Montenegro- Going off the beaten track in Europe
As with most of our trips, we booked a flight to London on a whim, and had about five days to spare. We didn't have time to process a Schengen Visa, but we realised there's one place in Europe we can visit and explore in those five days-Montenegro! Check out www.oh.pn/visa for more awesome places you can visit without a visa across the world (with an Indian Passport)
The only catch is you need to get a direct flight to Montenegro (which we did get from London- and we did have a valid US and a UK visa.) Even the Airline officials had to do a few checks before they realised that we could do this!
The drive from Podgorica Airport to our base in Perast was absolutely stunning. We crossed gorgeous mountains and beautiful coastal towns perched precariously on the cliffs. The mountains and the sea together create an unparalleled backdrop along the Adriatic coast.
The gorgeous island in the picture below is Sveti Stefan. It used to be a charming fishing village which became a favourite haunt for the Gliteratti in the 1980's and now has been taken over by the Aman resorts. Even though the island was closed for the season we were given by a private tour of the island by the wonderful staff of Aman Sveti Stefan.
The views from Sveti Stefan are absolutely stunning and if you can afford it, its definitely worth the splurge. You could also go there for a meal at the Piazza in the heart of the island's village setting. If you prefer staying on the mainland they have the historic Villa Milocer which looks onto the island of Sveti Stefan.
We chose however to stay at a more mainstream hotel,which also had some stunning views of coast and the coastal town of Budva. It had its own private beach (a short walk away) and they had a lovely play area on the beach and a cafe right by it! K enjoyed the open air play area, with the added bonus of the sea view!
A couple of days by this coastal area and then, move on towards the Gulf of Kotor. Kotor is an enchanting forted coastal town. We chose to stay in the quieter picturesque Perast, only a short drive away. This place was one of K's favourite as we sat by the waterfront just watching the sunset and the boats go by. Accommodation here is charming and inexpensive. Our villa was only a few steps away from the waterfront and we enjoyed the views, the homely food and the warmth and hospitality of the lovely staff here.
There are a few boat trips you can take from here to islands in the proximity. Dubrovnik in Croatia is easily accessible by road. We spent a day in Kotor exploring the history of the fortified town and K even convinced us to try and trek up to the castle at the top of the hill.
On our drive back from Kotor one evening, we happened to meet one of the best driver/guide we have come across, who we then called upon for the rest of our trip! Sometimes, destiny brings wonderful people to you! M, you made our trip memorable!
There's so much more that Montenegro has to offer and we will definitely be back to explore kayaking on the Skadar Lake, excursions to the Durmitor National park and so many experiences that are still our list!
Give us a shout if you decide to go here and we'll let you in on one of the best drivers/guides we've come across who made our trip an absolute delight!
If you're looking for something offbeat in Europe, look no further! Beaches, mountains, lakes,snow- Montenegro has it all!