We enjoyed an early morning breakfast in an abandoned Old Town Kotor before preparing for our trek to the country’s capital, Podgorica.
On our drive, we decided to cross through the Lake Skadar National Park. We had seen photos of the beautiful lake and it was on the way, so we thought “Why not?” The national park was indeed beautiful, but we were a bit disappointed. I’m not sure if it’s the particular route that we picked, but we had a difficult time finding a place to stop and enjoy the scenery. There was a small stop off, with the tourist office and a small shop. However, there were few places to actually enjoy nature. Instead, there were groups of men who would jump at the opportunity to sell you boat ride tickets as soon as you exited your car. I think the next time in Montenegro, we’ll have to do better research about where exactly to go in the Lake Skadar region, rather than deciding to drive through aimlessly.
We were a little afraid as we got closer and closer to Podgorica and it seemed we were no closer to civilization. Luckily, the city emerged from the empty fields pretty quickly. I felt a little bad for Podgorica, as I heard it referred to as the “most charmless capital city in Europe” with warnings on online forums that included “If you have to skip anything on a Balkan itinerary, skip Podgorica.”
Granted, we were only in the city for a day and a half. We walked a bit around the city center, grabbed some food, and enjoyed the parks. The city has a ton of greenery, which is always welcome in my book. Podgorica was a good place for us to recharge before our trip to Albania. There were a lot of small coffee shops and the pace was very relaxed. I’m not sure if it’s somewhere I would say I have to return to but I certainly wouldn’t mind returning, especially to use it as a jumping off point to explore all of the places in Montenegro we did not have a chance to experience. We definitely want to come back to see the old royal capital, the Northern mountains, and the monasteries and historical sights dotted around the country, so returning though the airport in Podgorica is a very real possibility. Note to travelers: You will get very confused at the lack of car rental return signs at the airport. They don’t exist. Park the car and look for someone with an orange vest.
On TripAdvisor, the number one place to see was the Hram Hristovog Vaskrsenja, a large church in the middle of a huge gravel parking lot. The church is very new and while it was nice to see, nothing really stood out to me as overly special.