Montenegro: Europe’s Next Big Hotspot
If you have been following my instagram, you know I just got back from a two week European cruise to Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece. One of my very favorite spots was Montenegro. This small Balkan country has everything! Medieval villages, rugged mountains, and a picturesque coastline spotted with gorgeous beaches that rival any of its mediterranean neighbors. I fell in love with this captivating country in just one day, and I have no doubts that you will too. So, here is my go-to guide to your perfect day in Montenegro.
Step 1: Arrive By Sea
One of the most jaw-dropping things you will see on your trip to the Dalmatian Coast is the fjords of Montenegro. If you’re thinking Fjords? I thought those were only in Norway and Iceland? , you’re not alone. I thought the same thing before visiting Montenegro, but was quickly corrected that in fact the Bay of Kotor, a stunning maze of sea inlets, is Europe’s southernmost Fjord, and home to the beautiful city of Kotor.
Step 2: Explore the medieval town of Kotor & Hike to the top of the Castle of San Giovani
As you sail through the Bay of Kotor, you’ll reach the end of the bay, home to arguably Montenegro’s most famous town, Kotor. It looks like a typical coastal town until you see up close that it’s surrounded by medieval city walls, built by the Venetians to protect it from invaders. If you’re up for the climb, these five kilometer long stone walls run right into the steep hillside above the town, offering incredible panoramic views across the entire Bay of Kotor. The hike is pretty treacherous– you’ll be climbing approximately 1,350 stairs to a height of 4000 feet!! It will take you around two hours to get up and back, and is a fantastic workout to start off your day. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
After your hike, walk the town! It’s a walled city that feels as if you’re stepping back in time, and there are lots of cafes and shops to explore.
Step 3: Hop in a cab to Budva
Getting the right cab driver here is key. The right driver will know all of the gorgeous spots to stop at as you’re driving the coast of this beautiful country, and they’ll fill you in on all of the rich culture and history in Montenegro on the way. For example, did you know that the Montenegrans are the 2nd tallest people in the world? After the dutch. They also play a LOT of water polo (and they’re very good at it) and will often play right in the ocean instead of in a swimming pool, since there are very few waves and the salt water provides extra buoyancy. Having grown up a swimmer/water polo player myself I thought that was very cool.
Here are some of the views we saw on the way to Budva of the town and beaches.
Budva is a seaside town on the other side of the mountain from Kotor, and it’s at most a 40 minute drive from each town to the other. In Budva, you’ll find gorgeous beaches and restaurants and shops, making it a perfect spot to swim and relax for a couple hours in the middle of the day. We stopped here on our way to Sveti Stefan and are so glad that we did.
Step 4: Eat lunch at the Olive Cafe on Sveti Stefan
Aman Sveti Stefan is a luxurious coastal resort that takes over a small island off the coast of Montenegro. Look at this island. How can you not be completely captivated by it?
Researching where to go in Montenegro, I just KNEW I had to see it. Only one problem. This resort has 24/7 guards guarding the bridge and only allowing the guests onto the resort. And by guests, it means the people paying upwards of 2k a night. Oh, and famous tennis player Novak Djokovic, who, in between holding world records in tennis and often being ranked #1 singles mens tennis player worldwide by ATP, held his wedding at this beautiful resort. So, what are the rest of us to do when we are just dying to see it? Well, there is a beach that is accessible to the rest of us who aren’t athletes or celebrities, and it, my friends, is SO beautiful. However, if you want to lay on this beach, it’s going to cost you. 75 euro per person. That’s a lot for a beach! Worth it?
Not in my opinion. So what do you do? Eat at the stunning restaurant on the beach overlooking the resort – Olive Cafe!
Step 5: Enjoy a sunset cocktail overlooking Sveti Stefan
The Olive restaurant also has the BEST sunset view in all of Montenegro.. With plenty of outdoor tables & delicious drinks to enjoy it. I mean, look at this picture taken at Olive. Does it get any prettier?
There you go. A PERFECT day in Montenegro! I hope you’ll visit this beautiful country soon, because it is so wonderfully off-the-beaten tourist track right now but most definitely won’t be for long!!! Just look at the immense growth in popularity of tourism in Croatia and I can tell you that Montenegro is definitely Europe’s next big thing.