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Thursday, 23 June 2016

A Week In Montenegro

It's been a while since I posted on here! I've been busy wrapped up with life, birthdays and holidays. Speaking of holidays, I just spent a week in Kotor, Montenegro and I'm so excited to tell you all about it. 




If you are looking for an alternative holiday destination, then I cannot recommend it enough. The bay of Kotor in Montenegro is absolutely beautiful, surrounded by mountains and the water in the bay is an amazing colour. Montenegrins are also so lovely, funny and welcoming, everyone we met was so passionate about their country and really wanted us to enjoy our stay there. Pretty much everyone spoke some form of English, which is good as my Montenegrin certainly isn't up to scratch...!

Although as a disclaimer, if you are looking for somewhere to spend a week in the sun by the beach or the pool - then this may not be the place. Most beaches are pebbled, I believe there are some sand beaches but you would need to drive to them. I came across a few Airbnbs with pools, but struggled to find any hotels with pools. I pretty much burn after 20 minutes in the sun, so none of this bothered me personally as I'm not one to sit on a beach all day. However if you want to go out and do stuff over your holiday, then this is a great place to do it. 

And as a bonus? Montenegro is cheap, very cheap by European standards anyway. Taxis really didn't cost much, nor did eating out. I only got through about half of the euros that I got out!






Where we stayed

Over the week we actually split our accommodation into two separate places, partly due to cost and partly due to availability. I suggest booking up fairly early for Kotor, we booked in March and a lot of the good places were nearly gone as Summer is (understandably) their busiest season. 

For the first couple of nights we stayed in this hotel. It's on the pricier side (for our budget anyway!) but it is so worth the money. The staff are fantastic, as is the breakfast. And the view from the hotel is amazing, such a beautiful place to sit and eat your food or have a drink. They also have a small private beach, which is great for spending some time to relax on. 

The hotel is about a 10 minute drive from the centre of Kotor, or there is a bus you can catch from right by the hotel. 



Breakfast anyone?!

The beach at the hotel

View from the dining area

For the rest of the week we stayed in this apartment on Airbnb, I'll be honest I mainly went for it because it has a pool! I just really wanted that option whilst I was away somewhere hot, also the apartment itself looked modern and lovely. We were originally meant to stay in the apartment next door, but thunderstorms meant there was a bit of damp in one of the rooms so we were moved. There was very little between the apartments though, they were pretty much the same. 

The apartment was about a half an hour walk into the centre of Kotor, or only 2 in a taxi. Whilst we were there we were looked after by the housekeeper, who was amazing! She was lovely and so helpful - she even went out and bought us medicine when we caught a bug. A bug that sadly I'm sitting here still trying to recover from whilst I write this! Don't let that put you off though, it wasn't caught through food or tap water. We were just unlucky and picked it up whilst we were out there. 


Not a bad view...


What we got up to


The Old Town

The Old Town is understandably one of the top tourist destinations when you are there, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site meaning it all looks completely as it was. Well, on the outside. I doubt that 400 years ago you could buy Kotor keyrings in the shops. 

Don't let that comment put you off though, it isn't overwhelmingly touristy at all and it's definitely worth a visit. It's full of beautiful windy little cobbled streets, and you can find some gems in terms of food, drink and shops, along with old churches and museums. There is also the walk around the town walls which gives you an amazing view as you walk right up into the mountain. Personally this wasn't something we got around to doing, but definitely worth a trip as your Instagram will go nuts for the view. 

If you aren't a cat person then maybe avoid the old town...and well, Kotor in general. My boyfriend and I jokingly renamed it "Kator" because of the stray cats all over the place, you don't need to worry though as they are pretty chilled and won't harm you. And if you are anything like me then you'll have to resist the urge to adopt half of them! 




In case you didn't notice the writing, the church has been there since 1166...incredible!




Paddleboarding

There are tons of water based activities you can get up to in Montenegro, but we decided to go for Paddleboarding as we have never tried it before. I don't actually have any pictures of this one - phones and water don't really go that well together! I would definitely recommend it however, such a relaxing activity and a lovely way to see the bay. Do be prepared to fall in though! It can take some people a bit of time to find their balance (aka my boyfriend), and your legs get a bit stiff in the same position so it gets tempting to shuffle them around. 
We booked it through Viator, our host was brilliant and really went out of his way to ensure we had a good time - he also told us loads about Montenegro. 


Perast

This place, my goodness. BEAUTIFUL. Pictures just do not do it justice. Perast is a tiny little village right on the coast of the Bay of Kotor, when you imagine beautiful European destinations that is exactly what Perast looks like. There are 2 little islands just off the coast, you can get a return boat to one of them for only 5 and all it contains is a church. The views from the island are incredible, it's honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. 

It cost us 11 in a taxi from Kotor, and then we got the bus back for only 1, however it does only run once an hour so bare that in mind. So this all makes it very easy to get to. If you are heading to Kotor, this absolutely has to be on your list of things to do. 









We were going to spend the day on a yacht, but sadly the bug we caught meant we weren't well enough to do it. However the reviews for 'A Day out on Monty B' are amazing, we originally had to change the day we were doing it because of the weather and they were so helpful and did everything they could to rearrange it for us. Even if we didn't actually get to do it in the end, gutted! Read about it on their website or check out the amazing reviews on Trip Advisor


Where we ate


Normally we are really over-researched when it comes to places to eat out, but this time we just sort of went with the flow and ate in places we had stumbled across. 

Casa del Mare - Amfora, Restaurant

The 2 nights we stayed in this hotel we were actually really boring and just ate in the restaurant! However the food is lovely, as is the service, and if you aren't staying at the hotel it's well worth popping to eat there or have a drink purely for the views! Such lovely scenery.




Pizza Pronto

The pizza in this place is great! And I'm a pizza fiend, so that really means something coming from me. It's not somewhere to spend your whole evening, but if you want to pop somewhere for a quick, cheap and tasty meal then this is the place. You can also go to the bit out front and buy pizza to takeaway by the slice if you are on the move. 

You can find more details here.


Astoria Restaurant

This restaurant is actually part of a hotel, but they have a huge outdoor seating area in a beautiful square so it's a lovely place to have dinner or maybe pop in for a cocktail or two (their cocktail menu is quite extensive.) The food is pretty tasty and they have quite a big menu, it's also worth going there just so you can pee in their toilets, SO fancy. 

Have a read for yourself here.



Galion

This is the top rated restaurant in Kotor on Trip Advisor, which obviously says a lot. This is probably partly due to the layout of the restaurant, there are two sections, one is outdoors right on the Bay with an amazing view. The other is essentially a glass box, so you aren't in the open air but you still have the beautiful view to look at. The restaurant itself is a few minutes walk from The Old Town in Kotor, and sits right on the corner of the Bay by the Harbour. The food is also brilliant, with loads to choose from on the menu. I definitely recommend you book in advance though, we just turned up and hoped for the best and were lucky enough to get a table, but the whole place was pretty much booked out for the evening. 

Read the reviews for yourself here.



The bug we caught obviously put a bit of a downer on the holiday, but it was still amazing! It was forecast to rain for a lot of the week, but it only ended up being small spots of rain whilst the temperature was still in the 20s. I couldn't recommend Montenegro enough, it's such a beautiful country and so small that you could probably see so much more than we did. 

Are you off on holiday this Summer? Where to?

Emma x



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