One of Europe’s smallest, and newest countries is Montenegro. And it’s also a great little place to explore, albeit I have not taken the chance to explore it greatly bar a couple of spots near or on the coast.
You’ll find it well east with a decent amount of Mediterranean coastline, and after the breakup of Yugoslavia (which it was a part of) it spent a number of years as part of a country known simply as ‘Serbia and Montenegro’. Serbia lies to the north of the country, and there are good train connections between the two countries. When I visited I took a train from Belgrade to the coastal town of Budva.
Budva was great – it provided a cheap way to experience the Mediterranean Sea and beaches, as the further west you go the more the prices go up. Of course, it’s not as cheap today as it used to be. But Montenegro is not just a beach country.
For example, the capital, Podgorica, is not an unattractive town. It is set with the backdrop of mountains, and is far from being Europe’s busiest city with a population of 185,000 in the metre area (150,000 urban). Although I didn’t stop there in my one and only trip to Montenegro, I certainly would if I returned as it looks beautiful in photos and has a few things worth doing, not to mention it looks like hiking in the nearby mountains is rewarding. There are a number of churches and monasteries that look worth a stop too.
Montenegro is a country of mountains and beaches – hence the ‘Mont’ in the name I guess! So it looks to be an attractive country for hiking, even if the mountains are not super high. The people are friendly though and laid back. Just taking the train through the country I met several people on a pretty sociable train. The only drawback was the lack of space – some were actually sleeping on the floor.
And Budva was just a pleasure to visit. I teamed up with an American I had met in Romania, earlier in my trip, and we took a room with two single beds and a small balcony together at I think 7-10 Euro each a night. I’m sure it would be more today, it was some 15 years ago, but it was still a bargain back then. Now this came through an old lady who approached us at the bus station in Budva. Whether today this sort of thing is still done, I don’t know. There is quite a range of hotels and air BnB options when I do a search.
It was May, and the weather was perfect! It was low 30s every day and barely a cloud in the sky. Maybe even a tad warmer. They seemed to be gearing up for the tourist season, there was music pumping through the day and night, and on the weekend there were outdoor venues pumping the tracks as well.
And there was also a castle on the edge of the water to explore as well, reminding the visitor that this was a port and important back in the day!
Not that far from Budva is Kotor, built into the side of a steep mountain. It has a lot of alleyways and stairs, and great views. It formed a great daytrip from Budva.
Montenegro borders Serbia, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Hopefully it’s a little easier to cross to Croatia than I found it 15 years ago today, because that was a long day that in the end came to needing to hitch! Anyways, great climate, people, beaches, towns and mountains. I certainly recommend Montenegro!
Thanks for reading today – and May the Journey Never End!