Montenegro

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Table of Contents

General

Places


Budva Riviera

  • Walk the streets of Budva’s tiny — but delightful — Stari Grad, then enjoy coffee by the glittering water’s edge.
  • Hike to Sutomore’s Tabija Fortress, as well as nearby Haj-Nehaj. If you’re lucky, you might have both of these fortress ruins to yourself.

 

Cetinje & Lovćen National Park

  • Stroll past historic monasteries, chapels, and museums — plus the classic buildings that once served as embassies when Cetinje was Montenegro’s capital.
  • Journey to the top of Jezerski Vrh’s Njegoš Mausoleum and soak up sensational views of Montenegro’s interior, Lake Skadar, and the Bay of Kotor.
The exterior of King Nikola's Museum in Cetinje, Montenegro.
A priest walks past King Nikola’s Museum, in the heart of Cetinje.
The Njegoš Mausoleum and the surroundings of Lovcen National Park are covered in snow.
Even though the snowy paths were a bit unnerving to negotiate, we enjoyed seeing the Njegoš Mausoleum dressed in snow.

The Njegoš Mausoleum in Lovcen National Park Montenegro snow winter

Herceg Novi

  • Flit from one fortress to the next: there’s the crumbling and atmospheric Španjola Fortress (Spanish Fortress), as well as the Fortress Forte Mare.
  • Take in beautiful views of the bay from Herceg Novi’s promenade.
A palm tree frames a Herceg Novi sea-view.
For several centuries, Herceg Novi was known as Castelnuovo. The town is located near the entrance to the Bay of Kotor.
Herceg Novi Montenegro Ruins
The ruins of a Venetian-era fortress, a victim of Montenegro’s powerful 1979 earthquake.

Kotor

  • Delight in the architectural details of Kotor’s Old Town, then stop by the fresh market. Depending upon the season, the stalls overflow with everything from plump strawberries and wild asparagus, to enticing artisanal cheese and olive oil.
  • Ascend roughly 1,350 stairs to Kotor’s Fortress of St. John / Castle Of San Giovanni. On the way back to Kotor’s Old Town you can go the same way, or do as the locals do — return via a series of stone switchbacks.
  • Ready for a great workout and some marvelous views of the Bay of Kotor? Hike the 70 or so switchbacks to the top of the Ladder of Kotor, a centuries’-old route that linked Montenegro’s coastal areas to its hinterland.
  • Hike to Fort Vrmac, an abandoned Austro-Hungarian fortification. The trailhead can be found in the village of Muo, and the views of Kotor’s Old Town grow more exceptional the higher you climb.
Overhead view of Kotor's terracotta rooftops, as seen from the Hill of St. John.
As you ascend the hill overlooking Kotor, you’ll be rewarded with superb views of the Old Town and sparkling Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska).
A church clings to the side of a mountain overlooking Kotor, Montenegro.
When you’ve reached the half-way point of St. John’s Hill, take a breather and peek into the 16th-century Church of Our Lady of Remedy.
Saint Nicholas Church Kotor Montenegro
We popped into Kotor’s St. Nicholas Church for an award-winning choir’s performance, then strolled through this Orthodox church’s courtyard and treasury. On a grey and rainy day, the vibrant colors were even more appreciated.
Cheese cures in a bucket of wheat.
Wheels of cheese cure in a bucket of wheat at Kotor’s fresh market.
View of Bay of Kotor and Kotor Old Town from Vrmac.
Hiking up to Fort Vrmac, we were rewarded with phenomenal views of Kotor’s Old Town, the Kotor Fortress, and the Ladder of Kotor.

Lake Skadar National Park

  • Spot birds, frogs, butterflies, delicate flora, and lovely monasteries as you glide on the tranquil waterways of Lake Skadar.
  • Take in extraordinary views of Virpazar — and its dreamy surroundings — from the 15th-century Besac Fortress.
Lake Skadar Montenegro Nicholas Monastery Vranjina
Pausing to admire the splendor of Lake Skadar from the St. Nicholas Monastery on the island of Vranjina.

Perast & Risan

  • Pick a restaurant overlooking the Bay of Kotor, and savor the natural and manmade beauty surrounding you. (We’ve twice been to the Hotel Conte’s restaurant. I had a delightful gluten-free dessert, which I’m still dreaming about: vanilla ice cream dressed with pumpkin seeds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pumpkin seed oil, and fig jam.)
  • Take a delightful boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela), an islet —and church — visible from Perast’s coastline. The island is said to have been created by sailors, who tossed rocks into the bay whenever they’d returned from a maritime journey.
  • Make a side-trip to Risan, a town which has Roman mosaics dating back to the 2nd century CE. Risan is about 5 km (6 miles) from Perast.
Perast Montenegro church steeple lion
The belltower of St. Nikolas Church rises above Perast’s palaces (left) and a lion holds court on the balcony of the Maritime Museum (right).
A branch of purple wisteria flowers, in front of a roofless stone home in Perast, Montenegro.
Vibrant wisteria contrasts with a tumbledown stone home.
Our Lady of the Rocks Perast Montenegro
Two striking islands are visible from Perast: Sveti Đorđe / St. George Island (left), and Our Lady of the Rocks / Gospa od Škrpjela (right).
A close-up of Hypnos (the Greek god of sleep) on a Roman mosaic in Risan, Montenegro.
Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, is a popular figure in Risan, Montenegro. This 1,800-year-old mosaic (right) was discovered in a ruined Roman villa’s bedroom; Hypnos was added to help the owner sleep well. Today, just blocks away, Hypnos helps market a meaty, mushroomy pizza (right).
Risan Montenegro goats grazing
Goats graze in the outskirts of Risan.

Ulcinj

Ulcinj Montenegro fountain plus Arabic inscription
A boy drinks from a fountain in Ulcinj (left), and an Arabic inscription on a wall (right).
Ulcinj Montenegro sunset
The seaviews from our Ulcinj guesthouse were incredible.

Accommodation

While I cannot recommend the lackluster property I stayed at in Budva, here is accommodation I would happily revisit. Some affiliate links follow.

  • Kotor – We’ve visited Kotor two times — once for 10 days, and another time for two months. I’ve not been in Kotor during the summer, but I’ve heard that the Old Town (Stari Grad) can be noisy.
    • Our first time in Kotor, we stayed in the heart of the Old Town at the Apartments Đukić. The apartments were located close to restaurants, shops, and the Idea supermarket. We spent a few nights in the Apartments Đukić’s smaller studio apartment, then moved to one of their larger properties a few days later. In total, we spent 10 nights in their properties. Both apartments offered the basics, and the employee, Stefan, was friendly and eager to help us with any questions we had. He even allowed us to do our laundry in the apartment’s central laundry area.
    • We spent two months at the Apartman Emma. The owners, Tamara and Boštjan, were incredibly kind, and the apartment had everything we needed including a microwave, washing machine—even a blender. Our balcony views of the Bay of Kotor were superb! The apartment was situated in a residential part of Kotor, but it only took about five minutes to walk to the heart of  Kotor’s Old Town. From the apartment’s spacious balcony, we watched the boats glide on the bay, and from our bedroom we could see sheep and goats negotiate the rugged mountain’s slopes. The Aroma supermarket was also only five minutes away on foot; it’s inside the Kamelija Shopping Center. We wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again!

Transportation

Autobuska stanica Herceg Novi Bus Station Montenegro
Shawn at Herceg Novi’s Bus Station, preparing to journey to Kotor.

Additional Montenegro Resources


Hiking to Kotor Fortress Selfie
Shawn and me, hiking in Kotor.