Sometimes I feel like my trips are really more like reconnaissance missions. I have a short amount of time to scout things out & almost always leave thinking “I am going to have to come back and spend more time here”. Montenegro is certainly one of those places. It’s small, but is rich in not only breathtaking scenery, but history. It’s easy to leave it as a day trip from somewhere like Croatia. This is what we did. But I really wish I could’ve had a few more days to explore this tiny but mighty country!
How to Get to Montenegro
We drove from Dubrovnik to Montenegro in our zippy little rental car…super easy (about an hour from Dubrovnik to the Montenegro border). Keep in mind you’ll have to cross a few borders as Bosnia lays claim to a sliver of coastline in this direction.
The road is winding, but once it all starts coming into view, you just feel like you’ll never have quite enough time to take it all in.
Quick Tip: If you’ve got an activity scheduled, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to cross multiple borders, especially in peak season
What to Do
We scheduled a tour with Stefan of Miro & Sons, after reading some great reviews. Turns out we made a great choice. In my opinion, there is absolutely no way you can appreciate this country without some kind of tour guide. Montenegro shares some similarities to its neighbors, but also some very interesting differences. Stefan is a local and is extremely knowledgeable in past and current events. He happily answered questions about culture, politics, the economy, anything we asked (just in case you are interested in those kinds of things).
Quick Tip: There are also tours offering transportation to/from Dubrovnik, if you don’t have your own car.
Stefan met us in Perast for the first part of our tour. This town offers you the perfect view to understand what makes the Bay of Kotor so unique (and why Montenegro was impossible to invade by sea). After touring the oddly Venetian town (you’ll learn why during your tour since I know you booked one!), we took a boat out to Our Lady of the Rocks for a tour. But this is no ordinary church (or islet, for that matter) according to legend. Definitely worth the ride out into the bay. Once back on the mainland, we were off to Kotor.
Kotor is a beautiful walled city. But this isn’t just another run-of-the-mill walled city. Kotor is DRAMATIC! Seriously surreal. Like I-just-can’t-get-the-right-shot-to-capture-this surreal! It’s tucked into the mountains and surrounded by a seemingly endless zigzag of fortifications (which you can climb up for ridiculously fantastic views). The Old Town is far smaller than Dubrovnik, but is no less appealing. And far less crowded…unless there’s a cruise ship at port (darn tourists!). After our tour ended, we continued to stroll around, exploring the alley ways and watching various artists paint at the gates.
It was really hard to tear ourselves away from this lovely place. We all felt we could have used a few more days in Montenegro. So if you have the time, I am confident you won’t be disappointed!
Tip: To avoid crowds, check for the cruise ship port schedule. While I didn’t have much luck finding a schedule online, you can ask one of the tour companies or your hotel prior to booking.
- Kotor (Old Town, climbing the walls)
- Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks
- The scenic drive into Montenegro
Other Places to Consider in Montenegro:
- The Tara River Canyon (white water rafting, perhaps?)
- National Parks
- Monastery of Ostrog
- Herceg Novi (Blue Grotto)
Quick Facts for Montenegro
Language: Montenegrin, but English is taught starting in first grade so there’s minimal language barrier
Electricity: 240V/50Hz (same as western Europe)
Dialing Code: +382
Water: Considered safe, unless there have been heavy rains
Guidebook Used: Rick Steves Croatia & Slovenia