Last October (yep this has been sat in my drafts for a while) Matt and I spent a wonderful week exploring Montenegro with two visits to Croatia and a drive through Albania & Bosnia-Herzegovina (we did a lot in 7 days). After the most expensive year ever (buying a house) we wanted a cheap European get away somewhere warmer and sunnier than England.
Croatia had been on our list for a few years and been in our minds most recently thanks to spending months binge watching Game of Thrones. However after some research online and thanks to recommendations from friends we found a deal for 7 nights in a 5 star hotel in Budva – Montenegro with breakfast, flights, airport parking & car rental at a very very affordable price. We couldn’t say no!
Not only did we get to explore one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited but thanks to access to a car (which if you want to explore the country you definitely need) we got to tick off 3 other countries which we can scratch off the map. I’d never considered Montenegro before but it is now firmly one of my favourite destinations and always a destination I shout out about when chatting holidays with friends.
Here are some more reasons to convince you to add it to your 2018 bucket list…
1. The stunning views in Lovcen National Park
Lovcen National Park is situated in the south west of the country and covers over 6000 hectares. Established in 1952 to protect Montenegro’s historical and cultural heritage the park covers the highest part of the mountain Lovcen and is home to a monument to Petar Petrović Njegos, a famous poet and philosopher. Njegos’ mausoleum takes you literally above the clouds with the most stunning views.
Top Tip – When visiting Njegoš Mausoleum set off early so you can have some time to enjoy being above the clouds before the crowds arrive.
The picturesque village of Perast
Perast really is a real life picture postcard. An old (tiny) town situated on the Bay of Kotor it has only one main street but it is lined with small restaurants giving you the best dinner view. Be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Top Tip – Time your dinner plans so you can enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun set.
The ancient history of Stari Bar
They say the clue is in the name and as Stari Bar translates to Old Town – it is exactly that. If you’re a history geek and like exploring you’ll want to visit the old fortress situated at the top of the cobbled hill. When we visited it was extremely peaceful with only a handful of visitors and for a moment you feel like time has frozen.
Top Tip – Visit late afternoon to explore in peace & quiet.
Kotor’s city walls…
Take a walk up to the city walls to enjoy that spectacular view, wonder the narrow cobbled streets full of independent shops, take a well earned rest at one of the cafes in the beautiful square and remember to look up – the buildings are stunning.
Top Tip – Make sure you wear sensible shoes (no flip flops) and take a bottle of water. There’s a lot of steps!
A nosey at the rich & famous…
Oh how the other half live! Two places definitely worth a visit just to drool over include the 5 star luxury island resort Sveti Stefan where past guests include Marilyn Monroe and Tivat Port where you can admire yatchs home to the rich and famous.
Top Tip – Save yourself some pennies and park in Tivat (few minutes stroll to the port) instead of paying for the parking at the port.
Exploring Budva Old Town
Budva Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets where a hidden gem can be found around each corner. Expect cocktail bars playing jazz music under fairy lights, independent boutiques selling garments made from the finest materials and delicious food served in restaurants all set in surroundings deep in history.
Top Tip – Enjoy a cocktail or two at Bar Casper.
Surely that’s enough to convince you?
Have you been to Montenegro? Feel free to add your advice and recommendations in comments below. If you have any questions feel free to ask away on twitter @sarahbethplumb.