Day Tripping In Montenegro

A fantastic day trip with Dubrovnik, Croatia as your home base is the small but stunning country of Montenegro!  Mountains, clear cerulean seas, walled towns, and gorgeous beaches!  Day tripping has never really been more enjoyable!

Kotor, Montenegro

My tour bus picked me up in front of my hostel in Dubrovnik, as well as a few more people from other accommodations, then we were on our way.  It’s a gorgeous drive along the Dalmatian coastline and the tour guide gave us history and culture information as we went.  Upon reaching the border, Croatian authorities stamped our passports that we were leaving Croatia but I got no Montenegro stamp, unfortunately.  Same with the return to Croatia.

Bay of Kotor, leaving Kamenari

After a short rest stop in Herceg Novi, we boarded a ferry at Kamenari and leisurely crossed Bay of Kotor (the deepest natural bay in the Mediterranean) to Lepatane.  Not much longer, we found ourselves in the fortified town of Kotor.

Kotor

Kotor is tucked away within a fjord and, within it’s walls you’ll find a maze.  It was built this way for protection purposes and it’s very easy to get lost in!  If you look up, you’ll see a meandering wall rising up to the fortress.  The thing that comes to mind is “a mini Great Wall”!  To get to that fortress, you have to climb 1350 steps!  I made it about 3/4 of the way up before I had to descend so I wouldn’t miss my bus!

The wall climbing above Kotor to the fortress

Because I chose to climb the steps, I had very little time before that to see much of the town.  It’s full of museums, churches, cathedrals, and palaces.  Also, of course, squares, shops, restaurants, and monuments!  Looking down from the steps above, it was absolutely enthralling!

Budva

From Kotor, we motored our way to Budva.  Budva is famous for it’s sandy beaches and, according to our tour guide, is primarily owned by Russian investors.  That explains the newer high rises along the water. Sent our own way, most of us wandered along the beach (aka Riviera) a bit as well as a bit of Old Town.  It’s definitely a tourist city and absolutely gorgeous!!

Our Lady of the Rocks & Sveti Dorde

After Budva, we meandered our way slowly back towards Dubrovnik, passing a couple of famous islets out in the bay, Our Lady of the Rocks and Sveti Dorde, off of the coast of Perast.  If we had had time, we could have ferried out to explore the churches on them.

Sveti Nikola off of Budva

An impossible day trip to forget, Montenegro, though a blip on my trip, it is fondly remembered.  I would love to go back again just to vacation, rather than travel through!

Kotor

Any guesses as to where I’m headed next?

Budva
A different view of Budva
Streets of Kotor
Budva Church
Budva
Budva, another view
Outside of Old Town Budva
Some of the steps up to the fortress, Kotor
Church in Kotor
In Old Town Kotor
Inside a church in Kotor
Kotor & it’s fortress
Kotor Beach
Bay of Kotor
Me, climbing to the fortress in Kotor

Delighted & Dazzled In Dubrovnik

One can’t help but be dazzled when visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia!  I’ve wanted to visit for a while and the photos that I saw online of Dubrovnik showed a beautiful little paradise.  They didn’t lie!

Situated across the Adriatic from Italy, I thought just hopping a ferry would be the cheapest way to get there.  However, I was wrong.  Flights going from Bari, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia weren’t cheap either…unless I flew to Rome, Italy & spent the night in the airport.  So that’s what I did (I flew west to go east!) and ended up having the hours fly by due to the wonderful company of another traveler.

Entrance to Old Town

Once I finally arrived in Dubrovnik, all that I wanted to do was check into my hostel, Hostel 365 For U (it had only been open for 2 weeks so everything was nice and new) and take a nap!  Unfortunately, I was too early so, shedding my bags, I dragged myself to Old Town.

I didn’t explore much on my first day but the beauty of this destination was undeniable even though I was too tired to fully enjoy it.  The heat didn’t help either.  You may want to plan a visit sometime other than July!

Dubrovnik as seen from atop Srd Hill just after sunset

Old Town is an incredible walled city that is amazingly intact despite being fought over by the Venetians, Ottomans, and eventually taken by Napoleon.  It was highly coveted because it was a major maritime trading center and one of the wealthiest cities in southern Europe.

The walls were built in the 16th century but parts of the city go back to the 11th century.  One of the pleasures of the wall is that you can walk along the top of it, all of the way around the city! The views are stunning!  With rust red rooftops stretching out to crystal blue seas and the small, green island of Lokrum floating within easy reach.  Everywhere you look is pleasing to the senses!

Old Harbor & Sveti Ivan Tower

The city itself is a maze of narrow streets, steep steps, restaurants, shops, museums, monasteries, fountains, cathedrals, an 800 year old Gothic church, and Europe’s oldest pharmacy.  Looking everywhere at once as I wandered the cobblestone streets, I suddenly emerged at the old harbor.

There are restaurants fronting the marina but you can by-pass them and continue around Sveti Ivan Tower to Porporela (the pier and breakwater).  People were strolling along, sitting on benches staring out to sea, sunbathing, and young men were jumping into the sea from the rocks.  It’s a very restful place to be!  Especially in the heat of summer!

Fort Lovrijenac

Fort Lovrijenac  sits 37 meters above the sea on a rock that juts out into the Adriatic and is impossible to miss.  It’s nicknamed, Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar, but Game of Thrones fans know it as a landmark in the fictional city of King’s Landing.  Much of the TV show has been shot in Dubrovnik.

Sunset above Dubrovnik

The Dubrovnik Cable Car is a fantastic way to the top of Srd Hill where you’ll get the absolute best views of Dubrovnik.  I, however, decided not to do it as I didn’t want to spend the money.  Lucky for me, I met 3 young men (from India, Africa, and Copenhagen) at my hostel and one of them had a car.  They were going to drive up the hill and I was invited to join them.  It was a scary drive but completely worth it!  We arrived at the top right at sunset and “breathtaking” just doesn’t do that view justice!

Church of Saint Blaise

We spent some time getting to know each other for a bit while soaking in the scenery before dropping the car at the hostel and walking to Old Town for dinner.  Old Town at night is completely charming, of course!

The main street through Old Town

Dubrovnik is expensive (I paid $20 for a burger, fries, & beer!) but it’s so full of history and beauty, as I found all of Croatia to be.  It can be seen in a day but why not take your time? There are many great day trips from Dubrovnik, as well.  Dubrovnik is a destination everyone needs to include on their bucket list!  You’ll be dazzled!!

View from a sidewalk
One of many narrow, steep alleyways

Cable car to the top

A view from one of the turrets on the wall
A bar overlooking the island & sea on the outer rocks
Saint Ignatius Church
Alleyway dinner entertainment
Dubrovnik Harbor
Ivan Gundulic Statue in Gundulic Square, Old Town
Looking back from the pier
Yours truly