Weekend in Montenegro
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.) A solo weekend in Montenegro, 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.
While this was a great base for a weekend in Montenegro, Tivat is probably not a destination in 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?)
Exploring Kotor during My Weekend in Montenegro
As a solo traveler, 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 with many cute touristy shops. Definitely walk up the city walls and walk around and look down because 1. it’s good exercise and 2. it’s a really nice thing to do during your weekend in Montenegro.
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. There are tons of restaurants in Kotor. I chose this one on the basis of TripAdvisor reviews but I was wrong.
Visiting Beautiful Perast
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 for the weekend 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.
Apparently, there are a few mansions you can visit in Perast but I seem to have arrived at the wrong time and they were closed to the public.
Restaurants in Tivat
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 weekend in Montenegro at The Regent Porto Montenegro, hanging out at the spa (manicure, pedicure, massage) and later, watching the yachts and imagining mine. It was nice.
Getting to Montenegro from Dubrovnik
I combined my weekend in Montenegro with a visit to Dubrovnik. I flew into Dubrovnik and then had my hotel in Montenegro pick me up at the airport. They also returned me to Dubrovnik later. This wasn’t cheap but I’m not too keen on driving in other countries so it made the most sense for me. I should note that the drive is RIDICULOUSLY beautiful. You basically drive along the coast for about half the trip. And then you get to ride a ferry! (The ferry is very short…about five minutes across.) In October when I was there, there was no traffic but everyone commented on that and how in July and August, the roads are full of Albanians returning home from working in Italy. (I believe there’s an inland route as well but my driver said that because there was no traffic, we could take the coastal route. Highly, highly recommended if you are planning a weekend in Montenegro.) The drive took about two hours each way.
The Verdict on My Weekend in Montenegro
If you need a bit of fresh air, a weekend in Montenegro, solo or with friends, is a great idea. 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.