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A daytrip visit to the country of Montenegro seemed like a must while staying in Dubrovnik, Croatia in order to see the UNESCO Bay of Kotor and discover Eastern Europe’s secret vacation getaway.
Montenegro Highlights on a One Day Daytrip Tour
Driving into Montenegro from Croatia, you definitely feel like you are in a different country. The landscape changes drastically entering the Bay of Kotor (called Boka) with tall fjord like mountains living up the country’s name – Montenegro (Black Mountain).
Montenegro Daytrip Agenda
Bay of Kotor
The first stop was at a turnout for the view and a photo opportunity of the Bay of Kotor. The Boka is magnificent. Coming from sunny Croatia, the mood is entirely different with blue-greys of the mountains casting shadows on the water with a foggy haze hanging in the valley.
In this area, there are also two small towns that the guide will tell you about, but unfortunately there is not a stop.
Risan was the former stronghold of the Illyrian Queen Teuta who fought the Romans. There are also Roman ruins including mosaics in this town.
Perast is a medieval town built under the Venetian rule with beautiful Venetian palaces.
Next stop is the walled medieval city of Kotor. The guides will give you a quick overview and let you lose to explore the city for a little more than an hour. Kotor is similar but smaller than Dubrovnik with beautiful stone buildings and hidden alleys. There are also Catholic and Orthodox churches and a few museums to discover.
The city is small enough to zip around, but unfortunately you will be visiting often with an entire cruise ship that has docked crowding the city with tourists. Also, there is not enough time to fully climb and explore the The Great Wall of Kotor that extend above the city.
See more pictures from the Town of Kotor ->>
Road from Kotor to Cetinje
Back on the bus, the driver will start a long journey up the old historic road to Cetinje. The road is 1-lane and has 26 hairpin turns so it is definitely not for the faint at heart. Traffic negotiation is quite entertaining as the bus always takes precedence over cars which must backup into a pull-out but not everyone seems to know the “rule” and there was some honking and a German woman who had a fit trying to get the bus to back up. There are also cows grazing along the road and sometimes in the road delaying the journey.
There is one stop at the top and the views at the top are extraordinary overlooking the Bay of Kotor. The Bay of Kotor region including the city of Kotor are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Lunch in Njeguši
Next stop is the village of Njegušihigh up in the mountains. The restaurant with picnic tables in a covered ramada has one traditional meal menu item of cheese, bread, Njegus smoked ham (like prosciutto) and a honey mead drink. It was quite a good meal and the views of the mountains and wildflowers could not be beat.
Getting back on the bus, the guide will tell you about Cetinje which was the former royal capital of Montenegro in the middle ages, but there is not a stop.
Descending back down the mountain, the tour continues to Budva. Budva is also a medieval walled town, but focuses less on the historical elements of the city and caters to the Eastern European tourists on vacation with cafes, shops, beach clubs and night clubs that have earned it the nickname Montenegrin Miami. The stop here is for ~ 1 hour and just enough for a walk around the city.
The guide will tell you about the island of Stevi Stefan, the playground of rich Russians and Hollywood elite. There is no stop but this island is not open to tourists, only paid guests.
The return trip is a ferry ride across the Bay and the road back to Dubrovnik.
See more pictures from the Town of Budva ->>
Review of the Tour
Guide: Our guide was superb giving excellent commentary and telling engaging stories about the sites and Montenegro history. The driver was also great and professional especially driving those 26 hairpin turns on the mountain road.
Itinerary Review: The day starts at 7am and you will return to Dubrovnik at ~7pm if the border crossing is smooth. You get exactly what you sign up for, but the entire day felt rushed. Most people wanted more time in Kotor and to stop at Risan, Perast & Cetinje as opposed to driving by, but it is already a long day.
Though the view of the Bay of Kotor from above is breathtaking, it might be better to spend more time in Kotor, visit Risan & Perast, skip the mountain and go direct to Budva OR schedule in 2 days for this adventure. The trip up to Cetinje is 2 hours of driving with and additional 45 min lunch break up there. (Dubrovnik -> Kotor = 2 hours driving time / Budva to Dubrovnik 2.5 hours driving time)
DayTrip Company:Viator – This is NOT a paid review. I took this tour on my own.
Traveler Notes and Tips
Border Crossings: The Tour Guide & travel books warned of long border crossing (sometimes hours). Our guide seemed to know the secret handshake and there were no delays. The border crossing throughout the Balkans were very thorough and long.
Kotor and Budva are cruise ship stops, so there will likely be crowds. Go off-season if possible. Budva also has a boisterous holiday crowd and it’s more of a nightclub scene.
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Teri Didjurgis is a full-time traveler for over nine years visiting all 50 US States & 70+ countries. After 15+ years working in corporate America, she took the leap & started her own location independent businesses. She now explores the world looking for luxury escapes, historic destinations and ways to connect with communities on her travels through local traditions & cultural experiences. Welcome to her re-imagined American Dream: an inspired lifestyle with "Blue Sky" possibilities.