love on the aegean: falling for montenegro

Posted on Nov 11, 2013

theromanticPost-Belgrade, we hopped on a bus and booked it for Montenegro. Even though this was a late edition to the itins, it’s long been on our list of places to explore and I am happy to report: it did not disappoint.

When people ask about our trip, questions always include, “which stop was your favorite??” Even though it’s unlikely I’ll ever commit to one answer, Montenegro is a serious contender.

Warning: seriously photo-heavy post ahead.

 Budva

budva

Our first stop was Budva, and though we had heard mixed reviews, we had a blast. It was definitely more touristy than our second stop of Kotor, but the coastline was gorgeous, the old town was adorable, and the local family we stayed with through AirBnb was incredibly sweet. Wins all around.

Also, it’s impossible to catch this town at a bad angle. Really, Montenegro was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring.

budva collage

budva collage 2

Though our internal clocks were finally up to speed, we were still feeling pretty low-key. We spent most of our time on or near the beach, drinking local beers with the best of them. Seriously, these guys can DRINK. Pints were poured starting at 9 or 10 AM each morning, and it wasn’t uncommon to see little glasses of white wine paired with a breakfast pastry. These are my people.

The best thing we did? Rent a little paddleboat and head out to sea.

aegean

boat.jpg

The worst? A boat tour around the harbor and out to Sveti Stefan. It’s not that it wasn’t gorgeous, but meh. Kinda boring. Skip it unless you’re going to go onto the actual island (we didn’t have time because we left this until the very last day.)

sveti stefan.jpg

Kotor

bay of kotor.jpg

If you’re looking for charm, Kotor has all of it. It’s hoarding charm. It kidnapped charm and locked it behind the fortress walls and spread it around every little cobblestoned street and buried it underneath perfect red-tiled rooftops.

kotor red rooftops.jpg

Each day, cruise ships dock in the Bay and try to steal the charm, but so far, fortunately, they have been unsuccessful. They were relentless–I think they wanted to take it back to their boats full of endless fro yo–so I’m telling you now: go to the Bay of Kotor before it becomes the new Dubrovnik.

More on this when we get to Croatia, but this leg of the trip sealed the deal: I have officially seen more than enough capri pants & visors for one lifetime.

Still, despite our first run in with the fun vacuums that came in hoards each day, Kotor’s charm kept us in its good graces.

kotor charm

On our last afternoon, we hiked up to the old fortress to take a peek at the views. There are no words. This was a really tough hike—partially because of the heat, but mainly because of the steep incline—but it was 100% worth it. We almost skipped it in favor of eating more gelato, but I’m glad we didn’t.

the hike!

We stayed at the Old Town Hostel Kotor, and I have to say—I was seriously impressed. It was 25 EUR each, and they put us in a huge apartment on the top floor, which was complete with a little kitchen. We spent our two nights in Kotor down in the lobby, drinking rakia with the other guests and the manager, Ross, who was a party throwing pro. He took two shots of rakia for every one he poured, and led us all to a pub around midnight to keep the party going. On night two, he made mussels for everyone and hosted a huge group dinner. We missed most of night two because… well, night one was pretty epic.

Up until this point, we had skipped out on the organized social outings at other hostels, mainly because we were a solid five years older than the average guests. There was a little bit more of a variety in age here, and we spent time swapping stories with a left-handed dentist from Boston, a local Montenegrin who had been bar hopping since age ten and didn’t understand why things were different in the states, and an 18 year old kid from Atlanta who was making himself appletinis that were “sooooo strong you guys.” He later recruited me as his wingman to help him meet some local girls, and I actually think I may have found my calling. (Hint: my first bit of advice was to stop drinking appletinis.)

kotor heights

As for Montenegro, I will absolutely be back for more. The prices were right, the people were amazing, and the scenery? I’m not even sure pictures can do it justice.

xo!

the romantic

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in rtw rookie, true life: budva, true life: kotor, true life: montenegro | 36 comments

36 Comments

  1. Looks so lovely! I have heard a lot about it, but never visited – and loved the comment about the visors. Where were they from? ;) And no cruises, please
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..A fun girls weekend in LA, California-styleMy Profile

  2. Looks beautiful!!! I’m really keen to explore more of the Balkans. I went to Croatia and Bosnia quite a few years ago and the scenery was breathtaking.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..A Week in Hospital in Koh SamuiMy Profile

  3. Wine for Breakfast?? Why is that not a thing everywhere? This place sounds amazing.
    Britany recently posted..The Chill and Charm of Shoreline Trails in Traverse City, MichiganMy Profile

  4. Wow! I don’t know much about Montenegro, and it was never high on my list of places to travel, but it looks incredible (and incredibly beautiful!) I think I will have to add it to my travel wish list :)
    Laura recently posted..Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 95My Profile

  5. Thanks for turning me onto a place I’ve never considered before. Looks like a great spot worth a couple of days.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..My Manly Bucket List to Support #Movember and #ManlyMomentsMy Profile

  6. Oh these photos!! Have to say it reminds me of the Croatia I know, far from tourists. My grandfather was born there and we stay in his old town, far from the cruise ships. ;) I really must get to Montenegro though. Seriously, this place sounds stunning. Also, great advice to the 18 year old. ;)
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Arrive Feeling Refreshed: the Dos and Don’ts of Air Travel.My Profile

  7. Disappointed you didn’t pose as the ballerina in one of your shots, but Montenegro looks absolutely gorgeous! ;)
    Bespoke Traveler recently posted..Leadenhall MarketMy Profile

  8. Someday that guy’s gonna find a girl who loves appletinis just as much as he does, and loves him all the more for it.
    SnarkyNomad recently posted..The GRAYL: Water purification, all in a bottleMy Profile

  9. Oh, I’m with you! It’s such a lovely part of the world, and I will take Kotor over Dubrovnik any day. Remind me later in life never to go on a holiday where I have to wear a name tag.
    Caitlyn recently posted..Belgrade, the Balkan let-downMy Profile

  10. Looks like you had a great time… The hubs better watch out, you might be moving there soon.

  11. OMG. This is definitely our kind of trip. This post is post-heavy, but with these kind of pics, I don’t mind!
    Gerard ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Visiting the royal tombs in Hue – turns out I’m royalty!My Profile

  12. This place looks AWESOME! I can see why it didn’t disappoint. And something else that didn’t disappoint are the hops on the hubs. Who says white men can’t jump?
    Leah recently posted..Visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial on O’ahuMy Profile

  13. I always get asked what my favorite country is too or my favorite destination. I think I am going to for now on answer Montenegro even though I have never been just on the strength of these pictures and this post.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Welcome to Chiang MaiMy Profile

  14. I have a thing for the mountains + water combo and would love to visit Montenegro one day. Actually, more of the Balkans in general! Great photos as always, guys.
    Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photos from Jetting Around’s 3rd Anniversary CelebrationMy Profile

  15. I loved Montenegro, both Kotor and the interior with the black mountains that give the country its name. The views of Kotor Bay from the road that crosses the mountains behind it is superb – it’s my banner photo on my Twitter profile! Glad you guys got to go to Montenegro
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Photo of the Week – Mayan Ruins of Altun Ha, BelizeMy Profile

    • i know you did! montenegro is always associated with raul in my mind because of it :) maybe you & sofia can honeymoon there together someday?
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..no travel required: #frifotosMy Profile

  16. The hubs got hops!! lol.. I LOVE YOUR PHOTOS – the more the better. Especially in places like these, seriously need to get G on board for a trip that way. The architecture looks beautiful.
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Visiting the royal tombs in Hue – turns out I’m royalty!My Profile

  17. you had me at “it’s hoarding charm. it’s kidnapped charm.” i’m sold. only issue is that i wanna go with you and the hubs!
    lola recently posted..It’s #Movember – That Means Mustaches & #ManlyMomentsMy Profile

  18. I SO want to explore this region one day… especially before capri pants take over the place and it’s charm diminishes… thanks for all the photos here, definitely help sell it along side your poetic prose… love the left handed dentist… nice.

    stay left, Craig
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..The Sunset Sunday 2014 Calendar – Chasing the SunsetMy Profile

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  1. the lazy travelers | dubrovnik: cities with walls are just better - […] my post on Montenegro, I noted how frustrated I was by the crowds in Dubrovnik, and I fear it …

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