MONTENEGRO

MONTENEGRO

Published On September 5, 2015 | By Florentina Ilie | Holiday

I decided to visit Montenegro after a friend recommended me the destination in 2013. I knew nothing about the country’s coast, so I gave a Google search and the first image that I saw was a panorama of Budva.

I liked it so much that I packed up and went to Montenegro that summer, after I took the holiday tickets from the travel agency Gulliver’s Tours. I had no guts to drive till there because between Bucharest and Budva are 963 km , so I chose to go by bus . Wrong choice, because I made 23 hours till Budva, instead of 16 hours as we did in 2014 when we went by private car and I chose Montenegro for the second time. Once we passed Podgorica we enjoyed the beautiful view of Moraca’s canyon.

Then we arrived in Budva and we stayed at Slovenska Plaza. I recommend you this hotel. It’s a four stars hotel, affordable and clean, has large rooms and is located in a green area on the seafront, right next to the old city of Budva, the beach, the clubs and restaurants. 

Speaking about food, I have to tell you that Budva has some excellent butcher shops where you can choose your meat and they prepare it on the grille and pack it up so you can take it right away. For example we paid 2.50 euro for two pork steaks, two big sausages, salad and sauce. At a beach tavern a plate with 10 small rolls of meat, salad, sauces, beers, juice and bread cost us 11 euro and a plate for two with seafood was 25 euro. There is also the option to eat at fast food shops or local pastry shops where a huge slice of pizza or pie cost 1.50 euro.

All restaurants, taverns, butcher shops, fast food restaurants and self-service restaurants are located on the seafront of Budva. Most of the restaurants have live music (local, cuban, country or rock music) where you can party until the morning. But our favorites were the restaurants that by night move their tables on the sand, near the water. If you don’t what to stay all night in a restaurant you can chose an outdoor club. On the seafront there is another important attraction, the medieval town of Budva that is filled with all kinds of shops, restaurants and several museums.

When it comes to beach don’t stay on the strip of sand from the waterfront because is crowded and dirty. The beach located between the old town and the ballerina statue is also not a good choice because is expensive. One great option is Mogren beach hidden after the cliffs in a small gulf. We went there the first day. The water is clean and clear, the sand is medium granulation and you must have special footwear. Mogren is beautiful but quite crowded and a lounge chair costs 15 euro.

Our favorite beach was the Sveti Nikola Island or the Budva Hawaii, as locals call it. Until there we made five minutes every morning by boat and a round trip ticket cost 3 euro for two. The island is not crowded, green and very quiet. The beach is made of white stones (but all we needed were special shoes to protect us from sea urchins). Here the water is incredibly clear and ideal for diving or snorkeling and this is what we did almost every day in addition to lazing in the sun. Who wants thrills can jump into the sea from the big cliffs that are on the island. Another advantage of this beautiful island is the price: for two lounge chairs, two mattresses and an umbrella we paid 5 euro.

Obviously we didn’t spent every day at the beach. One day we went on a cruise through the Bay of Kotor , the deepest natural fjord of the Mediterranean Sea. Kotor’s Bay is on the list of the most beautiful places in the world and who cataloged it this way was right because the former canyon is submerged by the clearest water of the Mediterranean , the Adriatic Sea,  is surrounded by high walls of mountains Lovcen and the view is amazing . We admired the coast and we stopped at the Blue Grotto, a beautiful cave where the water is turquoise, quite cold and perfect for a quick dip .

The second stop was the island of Our Lady of the Rocks .  It’s located near the city of Perast and has a beautiful history.  It is said that in 1452 a seaman from Perast found on a piece of rock in the sea an icon of the Virgin Mary. Along with other villagers decided that each time they return from the sea to throw a stone in that place in order to make an island on which to build a church for the icon.  Stone by stone  the island was formed  and then the locals built the church where they laid the icon. The church became the place where all the sailors wives came and left gifts for the Virgin Mary in order to bring back home their husbands safe and healthy every time went sailing.

In another day we visited the town of Kotor.  It’s 20 kilometers away from Budva and  if you don’t have your own car you can take a local bus and go to Kotor.  A round trip ticket price is 6 euro and the bus is clean and has air conditioning . Kotor is a place that we really wanted to see . The Old Town is surrounded by a security wall , 15 meters wide and 20 meters high . History says that the town was conquered by Greeks,  Illyrians,  Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines, Slovenian tribes, Venetians and eventually became the property of Serbs.  You can already imagine why the city is home to a cultural and architectural variety .

Upon the main gate of Kotor you can see Tito ‘s quote that became a local slogan : ” What is others we don’t want. What is ours, we’ll never surrender . “  The town is small but full of museums and churches old and fascinating . If you get tired of wandering the narrow streets you can sit at one of the cozy terraces for refreshments and delicious desserts .

A big must in Kotor town is climbing the 2000 steps to the fort wall of defense. We did it and  wasn’t  easy, but worth it. The stairs are narrow and the sun burned above us, but we rested under the shade of the trees and we bought fresh drinks from vendors waiting for thirsty tourists like us. We reached the fort and enjoyed the fascinating view from the top.  I also have to tell you that Kotor is full of all sorts of cultural events that you can enjoy: Boka Night, Summer Carnival Bokeljski NOC , Underwater Film Festival,  Mimosa’s Festival.

 We spent a day in another medieval town from Croatia. It is said that Montenegro is the cheapest way to visit Dubrovnik and so it is.  Dubrovnik is three times more expensive than Kotor or Budva but is beautiful.  To get to the walled city of croats we took a day trip which cost 50 euro per person and went with the bus from Budva to Dubrovnik. In two hours by bus we were in the croatian town because we chose the short way to get us there, the feribot near the town of Kotor .  Back to Dubrovnik, the fortress is so beautiful that it was called the Pearl of the Adriatic and this is the main reason why is full of tourists.  As soon as we entered in the city we cooled with fresh water  from Onofrio ‘s fountain , which resembles a dome and is the main city water source since 1444 .

In Dubrovnik you’ll need a whole day to visit the Church of Renaissance St. Salvator,  Sponza
Palace, the City Museum, the Rector’s Palace, the Marina Museum, the Cathedral Velike Gospe
which was founded by Richard the Lionheart on his way back from Israel. We enjoyed the walk
on the city walls for wich we paid 100 kuna per person.   The old city seen from above
fascinated us and made ​​us regret that we didn’t have time to for a swim near the city walls. If you want to visit Dubrovnik remember that the access to museums, palaces and the wall is
possible only if you pay with local money, so you need to change euro into kuna.

I have one regret about Montenegro, that we didn’t reached the Tara River canyon.  It’s the
second deepest canyon in the world after the one in USA and is the largest in Europe. I wanted very much to do rafting there, and yet I never had the time to trie it once in two years.  Maybe next time 🙂

Here you have some offers from two romanian travel agencies for Montenegro:

http://www.gullivertours.ro/quicksearch?q=muntenegru

http://sejur.besttourism.ro/Muntenegru.html

If you want to plan the trip in Montenegro by your own, I recommend you the next site https://letsgotomontenegro.com/    On this site you can find the best deals for hotels, apartments, cottages, car rental and local tours. Here you will also find all you want to know about the most beautiful places in Montenegro.

 

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