Montenegro is definitely an up and coming destination. We see the country featured everywhere lately. The relatively new nation (it split from Serbia in 2006), is located in the Balkans along the Adriatic coast. We flew into Tivat, a small airport right in the Bay of Kotor, for a few days and drove around the southern region of the country.
The Bay of Kotor
Along the Bay of Kotor are several old towns and villages. Herceg Novi sits at the entrance of the bay, not far from the southern end of Croatia. Perast is a very picturesque town with two small islands. The first is a natural island with a Benedictine Abbey from the 12th century. The other is the Lady of the Rocks, an Orthodox church built on a pile of rocks. We took a small boat trip out to the latter one. A little further in is Kotor with a well-preserved Stari Grad, or Old Town. We woke up early one morning to climb the fortress and city walls that overlook the rest of the town and bay. In contrast, Tivat is home to a marina full of shiny new yachts and Luscitica Bay is a new town being built as we speak to support the growing number of boats coming in.
Not far from Kotor are the Lovćen mountains, which is where the country takes its name. From Kotor, narrow roads lead up the mountain, culminating in a series of a twenty-five serpentine switchbacks with amazing views of the bay. On the second highest peak is the Njegos Mausoleum, the highest mausoleum in the world. After entering the national park, we walked up 461 steps to visit the tomb of the famous Montengrin and take in views from the panorama. The road to Cetinje, the former capital, is a less harrowing experience and from there the road took us to Budva.
Like many of the other towns, Budva has a Stari Grad but it is mostly overlooked in favour of its beaches. Every square foot of sand was covered by people. We preferred the nearby island of Sveti Stefan instead. A small island that used to be a village for 400 people, the town was turned into a hotel in the 1960s until its decline as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Since 2009, the hotel group Aman has restored the island into an exclusive property where the old houses are now individual suites and the market squares are restaurants. The only way to visit the island without staying overnight is to reserve one of ten spots in the twice daily tours. One of the best views of the island though is from above, up a steep road that eventually leads to the tiny and remote church of Sveti Sava.
Astoria Hotel Kotor: A boutique hotel in a former palace within the Old Town of Kotor.