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Montenegro: exploring the Bay of Kotor

October 10, 2018

Montenegro is a Balkan country and borders Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania and Croatia. The countries name means 'Black Mountain', and they sure have some mountains over there! The alps of Montenegro include actually some of the most rugged terrain in Europe.

We only had one week to discover this amazing place, so I decided to visit the towns along the Bay of Kotor and to spend the last two days in Croatia to visit Dubrovnik.

I took this picture of the mountains and St. George island while standing at the 'Lady of the Rocks' island:

 

Perast

 

Perast is by far my favorite town along the Bay of Kotor.

Mornings and evenings here are very calm as boats are anchored in harbor and streets are desolated. The best mornings are the ones when you can only hear the soothing sound of the tranquil sea...

We have stayed 5 nights in a beautiful apartment in Perast (see below for information) and had breakfast each morning at Hotel Conte. For non-guest it is possible to enjoy their varied and good quality breakfast buffet for €10 per person. The restaurant is also well known for lunch and dinner. They have a terrace next to the sea, so you will have this view while having breakfast :) 

One of the best places for views over Perast and the bay are from the top of the clock tower (€1 entrance) and the balcony on the second floor of the Maritime Museum (€4).

Climbing the clock tower isn't very easy, at some points the ceiling is extremely low so you sort of have to crawl your way up :) But the reward upstairs is amazing!

View from the Clock Tower:

Perast was under Venetian rule for centuries long and has therefore a little bit of a 'Venetian look and feel'. The small town (350 inhabitants) has got the staggering number of 17 Baroque palaces and 16 churches! 

The Maritime Museum (€4) is housed in the charming Bujovic palace, which dates from 1694. The view from the balcony at the second floor of the museum:

One of the most important sights in Perast is the 'Our Lady of the Rocks' Island. A boat will take you for €5 (return ticket) to the island where you can visit the church and a small museum. Interior of the tiny church:

The short boat ride is also a fun way to see Perast from another angle.

The town is car free (except for inhabitants and the local bus) so the only street Perast has got is not that busy :) Located between this road and the bay you will find several good restaurants and they all have sweeping views like this:

If you like to eat fresh grilled fish (or other seafood) then I can recommend to go to restaurant Konoba Skolji. Here the chef will grill the fish outside, in an open air grill, in front of your table. I don't think it will get any better than this :)

At the entrance gate of Perast town you will find Beach Bar Pirates. Here you can go for a swim in the crystal clear water or just enjoy the sunset over a cold cocktail or two with relaxed lounge music in the background :) There is sometimes live music, but not at the time we were there, so there was a really nice and calm atmosphere.

Here I am sitting in front of the Saint Mark church which is located on one of the small squares overlooking the bay.

Perast is THE perfect place for sunset views! The color of the light changes like almost every 10 minutes and the clouds make sure each sunset will look totally different from the other. 

 

Herceg Novi

 

To be very honest, I expected a bit more of this town. I thought it would be bigger with more sights. But the sights we've seen were very pretty! So if you go there; in my opinion you don't need a full day trip to visit the sights. Just a couple of hours is enough I think.

We visited the Kanli Kula fortress, Clock Tower and the Archangel Michael's Church for example. What impressed us most were the amazing views over the entrance of the bay, especially from the terrace of Grandska Kafana. Here we sat back for coffee and a (huge) lunch.  Great view while drinking coffee on their terrace:

View from the top of the Fortress Kanli Kula, which means 'bloody tower', as it was as well a prison in the 15th century. 

The Orthodox Church stands on a small square with an old fountain, and it was once surrounded by beautiful palmtrees. Unfortunately they had to cut off the crown of the trees which gives it a bit of a sad look nowadays.

This Clock Tower (built in 1667) was once the cities main gate and stands close to above mentioned church:

We took the public bus form Perast to Herczeg Novi.

Take the Blue Line bus from the main church in Perast to Risan, and change buses there to Herczeg Novi.

Kotor

 

Visiting Kotor was for me one of the highlights in this area.

When you walk through this city it feels like you went back in time to the middle ages.

There are numerous of churches and lovely squares to visit, but the showstopper lies actually 1.350 steps above the city centre...

Somewhere halfway up to the fortress you will find this small church and impressive view:

I can recommend to visit the fortress in the morning to avoid the heat of the afternoon. We have seen 2 people who were selling water along the way, but I am not sure if they will be there every day. So make sure to take some water with you, because it's quite a steep hike which can be challenging in the heat. It will take you about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get up and about half an hour to get back to the city. 

 

Laundry day in the streets of Kotor:

The towns most important building is the St. Gryphon's Cathedral.

It was first built in the 12th century and reconstructed several times after a couple of earthquakes. The walls of the interior are painted pink :)

Kotor is also known as the 'city of cats' as there are hundreds of them. There even is a cat museum...

Look up kitty, you are missing out!

Kotor has a couple of entrance gates and when you enter the city from the Sea Gate (dating from 1555) this Clock Tower (built in 1602) is what you will see first.

In this picture you can spot the church (halfway) and the fortress up the hill if you look closely:

We took the public bus form Perast to Kotor.

Take the Blue Line bus from the main church in Perast to Kotor for €1 per person.

It will take about half an hour to the busstop at the Sea Gate of Kotor.

Budva

 

The suburbs of Budva breathe an atmosphere I do not really like to be honest. Especially just outside the city walls of the old town (along the coast), where there are huge bars, restaurants and many shops who unfortunately all sell the same. But the old town itself is really very pretty!

 

We have started our day at the lovely pine and lemon tree covered terrace of Casper Bar.

This is one of the few cafes in Montenegro where they serve good specialty coffee (with oat and soy milk). During the day it's a nice garden café, and at night it turns into a bar.

The Orthodox Holy Trinity Church (1804) is one of the highlights of Budva and the frescoes  are absolutely stunning in my opinion!

 Tropical plants and vibrant colors in Budva:

From the top of the Citadel (€2,50) you will have a nice view over the old town and the mountains in the distance (and the upcoming rainstorm...) 

On the north side of the old city you will find a narrow path which leads you along the rugged coastline towards a small beach. Along the way you will encounter this lovely statue of a ballerina where we finished our trip through this beautiful country.

From Perast we first took the Blue Line Bus to Kotor.

From here you walk about 100 meters to the main bus station, where you have to take another bus to Budva, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

We have stayed 5 nights at Perast Sea Window.

It is a very charming apartment with 2 bedrooms and splendid views over the bay.

Please note: this is not a sponsored post.

Are you combining Montenegro with a visit to Dubrovnik in Croatia?

Then please check out my other blog post about this wonderful city.

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