The Majestic Land of Montenegro
Situated in the Balkans, overlooking the Adriatic Sea and surrounded by rugged cliffs and soaring mountains, lies Montenegro. Part of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro is often overlooked by many and overshadowed by its touristy neighbour, Croatia. But a one-day trip to this breathtaking and majestic land will leave you wanting more.
The adventure begins
We rented a car and drove from Dubrovnik, along the coast overlooking the sea, through the rocky coastline and steep cliffs, and across the border into Montenegro. I immediately felt the difference – the mountains were more rugged as they soared high into the sky, the roads winding, the cliffs increasingly steep. As we drove higher and higher into the mountains, we found ourselves looking out at some of the most breathtaking sites we’ve ever seen. Far in the distance lay beautiful beaches, dotted with crowds enjoying the hot sun and sparkling Adriatic Sea, surrounded by the beautiful black rocky mountains that define Montenegro.
From mountains to medieval
Our first stop was the medieval town of Kotor. Nestled into the mountains and overlooking the Bay of Kotor, it offers a picturesque view that resembles a fjord, breathtaking with its rustic beauty and peaceful serenity. Walking through the main entrance of Kotor is like taking a step back in time; the town is surrounded by an ancient stone wall preserving the medieval feel of a village full of history. As we walked through the cobblestone streets, turning corners and getting lost in the maze of this fortified town, it was easy to imagine the shining knights and their horses galloping through the streets. Our minds wandered back to reality as we walk past the many shops, restaurants and markets along the main streets. There were people sitting on patios, enjoying the fresh seafood that this coastal town has to offer, their laughter filling the air as it mixes with the melodies of live music.
A faraway land
From Kotor we ventured higher into the mountains, where the serpentine roads and steep slopes invoke a gasp at every turn and curve – just inches away from toppling over the cliffs. But we ascended higher into the mountains and made it to our next stop: Cetinje. A very different feel then Kotor, Cetinje is a large city, westernized and modern, yet still encompassing a rich history as the old capital of Montenegro. It’s a quiet city, and made us feel at peace as we wandered through the streets breathing in the fresh mountain air. There was a sense that we were in a faraway land, distant from the world below.
The race to return
As we drove back down the mountains – on a race for time to get back into Dubrovnik before the sunset to avoid driving through the petrifying mountain roads at night – we started to notice a change in scenery. The landscape seemed different, with jutting boulders emerging from the ground and an eerie silence taking hold of the roads around us. Suddenly, we realized that we were not heading back the way we had come from. We soon discovered that our GPS had taken us completely out of the way and we were now heading straight for the Bosnian border, with the sunset arriving upon us. Slightly terrified of getting lost in the unfamiliar territory of dark mountains overlooking steep cliffs, we quickly turned around and sped back towards Dubrovnik as fast as our car would allow before the sky plunged into complete darkness. Thankfully, we made it back safely with a story to tell – and a new distrust in navigation systems!
Though we spent such little time there, Montenegro left a deep impression on us and we promised ourselves to return someday. With rocky cliffs overlooking the jagged black mountains contrasting with the glittering Adriatic Sea, the land mesmerizes visitors with its rustic beauty. With its rich history and breathtaking scenery, the country is a jewel of the Balkans, a treasure awaiting those who seek it.
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