During a weeklong visit to the Dubrovnik, Croatia area we decided to take a day trip to see the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro- because who can pass up a new country?
Montenegro is actually the newest country in Europe as it split with Serbia in June 2006. It uses the Euro which was convenient for us, but is not part of the Eurozone. We had heard prior to venturing there that the drivers were crazy around the Bay, but we found the speed limits to be very low and it not really to be an issue at all.
The trip from Mlini, Croatia, where we were staying, to Kotor itself was about an hour and a half and had very nice views most of the way as a bonus! The road was actually more populated than we expected with the town of Hercegnovi being the first to drive through- the lack of sidewalks do create most of the trouble as there is a plethora of people just walking along the busy, fairly high speed road! Washington DC, where we are from, has an issue with a lot of pedestrian accidents but wow, I can’t imagine if there were no sidewalks like what we saw in this area!
As you get closer to Kotor the mountains get steeper and you do get that feel of a fjord. (We had originally planned to go to Norway for this vacation so Jeff still got his fjord experience here).
Kotor itself is a walled city and quite nice. I will be curious to see it in ten years as it is a place that definitely appreciates the tourist business but has a little polishing up to do before the masses come. It is not quite to the level of cleanliness and I guess organization as Dubrovnik but is a very nice destination for a day. This did also make it very appealing to us. We parked right by the bay (near the yacht parking) and walked right into the old town through the main gate. There are plenty of restaurants and shops with souvenirs and nearly everyone we encountered spoke English.
We had a wonderful lunch which was very inexpensive. Jeff got soup, salad and a huge portion of squid with vegetables for 11 Euros. We also found several souvenir type items that were similar to items in Dubrovnik but at about half the price.
On our way back we stopped in the town of Perast which is known for the small boats you can take to the man made island in the center of the bay. Perast was very nice and you are politely offered a boat when walking into town – “would you like transportation to the island?” And upon refusal you are very politely told to have a very nice day. Much better than some other parts of the world where a no is not met so nicely!
Some notes about visiting Montenegro from Croatia- Neither Apple Maps nor Google Maps have the navigation implemented yet for this area so don’t rely on that if driving, although the signs were great and the route was well marked. Also plan time for the border crossing. You will have to show your car green card and passports twice when both entering and exiting the country. It does make one appreciate the EU and Schengen!
We highly recommend this day trip and look forward to seeing this area in the future!