Kotor

Our final stop of the Montenegrin tour is the UNESCO heritage town of Kotor.

It is located on the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea and we’ve got a front row view of the bay from our teeny room!

We staying on the Dobrota Promenade, the best place to stroll and appreciate the Bay of Kotor.

The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period.

Kotor is home to many beautiful architectural delights including The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, (there’s a couple of pics below) one of two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro.

The April 1979 Montenegro earthquake, which completely devastated the Montenegro coast, also greatly damaged the cathedral.

Much of Kotor’s medieval fortifications remain. The ancient system includes defensive walls, bastions, towers, and gates.

The walls extend for about three miles and range in thickness from between two to 15 metres.

You can walk along part of the ancient walls and get impressive views of the harbour, mountains and the bay.

The bay is about 17 miles long and is surrounded by two massifs of the Dinaric Alps: the Orjen mountains to the west, and the Lovćen mountains to the east.

As well as its historical delights, Kotor is also known for its many many kitties! You can’t move for furry little critters!

I also get sidetracked taking snaps of these colourful shop shutters too!

Below is the dainty little Saint Luke’s Church. Sveti Luka, as it’s called in the local language, was built in 1195.

Below you can see Kampana Tower, part of the impressive town fortifications.

Apparently there is a Venetian saying: ‘’Tu me costi come i muri de Cattaro’’ (‘You cost me as much as the walls of Kotor’) 

Relaxing Rose

The lovely town of Rose is an old settlement located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, on the Luštica peninsula.

It is considered to be the oldest port in the Bay of Kotor, where ships stocked up with food and other necessities.

Rose is a typically Mediterranean village with impressive stone houses lined along the pretty seafront. Many of them were captain’s houses.

Rose used to be the old Greek settlement Punto Roza which was destroyed by Saracens in 867.

During the Venetian empire, ships were required to quarantine in Rose to prevent the spread of the plague.

There’s also a stunning beach at Rose and we can’t resist a dip in the sparkling turquoise waters.

Luscious Lushtica

Today we’re soaking up the sun on Chedi Lushtica Bay’s beach of sandy delights.

Situated on the less explored Lushtica penisula, a string of pretty cove beaches hug the coastline.

The one we make our way to is closest to the resort town of Luštica Bay that is now home to a huge five star hotel hogging the marina.

There’ a walkway from another beach, that takes about 15 minutes, if you want to avoid parking in Luštica Bay town itself.

It’s a stony beach, and it’s face meltingly hot, so hubby is doing his best Sexy Beast / Ray Winstone impression . .

After scorching ourselves for an hour or so we head onto another picturesque beach.

This one is called Zanjice and is an attractive combination of green forests sloping towards a curve of white pebble beach.

Many years ago it was a favorite beach of Tito – the former Yugoslavian leader.

Wall art

A few colourful wall art snaps as before we head onto the historic old town of Budva.

We’ve parked up in a beachside lot but it’s just too hot to enjoy the sands!

So it’s onwards to the next stop. The bustling town of Budva.

Budva is one of the nightlife hotspots of Montenegro. Sadly it’s starting to become a more popular stag and hen do destination so ugly high rises are being thrown up to accommodate the ever increasing demand.

But the old town still retains its charm. Stone walls built by the Venetians surround the narrow streets of the medieval old town (Stari Grad).

Budva is 2,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast.

The obligatory cat stalking picture!! Soft hubby is a feline lover – he can’t pass by a kittie without giving it some snuggles.

Sveti Stefan

It’s time for some beaches now and one of the most famous sights of Montenegro – Sveti Stefan.

First up we head to gorgeous Crvena Glavija beach that has a perfect view of Sveti Stefan island and the beach is nearly empty when we arrive #bliss.

We’re intrigued by this abandoned beach bar on Crvina Glavica beach. Such a prime position it is hard to understand why it has been left to rot. Looking on Google maps it was thriving just a few years ago so probably another Covid casualty.

But we’ve got the place almost to ourselves, apart from the odd paddle boarder and a couple of nudists . . .

Then we make our way to Sveti Stefan itself. This tiny island is the centre of a lot of controversy as the Montenegrin government has sold it lock, stock and barrel to a private hotel chain.

They has turned the formerly bustling village into a private, elite hotel that is accessible only for guests or by coughing up for a tour.

However the hotel island complex has been shut for a while now due to arguments over the access to the beaches. They want several of them to be private and for guests only.

To get onto the King’s Beach below you have to cough up €180 for a beach lounger! That’s one way they’re trying to keep the plebs out.

The island is pretty enough, and it features on almost ever tourist advert for the country, but I would have preferred it as a busy traditional village as it should be.

We’re on the public beach directly under the contentious island now.

They put up fencing around the beaches that are in the hotel’s ownership, but the locals tore them down – power to the people!

It’s a tragic example of heritage for sale to the highest bidder, and is a sad indictment of putting money before people.

Adriatic Properties have now apparently launched arbitration proceedings seeking 100 million euros compensation from Montenegro for allegedly breaching a contract over the luxury resort.

Leaving the beach behind for now we are off in search of food on the harbour front.

Obviously wouldn’t be a holiday meal without at least some wine to wash it down with….

A few boats floating in the pristine harbour waters.

Then we scoot onto another busy beach at Petrovac, just a flying visit for this one as there are more to see!

Horseshoe bend

The most iconic view of Lake Skadar, used in all the tourist info, is not actually of the lake at all!

It’s actually of the incredible horseshoe bend in the Rijeka Crnojevića river.

I’m on a mission to find it – so back in the car we hop, and the hubby sets off on another scenic road trip.

The northwestern end of Lake Skadar turns into Rijeka Crnojevića, the river that passes through a village with the same name. The viewpoint is just a few kilometers east of the village.

Lake Skadar sprawls below us as far as the eye can see. The green isn’t grass though, it’s the dense mats of waterlilies floating on the lake.

We pass through the tiny hamlet of Rijeka Crnojevića with its picturesque arched river bridge and stop for a quick drink as it just keeps getting hotter!.

Finally we arrive at the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint which is where you will see the famous horseshoe bend.

It is definitely worth the occasionally hair-raising drive to get there. There’s a large viewpoint opposite a restaurant, but to get the full panoramic view you are better to head a little further up the road.

Vegetation obscures the view a bit so I clambered up on one of the concrete posts to get the perfect picture.

Below you can see how this incredibly beautiful river has carved its way to the lake through Karst terrain, creating such amazing scenery.

Stunning Skadar

We’ve settled into our third stop of the trip, in the lovely Apartments Grand just outside of Sveti Stefan.

First on the too do list. A boat trip to the incredible Lake Skadar.

Lake Skadar – also called Lake Scutari, Lake Shkodër and Lake Shkodra – lies on the border of Albania and Montenegro, and is the largest lake in Southern Europe

It’s the perfect place to take to the water for a few hours. Whether that is by boat, kayak or canoe.

Arriving in the tiny lake side village of Virpazar there are boat hawkers everywhere.

Don’t do what I did and blindly accept the first offer, in this case from the tiny hut in in the car park! We paid over the odds for a group tour, at the same rate that others online offered one to one…

That being said, it was still amazing and didn’t take away from the majesty of the surroundings.

The lake’s size fluctuates dependant on the season, with a surface area that varies from between 140 sq miles to 200 sq miles.

It is approximately 44 km (27 miles) long – so that’s a big ole lake!

The lake has some small islands like Beška, with two churches on it and Grmožur, a former fortress and prison can be found on the southwestern side of the lake.

Dependant on what length of tour you book, you can get close up and even walk on some of these.

The Montenegrin part of the lake and its surrounding area were declared a national park in 1983. It’s not hard to see why as it is simply incredible.

From the rugged hills to the floating mats of water lilies, this is a beautiful place.

As the heatwave continues to mercilessly roast us, feeling a little breeze on the lake is wonderful, although the water itself is as warm as a bath!

Skadar is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe with 270 bird species, among which are some of the last pelicans in Europe. The twitcher is in seventh heaven!

I am a bit obsessed with all the waterlilies that form dense floating mats across the lake’s glassy surface.

We then pull onto a lake beach for refreshments and a quick dip in the very warm waters!

After a tense few minutes when the engine refused to start, we are heading back to the end of our marvellous boat trip.

I can highly recommend setting aside at least 3 or 4 hours to explore the lake and then putter around Virpazar too.

Now I am determined to find the iconic view of the horseshoe bend!! . .

Ulcinj

Ulcinj is the most Southern town in Montenegro, on the border of Albania.

It is one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic coast and was founded in 5th century BC.

We visited on one of the hottest days so far, making it a very uncomfortable experience! The beach is heaving with oiled up sunseekers.

Trying to escape the crowds we head to a popular spot – Miami beach. But this is also a crowded, sweltering hellscape!!

Even the water is warmer than a bath at home!

We get to catch a bit of breeze on the swings! But even the wind is scorching!

Golden domes

The Cathedral of St. Jovan Vladimir in Bar was only completed in 2016 but it is already one of the main city attractions.

It’s dedicated to Jovan Vladimir, the patron saint of Bar, who is considered to be the first Serbian saint.

The grand Cathedral is built in the Serbian-Byzantine style including its imposing gold domes that reflect the sunlight.

Inside is even more impressive with every wall, alcove and surface smothered in colourful murals.

Amongst the many colourful scenes are the Ascension and the Madonna with the 12 apostles.

Then we’re off to explore the Old Town of Bar, it is the largest and most important medieval archaeological site in the Balkans.

There’s also a bustling little town centre full of cafes and little shops to be explored.

Typically I forgot to switch the video on so missed most of the street scenes!

We need to fuel up and hubby tries some traditional Pomegranate juice to wash down the tasty snacks.

Below you can get a perfect view of the fortifications that make up the old town of Bar.

Zip lining

Still recovering from our hair raising white water rafting we’re onto another thrill seeking adventure!

We’re doing another of our favourite things – ziplining over the Tara Canyon.

The canyon is 1333 meters deep, which makes it world’s second deepest canyon.

The zipline is 1,050m and you reach up to a maximum of 90km per hour!

The flight takes you over the canyon, dense forestry and the gushing Tara River – adding a dose of adrenaline to sight-seeing from a unique perspective!

Here we are ready to zip – looking as glamorous as ever! How people manage to look stylish when doing this is beyond me.

And here we are gracefully soaring through the air at high speed! I start at the rear but quickly overtake the hubby due to me being much heavier!!!

Here’s He-Man bringing up the rear!!

Once we’re back on solid ground we head to the Tara Canyon Bridge for another view of the canyon.

The 365-metre-long (1,198 ft) bridge has five arches and stands 172 metres (564 ft) above the Tara River.

At the time of its completion, it was the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe