In July 2017 we spent a week travelling in Montenegro. Our experience there saw the country catapulted to the top of the “must visit again” list. Stunning scenery, magnificent national parks and significantly lower day to day costs contributed to a really wonderful week. We arrived in Bar, Montenegro off the car ferry from Italy and made our way along the coast.
The Bay of Kotor
Our first stop was on the Bay of Kotor. The drive along the coast to the bay was simply beautiful.
The road weaved along the ocean, wedged between impossibly clear blue water and steep mountains before cutting over the hill into the medieval town of Kotor.
The Bay of Kotor is hands down one of the most beautiful bays I have seen. Huge in its own right, but then almost dwarfed by the dramatic rocky mountains surrounding it.
The trip to our campsite in Morinj was slow. While the country is rapidly expanding its road network, the number of tourists is also ballooning. There was a constant stream of traffic moving along the coast past the popular beach town of Budva and the medieval town of Kotor.
Thankfully we secured a campsite in the small village of Morinj, located across the bay from Kotor and away from the crowds. Our site backed onto a small river with an average water temperature of around 10-12 degrees. This was great for keeping the mosquitoes at bay as well as providing a desperately needed cool breeze in the evenings.
Exploring the towns
We visited the picturesque town of Perast as well as Kotor. Both towns were compact enough to walk around in a couple of hours. It was very hot when we visited, so we tried to combine sightseeing with a swim each day.
We made sure to get up early and walk up to San Giovanni castle high on the hill behind Kotor. It is a very steep and sometimes slippery walk but the views across the bay were absolutely worth it.
It is possible to visit the Bay of Kotor as a day trip from Dubrovnik, but we would recommend a longer stay if you have the time. There is plenty to do and it is such a unique spot to explore.
Durmitor National Park
Our next stop was Durmitor National Park in the north of the country. We stayed just outside the small town of Zabljak. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and was taken aback by the beauty of the area.
Dense pine forests, emerald green lakes and countless marked trails made our time in the area so much fun. It was also significantly cooler than the coast. For the first time in weeks we enjoyed cooler evenings and better sleeps.
The view from our campsite was one of the best we have had so far.
The kids were overjoyed to spend time each day with some little puppies at the campsite. They were very cute!
We enjoyed a day hike to a small lake up in the mountains behind our campsite near Zabljak. The paths were covered in wildflowers and there were stunning views around every corner. It was a moderately difficult hike made it easier with changes in terrain and a gradual rise. This hike made it into our Top 5 hikes of 2017.
It is possible to explore Durmitor National Park as a day trip from Kotor, but we think it is worth a longer stop. We were sad to leave Durmitor National Park and would love to come back for more hiking, cycling and cool mountain air.
White water rafting
Our last adventure in Montenegro was to take the kids white water rafting for the first time. The company we chose to raft with was actually based just over the border in Bosnia, but the rafting was along the Tara River that forms the border between Montenegro and Bosnia.
The drive there was mindbogglingly (not sure that is a word) gorgeous. We drove past impossibly deep gorges, emerald green lakes, through tunnels etched out of the mountain that were scarcely big enough for our van and drove alongside Piva Lake where we passed through more than 50 tunnels.
The rafting was a lot of fun. The kids were nervous the night before, but the rapids were just the right size for the kids to have fun white water rafting without me panicking too much!
It is also possible to do white water rafting as a day trip from Kotor. The canyon is stunning, the water impossibly clear. It was such a fun experience and we highly recommend it.
There was so much of the country we didn’t get a chance to see – we will definitely be back!
Plan your trip to Montenegro
Flights to Europe – Skyscanner is our favourite flight search site. It compares hundreds of sites and millions of flights to show you the best deals available.
Accommodation – Campsites are basic operations and you need to contact them directly. For apartments we recommend AirBnB. Use this link to receive $50 AUD off your first booking. For short stays we always recommend Booking.com
Have you visited Montenegro? What was your favourite place? Leave a comment and let us know.
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