In 2014 after leaving Italy where I was in Erasmus, I went to Bosnia and Herzegovina for EFIL‘s Volunteer Summer Summit, passing by Split on the way. Prior my departure I had talk with some friends to do a road trip in the Balkans afterwards and Niklas, André and Katharina, two germans and a portuguese, decided to join me! We rented a car in Sarajevo (really cheap, each of us payed around 40€ for a whole week), drove to Mostar, then crossed to Croatia to visit Dubrovnik and then we finally entered Montenegro. Usually I like to plan all my trips, but this time I was traveling with two germans and we have to admit it, it is natural, they are already born with organizational skills 😛 And they were driving… so this time I just had to sit back, relax and enjoy, which is also great!
Day 1 (after visiting Dubrovnik in the morning): The first city where we stopped was Herceg Novi, already around the “southest fiord of Europe”, the bay of Kotor. The weather wasn’t perfect but the city was nice, with its little castle facing the bay and the sea. We didn’t spend much time in the city, just a quick tour, because we were sleeping in Budva, one and a half our drive from Herceg Novi, as we had to go around the whole bay. The view was amazing but the sky was getting darker and darker and when we got to our little hotel it was raining so much we couldn’t even take our things off the car! We just had dinner and hoped the weather was getting better, as we wanted to go to the beach the next day!
Day 2: The next morning it was sunny and we were happy! We wanted to go to Sveti Stefan, the little fortress island accessible by a stone bridge but when we got there we discovered the island is actually a private millionaire retreat and we couldn’t enter. Plus, the sandy beach next to it was also private and you would have to pay 75€ to be there… excused to say we went to the public rocky one just on the other side of the bridge, where everyone is… In the evening we explored Budva. We had dinner in an amazing fish restaurant called Jadran, decorated with thousands of objects from Harley Davidson, and then we went inside the city walls. In August it is full with tourists (but not too full) which is great because there are a lot of street musicians and people entertaining us!
Day 3: We left our hotel in the morning and drove to Stari Bar, a castle on the top of the hill next to Bar. Not a must, but nice! When we were planning our trip we wanted to go souther, to Albania, but the car insurance didn’t cover the area so we decided not to risk it. Anyway we drove until Skadar lake, to see Albania from far (it looks the same :P). This day was a bit lost because we spent the whole time driving through awful streets and the automatic car wasn’t helping, as we were driving on the montains. We were so tired, we didn’t even bother stopping in Cetinje and just saw it from the car. Then we finally spotted Kotor Bay, meaning we were close to our hostel, near Kotor. We decided to stay in Ljuta, out of Kotor, because the prices in Kotor are very high, as it is the most touristic city of Montenegro.
Day 4: Time to visit Kotor! This city is amazing, another one inside walls, where everything is made of stone! It was still decorated with Carnival decorations and we wondered if they celebrate it during summer. We were sad to leave but we had a reservation waiting in Zabljak at Durmitor National Park (165km away, advantages of traveling in small countries, you can cross them in less than three hours!). We rented an apartment there and we were really sad because that was our last night in Montenegro before going back to Bosnia. We still went to Crno jezero (the black lake, though it is composed by two lakes, one green and one blue) and I think this lake was the highlight of the trip, don’t miss it, as driving through the whole park!
Day 5: Crossing Durmitor National Park to go back to Bosnia. We were really enjoying the views, passing by cows and sheep, and we decided we were going to stop and play some traditional german games Niklas brought with him! At the end, a surprise – Piva lake, the most turquoise waters I have ever seen! It was the nicest way to say goodbye to this beautiful country!
If you liked this post and want to read more about my trips to the Balcans (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro), you can visit the following posts: