A week in Montenegro| August, 2017
We were told that the drive along the Drina and Tara rivers from Bosnia into Montenegro was incredible and that at every turn we would want to stop to take a picture because somehow the views gets more and more stunning. It is true. I didn’t think it could get more beautiful than it was in Bosnia, but it did. The drive crossing into Montenegro was stunning. At some points, where there wasn’t room to pull to the side of the road, cars would just stop traffic to get out and take photos. We had also read and heard the roads were worn down, and that the infrastructure was bad, but we didn’t experience this at all. It seems like Montenegro has invested a fair amount into tourism and getting around via car was easy and safe.
From Southern Bosnia, we drove to the central coast and stayed for 3 nights in Budva. We were both shocked by the amount of tourists everywhere along the coast, and had naively thought that it wouldn’t be as crowded as Croatia. We were wrong. Old town Budva was charming with it’s fortress and city walls, and it’s winding cobblestone streets, but it was chock full of tourists, overpriced mediocre restaurants and tacky shops. The beaches were packed, but the crystal clean water quickly made up for it. We stayed in a wonderful apartment we booked through booking.com called Captain Villa, it felt like at 5 star resort with a peaceful patio, kitchen and space for us to relax in the heat of the day. It was out of our budget, but it was worth it to be in a place that quickly felt like home for a few nights.
From Budva we drove south along the coast to Utjeha, a small development just north of Ulcinj. Several roads jet out like fingers from the highway to the coast, each lined with simple summer homes and a few hotels. At the end of the road was our hotel, a simple spot, with an incredible view. The coast was rocky with small cliffs, but there were several ladders and places to jump into the ocean. It reminded me of Kapoho back home in Hawaii. Crystal clean, turquoise water that begged you to jump in. We stayed here for 3 nights, which at first felt like it might be too long. Aside from laying by the pool and ocean and the occasional swim there wasn’t much to do, but it didn’t take long for us to adjust, relax and read.
We had hoped to visit a few wineries in Montenegro as it appears it is a budding industry, but we hadn’t planned ahead and many spots were only open by appointment. We did manage to get a hold of a small family vineyard outside of Ulcinj - Winery Milovic, they told us we were welcome to come out. When we arrived at their home and vineyard the owner and her 2 year old gave us a quick tour, we tasted their wines and headed out. If you are planning a trip, I think stopping at a few more wineries would be worth it. I called day of and everyone was so kind and even offered to drop off bottles at our hotels, but unfortunately few were available for tastings or tours because we contacted them so last minute.
From Utjeha we drove back up the coast towards Dubrovnik. We stopped in Kotor for a quick tour of the city. It was a worthwhile stop, but I would recommend staying outside of the city if visiting the area. We drove all along the bay and every little town or cluster of homes along the shore looked wonderful. The water all along the bay was crisp, clean and inviting. We stopped in Perast to take in a little more of the scenery and were glad we did. If we ever return, I think we would choose to stay there for a few nights. There wasn’t much of a beach, rather several areas to layout along the coast with easy access to the water. Restaurants lined the mostly pedestrian street along the bay, and boat trips, kayaks and paddle boats looked easy to rent to explore some of the islands just off the shore. A few shots from our walk in Perast...