Together with Serbia, it’s the 3rd youngest country in the world. With its unique climate and tomography you can literally go from skiing on the slopes around the charming town of Kolesin in the morning to drinking a cocktail on one of the beaches of Budva in the evening; weather permitting of course!
Flights, transfers and accommodation
Our 7 days holiday in Montenegro was an all-inclusive package from Jet2, flying from Leeds to Dubrovnik and taking a coach to Becici, where our Iberostar hotel was located. It was very attractive £770 for the two of us (including flights), but we did have to stay overnight in Bradford near Leeds airport and drive from Edinburgh and back. We took a “one-way” car rental both ways, but if you decide to do that, make sure you check if the rental company charges “one-way” fees. For best rates, compare using Skyscanner and KAYAK. We paid £26.70 for the hotel in Bradford, £36 for 2 days car rental from Edinburgh to Leeds and £55.90 for 2 days rental from Leeds to Edinburgh.
It was the middle of October, so the prices of beach holidays in Europe, were naturally reduced, but despite it already being autumn, not only was it sunny, during the day, the temperature was in mid to high 20°Cs; lucky, as this doesn’t happen very often! We booked the holiday just over 2 weeks in advance, so you can class that, as last minute deal, but also, Jet2 advertises its holiday fares with “20kg baggage allowance”, which you can remove and save yourself further £45 per person if you book via phone; that is of course, if you can pack yourself for a week in just a carry-on bag.
The hotel resort, composed of 3 large accommodation buildings, was located by the beach and a good stretch of it appeared to be for the use of guests only. It was large grain sandy beach, but I would still recommend buying proper aqua/wet shoes for pebble beach, as it was quite rough being barefoot.
Restaurant served freshly prepared, breakfast, lunch and dinner, but there was also a snack bar open throughout the day and two bars serving drinks. Everything was of great quality and the staff were exceptionally attentive. During the day, fitness activities were available by the pool and during the evening, various entertainment gigs.
At our disposal was also a small gym, indoor and outdoor pools, 24 hour reception and, at an extra cost, various spa treatments.
The closest to Becici (which is really just an area with lots of hotels) town is charming, medieval Budva. Narrow streets of the old town are hidden behind high walls, which used to serve as a defence feature (this part extends out to the sea). Inside awaits an abundance of photo opportunities, handful of souvenir shops, few restaurants, a fortress (citadel) and, if you’re lucky, a musician playing covers of famous international songs. Go there in time to see the sunset and you can literally not ask for more romantic setting. You can watch a sample video of what to expect here.
The new part of the city is where majority of residents live and where you can find essentials travellers’ amenities like shops, pharmacies and banks. By the beach, countless restaurants, bar and night clubs cater to the needs of tourists and locals alike. The adjacent to the beach street hosts most of the hotels and some fashion shops.
A little further away in an opposite direction to Budva, lies spectacularly beautiful, tiny islet of Sveti Stefan. Nowadays, it is privately own hotel and resort, but you can still visit even if you’re not a guest, as long as you’re willing to pay the €20 per person tour fee. For up to date times of tours and prices, email the hotel direct at email@example.com. If you decide that you don’t want to go inside, still make your way over and take some pictures – the place is truly unique.
Tivat and Porto Montenegro
This is the new “hot-spot” for rich and famous, who own a yacht! Hang around for few hours, drink a coffee at one of the restaurants facing the marina. Who knows who you may see?! It’s a pleasant place for a short walk around, but apart from luxury yachts, there isn’t much to see. It is said it’s a good spot for a day (and night) of good drinks, food and music, but all I can say is that Al Posto Giusto restaurant offers excellent ice cream and coffee.
Kotor and the Bay of Kotor
“Just as if I have returned to town from the most beautiful fairy-tale of my childhood.” I don’t really know Sophia Lauren that much, but I have to admit, her reflection about Kotor is pretty spot on!
As you walk through the main gates, a square full of souvenir shops and restaurants unresistingly invites you further and with every step you take, you become deeper under the spell of this magical place. Adding to the charm is the fact that the place is still underdeveloped (that is unlikely to last long, so I suggest visiting sooner rather than later). Further in, few restored buildings housing shops and restaurants, blend together with falling apart residences of families, who lived here for generations. As you come to an opening from one of the narrow alleys a flock of brooms above your head welcomes you, yet to another picturesque square. It’s likely, the owners of the restaurant occupying the space tried to attract more customers; even not staying long, you’ll have a feeling the witches and wizards have not gone far. In the northern corner, you’ll find an access to point to city walls, which are extending to a steep mountain and, back in the old days, were protecting Kotor from invaders. Climb can be challenging at times, but viewing points and photo opportunities are plentiful. It’s well worth it in the end! After dusk, sections of the walls are being lightened up, what makes the old town look great from a distance.
Overall, this tiny part of Montenegro is simply not to be missed and I wish we had time to explore the entire Kotor Bay area!
That’s all for now, but come back soon, as I have a real treat for you: a day road trip to Albania and a guided bus/train tour to Biogradska Gora national park. It will be worth it, I promise!