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.
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!
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.
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!! . .