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Balkans Itinerary | 10 Day Introductory Road Trip

So you’ve decided that a road trip in the Balkans is your next adventure. Great choice! But with various different, beautiful, countries making up the area of South East Europe known as the the Balkans, you may not know where to start. Here is a great introductory Balkans itinerary. Our road trip focused primarily on Montenegro because it was stunning – simply!

Day 1: Fly into Podgorica & pick up your hire car from the airport.

To start our Balkans itinerary, we rented through a local Montenegrin company MTL Car Rental. Opposed to the bigger, international car rental companies that charge you a ridiculous deposit. If you opt to pay the additional insurance with MTL about 7 euros a day then you don’t need to pay a deposit.

Drive to Lake Skadar (35mins), Vipazar is the nearest/most popular town to the lake.

Things to do:

Visit Pavlova Strana Viewpoint, a great little spot if you’ve got time to visit and the patience to drive along the never ending small bendy road. It’s quite a drive from Virpazar, about 45/50 minutes.

Overnight: Vipazar Town

Pavlova Strana Viewpoint

Day 2: Morning in Lake Skadar/Afternoon Drive to Kotor

Things to do:

Explore the lake on a boat trip. You can get these from Vipazar town, with various companies to choose from. Maybe look on tripadvisor if you want the best rated one. Boat trips vary from 1 hour to full day tours.

Note: You may have to pay national park fee 3 euros each if you go on a boat trip.

Afternoon drive to Kotor (1.15 hrs plus stops).

Overnight: Kotor

Days 3 & 4 : Explore Kotor and the Bay

Things to do:

Explore the old walled city of Kotor. Wander around the cobbled streets, finding cute cafes or fancy but affordable wine bars. Oh and of course become acquainted with the many cats of Kotor.

A must do is a walk up to the castle of San Giovanni. You can either pay to walk up the official way (steps) or take a slight detour and hike up what is known as the ‘The Ladder of Kotor’. An old military trail built to connect Kotor and Cetinje. You’ll have to climb through a window in the fortress walls to get back onto the official path and up to the top.

Visit Lovcen National Park. A great morning trip up into the mountains. Visit the Petar Petrovich Njegos’ Mausolem and get spectacular 360 degrees views.

An absolute must do is a visit to the tiny car forbidden town of Perast. A short drive along the bay from Kotor you will find yourself in what I can only imagine feels like Lake Como in Italy.

Overnight: Kotor

Ladder of Kotor Walk
‘Ladder of Kotor’ Walk
Like a burglar climbing through the window…
Kotor - Balkan Itinerary
Views of Kotor Bay
Yup, there was snow up in Lovcen National Park. Thanks for the measurements Cas!
Petar Petrovich Njegos’ Mausolem
Beautiful Perast in the Bay of Kotor

Day 5: Drive to Mostar (just over 3hrs, plus extra for traffic and passing through the borders).

Arrive in a very hot Mostar as you enter into the second country of this Balkans itinerary.

Things to do:

Wander through Mostar and take in the Islamic influences. I wasn’t expecting Mostar to be so heavily influenced by Islam (probably due to not knowing enough history of the city before I went). Over half of the Bosnian population is Islamic. As you wander through Mostar you will hear the mesmerising chant of the call to prayer.

More to this effect, a friend gave me a quick history lesson. This was invaluable and stupid of me that I hadn’t taken some time to read about this suffering country. Then go and visit the famous old bridge and you might even see some tourist or local alike jumping off it.

If you are ever chasing waterfalls (like me) then you must visit Kravice Waterfalls. A decent 50 minutes drive south west of the city. Get here early to avoid the crowds and to swim in the refreshingly cold waters.

Overnight – Mostar

Mostar - Balkan Itinerary
Kravice Waterfall Dip

Day 6: Drive to Zabljack (about 4hrs, plus more for traffic and stops).

Head to the mountains and the National Park of Durmitor in Northern Montenegro. Yes, head back to this stunning country to be amazed just a little bit more, by the vast difference of South and North Montenegro. Montenegro played a huge part in our Balkans itinerary.

Things to do:

There are a multitude of things to do in the national park which depends on the season. Normally a skiing resort but turns into a great hiking destination in summer.

Visit the Black Lake ‘Crno jezero’ for a great short little insight into the environment and beauty of the national park. Even in the rain this place looks great!

Overnight – Zabljack

Alpine Walk to the Black Lake
Durmitor - Balkan Itinerary

Day 7: Travel back to Kotor (just under 3hrs)

Things to do:

This is worth a detour, visit the Đurđevića Tara Bridge. About half an hour away from Zabljack. A beautiful constructed arched bridge above the Tara Canyon, the second longest canyon in the world. The bridge combines great engineering with surrounding nature, making it one of Montenegro’s most popular tourist spots.

Overnight – Kotor

Tara Bridge and River

Days 8 – 10: Catch a bus to Dubrovnik (approx 2 hrs)

Catching a bus from Kotor to Dubrovnik was a convenient way of getting to your third country on this Balkans itinerary. We dropped the car off to avoid taking it to another country and to be honest I’d got sick of being pulled over by the police. The bus station in Kotor is central which makes it great for catch an early morning bus to Dubrovnik. Once you get to Dubrovnik, the bus station is quite far from the old city. So just beware if you’re staying inside the walls.

Things to do:

Again Dubrovnik has a variety of things to do but be sure to take some time to stroll through the walled city and get lost in the streets. Try and find one of the bars on the outside of the walls, next to the sea. Dubrovnik in spring/summer is busy!! Beware!

Catch the cable car or walk up to the top of Mount Srd for 360 views of Dubrovnik. The hike is a great alternative to catching the cable car. It’s only about 1.5 miles from the starting point but it’s a tough walk uphill. Research on how to reach the trailhead from the old city.

Overnight – Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik - Balkans Itineary
Cliff Bar in Dubrovnik
Walk up to Mount Srd Dubrovnik