SLOVENIA, CROATIA & MONTENEGRO – Two Week Road Trip Itinerary

At the start of this year I told myself that I would explore more of Europe and take advantage of what is on my doorstep. All I can say is DAMN – I am so glad I set myself that goal! As a result of it, I planned an incredible two-week road trip with my parents through south-east Europe, taking in Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro. It was definitely one of my favourite road trip experiences and took in a diverse range of landscapes from alpine peaks in Slovenia to historic coastal towns in Croatia and panoramic mountain roads in Montenegro.

This road trip itinerary takes in key sights in each country with 3 days in Slovenia, 7 days in Croatia and 4 days in Montenegro. You could easily spend two weeks (or more!) in each of these countries, so consider this adventure a whistle stop tour of the highlights. You can always extend your time in certain locations or come back and explore your favourites in more depth in the future.

Itinerary Overview:

Day 1: Arrival in Slovenia & Triglav National Park

Day 2: Circular Drive & Hike Through Triglav National Park Highlights

Day 3: Bled Lakes & Gorges

Day 4: Slovenia to Croatia via Plitvice National Park

Day 5: Krka National Park & Sibenik Old Town

Day 6: Sibenik To Split via Trogir

Day 7: Exploring Split on Foot

Day 8: Island Hopping from Split

Day 9: Split to Dubrovnik via Ston & Bosnia

Day 10: Exploring Dubrovnik

Day 11: Croatia to Montenegro via Bosnia 

Day 12: Montenegro Mountains

Day 13: Kotor via National Parks

Day 14: Exploring Kotor & Perast

Day 15: Travel Home!

Itinerary In Detail:

If you have followed me for a while you may remember my trip to Slovenia last year. In fact, my previous Slovenia travel guide is one of my most viewed pages on my whole website! So do feel free to use that guide in collaboration with this itinerary to plan your time in this lesser known destination.

In short, Slovenia is one of my favourite places in Europe – if not the world. I hardly ever visit the same place twice but Slovenia packs a serious punch and I promise you will fall in love with its mountains just like I did!

Day 1: Arrival in Slovenia & Triglav National Park

Today you will get your first taste of Triglav National Park and the incredible Julian Alps it is home to. This national park is an outdsoor loving humans idea of heaven. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails, dozens of mountains to summit, huts to stay in, rock climbing galore, gorges to explore and mountain lakes to swim in. I could easily spend the whole two weeks just here!

  • Land in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana in the late morning. Grab a rental car (we used Sixt) and drive one hour to Triglav National Park. Check into Bohinj Eco Hotel – a conscious hotel located between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj.
  • Grab lunch at a nearby traditional Slovenian restaurant Strud’l. Their fresh homemade pasta is divine!
  • Drive to Vogel cable car and catch a ride to the top of the mountain. From here you can join one of the many hiking trails, take in amazing views and stroke the very friendly local goats. We decided to catch a chair lift up to Orlove Glave and climb up to the cross, for some seriously stunning panoramic views in all directions.
  • Catch the cable car back down to the lakeside and park near the waters edge. I recommend finding a spot at the end of the lake nearest the cable car as it has far fewer people. Go for a swim in the refreshing water of Lake Bohinj and dry off in the sunshine. Dreamy. 

Got more time? There is so much to do in this area! You could walk around the rim of Lake Bohinj, hike up to Slap Savica or explore nearby Mostnica Gorge.

Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary

Day 2: Drive & Hike Through Triglav National Park Highlights

Today is a big day, you need to get up bright and early to be able to fit everything in! We set off from our hotel at 7.15am (as my parents aren’t early morning people!) but if you can, I would say set off before sunrise. Today you’ll get to tick off the vast majority of the highlights of Triglav national park, from an alpine hike through to swimming in waterfalls. Let’s go!

  • Set off bright and early, driving to your first stop: Vrsic Pass – a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1611 metres. It is the perfect starting point for a morning hike, but be sure to get there on time as all the parking spaces tend to disappear by 8-9am. 
  • There are numerous hikes in the area, but if you want a fairly gentle one then I recommend Semenova Spica. It takes just a couple of hours but rewards you with some absolutely stunning views! Afterwards you can grab a refreshing drink in one of the mountain huts and take in the surroundings.
  • Drive down the other side of the pass into the famous Soca Valley. Once you get into the base of the valley you will drive alongside the river for a few miles, here you can stop off at the side of the road and walk across a series of small bridges over the water. These give amazing views of the river, valley and surrounding mountains.
  • Towards the end of the valley be sure to stop off at one of my favourite spots in Slovenia – Velkita Korita otherwise known as Grand Canyon of Soca. This is a beautiful series of gorges which you can swim in and explore, don’t miss the trail back up the river which is home to a hidden waterfall!
  • Stop off for lunch in the mountain town of Bovec. Theres an abundance of places, but I ate at Gostilna in pizerija Letni vrt and had the homemade gnocchi – delicious!
  • In the afternoon you can stop off at one of the famous waterfalls such as Slap Virje or Slap Kozjak. Be sure to take your swimwear so you can have a dip! 
  • Now, you have some options. We continued our loop and drove to the south of the park to visit Tolmin Gorges. However, I have to say that these gorges are not that spectacular, especially when you compare them to Vintgar gorges you’re going to visit the next day. Instead of doing this, I would say to learn from our experiences and spend some more time in and around Soca valley. You could even go canyoning in the afternoon, something I did on my last trip and absolutely loved. Or perhaps do a tandem paraglide over the valley!
  • Drive back to Lake Bohinj for an end of day swim, and then get some rest before anther day fo exploring!

Got more time? You could do a longer hike from Vrsic Pass, spend more time swimming in Soca Valley, hike a section of the Soca Trail, go canyoning, rafting or even paragliding. My top recommendation though? If you have a spare couple of days, hire a mountain guide and take on the famous Mount Triglav – the highest peak in the Julian Alps. A 2-day hike with a mountain hut stay which I am desperate to do!

Day 3: Bled Lakes & Gorges

If you tell your friends you’re going to Slovenia they will probably mention Lake Bled. It is by far the most famous spot in the country and for good reason – it is ridiculously picturesque, providing stunning views in all directions. An alpine lake dream. However, with this popularity comes crowds. As a result it is essential to get there early in the day to get a parking spot and avoid the crazy traffic which hits the town. Trust me!

  • Once you have your parking spot I recommend starting off with a walk around the perimeter of the lake. The path is around 6km long and takes 1.5 hours without stops, but I have a few places I recommend you explore along the way.
  • Approaching the lake from parking in the main town of Bled, turn left and walk in a clockwise direction. Stop off and take in the views around every corner, it is endlessly beautiful. I then recommend grabbing some vegan ice cream at Bletska Sladoglednica near Camping Bled campsite, hopping on a boat at the small pier nearby and getting a lift to Bled island. The island itself is a little underwhelming but it is still enjoyable to walk around the perimeter, ring the lucky bell and hike up the 99 steps to the chapel. 
  • Once you’re back on the shore, continue walking around the lake. When you get to the other side you can take one of the small paths up to Bled Castle and take in the view from the top of the lake and surrounding area.
  • Continue to follow the perimeter path all the way back to the main town of Bled just in time for lunch. Theres two great vegan spots: Public Bar & Vegan Cafe and Tavci Vegan Cafe.
  • Kick start your afternoon with some kidulting by hopping on the summer toboggan down the mountain at Straza Bled. It is great fun and gives epic views, though be warned every other participant will probably be about 8 years old! Who said you have to grow up?
  • Afterwards, hop back in your car and drive over top the nearby Vintgar Gorges. These beautiful, powerful and popular gorges were one of my highlights our time in Slovenia. You get to wander down small wooden paths beside the rushing water, and even see trout swimming in the crystal blue pools. Incredible!
  • Finish the day with an evening swim in Lake Bohinj, as per usual. It is just the best way the end of the day!

Got more time? If theres one thing I recommend, it is a sunrise hike to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint. It is a short and steep climb to the most incredible spot to view Bled and the surrounding mountains. During the day, I would also recommend hiring a rowing boat to explore the lake in your own time and then definitely having a swim – Lake Bled is an iconic spot for a dip!

Lake Bled - Slovenia Road Trip

Day 4: Slovenia to Croatia via Plitvice National Park

This is the longest travel day of your whole trip so buckle up and prepare for the 6 hour ride! You will break up your drive by stopping off at Plitvice National Park. This is the most visited attraction in Croatia and for good reason, it is home to 16 crystal clear lakes, numerous waterfalls and 50 miles of walkways. It is essential to book tickets in advance online, otherwise you simply won’t get in during the peak summer months (at least not without a 2 hour wait).

  • Get up early and start driving towards Croatia, I recommend making the border crossing at one of the less busy roads. We chose to cross near a town called Matlika and only waited in line for 15 minutes after hearing horror stories of 3+ hour waits at other crossings.
  • Once you’re across the border continue on to Plitvice lakes, grabbing lunch en route at one of the many restaurants on the side of the road.
  • There are numerous ways to tackle the National Park from the two main entrances. You can find comprehensive guides here and here. Generally, it seems route E is highly recommended, entailing 2-3 hours of walking through mainly the more dramatic upper lakes.
  • What if Plitvice is too busy? You can always drive on to the little known Paklenica National Park which is heaven for hiking and climbing, and use this as your stop off mid-journey instead. Just go to the national parks information office, grab a map and ask for a hike recommendation!
  • After your dose of nature drive on to the small coastal town of Sibenik, settle into your hotel and grab dinner at She Bio Bistro. We ate here for almost every meal – it is a farm to table veggie/vegan restaurant that has amazing food and a rooftop bar.

Got more time? You can always drive to Plitvice Lakes and stay overnight, entering the park early the next morning so you get to enjoy the beauty of the falls without the crowds. 

Day 5: Krka National Park & Sibenik Old Town

Sibenik will give you your first taste of the small coastal towns of Croatia. It is a stunning city with tonnes of history crammed into its narrow streets, plus it is a lesser known spot meaning it attract large crowds. Krka National Park is another beautiful destination in Croatia which can’t be missed, known for its waterfalls and lakes. The best bit? It is only 15 minutes drive from Sibenik!

  • Set off bright and early to drive to Krka. I recommend entering by the Lozovac entrance and getting there about 15 minutes before the park opens, so you can get tickets on arrival. Or even better, prebook your tickets online. 
  • The Lozovac entrance is only a 10-15 minute walk away from the main attraction of the park, the Skradinski Buk Falls. There is a walking route which winds around these falls which takes around an hour, taking in beautiful view points and finishing at a pretty epic swimming area. Be sure to bring some swimming shoes though as there are jagged rocks underfoot!
  • Drive back to Sibenik for lunch at She Bistro or O.DA and then get exploring Sibenik old town. There is a great city map available at most hotels which highlights the key sights, but we just enjoyed wandering the streets and seeing what we stumbled upon. Highlights included St Micheal’s Fortress and St James Cathedral.
  • Finish your day at the Sibenik city beach – the perfect spot for a swim which provides a great view of the town from the water. 
  • Grab dinner in Sibenik, we enjoyed a spot called Bazza which had a handful of vegan options. 

Got more time? You could easily spend a whole day at Krka National Park, it is home to an abundance of waterfalls, hiking trails and boat routes across the lakes. I have been told that Manojlovac and Roski waterfalls are worth a visit!

Slovenia - Croatia Road Trip - Trogir

Day 6: Sibenik To Split via Trogir

Today you start travelling down the Croatian coast. It is a pretty short drive from Sibenik to Split and it is a great idea to break this up by stopping off at the beautiful town of Trogir. Trogir is best known for its preserved and pedestrianised historic old town which is encased on a small island, with elements of its medieval city walls still intact.

  • Drive one hour to Trogir and grab a space in the large car park near the old town island. You can then cross the small footbridge and start exploring. 
  • Trogir, like most Croatian coastal towns, is a destination which is best experienced when wandering. Explore the narrow old town streets, climb the cathedral tower and walk the walls of Kamerlengo Castle (which gives great views!). Grab a coffee and enjoy the islands relaxed vibe.
  • Go for lunch at Pasike, a traditional Dalmation restaurant which has tonnes of vegan options. It was extremely flavoursome and one of my favourite meals of the holiday. Afterwards you can grab vegan ice cream from Bella Gelato, I recommend the passion fruit flavour – it was the bomb!
  • After lunch drive on to Split, around 45 minutes in the car, and check into your hotel. We stayed at Royal Suites which is small, locally run and perfectly located 5 minutes walk from the palace.
  • Go for an evening swim. We made the mistake of going to the busiest beach in Split, Bacvice beach. I would instead recommend walking 10 minutes further along the coastline to any other beach – the further you get away from the centre of town the more quiet and beautiful the beaches become. 
  • Grab dinner inside the palace, I recommend a casual spot called Martas Veggie Fusion. It is 100% vegan and serves the most epic burrito bowl and vegan carrot cake!

Day 7: Exploring Split on Foot

Split is one of the most unique historic towns I have ever visited due to the fact that the most iconic attraction in the area, Diocletians Palace, is a “living museum”. The old town itself is embedded within the palace walls and you can literally eat meals and sip cocktails surrounded by ancient architecture. It is incredible! However, brace yourself for the crowds. It was the most heavily trafficked town we visited on our whole trip – but definitely worth it.

  • Stop by Kats Kitchen for breakfast, a well known vegan spot serving famous pancakes.
  • Take a morning guided walking tour of the highlights of Split. We used a guide called Jelena Vrančić who was a font of knowledge, informing us all about the history of the city, giving us a much deeper understanding of its past. Be sure to ask her to stop off at D16 coffee for the best cuppa in town.
  • Grab lunch at Maka Maka, a healthy food spot focusing on acai and poke bowls. It even has green juice!
  • Send your afternoon further exploring the town on your own, walking the narrow streets and absorbing the vibe. Why not climb the bell tower of St Domnius Cathedral and visit Klis fortress?
  • For the best view in town, and to escape the crowds, I recommend walking to Marjan hill and exploring the huge park there. Take your swimmers as theres tonnes of quiet entry spots to the ocean in this area.
  • For dinner I recommend Pandora Greenbox, a vegetarian restaurant which does an epic gin & tonic.

Day 8: Island Hopping from Split

You can’t visit Croatia without island hopping! The Dalmation coast is covered in picturesque islands which are crying out to be explored and Split is the perfect location to do this from. We hired a private boat and skipper through Jelena Vrančić, a pricey affair, but there are tonnes of cheaper large and small group tours you can book onto. Itineraries vary from company to company, if you go private you can choose the highlights – here are the stops we make on our day of island hopping:

  • A morning coffee on the island of Brac.
  • A morning swimming stop at the bay near Mlini beach.
  • Lunch on the Paklinski Islands (it is essential to book ahead).
  • An afternoon swimming stop at Gornja Krusica on the island of Slota (our favourite spot of the day!).

We then had the most delicious dinner back on land at a Japanese restaurant called Kinoteka, it is located within the palace walls and has a selection of vegan options including sushi rolls. Don’t miss their “sex and no beach” cocktail, it was the best of our whole trip!

Got more time? We purposefully chose to not stop off at the popular town of Hvar so we could avoid the crowds, but this is a bucket list destination for a lot of people so you could definitely give it a visit. If we had a few more days we would have loved to have actually stayed overnight on one of the islands, in particular Brac looks beautiful. 

Day 9: Split to Dubrovnik via Ston & Bosnia

It is time to move on to your final stop in Croatia, Dubrovnik, but not without a cheeky little stop at the town of Ston along the way. This little hidden gem was an absolute highlight of our trip, there was hardly anyone there even though it was absolutely stunning and jam packed with history. Definitely add it to your itinerary!

  • Tuck into some breakfast and then get on the road as early as you can. Drive a couple of hours until you reach the border crossing into Bosnia & Herzegovina – you have to pass through to reach the southern most tip of Croatia. It is a short 30 minute drive, but I recommend stopping off in the Bosnian coastal town of Neum for a coffee and a wander along the beach front.
  • Continue driving south, cross the border back into Croatia and head to the small town of Ston. It is best known for its well preserved city walls which were built in 1333. I highly recommend walking along them to get incredible views of the surrounding valley. Plus this is such an unknown spot that you will likely have the walls to yourself!
  • Head into the town of Ston itself and grab some lunch at one of the small handful of cafes. Get back in the car and drive on to Dubrovnik.
  • We loved ending our days with a relaxing swim, so after we checked into our hotel – Hotel Lapad – we walked 15 minutes across to Sunset beach to soak in some rays. 
  • For dinner I recommend Chihuahua mexican restaurant, it is reservation only due to its huge popularity – the food is incredible and there are vegan options! 

Got more time? If you have more time in Ston you can walk along the walls all the way to Mali Ston. You could also make a detour into the beautiful country of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Another hidden gem of a country which is bursting with natural beauty, mountains galore and numerous historic towns to explore.

Exploring Dubrovnik - Road Trip

Day 10: Exploring Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is perhaps the most iconic city in Croatia, and for good reason. It has the most incredible 16th century old town surrounded by well preserved city walls, all balanced delicately on cliff tops right next to the crystal blue ocean. It is a dream! Today is your only full day in Dubrovnik so take advantage of it – get up early and cram as much in as possible! You can definitely get a feel for this beautiful city within 24 hours, but you need to be efficient with your time.

  • First things first, get to the famous city walls around half an hour before they open. The queue will start to get pretty large from 15 minutes prior to opening (8am in high season). Honestly, it is SO worth the early wake up call to be the first to walk along them before the heat of the day. They provide the most incredible views over the city and well and truly worth all the hype. Read a full guide to the city walls here.
  • To refuel, I recommend grabbing a coffee at Cogito coffee which has plant based milk and vegan ice cream.
  • Next up, do a walking tour of Dubrovnik old town and Fort Lovrijenic (again we organised this through Jelena). This is my favourite way to explore a city as it not only connects you with the locals but educates you on the history of the city and its architecture.
  • Grab lunch at Nishta, a well known plant based restaurant where a reservation is essential.
  • In the afternoon you can explore Dubrovnik on your own terms. I recommend getting the cable car up to Srd for a birds eye view (great at sunset!) and visiting the famous Buza beach for a swim off the cliffs.
  • Dine at Urban and Veggie – a relatively new vegan restaurant where we had a delicious meal.

Got more time? I could have easily spent an extra day or two in Dubrovnik to allow me to slow down and explore the city in a more relaxed manner. There are also numerous beautiful islands you can visit from the city, with Mljet being the most highly recommended.

Day 11: Croatia to Montenegro via Bosnia

Onto the final country of the road trip! Today you will be driving to the mountains in the north of Montenegro via Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is a seriously scenic drive, so don’t be afraid to stop off on the side of the road and take in the views. 

Montenegro is a hidden gem and has quickly become one of my favourite countries I have ever visited. In particular the northern parts of Montenegro don’t get much tourist traffic at all, they really feel like a diamond in the rough and I hope you love them as much as I did.

  • Rise and shine, it’s time to drive! Set off from Dubrovnik, cross the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina and stop for a coffee in the mountainous countryside. Then head over the final border crossing and pass into Montenegro, bracing yourself for some of the most beautiful roads of the whole trip.
  • Head to the small town of Zabljak, with an altitude of 1456 meters it is the highest situated town in the Balkans and the perfect access point for Durmitor National Park. Check into your hotel (we stayed at Hotel Zabljak) and get on your hiking boots!
  • Grab a quick lunch at Caffe Bar O’RO which has a couple of vegan options and then pop to the small tourist office nearby to get a hiking map of the area – be sure to ask for the staffs recommendations in the area. They are a font of local knowledge!
  • In the afternoon I recommend doing the short and easy hike to Curevac viewpoint which looks over the famous Tara River Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. It is absolutely beautiful and it just feels good to move your legs after sitting in your car for a few hours!
  • To finish your day I recommend driving to a spot called “Sedlo”. Just pop it into your GPS and you will be taken along one of the most famous panoramic roads in the region. It winds alongside the Durmitor mountains, passing by stunning peaks and valleys in all directions and finishing up at an epic viewpoint looking over rolling hills, lakes and mountains. Don’t miss it!
  • Finally, grab dinner at Lupo D`Argento in Zabljak. It has the most amazing vegan pizza, complete with vegan cheese!

Got more time? You could stop off at the famous Ostrog Monastery on your way into Montenegro. It is an iconic religious destination which is embedded high into a cliff face.

Day 12: Montenegro Mountains

This was my favourite day of the whole road trip. Durmitor National Park is part of the Dinara mountain range and is home to 23 mountain peaks, 17 glacier lakes, abundant forests and deep gorges. Basically, it is absolute heaven for nature lovers! Just prepare yourself for a 10 degree temperature drop from the coast and some spontaneous rain showers no matter the season, mountain weather is always unpredictable!

  • Spend your morning doing the Mountain People quad bike experience. You will drive through the national parks forests, taking in stunning views, visiting peaceful lakes and getting an adrenalin rush along the way. 
  • I recommend booking in for the package which includes lunch as it is an extremely authentic experience. The tour leader takes you to his grandmas house high in the mountains and she cooks up a selection of local dishes using organic ingredients grown in her garden. It is heaps of fun and a great insight into the mountain lifestyle.
  • After lunch I recommend doing a loop hike around the famous Black Lake (Crno Jezero) & up to Snake Lake (Zminje Jezero). This is an easy three hour hike and it is wise to keep yourself on track using the map you collected from tourist information office the day before.
  • If you have time after this hike then I recommend driving down to the iconic Đurđevića Bridge over the Tara river canyon. Walk over it to take in the views, or better yet you can hop on one of the ziplines over the canyon for a thrill!
  • For dinner, the options are limited in Zabljak so we return to Lupo D`Argento. They do customised risotto and pasta dishes which are divine.

Got more time? I could easily spend a few days (or even a week!) in the Montenegro mountains, there is so much to see and do. The most famous thing to do in the area is white water rafting down the Tara river canyon, which is definitely on my bucket list. If I came back I would stay in a traditional “eco village” and hike the many peaks in Durmitor national park, swim in the glacier lakes and get the ski lift up to view point at Savin Kuk. 

Day 13: Kotor via National Parks

After a short and sweet venture into the mountains it is time to drive down to the Montenegro coastline. Today you will be stopping off at two iconic national parks, Lovcen and Lake Skadar, and getting a taste of their beauty, before finishing up in the stunning Bay of Kotor. There are various small towns you can reside in during your stay, we chose Perast due to it being much quieter than Kotor but also having a prime location right in the heart of the bay.

  • Set off early in the morning, you have a lot to explore today! Drive through the stunning Montenegro scenery all the way down to Lake Skadar. This is the largest lake in Southern Europe and well known for its variety of flora and fauna. Today you only have time to drive beside it and stop off at Pavlova Strana viewpoint, which gives you the best view of its stunning horseshoe bend and the surrounding lush green rolling mountains.
  • Next stop: Lovcen National Park. This is only an hours drive away and provides a completely different landscape, much more rugged and rough. On arrival in the park, drive straight to the tourist office in Ivanov Korita and ask for a map for the Wolf Trail.
  • Stop off for lunch at Hotel Ivanov Konak and then head behind the property and up the path to begin the Wolf Trail. This is an easy 2 hour hike which takes in multiple view points facing both into the national park and out over the Bay of Kotor.
  • If you’re feeling energised, I then recommend driving up to Njegos Mausoleum on the top of Jezerski Vrh peak and climbing the 461 steps to the very top. Use the outdoor steps, as they’re much more scenic than the tunnel, and when you get to the top go through the mausoleum and out the other side for an incredible panoramic view point. 
  • Onwards to your final definition, Perast. I recommend driving down the old Roman road into the bay of Kotor. It has over 25 hairpin bends and definitely isn’t for the faint hearted. However, the views are absolutely incredible – often named the best views over the Bay of Kotor!
  • On arrival in Perast, check into the beautiful Per Astra hotel. This is the most “fancy” hotel we stayed at on our trip and was definitely worth every penny. A real treat to finish the trip.

Got more time? You could spend a whole day at Lake Skadar, getting a boat trip across the water and hiking the trails through the national park. There is a famous scenic drive which goes alongside Lake Skadar from Virpazar to Rijeka Crnojevica, which would be a great addition to the itinerary. Of course you could also easily spend a full day in Lovcen national park too, again hiking the numerous trails the park has to offer.

Day 14: Exploring Kotor & Perast

The Bay of Kotor is one of the most unique and beautiful places I have ever visited. High rugged mountains dropping down straight into the crystal blue ocean, with tiny traditional villages on the waterfront. It really is a phenomenal sight and the sunsets over the mountain tops are out of this world.

  • Get up bright and early and hop in a taxi to Kotor old town, setting straight off up the city walls. The fortifications of Kotor are the most famous element of this town and it is easy to see why, originally being built in the 9th century – they are a historic icon which has been very well preserved and is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Climbing the Kotor city walls is a bucket list activity, but it needs to be done early in the day before the heat hits. There are 1350 steps up the mountain which you can climb all the way to St Johns Castle (the Castle of San Giovanni) at the very top. It is a sweaty affair, but you get rewarded with mind blowing views along the way. Take plenty of water and wear comfy shoes. If you’re feeling active you can do a loop and walk down the famous Ladder of Kotor, otherwise you can come back down the walls the way you came. 
  • Once you reach the bottom again you can wander the streets of Kotor old town, grabbing a drink at O Clock Coffee and exploring the many cathedrals, churches and back streets. You will meet numerous furry friends, as Kotor is known for its hundreds of friendly street cats.
  • Grab lunch at Ombra Caffe, which has a whole vegan section on its menu, before hopping in a taxi back to Perast.
  • Spend the afternoon exploring Perast, strolling throug its picturesque streets. Despite being tiny and only having one main road it is home to 16 historic churches so there is a lot to see! A popular activity is climbing the tower of St Nicolas Church.
  • I recommend jumping on a water taxi (they’re super cheap – around 5 euros) and asking them to drive you around Our Lady On The Rock, a famous island in the bay. We chose to not stop on the island as it was so crowded with tourists, and instead appreciate its beauty by simply sailing around it. 
  • Finish off your day by taking a refreshing dip in the bay. You can swim from pretty much any point on the waterfront in Perast, but there is also a proper beach – Pirate Beach – at the end of town which has sun loungers and steps into the water. 
  • Enjoy your final dinner in Montenegro at Conte restaurant which has multiple vegan options on the menu and beautiful sunset views. The perfect setting to end the perfect trip.

Got more time? There is so much more to see on the Montenegro coastline. You could easily spend a few days hoping from tiny town to tiny town, seeing sights such as Sveti Stefan – a small islet off the coast. Boat trips are also popular in this area, especially to the famous Blue Cave.

Day 15: Travel Home!

That’s it! The road trip is done and dusted and hopefully you have made some incredible memories. We chose to cross the border and travel out of Dubrovnik, as there are much more frequent flights than from Montenegro. Safe travels!

Travel Tips:

When to go? I recommend visiting in shoulder seasons such as June or September. I went in the height of the high season, August, and slightly regretted that choice. The crowds were crazy in Croatia and the temperatures soared to almost 35 degrees some days! 

Getting there? We flew into Ljubljana in Slovenia and out of Dubrovnik in Croatia, flights to Montenegro are very infrequent but its always worth seeing if theres one which works with your schedule. 

Where to stay? I included a few of our hotel choices in the itinerary, but in general I recommend choosing smaller local hotels over larger mainstream chains when you can as it helps support local businesses.

What about border crossings? Just keep your passport and car insurance documents in the front of your car and make sure your car rental company give you a green card so you can cross into other countries. I recommend forewarning your rental company that you will be doing this.

Would I do anything different? Yes. Two key things:

  • I definitely felt like I was contributing to over tourism in Croatia during my stay. It gets overwhelmingly busy there during the high season and I had multiple conversations with locals who said they felt like their home was struggling under the strain of tourism. If I did this trip again I would definitely visit in shoulder season when the crowds are less hectic and the destinations are under less pressure.
  • I would spend more time in Montenegro, this country has taken a piece of my heart and I have promised myself I will return soon to explore more. It is a hidden gem, a diamond in the rough, and I want to see what else it has to offer.

All in all, it was the most incredible road trip. I got to spend quality time with my parents, explore a beautiful part of the world and make memories to last a lifetime. It has inspired me to do more trips of this nature throughout Europe and I can’t wait to explore more of what is on my doorstep!

Zanna xx