Montenegro lies just south of Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, on the Adriatic sea. During our summer trip, we based ourselves in Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage walled city located on the incredibly scenic bay of Kotor.Kotor is a small, cobblestoned city, with walls standing between it and the bay, as well as walls climbing the hills behind it. The town itself was fairly compact, and pretty touristy, though in our case it really didn’t detract from its charm. It is a popular cruise stop, which accounts for some of its popularity (we could see a different cruise ship parked in the bay most days), but it is still not quite as popular as Dubrovnik, located just a 90km to the north.
Though Kotor is charming on its own, its location on the breathtaking Bay of Kotor really takes it up a notch. The entire bay consists of beautiful blue waters backed by mountains.
Kotor City Walls
Our favorite thing to do in Kotor was to walk the city walls. The walls didn’t just surround Kotor on the bay side, but climbed the hills behind the town, so the walk up was steep, but the views just got better and better as we climbed.
Eventually we reached a fortress at the very top of the walls, where we explored and enjoyed the view for a few minutes before heading back down.
The walk down was even more scenic (and easier on the legs!) since we were facing out into the bay.
While exploring the streets of Kotor, we happened upon the restaurant Hippocampus, located on the roof of a hotel. The food was good and the location fantastic, so it ended up being our favorite meal in Montenegro.
Mount Lovcen National Park
We took a drive from Kotor up to Mount Lovcen National Park, a mountaintop national park and mausoleum for one of Montenegro’s national heroes. To get to Mount Lovcen, there is a small, narrow but scenic winding road up from Kotor, or a larger but slightly less scenic road. I’m not a huge fan of winding one lane roads on mountain edges, so we opted for the less scenic but wider road, and I’m happy with our choice. We still got beautiful views of the bay and Kotor as we climbed.
Once in the park, we paid a few Euro as an entrance fee (as is often the case, the kids were free so that always saves us a bit of money), and we headed straight up to the mausoleum that overlooked the mountain, the resting place to one of Montenegro’s great leaders and writers from the 1800’s, who requested to be buried there.
Despite driving far up the mountain, to actually reach the mausoleum, we had to take a steep set of stairs through a tunnel.
When we emerged from the tunnel, we were on top of the world (or Montenegro at least)
We enjoyed some truly stunning views of the country and could even see a bit of the Bay of Kotor from up there.
There wasn’t much to do at the top other than enjoy the views, so we didn’t spend long there, but enjoyed the trip up there and the time we spent there.
Our time in Kotor was at the end of our two month road trip, and we all (especially the boys) needed a break from the historic cities, hikes and cobblestone streets. So, on the way back from Mount Lovcen we decided to take the boys to Aquapark Budva and we all had an absolute blast. It was a great waterpark with lots to do, and just because we were still on the Bay of Kotor, it also had phenomenal views!
I didn’t take many pictures because we were busy swimming, but it is safe to say that we all thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at the waterpark!
Driving around the Bay of Kotor, we made a stop in the town of Perast, Montenegro. We stopped here specifically to head out to the island of Our Lady of the Rocks. This tiny island contains a pretty church, and is the only artificially built island in the Adriatic. According to wikipedia, it was built upon a rock after two Venetian sailors from Perast found a picture of the Virgin Mary on it in 1452. Every year, the locals celebrate a local festival by bringing rocks across to the island to continue to built up the island.
As soon as we got to the town, we were attempting to find a parking spot when a man approached us to ask if we wanted to go to the island, and if so, he had a parking spot reserved for us. We said yes (normally I am more skeptical of this sort of thing, but I had read that the easiest way to get over was on a private boat). So, the man guided us to the only empty spot in the lot, which wasn’t so much a parking spot as much as it was just wedging ourselves between a bunch of garbage bins. Anyway, the guy led us to a boat, and for €20, we got a round trip ride to the island, along with one other family.
Once we got to the island, the boat driver dropped us off and said he would meet us in half hour, which was plenty of time to walk through the church and around the tiny island.
After our half hour was up, our driver came back to get us and we rode back to the mainland. We took a walk down the main street, then stopped for a quick lunch and ice cream before leaving town.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time around Montenegro’s stunning Bay of Kotor. There is still much more of Montenegro we didn’t get to see and hopefully we will get back there sometime!