Thursday, June 11, 2015

Montenegro: The Beaches, Oh the Beaches!

After two weeks of vacation, we needed a vacation.* So we headed to Montenegro, the most beautiful little country no one knows anything about. 

To get here we drove down the Dalmatian Coast at sunset, which is just as beautiful and exotic as it sounds. Montenegro is directly across the Adriatic Sea from Greece, with a Mediterranean landscape of steep green hills plunging directly into the clearest blue water I've ever seen (for reals, clearer than Lake Tahoe). The coastline winds in and out, creating hundreds of tiny coves and beaches and inlets and islands, perfect for beachy explorers. 

We took a bus from Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Budva, Montenegro, a lovely little beach town. On our first full day we took a 10 euro taxi to Sveti Stefan, a lollypop peninsula with perfect beaches on either side. The peninsula itself is inaccessible -- it's now a luxury hotel compound. But the beaches are perfectly pebbly and the water is cold enough to be refreshing but still warm enough to swim. And in early June, pre-high season, there was plenty of space for us to lay our towels and beached bodies whatever we wanted.

And if you ever find yourself in Sveti Stefan, be sure to go to Olive Restaurant on the beach. The most picturesque cappuccino and delicious (and affordable) seafood salad ever!!! (More on Montenegrin food in a later post.)

The next day we took a 20-minute (3 euro) bus from the Budva bus station up the coast to Kotor. There, like salmon swimming upstream, like fast runners stuck in the back at the start of a 5k, like, the most determined shoppers on Black Friday, like, well, you get the idea, we waded our way through slow moving cruise boat tourists in the walled city until we finally found the path up to the castle. It's 1,350 stairs, 260 meters above sea level. Aka quite the sweaty hike. But totally worth it for both the exercise and the views! 

Our tired group headed back to Budva that afternoon for, you guessed it, more beach time! I settled down with my book of Bosnian short stories by Ivo Andric, which the Budva bookstore proprietress highly recommended with hand gestures and vigorous nodding (the only other books in English were trashy romance novels).

Our third beach day was possibly my favorite of all (though it's really hard to pick a favorite). We took a short water taxi to Sveti Nicholas (15 euros round trip), the island in the middle of the bay. Our boatman dropped us off around noon and agreed to return at four, a solid amount of time for beach relaxation and fun. 

This island had not only postcard beaches, but also rocks to climb! Which of course I did. 

The water was deep and completely clear, so if a person were the type of person who likes jumping off things, that would be an option. I, however, contrary to popular assumption, do not like jumping off of things. So I scooted my way down and slipped into the water at the very bottom -- much safer and far preferable in my opinion. 

We water taxied back for yet another relaxing evening of chilling on the balcony of our airbnb and eventually meandering into the old city for a sumptuous seafood dinner. 

Our final morning in Budva, we "toured" the citadel. There isn't much to see in there, but the views are nice. 

And that, dear friends, is that. In case you can't tell, I highly recommend you look into a Montenegrin vacation. Next stop Croatia!

*Living and loving the dream, one day at a time.