Kotor and Jaz Beach, Montenegro

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Backpacking the Balkans:

  1. Backpacking the Balkans – Introduction and Our Route
  2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  3. Mostar, Bosnia
  4. Sarajevo, Bosnia
  5. Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
  6. Kotor and Jaz Beach, Montenegro
  7. Photos from the Balkans
Bay of Kotor at sunset

Bay of Kotor at sunset

Our last destination in Montenegro was back near the coast for a relaxing few days at Kotor and Jaz Beach (two different places, but neither interesting enough to necessitate their own blog post). Kotor is another walled in old town overlooking the aptly named Bay of Kotor. Kotor is another cruise ship destination, but is small enough you really only need a full day there to see the main two sites: the Old Town, and St. John’s Fortress above the city.

We arrived in the late afternoon, and we were able to walk through the old town in about 20 minutes. We climbed around on the city walls, ducked into some souvenir shops, and eventually worked up an appetite and walked out to “The Butcher”, who has a little food stall by the bus station but makes fantastic hamburgers. We poked around the old town for a bit longer, met up with some friends from Durmitor for dinner, and called it a night.

High on the fortress climb

High on the fortress climb

The next morning we woke up, bright and early, for the 2 hour climb to the fortress above the city. There were a lot of stairs, so it was best to go before 8 AM, both to beat the crowds (once the cruise ship people ascend, it’s crazy) and the heat. We made it to the top and had about 30 minutes of peace and quiet, which was really nice, as the views were spectacular. The area for the city is pretty small, so it’s no wonder we were able to walk through it so quickly. We could definitely imagine the city coming under siege and the residence fleeing up the stairs to the fortress to safety. It was a really relaxing morning, and it made our second visit to the butcher more rewarding.

We wanted to spend some time relaxing at the beach to end our trip, so we booked at a nicer hotel right along Jaz Beach, which is a few miles outside of neighboring Budva. The beach (like most in the Balkans) was rocky, but it was fine and was some of the clearest water we had ever swam in (much better than the Southeast Asian beaches). Plus it was nice to not have sand on everything when you were done for the day. The views out on to the bay were amazing from the hotels, so we spent most of our nights reading or playing cards on our balcony. We literally did nothing while we were there except lay on the beach, eat, and watch soccer, so it was a nice break before flying back to Frankfurt and going back to work/travel planning. It was great.

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