Ever since we started our journey we have been looking forward to when Stefan’s mum and sister could come and join us for a mini vacation somewhere along the Balkan coast.
Our first idea was to meet up in Croatia, but somehow the plan evolved into meeting up in Montenegro a country none of us have been to before!
We entered Montenegro from the Serbian border while Stefan’s mum and sister (Alice and Jolanda) flew from Rotterdam to Dubrovnik, Croatia.
From our town in Montenegro it took about 1.5 hours to cross the Montenegro/Croatian border to pick them up with our rented Fiat Panda.
In the small space that is Montenegro..they have it all! The cool mountains, the lush forests and the magnificent blue beaches. ***Check out our photo gallery at the top
We stayed in a small town called Kumbor close to the beautiful, and more famous, Herceg Novi township.
Even though Montenegro is small, due to the mountainous terrain and the narrow roads, it still takes 1-2 hours to travel to the next town which might be only 50km away.
For this reason we stayed mainly around Herceg Novi and Kotor.
Visiting Old Towns has become a bit of a hobby for us especially since being in the Balkan area. The history of each old town, with their preserved ancient churches and magnificent buildings and forts seem to deny the ravages of time. Despite being centuries to millennia old; they have also somehow managed to integrate our into our “modern” culture.
Some for better (quaint and true to their culture and history) and some for worse (too touristic and full of merchandise that have nothing to do with history or their culture)– but despite some negatives–I for one am glad that we can see and walk through these time capsules.
The walled city of Kotor is a prime example. The ancient walls still stand and the roads are still paved with rocks made smooth and slippery with the countless number of footsteps– but inside is a bustling modern city enjoying the touristic spotlight.
We visited towards the end of September so the crowds have dwindled down quite a bit. But during the height of summer, this town overflows with tourists, to the extent that they have to close the gates, and refuse entrance, to manage the crowds. We were thankful that we missed all that chaos.
Herceg Novi is a small picturesque coastal town that has it own small Stari grad and 3 surrounding fortresses. During the Ottoman invasion the main coastal fort in Herceg Novi (formerly called Castelnuovo) stood strong and withstood occupation despite being vastly outnumbered.
It is said that the fort in Herceg Novi had only 3,500 defenders, and they were able to withstand the Ottoman fleet/army of more 50,000 for over 2 months.
You can read all about it here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Castelnuovo
Besides wandering around old towns, forts and castles we also explored Montenegro’s beautiful countryside.
We found this amazing hiking trail on mount Subra. The views were amazing but what impressed us the most was how well maintained the hiking marks/paths were. Every 20-50 meters we saw a well positioned mark and there hiking trail info signs at every cross roads showing how far to the next destination etc.
Here’s a short video of our hike:
So if you enjoy hiking, Montenegro should be on your map!
But let’s not forget the beaches…
We chose Montenegro because of it’s beautiful coastline. While they do have beautiful crystal clear water beaches, we found that most of them are not “sand” beaches so be prepared to bring a thick blanket or yoga mat to relax and tan on.
Also the water is a bit cold by the end of September so be prepared to swim and move around otherwise you will feel too cold.
I’ll end this blog post about Montenegro with a general price comparison observation.
Montenegro is cheaper than it’s neighbour Croatia but is a bit more expensive than the other Balkan countries.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our family vacation in Montenegro and would go back.
***Stay tuned for our video about our Montenegro Adventures***