the halfway point on the way to the fortress.
The view continues to get more beautiful the higher you climb. Doing this early in the morning, the weather stays cool as the sun is rising behind the mountains, and you get a beautiful sunrise along the way.
TIP: Recommend doing this hike early in the morning for many reasons.
The weather stays cool during the hike
You get a beautiful sunrise view as you make your way to the top
Beat the crowd! Especially if a cruise ship is docking, it gets very busy, very quickly with tourist
At the top of the Fortress awaits a breath-taking panoramic view of the City of Kotor along the Adriatic. We sat up here, enjoyed the sunrise and took it all in!
(Personally, the price of 8 Euros is a little steep but worth it for the view!)
After making our way back down, we had breakfast at a local restaurant in the old town. We walked the streets as the tourist from the cruise ships started to make their way in. That was our queue to exit. We made our way back to our hotel for some afternoon R&R.
Later that evening we drove to a neighboring town known as Prcanj. This is a quant local town that sits across the bay from Kotor.
We wanted to enjoy Old Town Kotor one last time. We made our way there for dinner and drinks. Walked the streets and called it a night.
DAY 2: BHUDVA, MONTENEGRO Today, we made a day trip to Bhudva. A town that sits along the Adriatic Sea. This is about a 45 minute drive from Kotor. Bhudva is a lot more developed and modernized compared to the smaller town of Kotor. Our main reason for traveling here was to visit the Old Town of Bhudva, similar to Old Town Kotor but a bit smaller. Also to visit Sveti Stefan which was once a small fishing town/island, now a 5 star resort.
Bhudva is more modernized compared to the other towns along Kotor Bay. Here, you will find high rises, lavish resorts, high end consumer stores and mega yachts in the harbor.
Old Town Budva is smaller compared to Kotor but streets are well organized and easier to navigate. You will find good local restaurants, souvenir shops and high end clothing/fashion stores.
We spent half the day in Bhudva which was enough for what we had planned but you could easily spend the whole day if you wish. From here, our was to make our way back to Croatia. This was about a 3 hour journey from Budva. Of course along the way we passed picturesque views so we made a few stops to capture some great shots. We stopped in Persat, another small town along the Bay of Kotor.
We finally reached the Croatian-Montenegrin boarder, passed through, and made our way to walled city of Dubrovnik (Que Game Of Thrones theme song!)
Continue along with this journey with our Croatian blog!
Or you can jump ahead to our Bosnia-Herzegovina detour!