Montenegro: Mini but Mighty!

posted in: Europe, Montenegro | 0
Mini Road Trip Crew!
Mini Road Trip Crew!

After my unscheduled trip home to get a new passport it was time to hit the road again. As the process was a little quicker than expected I ended up with two weeks to spare before I needed to be in Dubai to catch my connecting flight to Ethiopia. This allowed me the chance to stop off somewhere along the way for a couple of weeks. After lots of deliberation and Skyscanner flight searches I decided on Montenegro, a country that’s long been on my “to-do” list.

The cheapest flight option was from Dublin to Brussels and from there onto Tivat in Montenegro. My plan was to first travel down the coast of Montenegro, then inland to the mountains and national parks before moving onwards to the capital city of Podgorica. From there I would travel by train on the famous Bar to Belgrade line. After a couple of days looking around Belgrade I would then catch a night train to Sofia and finally travel onwards to Dubai for my connection to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tivat is the main airport in Montenegro, situated in the north of the country, close to the Croatian border and equidistant from the cities of Tivat and Kotor. Arriving at the airport my first stop was a small hostel in Tivat, situated on the hills overlooking the town. First impressions were good, the hostel was nice, the views beautiful while the town itself was small with surprisingly few tourists. It was the perfect place to ease my way back into the travelling routine. After a couple of days of lazing about the hostel, swimming in the sea and enjoying the sunsets I headed for Kotor, the true gem of Montenegro.

Situated in the famous Bay of Kotor, the old city of Kotor is spectacular. The old walled city sits on the edge of the bay’s crystal clear water with imposing mountains forming the perfect backdrop. It’s easy to spend a few days walking around the old walled city and that’s exactly what I did. The old town is full of cafes, restaurants and shops. It’s definitely at it’s nicest early in the morning before the cruise ships dock outside bringing hoards of tourists to the narrow and formerly peaceful streets.

Bay of Kotor
Bay of Kotor
So while Kotor attracts a largely middle aged to elderly crowd, less than an hour down the coast the (almost) equally beautiful city of Budva is party central. Kotor has it’s Cruise ships and candle lit restaurants whereas Budva has chartered yachts, bars and parties. Unsurprisingly you’ll find my photos of Montenegro are disproportionately focused on Kotor and the national parks, not because Budva isn’t pretty but because I don’t like taking photos with a hangover!
Oldtown, Budva
Oldtown, Budva
Away from the coastline Lovcen national park was a real highlight for me. Although it’s is just a short drive from the sea there was a noticeable change in climate as the temperature dropped and the wind speed picked up.
Lovcen National Park
Lovcen National Park
My final stop in Montenegro was the capital city of Podgorica, a bland and boring city in comparison to what I’d seen along the coast. The train journey from there to Belgrade more than made up for this blandness however. Passing through 254 tunnels and over 435 bridges as it makes its way through the mountains of northeastern Montenegro it’s an impressive feat of engineering.

Montenegro was the perfect country to get me back on the travel buzz again. It’s visually spectacular, great fun, affordable and extremely easy to get around due to it’s compact size. Pound for pound one of the nicest countries I’ve visited!

Check out the rest of my Montenegro photos here.

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