I left Tirana, Albania early one morning with Dawid, one of the guys with whom I had been traveling since Ohrid, Macedonia. We left the hostel very early, and walked in the heat to what we thought was the bus stop we needed.
In typical Tirana fashion, nothing was signposted and we ended up walking back and forth until we finally found the place we had been looking for and had walked past multiple times. It was not a bus station at all – Tirana appears to have none – it was just a bus in front of a travel agency.
The bus journey to Kotor was surprisingly comfortable as the bus was largely empty and we had rows of seats to ourselves. On this journey we met another guy, Barry, and an Korean girl whose name I can’t remember for the life of me. Later, I’d go on to travel with Barry and the girl, but more on that later.
Once the bus got to the coast in Montenegro the views were absolutely stunning. This was my only opportunity to see Sveti Stefan as I ended up not going back to see it in person.
Kotor was one of those places I had not heard about prior to planning my trip but that I knew right away I just HAD to visit. Much to my delight, it did not disappoint.
The old town is a small fortified area surrounded by gorgeous mountains on one side and the Adriatic, well, the Bay of Kotor, on the other. The buildings are quaint, and the atmosphere lively but not overwhelming. It is a cruise destination so the days can be a bit crowded, but at night it’s a different story.
The out restaurants and cafes are welcoming and the whole thing looks right out of a postcard. And if the town bears a resemblance to northern Italian villages, it is because it was in fact part of the Republic of Venice, as were many other areas on this side of the Adriatic.
One of the days I was there (I ended up extending my stay because I loved it so much) I woke up early to take photos and had the town all to myself.
While the town itself is beautiful, the views from the top of the fortification, which can be accessed by climbing a lot of steps, is just mind blowing. From up there you can see not just the town from various levels but the Bay of Kotor as well. The sweeping views are well worth the effort.
The climb is not especially difficult, but it is not a piece of cake either. I highly recommend you do it as early in the morning as possible to avoid the crowds. And when I say crowds I don’t mean New York City crowds; they are small groups in comparison to most destinations, so it is not a deal breaker.
Many of the photos of the climb are iPhone photos as I foolishly forgot to charge my camera batteries. Oops.