love on the aegean: falling for montenegro

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.



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.



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


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.


the romantic



  1. November 12, 2013 / 15:42

    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

  2. November 12, 2013 / 19:22

    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

  3. November 12, 2013 / 20:58

    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

  4. November 13, 2013 / 05:32

    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

  5. November 13, 2013 / 13:55

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

  6. November 16, 2013 / 11:40

    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

  7. Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround)
    November 16, 2013 / 15:25

    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

  8. November 16, 2013 / 16:04

    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

    • November 19, 2013 / 07:00

      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 travel required: #frifotosMy Profile

  9. December 4, 2013 / 21:22

    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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