Southern Croatia & into Montenegro

Wow! Still can’t get over how stunning Krka national park was! Can’t wait to see Plitvice on the way back up. But first we are heading further along the coast into southern Croatia on our way to Montenegro.  Our next planned stop is just outside Dubrovnik – as a brief

We had planned to head straight to Montenegro but there was a slight problem…Bosnia.

Bosnia’s coastline

I’ll admit we had our own world schooling lessons and found that Croatia’s coastline disappears for about 26km.

Instead this belongs to Bosnia! I assumed it was something to do with the Yugoslavia war..  again I was wrong. It was handed over during the Ottoman empire. If you are interested click here to read the story of how Bosnia got their coastline.

Our problem is that most UK insurance companies won’t insure you to drive in Bosnia and in order to enter you must show that you have insurance.

Don’t worry, there’s a plan B!

 

Plan B – ferry crossing

For anyone who doesn’t have the necessary paperwork there is an option to take the car ferry from Ploce to Trpanj. It takes an hour and ferries run about 5 times a day.

It will add EUR 50 for a motorhome and family of 4, plus around 2 hours onto your driving time. A bit of a pain, but at least it meant we could reach southern Croatia.

 

Quick stop outside Dubrovnik

Due to the increased timeframe we decided to stop on the outskirts of Dubrovnik before crossing montenegro’s border.

The campsite, called Maslinom. Another ACSI camp so wasn’t too expensive. We decided to venture down a very, very, very steep hill to the nearby beach as it was so hot.

What we found was very choppy waters! Not ideal. But having watched a group of locals Ethan and Keith were soon jumping & diving off the quay!! Jasper and I thought better of it!

Having driven all day and faced with climbing back up the hill we opted to sit at the restaurant and have pizzas with views over to Kolocep island. A place we stayed 10 years ago when I was pregnant with Ethan.  It was so lovely and peaceful. Dubrovnik… we’ll be back!

Driving into Montenegro

Keen to get to our furthest European destination, Montenegro, we set off early.

The views all along the coast were stunning as we hugged the cliffside.  But the sky soon darkened and we found ourselves arriving at Montenegro border in a huge thunderstorm!  We were greeted with queues as knew this would take a while.

When we finally reached the border control he scanned our passports and waved us on our way. Woo hoo boys – we are in Montenegro. Keith and I thought we might have issues with insurance etc.  But no problems!!

Ah… well, that was until we reached the actual Montenegro border crossing!! Doh

And as anticipated he asked for our vehicle documents. Which we handed over. First, he struggled with the IOM and then asked for our green card..  what green card!?!?!

 Keith repeated that we were insured and had confirmed so with our insurance company. But we didn’t have the green card so he sent us to this white building to a man who spoke no English. But he duly wrote us a piece of paper and took our money with several confused looks. Ah well 180 Kuna lighter and a happier border control guy we were on our way.

Woo hoo boys, we’re in montenegro!

Now to connect to the internet and check Google maps. No internet! Oops, looks like our data with three Durant stretch this far; we’ll be going solo for a days then.

 

Kotor, Montenegro

I can’t really say that we’ve seen Montenegro as we only went to one place… but Kotor is lovely.  It had another dramatic backdrop, especially with the thunderstorm which was echoing around the bay!

We decided to take the car ferry to avoid the longer drive and the lake. It was €9 for the motorhome and only took 5 minutes. You won’t find a timetable. It basically just goes when it’s full. Very efficient.

You may have noticed that I said euros. Yep, we are switching currency again and back to euros!

We’d also read there were 2 options when you leave the ferry. Right = longer, but wider and faster route. Left = shorter, but very narrow and picturesque route. Which one do you think we chose??

We soon arrived in the madness of Kotor and it’s crazy roads and drivers. I was told Italians were bad drives but Montenegro is top of the list 🙈

 

Accommodation in Kotor

We had decided to follow the camper contact route and stay in a car park in the centre of Kotor. We were only there for a couple of days so thought it would just be easier then travelling in and out of where we needed to be. It was €30 (ouch) with no facilities. But we are in the centre, next to a beach and shopping centre.  We watched a number of cruise ships come and go into the bay of Kotor. The surrounding area was gorgeous.

We spent an afternoon wandering the old walled city in the thunderstorm.  Later that night as the skies cleared we took a stroll along the waterfront.  

When we got back to the car park we were greeted by a knock on the van and a ‘hello’.  It was an Aussie, called Dan. He was so lovely. We ended up chatting to him for about an hour while he showed the boys his drone.  They LOVED it! He managed to fly it up to the fortress on the hill behind us and video people who were enjoying the sunset! Obviously, the boys wanted one!! Ha ha

His wife, Dee, came over to see what all the commotion was and we stood chatting for ages! It was so nice to have a conversation and with such like minded people. We talked about the kids and travel as they explained they are travelling around Europe for a year. But their passports restrict them to only 90 days in the Schengen zone. I have no idea what this was. Click here if you didn’t either!

 

Kotor ladder

The most popular activity to do in the address is to walk up to the Kotor fortress.  However, we were reading conflicting views of €3 and €8 for entrance.

But Keith had seen a similar walk, but it was free!!? This required more investigation… but with no internet it was challenge. It was then that we stumbled on the ‘ladder of Kotor’. We found this blog by another family, who gave a very good description of the trail here.

That evening we caught up with Dan and Dee once again as they told us about their afternoon on the mountain with a local family dining shots of string liquor! They were so funny, still makes me laugh. We travel for the experiences and memories we create. That was one to be banked! Ha ha

The next day we needed to start the journey back to Croatia.  There’s only 2 weeks left in Europe! Its time to show the boys the sights and sounds of Dubrovnik

And after staying in a car park for 2 nights in that great, it was time to go to a campsite!

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