Prior to our trip to Kotor, we knew very little about the hidden gems of the Balkans let along the best places to visit in Montenegro. We spent one week exploring the beautiful Bay of Kotor and its surrounding areas. We learned there are many Kotor tours we could enjoy and at the recommendation of the Kotor Tourism Board, we picked an escorted tour around the best places to visit in Montenegro ran by 360Monte, a local travel agency.
We met the guide and the rest of the crew at around 9 am and left promptly in search of some of the most incredible places we've ever seen. The following info is for nature lovers who adore unspoilt forests and picturesque peaks. So join us on a soft adventure Kotor tour to discover the best places to visit in Montenegro.
Start the Day
Before we start, we are going to tell you what to expect from your tour. The tour itself will last for up to 12 hours. Summer brings some traffic so don't be alarmed if you get back at around 10 pm. As such, I recommend having snacks and plenty of water with you. You will need cash with you, as most places you will visit don't actually take cards. Coins are also good for a toilet or two which may charge 50 euro cents or so. The weather can be a bit unpredictable, so dress accordingly. We recommend a long sleeve jumper with you just in case. Our tour guide was funny and professional. The driver was very good as well, something really important for me as I get a bit of car sickness. We had about 10-12 other participants, all young and adventurous.
Old Austro-Hungarian Road
The journey will start by going up the old Austro-Hungarian Road. This road dates back to 1884 and it features 25 hair-pin serpentines. I consider myself a good driver, but given how narrow these roads were, I reckon even I would have felt a little uneasy. It was definitely more challenging than driving on Transfagarasan.
The bus will stop a couple of time for picture opportunities. We were saying how clever the tour was created: with the desire to stop for photos in mind. Nowadays, travellers crave picture perfect spots and this tour is basically that, an Instagram perfect tour of the best sites in Montenegro.
The journey will take to the top of the Old Austro-Hungarian Road where at the 25th serpentine the bus will stop again to admire Boka Bay in all its splendour. Boka Bay is listed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world and it's sometimes referred to as Europe’s southernmost fjord.
Stop at Njeguši and indulge in local produce made in this very village. The breakfast ceremony will start with a shot of strong liquor. You can then get your locally made ham. If you travel vegan the way we are, just make sure to let the guide know at the time of booking the tour! It's rather difficult to have things prepared for you so they usually need at least one day in advance. Your breakfast will be served at the oldest restaurant in Montenegro opened in 1881.
After breakfast, the tour continues towards the Lovćen peaks. You can admire the gorgeous rocky peaks when the bus goes through National Park of Lovćen. Hike to the top of the second highest mountain of Lovćen and learn about Petar II Petrović Njegoš, known to be the greatest Montenegrin ruler. Don't worry though, the hike itself is done via well-defined stairs. Although we always recommend comfortable and sturdy shoes, know that several people in our group did this in flip-flops. Even our tour guide was in a summer dress and sandals, so you can imagine it's quite easily accessible. At the very top, you can take a fun little picture jumping, so it looks like you are levitating.
Cetinje is a town founded in the 15th century, a place where you can see some authentic Montenegrin architecture. It's also the place to discuss Montenegrin religion and cultural heritage. Take a break with an ice cream or order some locally made pomegranate juice. We were very lucky to arrive in Cetinje during the linden season, so the whole town smelled divine. The main road was lined with majestic linden trees, it felt like a romantic bliss.
River of Crnojević
The tour will continue with a journey towards the River of Crnojević. At some point, you will leave the main road and venture of very small winding roads. I was absolutely impressed to see the bus driver handling the vehicle so well. I was sweating in my seat, seeing how we can only fit one single vehicle on the road. However, the whole place looked like paradise. Imagine deep chasms and valleys taking your thoughts to oblivion.
Once you arrive at the designated vista point, you will see the River of Crnojević in all its splendour. It looks its best at the bend which can be photographed with a wide lens. It looks so stunning, no surprise this picture made it to most Montenegro postcards.
We were a little worried about lunch, given that we are vegan and the options were either fish or chicken as mains. Luckily, the owner of the restaurant had something prepared for us. That's why it's a good time to reiterate how important it is to tell the organisers about any dietary requirements in advance. The lunch is usually a salad with soup, a main and dessert, so you won't be leaving hungry, that's for sure.
Boat trip on the River of Crnojević
You've already seen the river from above, it's now time to explore it by boat. The boat ride is truly incredible as you will make your way through a sea of waterlilies. Unlike other rivers, the water here was very pleasant temperature-wise. In fact, since it was perfect for swimming, the boat stopped and allowed everyone to go for a swim in the river. That's definitely a great way to relax after lunch.
The tour will then take you to Riviera de Budva where you can admire Saint Steven from above. This island looks incredible from above and makes a fantastic picture for the portfolio. Sadly, we only got to see it from afar as this peninsula became a luxury hotel-town and only guests are permitted to enter it. We arrived just after sunset so we caught the last glimpse of the sun rays, playfully fading into the blue of the sea.
After Budva, we returned back towards the Old Town of Kotor. We couldn't stop talking about all these incredible places we would have never seen if we weren't for this tour. Not only some of the sights were in challenging locations, but we wouldn't have known where to start planning to visit all these incredible places in Montenegro. We were already so in love with Kotor, we didn't think it's possible to love the country of Montenegro even more. Are you ready to see and photograph the best places to visit in Montenegro? Leave a comment and tell us all about your plans.
Special thanks to Kotor tourism board, To Kotor for organising our trip. We loved it so, so much and can't stop raving about it! We were invited to this tour as part of our Visit Kotor campaign. We enjoyed the same day with the same highlights as everybody else part of the tour. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.