Montenegro + Croatia: Travel Diary Part 1 | Footnotes and Finds

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Montenegro + Croatia: Travel Diary Part 1

First off, remember to check out the Travel Itinerary. This travel diary will be split into multiple parts seeing as though I was in Montenegro and Croatia  for a combined 15 days and I don't want to shorten any part of the trip in order to make it fit into one long master post. 

Day 1: Arrival and Sveti Stefan

The trip began with a 4:30 am bus from Oxford to London Stansted for a 8:50 am flight.There were 4 of us travelling: me, Tia (whose house we stayed at), Kasey and Nila. Our bus arrival time cut very close and we literally ran across Stansted to reach our departure gate--believe me, I never felt so unfit in my life! We arrived at Podgorica airport in Montenegro at 12:40 am and bought some snacks at the airport while we sorted out how we would get to Herceg Novi, where Tia's family lives. 

After an hour or so of procuring snacks and wifi, Tia managed to get us a taxi. Getting a taxi over the bus turned out to be the best decision we could have ever possibly made and between the 4 of us would have been about the same money-wise. But the best thing about the taxi was our driver, Bato. Not only was he a great driver, braving through the fog of the mountains of Montenegro, he went out of his way to stop for photo-ops, to drive us to Sveti Stefan/Budva (that wasn't planned) and he even bought us local sweets, which were these amazing chocolate covered marshmallows that I forget the name of.

The first thing that hits you when you leave Podgorica airport is the mountains and it makes the name of Montenegro even clearer. I come from Vancouver and mountains are not a strange presence. But the mountains of Montenegro were majestically black, maybe they were more pronounced because we were coming from England. Due to all the stops, the drive from Podgorica to Herceg Novi took longer than it should have (should have been around 3 hours), but it was so scenic and breath-taking it was well worth it for the perfect introduction to this beautiful country and its overly friendly people. We drove around the Bay of Kotor (Boka) in order to get to Herceg Novi which meant we stopped over at many scenic locations on the bay on the way!

Sveti Stefan used to be a village but has now been turned into a hotel resort. Its restricted access, so we couldnt get into it but the guards there were so friendly that they allowed us to go into some areas that were closed off in order to take pictures. They were so nice that they even took our pictures for us. I found that to be a common thing in Montenegro. People were so excited to show off their country and to have tourists that they went out of their way to make sure we had a good time, it definitely warmed my heart.

We decided to take the longer and scenic route to Herceg Novi which included 2 fairy rides.

We even stopped to take in the view of Budva from up-top!

By the time we got into Herceg Novi and met Tia's lovely family we were exhausted and it was late evening. We decided to have an easy dinner and call it a night!

Day 2: Herceg Novi, the day we walked ate, laid in the sun on repeat

This day was full of discovering the beautiful coastal town of Herceg Novi that we would call home for 15 days. We walked seaside on the seawall and in the upper town and we ate and ate and ate! Herceg Novi has a very relaxed feel to it and has a Venetian fortress that has a great view of the whole town from up top. The food there is amazing, but be prepared to walk a lot of I mean A LOT!

We were first awoken by this tradition of a band procession that happens every Sunday I believe. Tia's house is situated right on the main street so our view of it was amazing! And even though it happens every week all the inhabitants still come out to enjoy it.

We then went on to have breakfast at the Gradska Kafana, which easily became our staple breakfast place...honestly the combination of a great view, great building, great service and above all great food made it impossible for the Gradska Kafana not to make a permanent place in our heart. If you are ever in Herceg Novi, do go!

The view from our breakfast table

The view from our breakfast table of the Adriatic as well as Montengro and Croatia

The view on the town side of the Gradska Kafana (on the right) 

After breakfast we walked the upper town. We went through the old town gate into small stairways and winding pathways, it honestly felt like you were transported back to the 1400s. Nestled in these pathways were houses, churches, and schools...and kittens...lots and lots of kittens!

The old gate 

View from the old gate

What awaited us after going through the old gate

Kasey, myself and Nila having a little fun at the old gate 

We then walked our way down to the seawall and to the front of the fortress ruins that, as you can see in the picture below, fell into the water and was left as is.

We then walked the seawall to the main strip of shops and restaurants. By this time we were hungry and stopped for some tea, coffee and snacks. Also by this time the sky began clearing and the sun came out. It became warm enough to lay and sunbathe, which we did!

Me taking a picture of Herceg Novi from the dock

We then went back to Tia's house, rested, showered and then got ready for dinner. We decided to try the seafood since it is a coastal town and Tia boasted that it was delicious. I dont eat seafood so unfortunately I cant say if it was tasty or not, but Kasey, Nila and Tia really loved their food! And since we all over ate that night climbing the 200 or so stairs back up to go Salsa dancing at Gradska Kafana was painful. 

Kasey's dinner, some sort of fish some sort of pasta...sorry Im a vegetarian and didnt pay attention to what she actually ordered!

This is part one of the Montenegro and Croatia Travel Diary, the next one will cover Kotor and Dubrovnik!

These pictures are a collection of pictures taken by myself, Nila, Kasey and Tia!



  1. Hello,

    Amazing pics ! :D


  2. Wow, the scenery and food looks amazing. I'm looking forward to following your trip.

  3. Oh my goodness those views!! We were in Montenegro and Croatia this passed summer and I am head over heels for them now! Excited to follow along in this trip.

  4. Wow! How incredibly gorgeous!

  5. Wow!! Love all the pictures.. The place Looks amazing!

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  7. Going through something so fantastic has a retouching power for the heart and mind.
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