I learned about the existence of Montenegro by a bus driver I met in Munich last year at my hostel. He couldn’t stop raving about how it was a must to visit and from the pictures he shared with me I could agree that it was a lovely place.
Given the proximity from Croatia I figured a smaller country would be a good idea. The beauty of smaller countries is they have less “tourist” things to do so you can cover a lot in a day or two or stay longer and really explore cities, discover things for yourself and just relax. Kotor Montenegro brought exactly this to my #GirltakesMundo trip. (Tip: Speak Spanish? Many people in Montenegro actually speak Spanish better than English as Spanish soap operas are very popular here.)
I stayed in Montenegro for 5 days (4 days with 1 travel day) and this was the first place that I felt like I was doing “normal” things for the first time, including going to the gym to work out (the first time in 3 weeks and I assure you that despite walking a lot you still need to keep a work out/healthy routine of some sort), getting my eyebrows waxed (because maintaining my beauty regimen is a must for me even during this trip) and even getting my measurements taken by a tailor for a bridesmaids dress for my friends upcoming wedding in September. The last one being the most difficult to accomplish but accomplished none the less.
Obviously the sights even the tourist ones were great.
Hiking a back road for 45 minutes up to the top of Kotor’s fortress while difficult but probably because it was on the same day I spent at the gym was worth the following days of soreness as catching the sunset from the top of Kotor felt like the prize. (Tip: Go in the early morning or after 18:00 (6:00 pm) to ensure the heat doesn’t get the best of you and the cruise ship crowds aren’t there. Same goes for checking out their old town.)
Day trips or 1/2 day trip excursions are super easy too! A hostel mate and I decided to take a half hour bus ride to Budva and spent the day checking out the city and hanging out in one of the sand beaches in Montenegro. (Tip: The beach closest to the old town is less secluded and still public. Definitely worth it when wanting to escape the crowds.)
Speaking of beaches, searching for the “perfect” beach became a thing here just because you could. A group of us walked for an hour each way one day as we heard from our hostel that their was a cool beach that had a beach bar. We actually passed the one the hostel mentioned and found an even funkier one.
Of course even if your laying on the beach, hiking up a fortress or just checking out the old town you will be sure to get an appetite. If I wasn’t partaking in the hostels family style BBQ I was grabbing dinner at Tanja Family restaurant. I have to make a plug to this spot as it was not only delicious but very budget friendly. A grilled chicken breast with a side of grilled veggies and rice was $5 euros ($5.60 dollars) and a steak with garlic topping, seasoned potatoes and sauces was only $7 euros ($7.80 dollars).
Speaking of hostels, I stayed at Montenegro Hostel 4U and can’t rave enough about this place especially when check-in consisted of a shot of homemade Rakija. My check in was at a decent 13:00 (1:00 pm) hour but the poor souls that checked in as early as 9:00 am couldn’t be saved. Similar to Carpe Noctem Original this hostel prides themselves in bringing guests together and they do a great job about doing this by having nightly drinking games which somehow always involved…can you guess?…homemade Rakija, followed by a pub crawl where every drink you get at the bar comes with…have you caught on…Rakija. Since bars close at 1:00 am nights always seemed to end by people hanging out by the lake in front of the hostel. Additionally, every other night the hostel hosts a family style BBQ dinner. For $5 euros you get 3 types of meat, salad, rice and bread shared with all of your new friends and plenty of seconds and thirds so your body is ready for all the Rakija that will follow.
After all was said and done. Thanks to the bus driver I met in Munich last year for this recommendation. I wish I could meet him again so I could properly thank him with…can you guess?…a shot of Rakija.