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Unexpected and Underrated Kotor, Montenegro

We relaxed, recharged, and got some serious exercise in Montenegro

Day 8 - Drive to Montenegro

We reluctantly left our apartment in Dubrovnik after another morning swim. DD#2 and I did the most swimming so far. We said our goodbyes to our kind hosts, somehow packed a very full car, and headed south. We picked Sokol Grad for a nice stop along the way. The old fortified castle was off the beaten path and we nearly had it to ourselves. We stretched our legs, read about its history, and took more pictures, of course.
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These skinny tall trees are so interesting.
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We continued on to the border crossing to Montenegro. We had to show our passports two times in the hour wait.
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We were getting pretty hungry so I used tripadvisor to lead us to a restaurant in the town of Igalo, the first town we reached in the Bay of Kotor. We lucked out with a huge and tasty meal. Pastas, more cevapi, salads, and a burger. Yum! It was a late lunch so we knew a light dinner would be in order.
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Communist-style high rises in Igalo
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DH skillfully drove the twisty and narrow road to Kotor. Cars were parked randomly along the road making the narrow road even skinnier. Everything felt so busy! It turns out that we hit a Montenegrian national holiday that would last two days. Families hit the beaches in droves and parked wherever something slightly resembled a spot or a wide section in the road. After a little angst, we found Hotel Alkima, our home for the next three nights.

The room was small but had a separate bedroom for the kids. The AC worked remarkably well and the room felt brand new. We had a nice view of the mountains and the small seaside was very close. The kids were happy to have a pool - our only one of the trip. The view from our windows.
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DH and I went for a walk in search of happy hour, of course. We found a beachside bar with way too many people smoking. It was hot once again but a cold beer helped.
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DD#2 and I borrowed bikes from the hotel and set out to explore. We rode to the old town and watched the many families picnicking and enjoying themselves on this holiday. We found a Turkish restaurant very close to our hotel, shared a Turkish pizza and called it a day.
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Day Nine - Exploring Old Town Kotor

I started the day with a run along the water. After hilly Dubrovnik, it was nice to have a flat place to run. Our hotel included breakfast so we filled up for the day. The automatic coffee machine was a big hit.
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We took a taxi to the old town for just a few Euros. I forgot the mention that even though Montenegro is not part of the EU, they use the Euros for their currency. We wandered the old lanes, took way too many pictures, petted so many cats (Kotor is known for its friendly cats), and started sweating. We found a shady place for a cold drink and relaxed and watched people. Kids found 2 Euro pizza slices at Pizzeria Pronto. Delicious!
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We finally took a taxi back the hotel (about 2 km away from old town) to recharge. The kids went swimming and we enjoyed the AC in the room.
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After a break, we took a taxi back to old town for dinner. We knew we wanted to try Tanjga BBQ. We had watched vlogs and read reviews about the amazing food. We were not disappointed. We order a mixed meat plate to share and were blown away by the delicious food. The sauces and side salads were incredible too. The place was incredibly casual and cheap. If you find yourself in Kotor, eat here.
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Before and after we polished off the mixed meat platter.
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After dinner, we wandered the old town once again. It was another very hot day so we were enjoying the evening shade. We found ice cream and enjoyed the relaxed vibe in old town. The twisty lanes were a contrast to Dubrovnik's grid-like street plan.

Day 10 - Hiking to the fortress and side-trip to Budva

We began our day early in hopes of beating the heat before climbing 1,350 stairs up to the fortress overlooking the town. We had heard that if you arrive before 8am, you don't have to pay the admittance fee. We were wrong. They moved the hours to begin collecting fees to 7am. Oh well. We paid the fee and starting sweating our way up the stairs to the top. I loved it but may have heard some grumbling from other families members. No one could deny the great views and one-of-a-kind experience. I am so happy we did this early in the day.
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After all that, DD#2 was ready for some shade!
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We made it back to our hotel for breakfast and decided to make the most of our day by checking out nearby Budva. Budva is a resort town that is on the coast. From a distance, it looked a little like Honolulu with its many modern high-rises. The kids and I were on a mission to check out Aqua Park Budva. DH was kind enough to drop us off while he explored Budva. We raced down a ton of fast and slightly dangerous slides. We had a great time but I'm not sure I'd recommend this water park to others. The slides were a bit dangerous, the decor/ambiance almost non-existent, and the stones on the ground were so hot to walk on. We made the most of it though. Some of the slides felt like roller coasters on water! I figure that I only have so many waterpark experiences left before the kids will be grown so why not?
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No guns allowed in the park.
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Nice view of Budva from the park.
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We hit a very busy hyper-supermarket on the way back to Kotor to refuel with cold drinks and snacks. I still can't get over how much fun it is to wander stores in other countries. So many different snacks and foods. The bulk baklava counter was the winner this time. Yum!

We headed back to the apartment to relax and recharge. It had been quite a day so far!

Finally we cooled off and headed back into old town Kotor for the last time. Taking the taxi into town cost between 2.5 - 5 Euros. Seemed like a bargain considering the headache parking would have been. We opted for an easy pizza dinner for our last evening in Montenegro. We couldn't help but snap a few last pictures.
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The little stores were so beautiful.
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Goodbye Bay of Kotor, Montenegro.
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Posted by familyineurope 20:49 Tagged cats fortress montenegro kotor budva Comments (0)

Ten Years of International Family Travel

We are off to Croatia in exactly one month!


View Croatia 2021 on familyineurope's travel map.

A New Adventure in a New Time

I started this blog ten years ago with four and six year old daughters. What an adventurous, memorable, and challenging six week trip around Europe!

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Croatia 2021

Now we are off again (fingers crossed) to Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia for one month with fourteen- and sixteen-year-old daughters!

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Throughout the last decade, we have fully embraced travel as our number one family activity. The four of us dream and brainstorm future trips pretty much every day. I still do most of the itinerary planning. DH is the flight booking and car rental guru. After a lot of practice, I have a pretty good idea of what kinds of activities and pace our family enjoys. The girls are speaking up a lot more about their preferences. DD#1 even has her sights on college in Europe.

Like everyone I know, we experienced sad cancelations in 2020. Our six-week trip to Europe was postponed among so many other activities. Luckily, we have stayed healthy and have all been fully vaccinated. The timing feels right for us to get out of the country. We chose Croatia for many reasons:

1) It is open to American tourists. It was actually open to tourism in summer 2020.
2) Our family absolutely loved Greece in 2019 so it makes sense to visit another country with a beautiful coastline.
3) We have never visited this region and think a month will be a good amount of time. I can't wait to get lost in old towns and eat new foods!
4) We are sticking to a smaller region just in case Covid causes border closures or last-minute shut-downs.
5) Croatia has always been on the list!

We planned this trip in April which is rather last-minute for me. We relied almost entirely on booking.com for fully cancelable apartments.

Here is a brief outline of our itinerary.

Zagreb

4 nights. I am so excited to be in a European city again!
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Rovinj, Istrian Peninsula

4 nights. This region is very close to Italy and has hill towns, beaches, a great waterpark, an adventure park, and an ancient amphitheater in Pula.
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Zadar

3 nights. I am drawn to this city because of its famous sea organ! It also looks beautiful and is maybe less touristed than other cities.
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Split

3 nights. This is Croatia's second largest city and has tons of history. I can't wait to explore Diocletian's Palace and the nearby towns of Trogir and Omis. We might even go zip-lining!
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Bol, Brac Island

3 nights. We will ferry to Brac and drive to the town of Bol. Bol is home to one of Croatia's most famous beaches. There's also a great hike to the island's tallest point.
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Dubrovnik

4 nights. This is the most visited and most famous Croatian city. We will walk the famous walls, get lost in the old town, and take some day trips. This city is usually mobbed with cruise ships. I suspect summer 2021 will be a little different.
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Kotor, Montenegro

3 nights. We will hike up the old city walls to the fortress above, drive around the bay, and the mountains. Another new country!
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Mostar, Bosnia

3 nights. I'm so eager to see this picturesque city with its famous bridge, minarets, and delicious food.
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Sibenik, Croatia

1 night. I knew I wanted to visited this beautiful town so I decided to break up a drive with our only one-night stay.
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Plitvice National Park on the way back to Zagreb

2 nights. This national park has always been on my radar for obvious reasons!
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I will be updating this blog as we travel and hope to provide not only stories about Croatia, but some insight about traveling during Covid. It feels like it has been so long since we have traveled and we know how incredibly lucky we are to have such an opportunity. Let the countdown begin!

Posted by familyineurope 16:28 Archived in Croatia Tagged zadar croatia dubrovnik split zagreb mostar kotor brac bol rovinj sibenik Comments (1)

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