In my bid to visit 100 countries before I celebrate the 25th anniversary of my 25th birthday, I made a plan earlier this year: at least eight new countries per year for the foreseeable future. I had hoped to start strong and hit a lot more than eight this year but as always, life gets in the way. (Damnit, life.) A trip through Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, AND Montenegro just wasn’t going to happen for various reasons. (Can we talk about how “various” is one of my least favorite words? Hit me up.) Montenegro and Croatia for a quick trip, though? That I could do.
Because it was the shoulder-season (or pretty much the off-season, really), I snagged a great deal at The Regent Porto Montenegro. I totally wasn’t paying attention when I booked my hotel room, but my rate came with a very nice free breakfast plus two 30-minute massages. Nice.
Nicer still? Porto Montenegro’s location in Tivat, right there on the water, surrounded by yacht after yacht after yacht. How many more years before I have my own yacht, universe? HOW MANY? My room looked right out on the port, as well as a few posh restaurants and shops, and the weather was still decent enough that I could sit outside with my book and watch the boats go by.
Tivat is a cute little town but probably not a destination on its own unless you, uh, have a yacht. Or you’re that guy who runs (owns?) the United Arab Emirates. Because apparently he likes to hang out here. With his entourage. (Five wives?)
I don’t have an entourage, so I booked a taxi to take me to Kotor one afternoon and spent a few hours wandering the touristy streets of this medieval walled city. It’s a cute town for sure but full of a bit too much tourist tat for me.
Eventually, I had a terrible lunch with very nice service at Kotor’s The Old Winery. I would not recommend it. My vegetable soup tasted like water (!) and my octopus (this part of the world loves their octopus) had spent too much time on a dirty, greasy grill. Thank god for the house white. I had two.
The next afternoon, I tried Perast. Perast is quite tiny and you can probably do it in 90 minutes, and that assumes you take the boat to the church and I just decided to look at the church from a distance and then have a glass of wine in the main square. Seriously, the setting of Perast is gorgeous — it reminds me of the Catskills in Upstate New York in many ways — and it’s probably a great place to rent a little house and a little boat and just putt-putt around during the summer. The other thing Perast has going for it is FRESH AIR. This is the absolute best my lungs have felt in ages.
In the evenings, once I was back at my hotel, I had dinner at two local restaurants within walking (spitting?) distance of The Regent:
One: I really liked it here. The service was really sweet and friendly — my server used to work on a cruise ship and knew Fort Lauderdale well — and I ate about 40 million clams. (That’s another thing about Montenegro, apparently. They like clams! So we got along well, just because of that.)
Al Posto Giusto: This is the restaurant the hotel recommended and it was really good. Surprise! I had the clams. Spaghetti vongole this time. BUT the restaurant was totally packed and so dark I couldn’t read the menu. Also, the service was distracted. So if I were to eat in Tivat again, I’d go back to One because I just liked it there more.
I spent the rest of my time at The Regent Porto Montenegro, hanging out at the spa (manicure, pedicure, massage) and later, watching the yachts and imagining mine. It was nice.
The Verdict: If you need a bit of fresh air, Montenegro is a great place to visit. It’s also pretty chill with not a lot going on — but maybe that’s what you need everybody! So bring a few good books. Or your yacht. I’ll come too.
Book at Tour of Montenegro
- Private Luxury Shopping in Porto Montenegro from Kotor
- Price: $237.86
- Private Transfer from Montenegro to Dubrovnik Airport
- Price: $142.72
- Full-day Tour of Montenegro
- Price: $118.93
- Full-Day Tour of Old Montenegro with Private Guide
- Price: $89.20