In preparation for our trip I have been researching topics such as potential accommodations, activities, landmarks, and transportation methods for each destination. I figure this will give us a better idea of the daily cost, and therefore help determine how long we will want to stay in each country. It will be interesting to see the difference between the ideas I have researched and what we actually do when we are on the road!
Click the small arrow button on the top left of the map header (left of where it says “Potential Destination”) to expand out additional details about many of the locations and activities described below.
U.S. Visa/Travel: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/montenegro.html
The plan is to head down to Montenegro after traveling through Slovenia and Croatia. Because of the small size of the country we will pick a location to be our home base, probably Kotor, from which to do trips to outlying towns and sights. Over the past few years Montenegro has become a hot spot for travelers, with Kotor attaining Lonely Planet’s top travel destination in 2016.
Helpful Web Sites
As with most places around the world, hostels and Airbnb/HomeStays are abundant in major areas like Kotor. If I could have my pick I would opt for a hostel in Kotor’s old town area to get a chance to meet up with some fellow travelers and socialize a bit. I have found hostel prices as low as $10-13 mixed dorm bed and $24 for a private double (https://www.hostelworld.com). In outlying areas we will be looking at Airbnb and hotel options. I hope this one place I found, Rooms and Bungalows Sreten Zugic (Rooms and Bungalows Sreten Zugic), is available when we are there, costing $28 per night.
After our bus trip from Croatia into Montenegro, continued bus travel will be limited to short rides to neighboring towns. Buses run all over Montenegro and are a very popular mode of transportation (https://busticket4.me/EN). When we plan to do longer adventures to Lovcen and Durmitor National Parks (more information below) we will be renting a car. Car rental cost is about $15-20 per day, $75-80 for a week (http://www.rentalcars.com/en), plus gas and tolls. I am envisioning us renting the car for about 4 days for a trip out to Dumintor National Park, then renting separately a few days later for a day trip to Lovcen National Park so we don’t get burnt out on driving. Unfortunately, the railway system in Montenegro is very limited and still mainly used for freight cars, but there are plans to reconstruct the railway system and reintroduce more passenger transport in the future.
Our potential home base, Kotor is located on the edge of a beautiful bay of the Adriatic Sea with mountains surrounding it. If the pictures I have seen of it are any indication of how beautiful it is, I may just fall in love. I have a feeling the main thing we will be doing while in Kotor is just walking around, taking in the views, and eating/drinking lots of good stuff. One must see/do attractions within Kotor is to explore the town walls and fortress, including the 1350 steps to its highest point of 853 feet above sea level to take in the extraordinary views of the bay. And of course because of its location on water, there will be tons of opportunities for water activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding while in Kotor.
Lovcen National Park and Njegos Mausoleum
A popular day trip and another location which promises spectacular views is the look out from Lovcen National Park and Njegos Mausoleum. Apparently there is a more direct road from Kotor to Lovcen National Park but it is one lane road, full of switch backs, and a white knuckle ride. I think we will stick to the highway, at least on the way there. Along the main highway drive we would stop to check out Sveti Stefan, which is a island village connected to the beach by a causeway. Unfortunately because it is now owned by a resort, the only way to actually go on the island is to be a guest, which will cost you a minimum of $1000. Yikes! The view from the beach will suffice. When we get to the parking area of Lovcen is when we will get our exercise, with 461 steps to get to the top of the mountain.
Durmitor National Park
Far to the Northeast of Montenegro is Durmitor National Park, set in the Dinaric Alps. While here we will most likely stay a couple nights in Zabljak, which is close by and the starting point for multiple tours into the park. Durmitor is known for it’s beautiful scenery along Tara Canyon and great rafting down the Tara River. Tours here look amazing! (https://www.tarakularaft.com/index.php/en/offer/rafting) I particularly like the combo Jeep and rafting tour for a full day adventure!
Ostrog Monastery (Manastir Ostrog)
On our way out to Durmitor National Park we will make sure to see one of the most visited religious sites in all of Montenegro, Ostrog Monastery. The reason this monastery is so special is its location, almost 3000 feet above the valley in the face of a cliff. Constructed in 1665, how it was built is still a mystery. This is another landmark where it is STRONGLY suggested to take the main road versus the old twisty and death defying road. Sounds like some of the roads in Montenegro can be quite the adventure!
Any thoughts about our ideas above, or suggestions of “must see” activities/landmarks? Please include those below!