For many tourist around the world, Montenegro remains a mystery. Even though during the summer months the tiny country is crowded with tourists and the roads are busy, there is still a feeling that they have not yet fully discovered all its historical treasures and secrets.
You can get to Montenegro by flying to the Tivat airport close to Kotor. Or you can get there via the nearby Dubrovnik city or on flights from a variety of European destinations, such as Italy.
Montenegro is also a popular destination for many cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, stopping at the Kotor harbour which is considered as one of the most beautiful harbours in the region.
In this article we will describe a day trip from Kotor, which was written up in the Lonely Planet Magazine as the most recommended destination for 2016. So, 2016 has gone already and if you have not yet reached that destination, this is your opportunity.
Kotor is a very ancient city, mentioned in Roman writings as early as the fifth century BC. The city lies on the of Kotor Bay on the Adriatic Sea.
Although many tourists call it a “fjord”, it is not that by definition. The city is surrounded by a wall, spread 4.5 kilometers long, 20 meters high and 15 meters wide. You can find in the city walls three gates, which the largest and most famous amongst them is the Sea Gate. When you enter through the gate, you can find the main square of the old city, with plenty of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. This square is called the “Weapon Square” and there stands the “Pillory”, where they used to put criminals and humiliate them.
The ancient city of Kotor is included in the list of the UNESCO sites as a global cultural asset.
A drive along the Kotor Bay will lead you to its intriguing neighbor, Perast. The town has a narrow road and alongside it, were built a few impressive villas for the ships captains who lived here in the 18th and 19th century. The town was built to serve the sailors, fisherman and seafarers. In the heart of the Kotor Bay and across the Perats, you will notice two islands: one island is natural and the entrance to it is forbidden, but the island close to it (you cannot miss the azure dome of the church) is artificial and it is highly recommended to sail there from Perats.
Located on the island is the Our Lady of the Rocks Church, whose story goes back to the early 18th century. Then, the work of the sailors was considered as dangerous. The sea was stormy and whomever went out there, it was not sure they would come back. The sailors prayed to St. Mary to protect them on their way and protect them from the troubles the sea holds. Those who managed to survive the journey, saw that it as a real miracle carried out by St. Mary. As a sacrifice and thankfulness, they would bring gifts, most of which expressed the hardship they experienced along the way: high waves, storms etc. Over the years, the tradition of the gifts has expended and today it stands in the center of the church. Any person who struggles with difficulties in their lives such as an illness, infertility, marital problems, financial or other problems, prays to Maria. When his problem is solved, he brings a gift to the church and today it is flooded with exciting gifts, painting, sculptures, jewelry and other objects of art.
Due to the exciting story and history of the church, many couples prefer to get married in the church since it is considered a good luck for marriage. For the many weddings will testify the dozens of dried bouquets of flowers hanging on the church wall.
Another very special city close to Kotor is Budva. Budva is a historical city built about 2,500 years ago. It is considered as the country’s tourism capital and is located in the center of the coastline of Montenegro. Like in Kotor, also here you will find narrow streets, churches from the 7th century and ancient towers from the 15th century. But what characterizes Budva today it is its popular beaches. Budva is considered a real gem, in the heart of the Montenegrin Riviera. Between the green mountains and the red rooftops of the city, the sea waters look especially clear and the beaches are wonderful. The Mediterranean weather is comfortable all year round and during the summer months the sandy beaches are crowded.
In addition to bathing on the beaches, which is a must, it is recommended that visitors in Budva also walk in the streets of the old city, and especially, along the walls of the city. From there you can also overlook the alleys.
The Village of Njegusi
After a visit in the old cities, the best, we certainly kept for last. From Kotor there is a winding road that goes up toward the village of Njegusi. The road goes up to 900 meters and in order to get to the top, you will come across 26 curves.
It is highly recommended to take this road with a local experienced driver, who will take you towards spectacular views of Kotor and the bay.