When your resort in Croatia is only 20-minutes from the border of Montenegro, why wouldn’t you take a day trip to see another part of the world?
During our hotel welcome meeting we were told about three excursions to Montenegro, and the one that stood out was the Bay of Kotor Cruise.
An exclusive TUI collection trip recommended for adults and costing just £60.87 per person, this trip is the most value for money experience if you want to see the Bay of Kotor in the best way possible.
Bay of Kotor Cruise Itinerary
9am-10am: Hotel coach pick up is at 9am – followed by a short 20-minute drive to the border, a short wait for passport control and then a 10-minute drive to the next stop.
10am-10.30am: You’ll get a 30-minute stop at a small shopping mall on the other side of the border for coffee/snacks. An ATM is available for Euros or you can pay by card.
10:30am-11:00am: Enjoy a scenic drive along the coast of Montenegro and then hop out for a short walk to the first small boat.
11:00am-11:45am: Next you’ll board a small boat to ride to the big boat, where you’ll have the chance to go for a quick swim before departure. Note that you’ll be joining two other excursion groups on this boat, but there’s tons of space.
12:00pm-13:00pm:After a quick 15-minute swim, enjoy a leisurely boat ride with an included 3-course lunch and wine as you sail back towards the mainland, passing the area where you boarded the first boat and then heading into the bay.
13:00pm-13:45pm: Here you’ll exit the boat to explore Our Lady of the Rocks, with a tour of the church and museum.
13:45pm-14:30pm: After you’ve explored the island, you’ll board the big boat once more and sail slowly into the Bay of Kotor.
14:30pm-16:00pm: It’s time to be let loose in Kotor! Explore Kotor Old Town at your leisure for 90-minutes.
16:00pm-18:30pm: To end the trip, board the coach at your meeting point for the journey back to your hotel, which of course again includes a border crossing.
*Please note these times vary depending on border crossing delays and location departure delays.
Our Lady of the Rocks
The first main stop of the day was to Gospa od Skrpjela, otherwise known as ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’. This is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast, the second of which isn’t far away and is taken up mostly by old buildings and greenery.
Our Lady of the Rocks has so much history behind it. Legend has it that fishermen found a picture of Virgin Mary on a rock that protruded from the sea and decided to give it to St. Nicolas church in Perast. The picture then kept returning to the rock, which was seen as a miracle and prompted the build of an artificial island. Then in the 17th century a catholic church was built containing the picture.
There is also a museum displaying a huge array of art, and the bouquets of the brides who have married there which they leave behind as a symbol of gratitude. It’s a beautiful place to explore and the surroundings are incredibly tranquil.
Kotor Old Town
The second and final main stop is Kotor. When you arrive, you exit the boat in the harbour just outside the Old Town’s walls. This area alone is worth a quick look around as the water is so beautiful. Moving into the Old Town, it’s full of old buildings, terracotta roofs and view across the bay.
We only had 90-minutes to explore, so if I have one criticism of the trip it’s that I wish we’d had more time to be able to climb the Kotor Walls. There was a small cost for this, but the views would have been outstanding, so if you visit Kotor for the day then make sure you don’t skip this experience.
If you go for this particular TUI trip, you’ll have no trouble enjoying your 90-minutes just getting lost in the streets, exploring Kotor’s quirky features and staring up at the stunning architecture. We didn’t eat there as we’d enjoyed a huge lunch on the boat, but there were plenty of cafes and restaurants inside the Old Town walls if you fancy a bite.
Oh, and if you like cats you’re in for a treat, because there are hundreds dotted around a few specific locations. There’s even a souvenir shop called Cats of Kotor. But if you hate them don’t worry, you can avoid them! I felt sorry for the poor things but they seemed happy enough, and it was nice to see food and water left out for them.
We did find an injured one however which left me in hysterics just before we boarded the coach to go back to Croatia. We tried to ask for help but nobody could understand, so we put it somewhere safe, fed it water and a biscuit and hoped for the best instead. I wanted to take them all and run!
Tips & Advice
Take snacks and water. You can buy whatever you want at the shopping mall, but it’s easier to bring your own from your hotel if you can.
Take a book for the coach journey as you could be stopped at the border crossing for a while.
Wear layers. It might be crazy hot out, but it gets breezy on the boats!
Take suncream. You’ll be moving about all day but a lot of the time you’ll be exposed to the sun.
If you get sea sick, take tablets. Most of the day involves boats although we didn’t find the bay to be too choppy and the second boat is much bigger than the first.
If you plan to buy anything, take euros. You can always get some out via the ATM at the first stop.
What did I think of the TUI Bay of Kotor excursion?
Overall this trip was a great way to see more of the world in as little as 10 hours. It was quite slow paced and could have done with more time spent in Kotor (maybe this trip wasn’t really for our age group?), but we enjoyed the itinerary and the constant breath-taking scenery can’t be complained about! Plus, despite not having the best weather, it definitely didn’t ruin the day. Thanks to TUI for recommending this trip!