On May 26, 2010 we toured the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro by boat.
There are many tour agencies around Slovenska Plaza and Slovenska Beach in Budva selling a variety of tours. Some are interesting and some seem lame – they just want your money! However, if you are going to do just one tour then it probably should be a boat tour of Kotor Bay. We cant’ recall if our tour agency even had a name. I know that seems ridiculous but many of them will sell the same tour and use the ship called the Vesna. We paid 20 euros/person for an all day excursion that included the following:
- Bus transfer from Budva to Tivat (where the tour begins)
- First stop – Herceg Novi (tour of fort)
- Second stop – Zanjice Beach (they tout it as their cleanest beach, makes you wonder what the others are like??) or the Blue Caves (extra fee)
- 3rd stop – Our Lady of the Rock (near Perast)
- Old Town Kotor (tour of town)
- Return bus to Budva
As with most things in Montenegro, our tour started late since the bus arrived late. Also, the boat was a little overloaded for our tastes, but they offer you a small drink (wine or rakija) for free when you get on board and I think that helps everyone forget that they are crammed in like sardines!
The first stop was Herceg Novi and you only have an hour here. So they will separate everyone into groups based on language, which included Serbian, English, Russian and French. Then you climb about 500 steps to the fort (it’s easier than it sounds) and you have to pay 1 euro to enter. The tour is short and you have time to look around and take photos. What’s most impressive is the view of the bay from the fort. Also, there is a free toilet! We had a good tour guide, who gave an interesting explanation of the sites in Herceg Novi. And the tour is even more fun if you start the morning off with a shot of rakija.
Second stop Zanjice Beach, which they like to advertise as “Montenegro’s cleanest beach!” So what does that make the other beaches sound like?? Hmmm … Form here you have a choice of either visiting the blue caves or hangin’ out at the beach. If you chose to hang out at the beach there are also a few over-priced restaurants right on the beach. On our tour it seemed that 99% decided to eat instead of swim. I guess it was too cold for them too! If you choose the blue caves you have to pay an additional 3 euros because you need to board a different small boat that will take you to the caves. While the idea of the caves sounds interesting and cool, in reality they really aren’t worth the admission. Your boat enters a small cave and when you jump into the water it turns a light blue from the sun light seeping in under the water. Sounds more cool than it actually is. Also, the water was cold!
When we got back to Zanjice Beach after our side excursion to the Blue Caves we decided to skip the overpriced restaurants and sit on the dock and eat our granola bars instead.
Next stop was Our Lady of the Rock. The island is very small and the tour is ok and of course, you have to pay again – 1 euro/person, but still worth it. You visit the small church and attached museum. You can read about how the island was man-made many years ago on the web.
Final stop was the old town (Stari Grad) of Kotor. This is the best spot of the whole tour, but you only have 1.5 hours here and that really isn’t enough. We also visited the day before to climb to the top of the fortress – a must! If you need more time here you can stay on your own and get your own transportation back to Budva or wherever your accommodation is located. The last bus during May 2010 left at 8:25 PM for Budva. Otherwise, the tour bus leaves at 7PM.
While the individual stops aren’t the greatest, since your time is limited, the views from the boat are unmatched! So go for the incredible scenery! Our tour guide was also excellent, which really made the tour enjoyable.
Tip: Bring a sweater as it can get cold in the morning when you reach the open sea! Also make sure you bring extra cash, since the tour has entrance fees and you might get hungry! They sell food, beer, soda, water and wine on the boat. It’s funny that wine costs the same as water and soda is more expensive.
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