It’s hard to say where your favourite place in the world is, since comparing the bustling streets of New York is vastly different to the deserts in Namibia. But, that being said…. Montenegro is my favourite place!
Montenegro to me is the perfect country with scenery that is yet to be rivaled in my eyes. We travelled here from Serbia which meant getting on a 12 hour night train from Belgrade to Bar, in South Montenegro. From Bar we took a short bus which took us to Budva where we were staying. I would recommend always sitting on the left hand side of the bus (a tip I actually read before I went!) as you will be travelling to coast road and the views on to the Adriatic are absolutely amazing. Unless you are afraid of heights, or have a fear of going over the edge of a cliff on a 50 year old, struggling bus…. Then I would sit on the right!
Budva is probably the biggest tourist spot in Montenegro (ops!) but there were no unmanageable crowds in late September and prices for dinner were still around €4 (we were told this was actually a rip off, but it was probably the cheapest meals we had on our trip!). We stayed in a small hostel within the walls of Stari Grad called ‘Freedom Hostel’. Although all of Budva is nice, staying within the walls of the old town was a brilliant experience. Unlike other Old Towns I have been to, all the alleyways were quite small. It made it hard for someone like me, who is completely lacking all direction to get around – but that was half the fun too!
If you manage to find your way around there is a small outlet that brings you to a beach behind the Old Town walls and it was absolutely beautiful, with crystal clear water. There are sun loungers along the beach which you have to pay for, but there are also parts that allow you space to put down a towel and relax on the sand. If you continue walking along the beach and down by the marina you will be met with a stunning view of the mountains in the background.
We had met a guy in the same cabin as us in our night train from Ulcinj in Montenegro, so on our second day we rented a car to drive down to visit him. One thing I wish we knew before we went was that driving 60km in Montenegro is not like driving 60km in Ireland. The roads are really steep and swirl through the mountains which meant our little 1L car really struggled.. Like really, really struggled. What should have taken an hour or less ended up being about a two and a half hour car ride, but the views along the coast more than made up for it (which I can say, because I wasn’t the one driving haha!). Our friend from the train met us with two of his friends and brought us to his cabin on the Bojana river, by the little island Ada Bojana which separates Montenegro and Albania. We all hung out at his cabin that his dad had made before they brought to the beach in Ulcinj for a swim. The beach is the feature picture of this post because it was absolute paradise and because of the time of year it was completely deserted. They then brought us to a bar with a floating terrace on the Bojana river and treated us to a few drinks. The hospitality both him and his two friends showed us throughout the day was astounding, and their level of English was honestly better than some people I know! We went really out of our way to go and meet him so it really added to the experience that he put in so much effort for us when we arrived.
We said our goodbyes and headed back to Budva – making a stop along the way to watch the sunset. We parked up and walked along the beach by Sveti Stefan, a man mad inlet and 5 star resort. I don’t think you are allowed on it unless you are staying there but it was dark so we snuck up the side steps from the beach. There are hotels all along the little island so we took the steps up as far as we could until we found a church at the highest point that looked out over Budva. Unfortunately the next day we set off for the mountains and never got a proper chance to explore Kotor – but all the more reason to go back! 😋
Honestly, between the amazing hospitality we were shown and the stunning views it would have been hard for us to not fall in love with Montenegro. It was nice that there weren’t large crowds but at the same time it made me sad that the country was so beautiful but clearly so underrated compared to the likes of Croatia, its neighbor. On our third night we drove to Durmitor National Park for an adventure away from the sea – but that tale is for a post in itself 😃
Have you ever been to Montenegro? Or would you like to visit?