May holidays in Poland are always a great opportunity to go for a short vacation. In the year 2018, I spent the whole holiday period sailing in Montenegro and Croatia with friends. Those countries made a huge impression on us because we visited amazing lands with breathtaking views and beautiful landscapes.
This was an organized trip, so we were traveling with the whole group of people. We started the cruise in Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is a common spot also for a yacht charter in Montenegro. Next week was just great, filled with joy, delight, a little bit of seasickness, and sailing on the Adriatic Sea. But since all of us were sailors already, this adventure was a perfect vacation for us.
Sailing in Montenegro and Croatia – itinerary
We began our adventure in Dubrovnik, one of the most popular cities in Croatia. This was a good place to start because of plenty of yacht charter opportunities. The day when we arrived was assigned to boarding, provision sharing, and getting to know the skipper assigned by the company which organized this trip for us.
The next day started early in the morning. Our main goal for that day was to fulfill the customs clearance on both border sides: Croatian and Montenegrin. From Dubrovnik, we headed directly to Cavtat to meet the Croatian customs officers, and then to Zelenika to get permission of entering the territorial waters of Montenegro. The night we spend in Herceg Novi.
For a few next days, we could visit beautiful Montenegrin cities, such as Kotor with its amazing bay, and Budva. While closing the sailing loop, we visited Zelenika and Cavtat again and finished the trip by visiting Dubrovnik’s Old Town. On the map below you can check out where all of those places are located (Croatia – yellow pins; Montenegro – blue pins).
The area of Cavtat city was settled thousands of years ago. Even if not so big, this city, lying just a few kilometers from
This small city, for us, was only a stop to fulfill the custom clearance formalities. Actually, Zelenika does not have a lot to offer, but there is a curious fact about it. The tourism in Montenegro was actually born in this small city at the Adriatic Seashore. The first hotel in the country was build not in Herceg Novi, which was not so far away, but in Zelenika. It received a name Room and Board on the Green Beach.
Herceg Novi is a beautiful port city that lies just on the entrance to Kotor Bay, only a few kilometers away from the open sea. The city is often called “a city of flowers” because it has very Mediterranean greenery. You can find there plants like palm trees, cypress trees, and citrus trees.
The Kotor Bay is probably the number one must-see for people while sailing in Montenegro. The bay is a true wonder, and Kotor, the medieval city on its shore, is the most popular location to spend some time while traveling to this region.
Read more: 10 awesome things to do in Kotor.
The whole bay is surrounded by mountains hiding wonderful towns like the beautiful city of Kotor or picturesque Perast. While crossing the bay, you will be passing by other well-known locations: the islands of Sveti Đorđe and Gospa od Škrpjela. The second one is actually an artificial island with an interesting legend assigned to it. Years ago in this place, there was only a single rock, protruding above the water surface. According to some tales, one day, fishermen found a painting of Saint Mary on the rock. A few times, the portrait was brought to the land and placed in a church. But in a mysterious way, it was coming back to the rock. So local people decided to create an island around the rock and build a temple there, so the painting could stay in its preferred place.
Those two little islands are for sure one of the most photogenic places in this part of Montenegro.
Kotor itself is a charming place. It’s definitely one of the top destinations to visit in Montenegro. It is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Southeastern Europe. You can feel like traveling in time while walking the winding streets of Kotor. Each corner is a great scene for beautiful photos. One of the most popular attractions in the city is climbing the city walls up to Saint John’s Church and the Castle of San Giovanni. Another, less sublime, but really cute thing to do is to visit the Cats’ Museum. There, you can admire the huge collection of paintings, posters, postcards, stamps, newspapers, and even medals holding the picture of cats or treating directly about them.
In the beginning, our skipper didn’t want to take us to Budva. He called it an unending party. But the postcards with a beautiful view from Budva that we found in Kotor made us almost forced him to take us there. And even if the old town of Budva was charming, the skipper was right if it comes to the party. The marina was huge, and most of the vessels were… well, party yachts. Everywhere was loud music and a lot of chick girls parading in high heels on the boats’ gangways, which was kind of funny actually.
The day when we came there, there was also a festival in the city. Near the old town walls, there was a stage and a huge queue of groups and bands of dancers (both professionals and amateurs) wearing weird and fancy costumes, waiting for their turn to present their show to the audience.
Dubrovnik is one of the most popular travel destinations in Croatia. Years ago, it used to be an economic and trade center, now it mostly supports itself with the touristic industry. The whole old town of Dubrovnik is listed by UNESCO and is a wonderful pearl of Balkan architecture.
The city was a great scene for making many movies, such as “Game of Thrones”, “Star Wars”, “Robin Hood” or “Cassanova”. Discovering eat, visiting Croatian restaurants, and wandering among the medieval streets was a great experience.
Sailing conditions in Montenegro
The weather conditions during our trip were just perfect. In May, the temperature is high enough to wear mostly short sleeves. We could even enjoy swimming in the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Most of the time the sun was shining, making our cruise pleasant and relaxed. But we also experienced a small thunderstorm, chasing us on our way back to Dubrovnik. Honestly, I cannot decide which one condition was more fun! Check out the below videos and tell: isn’t it cool? Tap the heart if you like this kind of sailing adventure!
Sailing in Montenegro – useful tips for fast customs clearance
If you charter a yacht in Dubrovnik, Croatia, with an intention to sail to Montenegro, there are a few things that you need to remember. Check out the below list to make your border custom clearance easy and quick.
1. Let the shipowner know that you are going to visit Montenegro
Most of the yacht owners from Croatia permit to sail to Montenegro during the charter. Nevertheless, the best practice is to check it with the owner. It is important to be sure if the yacht has the proper insurance including the Montenegro area.
2. Check everything on the yacht
Besides the routine control, you should always check if the crew amount is the same as that on the crew list. Be also sure to check their IDs or passports – their numbers should be exactly the same as those on the list.
While sailing in Montenegro, it is obligatory to place the Montenegrin ensign below the sailing. So check if you can find it on the chartered yacht.
3. Plan your time for the customs clearance
On the Croatian side, you can do the
It is highly recommended to assign the whole day for the customs clearance in Croatia and Montenegro. Start your process in Cavtat early in the morning, because sometimes the formalities could take even 2 hours. During this time, the whole crew should stay on the boat. When you will get permission to go further, you should head directly to the Montenegrin port, for instance, Zelenika. There is around 25 NM between Cavtat and Zelenika. In Zelenika you should expect another 2 hours for the customs clearance.
4. Do not stop
Be aware of not stopping while sailing from one customs clearance point to another. This could finish up with a fine. According to the law, after entering the territorial waters of Montenegro, you should head directly to the customs clearance.
Sailing in Montenegro was a great adventure! Since Croatia is still more popular among sailing tourists, Montenegro can be a great place to visit to avoid too many crowds during your holiday.
Did you have your own adventure of sailing in Montenegro already? What were your experiences?
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Dominika is a founder of Sunday In Wonderland and she recently switched her life to be local independent. She aims to travel the world and admire all of its wonders. She is much focused on sustainable life, self-development and making this world a better place.