Montenegro, a tiny country with a big heart

The Village of Przno, between the island of Sveti Stefan and Budva

With vaccinations behind us and Covid partially under control we decided that after a long year of stagnation it was time to spread our wings again and so we chose to travel to Montenegro over the Orthodox Easter weekend (which this year fell on the 2nd of May as supposed to Catholic Easter which was celebrated on Sunday April the 4th).

We planned a long weekend but ended up staying a week instead and would have stayed longer had it not been for the call back to work.

The Trip

We traveled 530Km from Belgrade by car to the small fishing village of Przno, which is pronounced exactly as it is written, Przzzzno 🙂

The road from Belgrade first takes you along the newly build and impressive auto-putMiloš Veliki (or as we say in English; a motorway named Miloš the Great) to the town of Čačak (pronounced; Tsja-tsjak).

From there we follow a long and winding road, almost 400 km long, that took us all the way to the Adriatic Sea via mountain roads, through tunnels, deep gorges carved out by rivers, picturesque villages, forests and elevated grassy plains.

The grassy and wooded hills of the Zlatibor region, en route to Montenegro

The scenery is breathtaking, the road treacherous, the path long and slow. With wind in your sails, so to speak, you could make the trip from Belgrade to Przno in about 8 hours. During Holiday seasons, however, 10-15 hour journeys (sometimes longer) are quite common. 

Hence, I highly recommend traveling this route before July and after September, as this is the period of the summer holiday season and when Montenegro is most popular. Traveling to and fro Montenegro is also best avoided during the winter months as the road, which can reach elevations of over 1000 meters, can be covered by snow and ice.

Przno

The entrance to our apartment at ‘Langust’, the inn on the beach in the fishing village of Przno

We ended up staying at a fabulous inn, right on the beach, called ‘Langust’. They only have a few but well equipped and comfortable rooms/apartments, each with its own terrace overlooking the sea.

Our terrace gave us stunning sunsets in the evenings and privacy to enjoy wonderfully delicious seafood prepared at the restaurant below.

The beach, literally at our feet, allowed us to take a dip in the Adriatic any time we felt like it.

The location of Przno is ideal for travelers. It is in close vicinity to some of the most pristine beaches in the country; Przno beach, Queens Beach, Kings beach and the beach at Sveti (holy) Stefan are all within walking distance.

Once upon a time these beaches were private property. First claimed by the Royal Family of Montenegro and later by Marshall Tito. These days, all beaches are accessible to the general public, free of charge.

 

 

Queen’s Beach, Montenegro, within walking distance of Przno
Montenegro’s rugged coastline with a view over the Adriatic and with Budva in the far distance

During Easter (which is when we traveled) the road, beaches, towns and restaurants were extremely busy with tourists and locals alike. For us, the good news came when the crowds finally left and serenity was restored.

And so, we decided to stay longer than planned. We came for a rest and now with beaches and sights mainly to our own we could enjoy tranquility by the sea and relish the wide open spaces in towns otherwise overcrowded by the hordes.

The island of Sveti Stefan, these days an exclusive resort for the rich

The Sights

Save sightseeing for rainy days is our motto and so one Tuesday, when clouds covered the blue sky and rain drops were popping on the car’s windscreen, we thought to do a tour of Montenegro’s ‘must see’ towns, Kotor and Budva,

Both are known for their pristine medieval fortified town centers. In fact I go as far as to say that both cities are on par with the beauty of Dubrovnik, in Croatia. This world heritage protected citadel is just across the border with Croatia, a mere 50km ride from the town of  Herceg Novi.

However, beware. Dubrovnik splendid as may be is so busy with tourists all year round that the magic is more like that of Disney than that of wonder.

Budva in the summer months is also much like Dubrovnik, crowded and stuffy, but has one added advantage; it has a nice organized beach, not far from the town centre.

Kotor

Kotor we found to be pristine, quiet and perfect for a stroll. Lucky for us, when we visited, early May, there were hardly any people and hence we had plenty of opportunity to discover and to photograph the scenery.

This picturesque small town is ideal for walking and exploring without tiring your feet too much. Kotor has somehow managed to avoid the ‘mob’ of tourists and thus still feels like you’re somewhere special. Try it.

Here are some pictures of Kotor’s old town.

One of Kotor’s many squares, just like they used to have in medieval times

Although Kotor’s centre doesn’t even cover 1 square kilometer it is easy to lose your bearings due to the narrow alleyways that circle and criss-cross the many squares. My first impression was that of an elaborate and majestic maze and, in fact, could be just as challenging to navigate.

Kotor’s Alleyways, in which it is all to easy to lose ones bearings

Other Places

Along the shore of the Bay of Kotor, see map below, there are quite a few towns and villages that have been preserved by time. Unfortunately, there are few places along the bay where it is possible to enter the water for a swim as there are practically no beaches.

A trip around the lake, starting from Budva, then via Kotor and the old village of Perast will take you on an unforgettable journey.

To return to Budva and beyond it is possible to catch a ferry, that operates 24/7 and goes up and down every ten minutes or so.

The bay of Kotor, with places of interest circled and where the arrow points to the place to catch the ferry

To conclude

This country, as small as it is, offers much to do and see. The locals are friendly, kind and helpful. Most people speak English.

The sights of this tiniest of countries are spectacular, the sea waters crystal clear. There are places that cater specifically for millionaires and billionaires, yet ordinary folk are just as welcome and don’t have to miss out on anything.

A trip to Montenegro is, in my humble opinion, worth every minute. Enjoy!

A stunning sunset viewed from our apartment terrace at the ‘Langust’ inn.

 

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