Montenegro would be an easy sell to prospective tourists — if they knew it existed. The reality is that this nation on the Adriatic Sea is still a relative stranger to most travellers outside of Europe. Part of the former Yugoslav Republic before its brutal and bloody dissolution in the 90s, Montenegro has only been fully independent since 2006, making the country just about a decade old.
On first look, the gleaming bay of Kotor reminded me of the Norwegian fjords. Gorgeous views are possible from many parts of town — a sweaty hike along the city walls, lazy coffee on a rooftop bar, or a simple stroll to the ferry docks will yield something similar to the pictures below. If nothing else, the city is extremely photogenic.
Croatia’s growing popularity as a tourist destination means that more and more travellers are vacationing in Dubrovnik, one of its premier cities. Should you find yourself there at some point, I highly suggest a hop across the border to Montenegro: Kotor is only an hour’s drive away. While the culture, food, views, and language in Dubrovnik and Kotor are similar, a stay in Kotor is decidedly a more pleasant experience. I found Dubrovnik too busy, crowded, and expensive. Kotor, however, in contrast, had a more relaxed vibe and fewer tourists (Dubrovnik seemed overrun). As for getting between the two cities, I rented a car and drove, but if you’re on a budget you can also take a bus.
Kotor itself was absolutely incredible. The old town is fortified on all sides, and even though the backside of the town is protected by a massive rocky mountain, there is still a stone wall which runs along the hill, creating an extra layer of security I suppose.
In my opinion, this is what makes the city so incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it before in all of our travels. Hiking up the medieval walls offers the best vantage point over the bay, and when the rain cleared for a couple of hours, that’s exactly what we did.