Yesterday was the last day of our short adventure in Podgorica. Now it’s an ordinary Monday we are back in snowy Sweden. Altogether, we spent two days in the small country of Montenegro and enjoyed every moment of it. The first day we spent exploring the capital Podgorica. Yesterday we looked forward to seeing more of the country, So once we had woken up, we enjoyed breakfast and then went to the reception to check out. At the same time, we also asked the receptionist for assistance with finding a taxi driver for the day. We wanted to take a day trip from Podgorica to Budva with a stop at Lake Skadar. The process turned out to be much easier than expected and the taxi driver was waiting for us when we left the hotel.
Day Trip from Podgorica: First Stop Virpazar and Lake Skadar
We drove out of Podgorica and the scenery around us changed very quickly. From the flat landscape in the capital, we were soon in the mountains. Montenegro is not a very large country and we were soon able to see the first sights of Lake Skadar. The lake had flooded the plains around it and it was really only the lake with hills on all sides that were visible. We made a short stop in Virpazar to enjoy some of the views. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the worst spots for that as it was hard to see the scenery without any obstacles. Well, luckily we did enjoy the view along the road. Lake Skadar is the largest lake on the Balkans and it stands on the border between Montenegro and Albania.
The reason we decided to stop at Virpazar was the fact that one taxi driver had recommended it the day before. It looked like a center of sorts, with some souvenir stands and a lot of ads for boat trips.
Our day trip from Podgorica continued to the coast and the scenery changed once more. Now we looked out over the Mediterranean Sea with the sun shining. The coastal road from Petrovac towards Budva has a lot of nice sights. We did take a short stop along the road to get a view of the town of Sveti Stefan. This is probably one of the most photographed places in Montenegro. It is at least the place we have found in so many photos while researching for this trip. The town was originally just a small islet but the resorts have grown around it.
Two Hours in Budva
From Sveti Stefan, it is not far to the town of Budva. Budva is one of the major tourist destinations in Montenegro and it attracts people with its beaches, restaurants and its old town. Our driver dropped us off close to the old town and we decided to meet again at the same spot two hours later. During this time we enjoyed walking through the narrow streets of the old town as well as a lunch at a beach just next to the city wall. It was really nice to enjoy some sunshine and not feel the need of wearing a jacket for a few hours. The contrast of the next destination a few hours later was quite huge.
The coastal area around the town is called the Budva Riviera. During our walk, it was obvious that most people here were tourists. We felt that a couple of hours were more than enough in Budva, with the highlight being the medieval walled city. An interesting fact is that Budva, being 2 500 years old, actually is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast.
We left Budva in the afternoon driving up the hills at the coast. We were soon high above the town with a great view of a big part of the coast around Budva and Sveti Stefan. It was now also snow along the sides of the road, in stark contrast with the experience down in Budva.
Our next stop was Cetinje, a small town with a lot of history. Cetinje is the old royal capital of Montenegro. It did, however, feel like this small town was a lot more genuine. In comparison with Podgorica, a big part of the historic buildings was still standing and there were not big hotel complexes in the center as in Budva. There were colorful houses and a lot of cafés. Obviously the people like spending time outside. It was a nice experience to see a bit of Montenegrin history. The old monastery built into the rock side was an impressive sight. The main streets in the center were probably some of the most picturesque we have come across in Montenegro this weekend.
Back to Podgorica and Eventually Back Home
We were back in Podgorica around 3:30 pm and had almost two hours before we needed to go back to the airport. The cost for the day trip ended up at less than 60 Euros. That included a taxi that drove us between the stops and waited for us when we went exploring. Once back in Podgorica, we made sure to stretch our legs a little and enjoy some fresh air. The day trip from Podgorica was a good idea. Even though we enjoyed the capital, we both felt that we had seen more of the country and now we both have an appetite for discovering more of what Montenegro has to offer.