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And so it begins..trip planning

We are planning a reunion in the summer 2019. The thought was to combine beach, hikes, scenic and historic. We are arriving from 3 different continents. One has suggested Montenegro. I have never been to that part of the world. As I am just beginning my planning, I wanted to get thoughts on the most central place to stay so we all can enjoy this reunion. I would like to be anle to sightsee and hike, while the others want to spend more time relaxing. Hoping for some thoughts.

Thanks

Posted by
12868 posts

For hiking I think you'll want to have a rental car. Montenegro is a relatively small country with some very dramatic scenery, a good bit of it in national parks that do not appear to be on public-transportation routes. I was taking buses so didn't actually set foot in any of the major parks, but if you do a bit of Googling and take a look at a comprehensive guidebook, I think you'll find some useful information.

The Bay of Kotor is a must-see for anyone going to Montenegro. You may tick that box just in the normal course of moving around, but be sure you don't somehow manage to miss it. It's one of Europe's great natural sights.

For urban experiences, I enjoyed all the following, of which the first two are the most touristy:

Kotor (tourist load varies greatly depending on whether a megaship is in port)
Budva
Herceg-Novi
Ulcinj (strong Turkish vibe)
Cetinje (interior town, quite different from the coastal spots)

Podgorica is the capital and a useful transport hub (you'd fly in there). It is unfortunately not a terribly attractive place, and I would definitely not want it to be my single base for the country. I spent 2 or 3 nights there to see a bit of inland Montenegro, then I moved to Kotor. Kotor is lovely if there isn't a huge ship in port. Otherwise, it's not so wonderful; the difference is really striking. I don't know what to suggest if you're hoping to spend all your time in one lodging. I'm not sure that's a viable plan. You can explore driving times on ViaMichelin.com, and Googling (bus Kotor to Budva) will probably turn up bus schedules. The buses were reliable for me, but in the Balkans it's best to go to the bus station when you arrive in town and check the schedules in person. I'm not convinced that the online information is always complete and up to date.

Posted by
3136 posts

Victoria,

If your group does go to Montenegro, you need to be aware of a particular roadway. From Kotor there is a road that leads away from the bay inland. The views are spectacular!!. Absolutely beautiful!! Almost beyond description!! But, the road goes up the side of a steep mountain. It has 25 numbered 180 degree switchback turns and at least 75 other sharp turns. Just a rock wall on one side and absolutely nothing on the other. Can't remember the name or number of the road, but it went to the towns of Njegusi and Cetinje. Don't mean to rain on your reunion, but don't want you to get into a hairy situation without prior knowledge. If anyone in your party is prone to motion sickness, or has a problem with heights, they might do well to avoid this road. You can go to bing.com, use the map feature, and see aerial views of the road. You can also check it out on googlemaps.com. On 12 Mar. 2017 there was a thread titled "Greece Montenegro Croatia". There was a link to a map that shows the road. There was also a link to a video made along parts of the road.

Posted by
8894 posts

I've been to a big chunk of Eastern Europe and Montenegro is among my favorite places! I've spent about 11 days there over 2 trips and will be returning. Will send you a PM

Posted by
8894 posts

Oh, and one of the best things about Montenegro is that its 1.5 hours and about $70 nonstop to Budapest on Wizzair.

Posted by
127 posts

Ok that leads right into my next question...I have to fly into Western Europe (points). What would be the easiest and cheapest city to travel from to get Kotor (Dubrovnik) ? What budget airlines fly to Dubrovnik?

Posted by
12868 posts

Podgorica, being in the same country, probably has more bus links to Kotor than Dubrovnik does. There is no train service.

Posted by
8894 posts

I love Montenegro, and I love the Bay of Kotor, but I'm not such a big fan of the town of Kotor. Dubrovnik is three times better. If you can afford private transportation, go to Dubrovnik (if my memory is good we got there through Rome on Iatalia) for two nights, then drive to Perast for a night, then on to Budva for a night or two, then Stari Bar, then Ulcinj for a night, then head for the mountains for 2 to 4 nights. A few hours away is Podgorica with direct connections to Budapest on Wizzair. I'm sure there are other connections, but Budapest is Wizzairs hub so its accessible from a lot of Eastern Europe.