Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor

by Lu
Bay of Kotor

Montenegro lies on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, full of mountain ranges, clear blue waters, medieval towns, sea view apartments, and an abundance of fresh figs. It’s one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, second only to Iceland within Europe. During our week in Montenegro, we based ourselves in Tivat on a hill overlooking Porto Montenegro, a new luxury marina, and took day trips to Kotor, a medieval city, and Perast, a magical little town with an island in the middle of the sea. We’re already plotting our return. US passport holders can stay in Montenegro for 90 days at a time, and the cost of living is quite low. We spent 42 USD per person per day.

Getting Around
  1. Montenegro Railway – The train is modern and you can buy tickets on board.
  2. Long distance buses. The bus from Podgorica to Tivat was 7.5 euros and from Tivat to Herceg Novi was 3 euros.
  3. Local buses are 1 or 2 euros each. We took the bus everywhere around the Bay of Kotor.
  4. Taxis are pretty affordable, but they aren’t metered, so know the distance and price beforehand. For instance, a 10 minute, 4 kilometer ride should cost 4 or 5 euros. If you’re staying outside the town center, you may have to call for a taxi. Their phone numbers are online.
  5. Lepetane Ferry – take this ferry to Perast to avoid an hour on the road.
  6. Rental Car. Go with brand name car agencies and know that the roads along the Bay of Kotor can be narrow and tricky. You’ll be squeezing by buses.
Accomodations

We stayed in an Airbnb in Tivat for a week and would choose this area again. Tivat is home to Porto Montenegro, a new marina filled with luxury yachts, and accompanying shops and restaurants along the promenade. There’s also a nice, clean public beach. Surprisingly, prices are more affordable than Kotor, especially if you go up the hill a bit. Real estate closer to the water is obviously more expensive, but you can find new construction just 15 minutes by foot up the hill, and those apartments often have gorgeous views looking out over the mountains and ocean. Tivat is also quieter and more spacious than Kotor or Budva, which are much more touristy and populated. Porto Montenegro also has some beautiful hotels if you’re looking for that instead.

Restaurants
  1. Ladovina Kitchen and Wine Bar in Kotor – Our Airbnb host laughed when we told her we went to Ladovina for dinner and said “Every tourist goes there,” so maybe it’s catered towards tourists but it’s still delicious and a great value. The salad we ordered was absolutely gigantic, and we also got grilled fish and drinks for 30 USD.
  2. Bonella Green Bazzar in Tivat – This is not a restaurant but rather a specialty grocery store on the waterfront with a counter of prepared foods and desserts in front, all delicious and pretty cheap. We came here almost every day for lunch or a sweet treat. There are other Bonella’s in Montenegro but this one is the best. Definitely try their pepper burek (sort of like a sandwich filled with roasted peppers) and their snickers cake.
Must Sees
  1. Porto Montenegro – a newly built luxury marina with some of the most impressive yachts we’ve ever seen, many owned by wealthy Russians. At night there are often parties on board if you can get an invite. During the day the marina is quiet, clean, and glistening. At sunset it comes alive with popcorn and balloon sellers, people swimming in the public beach nearby, dining al fresco, or just strolling along the boardwalk.
  2. Crkva Gospe od Anđela – a stone church sitting on the water’s edge. You can see Our Lady of the Rocks from here.
  3. Our Lady of the Rocks – a tiny island in the Bay of Kotor with a church on it. Beautiful to photograph from a distance. Boats ferry you over from Perast for 5 euros per person and entrance is 1 euro each.
  4. Perast – you walk down a steep set of winding stairs to this quaint and picturesque town on the Bay of Kotor. Our Airbnb host said it’s her favorite place in the world. It’s quickly becoming more touristic.
  5. Kotor – already very touristic and commercialized, but the medieval structures and red roofs are still impressively old and charming.
  6. Cathedral of Saint Tryphon – Built in 1166, this church is older than many of the famous ones in Europe. Entrance is 3 euros per person.
  7. Kotor Fortress – Follow the Old Town Road to the start of the path. Entrance is 3 euros per person. The fortress is situated on top of a hill with sweeping views of both the mountains and the Adriatic sea flowing into the Bay of Kotor. The climb up is a workout, especially on a summer afternoon with the sun beating down. We both had to take off our shirts! Definitely bring water and sunscreen. A smarter way to do it would be to go early in the morning or at sundown.

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