Black Mountains – Kotor, Montenegro
Yesterday, I went on a guided day trip tour to Kotor, Montenegro with Amico Tours. The thing I like about guided tours is that you get to learn a lot about the place from the locals and the guides. If you don’t know any locals and want to learn about the history or get more information about the country, guided tours offer the best option. The tour cost 350kuna from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. Montenegro stands for black mountain because it’s mainly mountainous. It also has the 2nd largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon and thus the largest Canyon in Europe. We made our way into Montenegro at about 11am. Make sure you take your passport with you because there is another border check here. Quick vent- You know what I hate – I hate when border officials stamp your passport on a blank page arggh. What happened to all the free space on the other pages? Now I have to get a new passport and getting the Nigerian passport is like me trying to push a camel through a needle arghhh.
Anywhoos, we drove along the coast of Bokakotorska (Kotor Bay), which is part of Adriatic, a part of the Mediterranean. This bay leads into the city of Kotor – it is very beautiful and absolutely breathtaking. Montenegro is made up of little towns at the bottom of the mountains. It gives the country a unique feel to it. Montenegro apparently has really good mussels, so feel free to try them when you are here.
Since it was a day trip and I had limited time, I can’t really tell you much about the people or their culture, but I heard from travelers that they are very friendly and nice. Their currency here is Euro even though they’re not officially part of the European Union.
We finally arrived at Kotor and it’s a very small, cute and cozy town. It’s a beautiful town and worth the visit if you’re in the area. The old town is very small but has a unique charm to it. It has mixes of Austrian-Hungarian and some Venetian architecture. The town is pretty touristy but worth a visit especially for the views from the top. Also a lot of stray cats in Kotor- I think this must be an Eastern European thing. I hiked more than halfway to the top of the mountain but I didn’t make it to the fortress (which is the topmost) because I didn’t have enough time to make it up and back down in time to make the bus. It was worth the hike and I still got great views of the town.
After Kotor, we headed to the city of Budva. Budva is a modern city with tall buildings, tons of hotel resorts, lots of shopping, fancy cars, and good nightlife – apparently there’s a club in Budva that holds up to 30,000 people. The “upside” to that is the population of the city of Budva is just about 17,000. Clearly this club is mainly targeted to tourists during high season. This kinda gives you a feel of what kind of city Budva is. I think I can say Budva is the Beverly Hills of Montenegro.
In the summer it gets really packed about 50,000 Russians come to visit the city. It has nice beaches and a lot of private islands. The most talked about private island is called Sveti Stefan. This island has a resort which is very expensive and this is where most celebrities stay when they visit the town of Budva. The island is one of the places that has a natural beach surrounding it – one side is opened to tourist and the other side which is private belongs only to the hotel guests.
We stopped for lunch at this restaurant called Jadran – the food here was good and the service was impeccable. The group ordered mussels. I didn’t try it because I am not a big fan but everyone said it was nice. They had different options – grilled and boiled mussels in different sauces. The restaurant is close to the old town and one of the many beaches in Budva. The town of Budva also has an old city and it is smaller than the old town of Kotor. After lunch, we laid down by the beach for a few minutes then headed back to the bus back to Dubrovnik.