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Montenegro vs Slovenia

I am planning a driving trip through Croatia and Montenegro (Bay of Kotor area), flying in and out of Zagreb. Our goal is to see the most scenic areas since we are neither big city or museum people. We enjoy getting to know the people and culture and the natural beauty of the countries we visit. Let me also add that narrow, steep roads are not a deterrent to us as we've been on many "dangerous" roads.

If you were to add another area to this trip, would it be driving through the interior areas of Montenegro OR Slovenia? I have read your books about these areas and can't quite figure out which one would be more enjoyable. Any advice you can give would be appreciated. I should add that we can spend as much time here as we want -- I would guess that we'll stay 3 or 4 weeks but we are very flexible.

Posted by
906 posts

It's hard to recommend one of the two, both have very scenic areas, but there are some differences in my opinion. Slovenia has a more 'traditional' alpine beauty, like what you would find in Switzerland or Austria. The architechture and culture is distinctly more 'western european' since it's largely catholic. Lake Bled is a pure chocolate box, picture post card setting.
Montenegro has a more 'wild' beauty, it's dryer in some places and the culture is more a mix of mediteranean and orthodox. I have only driven in Montenegro and there were some very scenic drives (Kotor to Mt. Lovcen, through the Tara Canyon fx.), that were a little narrow and steep, but not outright dangerous.
The interior of Montenegro is more alpine, such as Dumitor NP and the stunning Tara Canyon and worth a few days. Basicly you can drive through the country from Dumitor to the coast in half a day. With 3-4 weeks you should be able to se a lot.

Posted by
1054 posts

If you have 3-4 weeks, do both !

We spent 2 weeks - flying into Zagreb, Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Rovinj, Plitvice, Split, Hvar, Mostar, Kotor, and Dubrovnik.

We hiked and biked and kayaked and loved every day !

Posted by
4563 posts

I agree with Morten. I've also been to both countries, natural beauty stunning in both, in Slovenia more civilization, Montenegro wilder and more exotic. If I could do only one of them it would be Montenegro.

Posted by
334 posts

Both Montenegro and Slovenia are relatively small countries. With 3 to 4 weeks, I see no reason why you couldn't do both. Ljubljana is only a couple hours from Zagreb and the major seaside towns of Montenegro can be seen in a day trip from Dubrovnik. It's hard to compare one to the other as both have natural beauty, parks, small towns.

After arriving in Zagreb, you could first head up into Slovenia, then head down into the Istria area of Croatia, make your way down the coast, eventually into Montenegro, and then loop back up through either Croatia or Bosnia and back up to Zagreb.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the input- I guess we will do Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia with a brief stop in Mostar, Bosnia. I hope we can do it all in 3 weeks!

Posted by
334 posts

I would vote for Korcula, but it's more of a personal preference rather one island being definitively better than the other.

Posted by
9 posts

I've only been to Brač and Korčula, but from numerous comments I've read, Hvar seems to be more about the calibre and value of the yachts (and famous celebrities) that moor up there than the island itself. It seems to be more of a 'party' island, but some people would prefer that out of a holiday, obviously.
Having said that, there are ferries connecting all three, so a 'compare and contrast' type trip is possible, too.

Posted by
83 posts

If I had to choose one it would be Montenegro. Beyond Kotor check out Lovcen National Park, maybe Durmitor NP, Ostrog Monastery. So many great places in Montenegro and some of the best mountain "roads" anywhere.
Slovenia is beautiful, too, kind of an extension of Austria. Don't be afraid to add some Bosnia while you're in the area. In fact, we had a similar trip a few years ago and ended up cutting nearly all of our Croatia time out (on the fly, as it were) and applied all of it to Bosnia. The reason is that Croatia has been "discovered" and is very expensive and much more crowded than any other country in the region. Croatia is beautiful and the coastline and islands are magnificent, but if you're there in the summer it just gets to be too much. if you want culture and natural beauty, hunt out some small places in Bosnia. We enjoyed Jajce, Travnik, Kraljevo Sutjeska among others.

Posted by
3136 posts

Donna,
Since "...narrow, steep roads are not a deterrent ...", you might want to consider a road with fantastic views of the town and Bay of Kotor. From Kotor a certain road leads away from the bay inland. It goes up the side of a steep mountain and has 25 numbered 180 degree switchback turns and at least 75 other sharp turns. Rock wall on one side and nothing on the other. Can't remember the name or number of the road, but it went to the towns of Njegusi and Cetinje. Fantastic views (sometimes through light clouds) but definitely not for the faint of heart. You can go to bing.com, use the map feature, and see aerial views of the road that some love for the views and others consider the road from &*%$.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so much for all your suggestions.....they are very helpful and we will definitely take them all into consideration. I will search out little places in Bosnia and definitely plan to take the switchback road from Kotor to the mountains nearby in Montenegro. It is great to have advice from those who have first hand knowledge of this area. We're going to be in Istanbul before going to Croatia and just hope that the political situation there is stable while we're visiting!!! Thanks again.

Posted by
8894 posts

Your post is fairly old so this may all be too late; but….

Last year we few from the states to Dubrovnik. Beautiful town worth the effort, a must see in every way …. But for only one night and two half days because it’s a pure tourist venue. They say only a few hundred Croatians still live within the walls of the old town. The rest is Disneyland; but a good Disneyland.

From Dubrovnik we drove south to Perast on the Bay of Kotor. The drive is only about 1.5 hours but as soon as you cross the border into Montenegro the towns on the Bay with their beaches, resorts, “boardwalks”, etc make for a lot of short and interesting stops. The bay its self is stunning.

We chose to stop in Perast instead of Kotor because I had the suspicion that Kotor was little more than a small version of Dubrovnik. A few days later this was confirmed. Beautiful but I want to be away from the tourists. Perast turned out to be perfect. The little Bayfront hotel we stayed in had a restaurant right up to the edge of the bay. We hired a couple of local fishermen to take us out fishing one afternoon. A place I know we will return to.

From Perast we drove on to Kotor for a few hours and then using the high road mentioned in a previous post we moved on to Njeguši where we ate lunch at the works of a small Prosciutto dryer. Then on to Podgorica (aka Titograd). Podgorica isn’t much to see, but we stayed in this wonderful hotel with a roof top restaurant and great food. The next morning, we caught a flight to Belgrade. But it just so happens that from Podgorica you can fly Adria Airlines to Ljubljana for about $120 non-stop.

Montenegro was so beautiful I think we are heading back in the Spring to do some fishing in the mountains.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you for your reply --- as it turns out we are in Croatia at this very moment. We are in Hvar and will be traveling to Montenegro in just a few days. We will definitely take your advice and stay in Perast...fishing sounds like a great idea! Thanks for your input.

Posted by
12868 posts

In Montenegro, Ulcinj, Cetinje, and Herceg-Novi all seemed less touristy than Kotor last September; Budva was roughly equivalent to Kotor. However, it makes a big difference if you can hit Kotor when there isn't a large cruise ship in port. It also helps if you wander deep into the old town. I used Podgorica as a base for some side trips by bus, but it seemed pretty unremarkable.