Didem Doğan

Road trips in Montenegro: From Kotor city to Podgorica

The old town of Kotor, sharing the same name with Kotor bay, has a magnificent look with its perfect location on one of the hills that open up to the bay. It has a long history which goes back to the Phoenicians. For almost seven centuries it was ruled by the Romans, then was occupied by the Visigoths, Serbian kings, Slovenian tribes, each ruling for short periods. After a short period of independence, it was ruled by the Venetians for about three centuries. Then comes the occupation by the Austrians, Russians and French. At the beginning of the 20th century it was part of Yugoslavia. Its location on the Adriatic Sea and the political conditions of a divided Europe may have caused all this trouble but it hasn’t lost its beauty despite all these occupations. We go inside the walled city from the main entrance looking at the bay and we make our first step to get lost in its labyrinth kind of narrow streets. 

Our journey starts to get more fun as we rent a little car in Kotor city and get out of the tourist crowds. The bay of Motor has little towns by the sea, the closest to the city of Kotor is Perast, a beautiful little town to have lunch and an afternoon swim. We then continue to Kostanjica to stay overnight, a calmer place with few tourists. The next day we cross the bay by ferry and head to Budva, the most touristic place in Kotor bay; if you like the night life and the touristy atmosphere you can stay here but we prefer to go to Sveti Stefan to spend the night. The postcard castle on the sea is today a private property- a luxury hotel- and is not open to public. As we approach to the end of our trip we pass through the biggest lake of the Balkans, the Skadar lake that divides Montenegro and Albania and continue to Podgorica to take our fight back, feeling a little surprised of what we found in Montenegro and wishing to come back to swim at the waters of the gorgeous Kotor Bay.

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