Kotor

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Featured, Montenegro, Travel | 0 comments

Kotor

We land in Montenego to perfect blue skies and a balmy 30 degrees.  We had booked a driver to pick us up and find he has a scary resemblance to Jason Statham (and drives the way I imagine he would too!)

He takes us from Podgerica to Kotor, about a two hour trip.
But this isn’t your usual boring drive.  The road carefully snakes it’s way across the mountains, and around each bend the view is more breathtaking than the last.

We have spectacular views of Skadar Lake (the largest lake in the Balkans), pass through charming wine country, weave our way through wild overgrown mountains with houses nestled in their sides, past rocky cliffs and then the sparkling Adriatic Sea.

It’s so ridiculously beautiful and idyllic that I feel as if I’ve been dropped into a cliched European feel good movie.  This is even more exaggerated when we reach our destination of Kotor, a huge bay with dramatic craggy mountains looming in the background.

The bay has a single road that runs along the water’s edge, barely wide enough for one car yet it is somehow two way, we got to know the dimensions of our hire car pretty quickly!

Along the road are many small villages, we stayed in Prcanj which is about 7km from the old town.
Our apartment is literally on the water, with our own private area for lazing about in the sunshine.

 

Our front yard - heaven!

Our front yard – heaven!

 

Kotor is what I always imagined European coastal towns to be, full of cheap good quality wine, amazing food and stunning scenery.

Everywhere you look is a remarkable old building, church, even doorway that is simply beautiful, and don’t even get me started on the panorama you experience running around the bay.

 

Pretty door

 

Pretty building

 

During the day big cruise ships come in and the old town is flooded with tourists, but of an early morning and evening there are still predominantly locals about.

It has the yacht culture, but without the trashiness found in other European tourist spots.  We are in Kotor for four nights, which is enough for us to easily slip into the relaxed lifestyle.

 

Enjoying the laid back vibes of Kotor

Enjoying the laid back vibes of Kotor

 

The old town is the most obvious and popular spot for visitors, a labyrinth of ancient cobbled streets now home to churches, cafes and shops.  From the old town it’s a relatively easy walk up to the old castle that overlooks Kotor, I definitely suggest getting up early and doing it before 9am when the cruise ships show up and the path gets crowded.  We did it at 7am and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

There are also many other hiking paths on the surrounding mountains, I did one up to an abandoned fortress that was really interesting.

 

Looking down at Kotor, about halfway up to the castle

Looking down at Kotor, about halfway up to the castle

 

The awesome view from a random hike

The awesome view from a random hike, the old town is the triangle of orange roofs.

 

If you have a car take a drive to Plavi Horizonti (Blue Horizons), a sand beach with crystal clear water that’s great for a swim.  On the way stop in at Konoba Maestral on the water of Lustica Peninsula for a fresh seafood lunch.

Tivat and the new Porto Montenegro are a hub of activity and have a lot of shops and restaurants, many of which open early for breakfast.  I had an omelet and coffee at local joint Cafe Theodorus for 4 euro.

In Kotor my favourite restaurant was Konoba Boka Bay, I had the vegetable risotto which was phenomenal.  Konoba Marius is another good spot, the grilled vegetable plate was delicious.

Both are located in Prcanj on the water so you can listen to the sound of water lapping at your feet and take in the view as you enjoy your meal.

I found the restaurants in the old town were more expensive and not as nice, probably because their primary audience is the one off cruise ship tourists.

 

Konoba Marius

Konoba Marius

 

Boka Bay Risotto

Risotto at Boka Bay – yum!

 

Nearby is Durmitor National Park, which we drove through on our way from Kotor to Sarajevo, and even on a cloudy rainy day it was obvious the drive was magnificent.  Brooding mountains and deep canyons, winding road and barely anyone around.

 

Durmitor National Park

Durmitor National Park

 

Taking it all in

Taking it all in

 

Kotor far exceeded my expectations and is up there with one of my favourite places I have ever visited.  It has an undeniable combination of friendly people, dazzling landscapes, history and culture, relaxed atmosphere and good quality but inexpensive food and wine.  If it wasn’t already, put this one on your list.

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