Today was our last day driving South along the Adriatic coast. We left Dubrovnik in the morning and made our way to Montenegro. This was by far our toughest boarder crossing on the trip. Montenegro is not part of the EU or the Schengen region. Our passports were scrutinized for the first time in Europe (aside from trans-Atlantic trips). The boarder crossing took quite a lot of time too, since there was a long line of cars and buses, as well as pedestrians crossing the board. Sadly this cut our time in Montenegro shorter than we had hoped. The other problem was the extreme rain that we experienced in Montenegro. The rains were so strong at times it made driving difficult, and limited our time outside exploring. Thankfully we found some time between downpours to run around.
Not far from the boarder our first stop was in the old town of Herceg Novi, meaning “New Castle”. According to Wikipedia, it was founded in 1382 by the King of Bosnia (Tcrtko Kotromanić). The city is relatively young, but throughout history was occupied by many others including the Venetians, Turks, Spaniards, Austria-Hungarians, Russians, French, and Serbians. Today, Herceg Novi is the largest city in Montenegro that is dominated by Serbs. The old town portion of Herceg Novi is quite small. So we took a short walk to explore the area.
We climbed the steps and winding walkways to St. Jerome’s Square, which had great views of the waters below. Then we wandered through some narrow streets until we were trapped for 15-20 minutes under umbrellas for a restaurant on Bellavista Square due to the very heavy rain. Eventually the downpours stopped and we finally were treated to a view of the front of St. Micheal Archangel’s Church. This was definitely one of the highlights of this tour.
At the far end of the Bellavista Square we wandered through the Old Town Gate. We then walked up a wide cobblestone staircase to Kanli Kula (Bloody Tower) fortress, which houses a large amphitheatre. Unfortunately it wasn’t open when we were there; it’s said to have beautiful views of the town below that strikingly contrasts the blue waters.
On our way back down through the Old Town, we walked to the Forte Mare fortress right on the waters edge. Here traffic is directed through the gateway of this fortress, but there wasn’t very much for views. If the weather was better we would have liked to walk along the waterfront path below, but we were already pretty far behind and wanted to have enough time to explore Kotor.
On our drive to Kotor, we stopped along the mouth of the Bay of Kotor for a view of a Catholic church and the island of St. George. The city of Kotor was pretty amazing and rightly deserves it’s own post. So check that out here!
After spending quite a bit of time in Kotor, we realized we had a long drive ahead of us to our campground in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So as much as we heard great things about Budva… it’s just impossible to see it all. Plus we’ll see it next time — this is definitely not a saying of mine that Jesse loves 😉
So from Kotor we started our journey back North, driving along P11, which climbed into the mountains. From this route we had some incredible views looking down at the Bay of Kotor and of course the black mountains. By the time we reached the small and relatively quick boarder crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina the sun was setting on a wet, but still incredibly scenic day.