Montenegro is far less popular than neighbouring Croatia but it’s filled with beautiful lakes, beaches and mountains. We spent 5 nights here in July and although it’s not enough time to do everything, we still managed to jam pack some hikes, beaches, diving and good food.
Day 1 – Podgorica / Drive to Kotor / Kotor
As we arrived late in the evening, we picked up the car from the airport and stayed a night in Podgorica, the capital. In the morning, we went for a long walk to explore the city which included seeing the Old Town, Saborni Hram Hristovog Vaskrsenja (Orthodox Temple of Christ’s Resurrection), Old Ribnica River Bridge and Njegošev Park.
On the drive to Kotor, we stopped at the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint to see the beautiful views of Lake Skadar. The drive took 2.5 hours (excluding the stops and with traffic). The roads are mountainous and some parts are windy and you need to drive with your headlights on at all times.
We stayed two nights in Dobrota which is a 20 minute walk to the Old Town but in a much quieter part of Kotor Bay. I highly recommend here as you have the peace and quiet but are still accessible to the hustle and bustle of Old Town.
For lunch, we went to Konoba Portuna which was a great little restaurant with outdoor seating on the water. Unfortunately it was too windy to sit outside but the inside was still cosy. We shared the seafood risotto, grilled octopus, grilled prawns which were all good but skip the linguini with black truffle and parmesan.
In the evening, we walked to the Old Town and wandered around before having dinner at Konoba Scala Santa. The restaurant is located in a small square in the old town and it had a good vibe. We didn’t have a reservation but were able to get a table. I’d recommend making a reservation to avoid disappointment. We shared the octopus carpaccio, fish pate, mussels, grilled squid and the gnocchi with shrimps and truffle which were all good. We also got a gelato at Moritz.
Day 2 – Kotor
We spent the next morning on a boat to do the Blue Cave Tour. It cost €40 each for 3 hours. We stopped at Our Lady of The Rock Island which has a church and a museum, the Blue Cave where we could swim, looked out to Mamula Island which was a former prison and military camp in WW2 and a stop in front of Perast for panoramic views. It was nice to be out on the water and enjoy the scenery, however we later found out that with 4 people, a private tour would be similar in pricing. I’d recommend that instead, as we felt rushed in each stop in the group tour.
For lunch we went to BBQ Tanjga. This place was amazing and super busy. The meat is really good quality and the portions are huge. Between the four of us, we shared the mix BBQ platter for two which came with different types of pork, chicken and sausage as well as dips, salad and fries (€22) and shared a special sandwich (€7) and we were stuffed. it’s good value and my favourite casual spot of the trip.
The Wimbledon men’s final was on so we went to The Square Pub to watch Djokovic and Kyrgios fight it out. All the Montenegrins were obviously going for Djokovic but it was a good game, even though Kyrgios (who we were rooting for) lost.
We went to Cesarica for dinner based on Google reviews and it was disappointing as the food was salty, so I would not recommend. Afterwards, we went to Vinograd for some sangria and then Konoba Marinaio for another drink before calling it a night.
Day 3 – Kotor / Sveti Stefan / Budva
The next morning, Liz and I started early (7am) and headed up the trail behind the old hydroelectric power plant which is free (you have to pay if you go up the path from inside Old Town) and we walked all the way to the top of the Kotor trail (around 3.5km). The views going up are absolutely stunning. We then took the path leading down towards the Old Town. It ended up being a 10km loop starting in Dobrota. A nice walk/hike to do in the morning to avoid the heat!
We drove to Sveti Stefan which took around 55 minutes from Kotor. We had lunch at Restaurant Drago and sat on the outside terrace which had great views of Sveti Stefan. We shared the proscuitto and melon, seafood risotto and capricciosa pizza which were all good.
We walked down to the beach and there is a section with lots of deck chairs where it’s minimum €30 for two (which is a complete rip off) so we walked over to Milocer Beach instead which had nicer sand and water and it was quiet (and free!). We relaxed and swam here for a few hours and also walked up to Queen’s Beach which is another good spot to hang out.
We drove to Budva and in the evening, we went for a walk in the Old Town and climbed the city walls. It costs €2 and it’s worth doing to see the views of the city from another angle.
We had dinner at Olimp Restaurant which I don’t recommend. The only good part was sitting right by the water but the food was average at best and more expensive than other spots in town. After dinner, we had some wine at Rakia & Wine Bar which was nice.
Day 4 – Budva
The next morning I went diving with Budva Diving Centre. We got our gear ready and went on the boat and everything was efficient. The staff were friendly too. We did two dives – one at “Hawaii” where there were some fish and a sting ray and one near Mogren where it was cool to explore and go through different caves.
I was starving after my dive so I went to nearby Pastabar which had nice alfresco seating. I had the seafood tagliatelle which was decent. I then walked around for a bit and saw the ballerina statue with the Old Town as backdrop.
In the evening, we went back to Pastabar for dinner and then had a drink at Cosmopolitan with views of the square where there was a free concert on. We then went to Old Town Pub and then Jeff Bar which was very vibey for more drinks. It ended up being a big night!
Day 5 – Leaving Budva
The next morning, we caught the bus from Budva bus station to Shkoder in Albania.
Montenegro is still relatively untouched and it was great spending time here. I recommend coming here for a slightly cheaper version of Croatia with similar beautiful landscape and friendly locals. Next time, I would love to do some hiking in Lovcen National Park and explore the north of the country like Žabljak.