Hello Montenegro! After months of dreaming and planning, the trip had finally arrived!
I met my brother Josh at the Podgorica airport (which is apparently pronounced “pod-go-ritsa – whoops!), and we got in the car and headed straight to the coast.
Our first stop was Sveti Stefan, a tiny, picturesque island connected to the mainland by a small causeway. It’s one of the most famous sights in Montenegro, and you’ll often see it depicted in paintings of the country.
Want to visit the island? You can’t. The entire island is owned by the Aman resort, and only paying guests are allowed to step foot on its soil. Everyone else (like Josh and me) are forced to look at it from afar. Ok, maybe not that far. But still.
If you’re not staying at the resort, the only thing you can do in the area is hang out at the beach. And they are pretty beaches, with better sand than most others in Montenegro. But just keep in mind that while you definitely should visit (you can’t come to Montenegro and not see Sveti Stefan), you shouldn’t plan on spending a lot of time there.
Thus after soaking in the sights, we got back in the car and headed to Budva.
A quick note about driving in Montenegro. It is stressful. Very few streets are labeled, and when they are they’re usually only the streets in big cities. So when you’re driving from city to city, you basically have to pick a city that’s on the way, and follow the signs to that city. Then pick the next city on your route, and follow those signs. You keep repeating this until you (hopefully) end up at the city you’re aiming for. Once you get the hang of it, it gets a little better. But be prepared to get lost. And absolutely pay the car rental company extra for GPS! If we would have only known…
We arrived in Budva in the early evening, and after dropping our bags, immediately began exploring the Stari Grad. Stari Grad means old town, and you should remember this, because every Montenegrin city has signs directing you to their own Stari Grad, which is usually more picturesque than the rest of the city.
Budva’s Stari Grad was no different, and had narrow, cobblestone streets and tall buildings that made you feel like you were removed from it all. Or, as Josh put it, that you were exploring Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley!
One of the narrow streets that we took led out to one of Budva’s most popular beaches, Ričardova Glava.
We decided that dinner with a view sounded perfect, and sat down for our first (of many!) seafood meals of the trip.
We ordered the fish platter for two, and when it arrived we realized that we couldn’t possibly eat all of it…
Until five minutes later, when the plate looked like this…
It was absolutely delicious, and ended up being one of my favorite meals of the trip!
Afterwards we set out to see more of Budva.
We decided to climb the Citadela in order to get a better view of the city and the water. It was absolutely worth it!
Can you believe this is real?! We were just blown away at how pretty Budva is!
Apparently these are our jet-lagged “blown away” faces! Ha.
It was the perfect first night in Montenegro.
The next morning, we went in search of Budva’s famous dancer statue. You know how much I love dancing, so I was excited when we finally found it. (Side note, it wasn’t actually that difficult to find, we just somehow weren’t able to manage it when we were jet lagged the night before!).
The views behind the dancer statue weren’t too bad either.
If you continue along the path around the headland, you’ll end up at Mogren Beach. It’s a more secluded beach that offers equally amazing views with the added benefit of hosting less tourists!
Then we headed back to Ričardova Glava for a lunch of Squid Ink Risotto.
The food was delicious, and the view kept making me want to pinch myself!
And it was just the beginning.