A weekend on the coast in Montenegro
A long overdue write up of a long weekend along Montenegro’s coast, visiting Budva and Kotor while staying at the fabulous Sveti Stefan Hotel.
If you’ve been following this blog, you fortunately are not going to ask “why Montenegro” after reading my accounts of visiting places like Kuwait or Tajikistan.
Montenegro is a relatively young country, having declared independence from former Serbia & Montenegro only in 2006. And with a population of under 700’000 it is also one of the smaller nations in Europe. While still off the major tourist radars, the country is rapidly increasing its tourism, especially during summer months when large numbers of Eastern European and Russian tourists descend on Montenegro’s beaches.
We had chosen Montenegro, and more specifically the Adriatic coast due to the relatively short travel distance, lack of tourists, beautiful towns and warm weather in fall. Disappointed we were not.
There was a bit of excitement as our first flight to Ljubljana was cancelled at short notice due to weather but luckily we managed to route via Vienna right at the last minute, eventually arriving in Podgorica even earlier than initially planned. We rented a car (very good experience with the local Europcar franchise) and started the roughly one hour drive towards Sveti Stefan.
Roads are in excellent conditions, better than in most parts of Europe. After driving north along the coast, we eventually reached the island of Sveti Stefan which nowadays is exclusively used by a single hotel. The purpose of this blog is not to review hotels, others are way better at this, but if you’re interested, here’s a great review.
We enjoyed some manificent sunsets over the course of the next two days, looking towards the town of Budva.
We spent Saturday driving around the vicinity. First stop was the monastery and cute town of Cetinje.
From there we continued further along the mountain road towards Njegusi where we stopped for lunch
From Njegusi we took the winding (and it is really, really winding) road to Kotor. Along the way you have beautiful views towards the Bay of Kotor where we saw no less than four large cruise ships. This gave us a flavor of what to expect in the town of Kotor.
Now Kotor is really beautiful. You just have to time your arrival to not coincide with any cruise ship arrivals, which is probably nearly impossible between Spring and Fall. Because it means literally several thousands of tourists will invade this little walled town.
All in all we spent around three hours in the car that day and as self-driving is no issue at all, I’d prefer this over a guided tour.
That was it for our long weekend in Montenegro. Summer sees direct flights from several European cities to either Podgorica or Tivat and I can only recommend to visit the country before it becomes “mainstream”. Oh and by the way, the Euro is the official currency!