Montenegro – Discovering Kotor, Njegusi and Cetinje

We’re in Montenegro, one of Europe’s newest nations, and the road we’re climbing clings to the steep limestone mountains overlooking the Bay of Kotor.  With every bend (or serpentine, as our guide aptly describes them) the views of the bay become increasingly breathtaking.

On the eighth hairpin the coach comes to a grinding halt as a couple of cows and a hefty bull plod up the hill in front of us; but we don’t mind – it gives us time to soak up a bit more of ‘that view’.  The bovine roadblock pulls into a convenient passing point and we’re off again – onwards and upwards.

 Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

It’s the ‘Grand Montenegro Tour’ our first excursion on our Celebrity Cruise and when we stop at serpentine number 25, a mighty 850m above sea-level, we can see our ship ‘Silhouette’ sitting centre stage in the beautiful bay.    The Gulf of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), despite often being called the southern-most fjord in Europe, is actually a submerged river canyon and from this height we can see the route the river would have once taken.  This morning I woke, as the ship edged into Kotor, to see a backdrop of green covered mountains plunge into the bay behind small monastery islands set in the deep, still waters.  Mistakenly I thought that would be the best view of the day.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

 Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

We tear ourselves away from the vista and head back to the coach for our next stop, Njegusi, which is even higher up the mountain at 1100m.  Njegusi is famous for its local cheese, ’sir’, and ‘prsut’ a smoked dried ham; we sample a generous portion of each with a huge beaker of very drinkable red wine in Kadmi Ethnic Village.  It’s not even midday but, well….!  The restaurant is cosy inside and reminds me of a ski chalet with its hide covered benches, gingham curtains and copper fire hoods but today is warm so we head back outside to enjoy the views of Mount Lovćen.

 Njegusi, Montenegro

Our next stop is Cetinje and we head off along the road from Njegusi which winds through a grey, rugged area of Mount Lovcen known as The Stone Sea.  The view is stark but softened with splashes of autumn colour.

The Stone Sea, Montenegro

The Stone Sea, Montenegro

Until 1946 Cetinje was the capital of Montenegro, before Podgorica took over the mantle, although the small town still remains the country’s cultural and royal capital.  It’s a pretty place with a quiet air about it dotted with small embassies and museums – so much nicer than Podgorica – but then I’m slightly biased as a few years ago my luggage went walkabout in Podgorica…

We visit the State Museum, on King Nicholas’ Square, which is the former residence of Nikola Petrovic I, king of Montenegro. The palace is set out with beautiful period rooms as they would have been when the palace was in use. I loved the Princesses’ bedrooms and it would seem little girls liked pink just as much then as they do now!   Displays of uniforms, medals, flags and weaponry fill the building but photography wasn’t allowed so if you’d like to know more follow this link to the museum’s official website where you’ll find a virtual tour and photographs.

We leave the peacefulness of Cetinje for the thirty minute drive to the coastal town of Budva where we’ll have lunch and a wander.  As the sea comes into view so does Sveti Stefan in the distance, an exclusive holiday hideaway only accessable nowadays to the rich and famous.

Budva’s a pretty little fortified town and worthy of its own photo tour so for now I’ll just leave you with a taster…

Budva, Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

Many thanks to Celebrity Cruises UK for hosting my first cruise. As always views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise are entirely my own.

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  1. Suzanne, you’ve certainly captured Montenegro’s beauty with these panoramic captures. We only spent time in Kotor and Herceg Novi, but you make the case for visiting some of the other spots. We encountered some particularly special Old World cheese in Kotor at the outdoor market, some blended with herbs, some aged in wheat. I would love to go back.

    • It’s such a beautiful country it’d be hard not to! We sampled some fabulous cheeses near Kotor up in the mountains – delicious. We didn’t make it to Herceg Novi – do you have any posts coming up so I can take a peek?

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  5. Photo no. 2 is my hot favourite, Suze. You’re almost convincing me with this cruise malarky, excepting I can’t afford it :) I thought you’d been to Budva before, and Lucy did a good hike up from Kotor not too long ago. It’s definitely an area I’d like to see but Split and the Croatian islands are also on the list. I didn’t realise Sveti Stefan was private now- what a cheek! :)

    • That’s my favourite too Jo. Do you know I surprised even myself with the cruise – I’d always pooh poohed them without even having experienced one – I’d definitely go on another one. Maybe the Norwegian fjords or somewhere cold. I have been to Budva before and we took the bus from there to Kotor but didn’t get up into the mountains that time. I’ve visited Split and the islands and they’re just as lovely – so much world, so little time….!

      • Christmas plans, Suze? And then you usually like a skiing holiday? I’m Algarve bound 2nd January. It’s been too long. Have a wonderful Christmas, whatever :)

      • Home with the family for Christmas Jo (my favourite!). We usually visit friends for skiing in Mar/Apr but we’re off on the 5th Jan next year – hope it’s not too cold. I’ll be thinking of you in the Algarve. Have a wonderful one too and a very happy year in 2014.
        We may be visiting relatives in Yorkshire next year and I understand Hartlepool’s not much further up – may have to plan something….? :)

  6. I love this post! Montenegro is a country with which I am completely unfamiliar and loved seeing it’s beauty through your excellent photos! Can’t wait to see more!

  7. Great post and stunning photos! I went to Montenegro in September and I particularly enjoyed Cetinje. I did enjoy Kotor and Budva, too, but because I hadn’t heard of Cetinje before I found myself very pleasantly surprised!

  8. This brought back many childhood memories – we went to Budva several times (both pre and post earthquake), and they even let us plebs in to Sveti Stefan in those days! This has definitely convinced me that I need to revisit Montenegro and Croatia as soon as possible :)

    • I’d go back tomorrow – I’d also love to have a little nose around Sveti Stefan do you remember much about it? Croatia is also somewhere I’d like to expolore more especially Trogir and the islands. Thanks for dropping in :)

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  10. What an amazing tour you had. And the first photo is just breathtaking. Eager to read more abou Montenegro because I might pass by it next year. :)

  11. Suzanne, what stunning photos over the Bay – incredible views! We haven’t been to Montenegro yet and you’ve certainly enticed me. :) Thanks! ~Terri

  12. Lovely to see photos of places I went to way back in 1971 (hitch-hiking around Europe), but I never got high enough to see that marvellous view of Kotor. Wow!
    Jude xx