After almost a week of cruising through Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was new country time and we had decided to continue our road trip in Montenegro. It was cheaper to rent a different car in each country, so we dropped off our Bosnian car in Mostar and jumped on a bus to Herceg Novi, right across the border with Montenegro. I said cheaper, not quicker or less annoying. Call it a lack of preparation – but hey, what’s the charm of a road trip if you have to plan everything ahead? – but we hadn’t really understood that the bus didn’t go straight from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Montenegro but instead went from Bosnia into Croatia, back into Bosnia, back into Croatia and from there finally into Montenegro. Yes, that is a total of 4 border crossings and seeing Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t part of the EU… yep, you get it…
Nine hours later (instead of the 4 that were announced) we finally got there, jumped straight into our new car and were ready to hit the road again. Here’s my full ABC of all the cool things to do in the country, all tested thoroughly by yours truly!
Let’s hit the road!
[A] Stay at hotel Aurel in Podgorica for some unexpected luxury at reasonable prices.
[B] Stroll around the cozy streets of Budva during the day and see how it transforms into ‘the place to be’ once the sun has set. Little bars full of people, (sometimes live) music and beautiful people literally everywhere!
[C] Try to save one of the cats of Kotor with fellow animal lover Dan because it looks soooooo skinny and you just can’t NOT go buy some tuna to feed it.
[D] Do not miss Durmitor national park. Drive through its winding roads to see the most amazing scenery of vast green grasslands and mountains. Together with the Piva river (keep on reading until you reach [P]), which is also in the north of Montenegro, Durmitor was one of my favorite places to visit. A more detailed post about both places will follow later, so stay tuned!
[E] Spend more time watching these two taking pictures of each other than actually visiting the country. Haha OK I’m exaggerating, but yeah, this is also what traveling with fellow travel bloggers looks like. That and heaps of fun, of course! #TravelBloggingBehindTheScenes
[F] Realize Montenegro is probably not gonna make it to your “Top 5 food countries in the world” list. Myeah, no big love affair between me and Montenegrin food… sorry guys!!
[G] On your way from Durmitor and Piva in the north to Podgorica in the south, take the detour via the Tara River Canyon (the deepest canyon in Europe) and Biogradska Gora national park.
[H] Stay at Holiday Bungalows in Pluzine, drink home-made Rakia with the owner who is just the nicest man EVER, and get the feeling you never want to leave this place again… I mean NO other tourists, the friendliest people, and views to die for… what else do you need?
[I] Stay in Ivetic Apartments in Radanovice, between Kotor and Budva. The place is cheap, super nice and the owners are just adorable!
[J] On your way from Kotor to Pluzine, between Lipci and Niksic, stop at Jezero Slansko, or Lake Slansko.
[K] Spend an afternoon in Kotor. Start out with Stari Grad, the historical center, and once you’re warmed up, climb the 1350 steps leading up to the Castle of San Giovanni. You’ll understand right away why this place is Lonely Planet’s #1 top city of 2016!
[L] Take the long road from Tivat to Kotor along the coast, and from Kotor keep on driving towards Lipci. Why? Let me show you…
[M] Cruise around the country in the Renault Megane you rented with Auto Europe. Great car, good prices and a fast service, what else do you want?
[N] Eat the local cookies called Noblice, which – I’m sure – translate into something lovely and appetizing in Montenegrin, we couldn’t help but laugh about it. And feel a bit itchy, too :p
[O] Play a game of odds are, loose, and walk up to a woman you’ve never seen before asking ‘can I please get a selfie of us together because you are so beautiful and I need to give my plastic surgeon something to work with?’
For those of you who don’t know ‘odds are’, it’s a game where one person dares another person to do something silly, ridiculous, slightly embarrassing, etc. The challenged person then chooses the odds (1 to 10, 1 to 20, 1 to 30, …) after which both people count to 3 and shout a number corresponding to how likely they think it is the challenged person will fulfill the assignment. If both people shout the same number, the person who got challenged, well, is screwed 🙂
This all sounds rather complicated so let me give you a real-life example:
Jones: ‘Lili, odds are you’ll go to any woman in here and ask her for a selfie saying ‘you are so beautiful and my plastic surgeon needs something to work with.’’
Lili: ‘Eeehhrrr… one to 10!’
Jones and Lili both count down… 1… 2… 3…
Jones and Lili at the same time: ‘7!!’
Lili: ‘Shit!’ 🙂
[P] Realize that half of the places in Montenegro have a name starting with a P and that it’s gonna be hard to fill up your ABC… Pluzine, Podgorica, … but the one you should definitely not miss is Piva. From Pluzine just drive north and keep following the Piva River for some dazzling views of the canyon.
[Q] Quench your thirst with some local beer. With temperatures going up to 42°C (108° F), you’ll need it…d
[R] Drive up to Rijeka Crnojevica to see Horseshoe bend. It’s breathtaking and when we were there, there was nobody else around and we got the place all to ourselves!
Photo credit: Dan Flying Solo
[S] Drive down the coast from Budva towards Ulcinj and take a few of the side roads to get closer to the ocean. One of them will lead you to Sveti Stefan, a nice place to watch the sunset.
[T] When in Budva, check to see if Top Hill is open for an awesome party in a super special place.
[U] After your night out at Top Hill – to which you didn’t drive yourself because you don’t drink and drive, of course!! – try and find an Uber to get back to your apartment, only to discover the nearest one is 7 hours away. Take a taxi instead, get stuck behind a roadblock that is going to last for several hours on the only road back to your place, head back to Budva and get a hotel for (what’s left of) the night, even though you already paid for one elsewhere…
[V] Shoot an epic Montenegro road trip Video, or just watch Dan Flying Solo while he’s shooting his. Check it out, it’s amazing!!
[W] Wake up to this view in Kod Strugara near horseshoe bend. There’s only one or two places to stay and you might need to book in advance, but it’s worth it!
[X] Try to survive the bus ride from Bosnia and Herzegovina without Xanax… I can promise you it’s gonna be a challenge :p
[Y] Say yes whenever someone offers you a shot of home-made Rakia. And get ready to get a liiiiiiittle bit tipsy… (once you’ve finished driving, of course!!!)
[Z] If you want to stay a night near Durmitor national park, pick the town of Zabljak with its lovely mountain vibe.
OK so now you’re all set to go on an epic road trip in Montenegro!
Check out my ABC of the coolest things to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina if you want to combine both countries in one trip and stay tuned for my best things to do in Albania, the third and final country I visited during this awesome Balkans road trip.
Questions? Been there and want to share your epic moments? Or just want to say hi?
See you in the comment section!
(*) Huge thanks to AutoEurope for providing us with a car as part of their #EuropeanRoadTrip campaign. All opinions are as always my own and straight from the heart. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for every booking.