For the last of my Montenegro Exploring posts I’m going to share some the amazing places we visited on day trips across this beautiful country. From lakes and canyons to old towns, a monastery and everything in between. Montenegro seriously has it all!
The Morača Monastery was one of the most beautiful religious buildings I have ever been in. Originally established in 1252, the site has been home to a number of buildings over the years. Nowadays there is the main church, a second smaller church and a building which houses the monk, all set in the most beautiful gardens. The most striking feature of the monastery are the frescos painted on the inside (which are not allowed to be photographed), some of which date back to the 13th century.
It was the most peaceful setting as well, with flowers and vegetables growing everywhere and even some bees so the monks can make their own honey. It looked like it hadn’t changed much over the centuries, and even with quite a few visitors there it was a calming, beautiful spot to visit.
After visiting the monastery and driving through the beautiful Morača canyon we made our way to Tara Canyon. This canyon is the deepest in Europe, and the second deepest in the world (after the Grand Canyon) and it was seriously beautiful.
Most people choose to either raft down the river or go on one of the flying foxes over it, but we went the calmer option and went for a walk instead (mostly because we didn’t have the couple of hours needed for the rafting!). It was breathtaking canyon to drive through, and when we stopped and took it all in from a bridge it was even more breathtaking. The colours, the sheer depth of the canyon walls, it was all incredibly impressive. A must visit.
On our day heading south across Montenegro we stopped off at what is one of the oldest olive trees in the world. Located just outside the town of Bar, the tree has been assessed to have been growing for at least 2000 years. It still produces olives every year, and was really amazing to see. It cost 1 euro to enter, and the tree is set in a garden that you can wander through and explore. There were even lots of cute turtles wandering around which was somewhat surprising to us!
Lake Skadar is one of the largest lakes in Europe, and is actually located two-thirds in Montenegro and one-third in Albania. It is full of birdlife, and is made up of everything from low marshlands and incredibly deep sections, with islands dotted throughout. Over the course of a few days we drove around various parts of the lake, including through some of the beautiful chestnut forests, taking in the changing views along the way.
The town of Virpazar is an excellent spot to see Lake Skodor from, with plenty of restaurants as well as boats to hire to go exploring. We decided not to go out on a boat as we knew we’d be doing that in Perast, instead taking in the gorgeous sites from the comfort of the car and on foot.
Godinje is a small town, located on a hill overlooking Lake Skadar. We stopped by for a few hours on my sister’s birthday to explore and have lunch. It’s a tiny town that has been in the hills for centuries, with every house made of stone which was polished just like the ones I had seen in Sydney. A company I used to know did an amazing job at polishing stones and looking at the homes at Lake Skadar reminds me of them. You can visit stone polishing sydney to know more about them. One of the most remarkable features is the fact all the houses have underground passages that connect them to each other, to help protect them from the many sieges that occurred over the centuries.
The region is also known for its wine making, and the house we visited (thanks to our fantastic local tour guide) not only gave us plenty of his homemade drop to try, but an absolute feast of salads, local cheeses and meats. It was a beautiful spot to stop for a little while and take in the scenery. Well worth a visit.
We spent one night staying in the town of Ulcinj, and with only a few hours there to explore we stuck to the old town where our hotel was located. It was another gorgeous walled town, although it has not been restored in quite the same way as many of the others we visited.
The walled town is surrounded by beaches, with the main beach located to the south and lined with bars and restaurants. There is even a spot to swim straight out from the old town, although the tide was up when we wandered down to visit so we avoided going for a dip!
The remains of the Ulcinj Citadel is also able to be visited, and not only are the ruins themselves interesting to explore but you get some amazing views over the town and the Adriatic.
We may have only had a couple of hours but it was well worth the stop. Plus, the hotel we stayed at (Hotel Pirate) was fantastic. The views were amazing, but the staff were even more impressive. Plus, we had an excellent dinner and breakfast there – it ticked all the boxes!
On our way to Ulcinj we stopped off on the Bojana river for lunch. The river marks the border with Albania, although in the middle is an island (Ada Bojana) which is almost entirely taken up with a nudist resort, so we didn’t actually get to see across in to Albania!
We did however get to enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants that open out onto the river, which was a pretty incredible spot to sit and relax. We watched people waterskiing and jet skiing along the river while we sat back for a beer and a feast. It was a pretty special spot to stop!