Chica Sonia Ochia – Our guest nomad describes herself as “that girl who loves to giggle at almost everything, don’t understand why most of the time, but I do.” She is an avid traveler and 2015, she hit her 30 by 30 travel goal (see thirty countries before turning 30 years old) . Apart from traveling, she is a DIY queen and loves cooking, sewing, making accessories and she blogs at www.hellosonia.com. Twitter/Instagram: @hellosoniablog, Snapchat: son1ao
Since January 2013 I had lived in Serbia for my masters and during my stay there, I traveled a bit… actually, ALOT! Throughout 2014 I was in a different place every month. Anyhoo, Serbia was Serbia and Montenegro till they split and with all my time living in Serbia I didn’t think it right to leave without visiting Montenegro. Internationally, Montenegro borders Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania. So sometime in August 2015, I decided to go to Montenegro with two of my bosom buddies, one from Namibia and the other Jamaican. We took a bus from Belgrade, Serbia at about 9.00pm and got into Montenegro about 7:30am with a few stops along the way. The bus tickets cost about RSD 4,800 (Serbian dinars) which is about N9,600 for a return ticket.
For accommodation, we booked a studio flat via AirBnB and the room cost us $68 (N21,624) for two nights including the Airbnb service charge which was split three ways. Pretty affordable yeah? The flat was pretty decent and had everything you could need. Our host picked us up from the bus station and right after we had breakfast at a café nearby. The breakfast, which was a massive chicken sandwich and a cup of fruit tea, cost us about €1.30 (N500) each. A weekend stay in Budva is adequate as everywhere in the city is walking distance. Where we stayed was a 5-10 minutes walk to the city center and bus station. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out that Dubrovnik, Croatia (one of the Game of Thrones locations) was only 3 hours away from Budva, Montenegro. So we bought tickets for a day trip from Budva to Dubrovnik which cost about €23 (N8,234) for a return ticket.
As we had only two nights to spend at Budva, we kicked the first day off by walking around the coast. We were probably the only black girls in Budva during that period as we didn’t see any other black people. We visited the old town, ate some street food and rested at the Ploce beach (rated one of the best beaches in Montenegro) .It’s a pretty clean rocky beach and it’s ideal for the younger crowd. Though hounded by drunk white guys, we still had a very good time.
Day two was our Game of Thrones Day! We couldn’t contain our excitement as we approached Dubrovnik (all GOT fans can definitely relate to this). There were so many tourists there, for obvious reasons, and the city is generally expensive. Food, tours were a bit on the high side and we opted to use a map to get around the city. We visited “the throne”, the famous steps where the walk of shame was done and finally we went looking for beaches. Most of the beaches here are rocky or pebble beaches with a ladder taking you into the sea and we didn’t see any sandy ones. While my friends went on a glass bottom boat ride (one of those rides where you can see underwater), I looked around on the map to figure out what else we could do before heading back to Budva. I found a nude beach close to Lokrum Island which we were all excited about trying and we headed there on a water taxi. We had lunch on the island and walked for over an hour before we finally found the nude beach. As expected, we saw loads of saggy old men there! What a sight! We spend time at the nude beach (and yes we were nude) letting go of our worries and just having FUN! Everyone should definitely try a nude beach and its a perfect way to escape life and let it all hang out, literally :). Right after letting go, we headed to the bus station and realized our bus was delayed. We got to Budva very tired and exhausted.
Still tired and exhausted from the previous day, we decided to spend the last day lounging at the beach. We chose Jaz beach as our beach of choice and headed there around midday. Unlike Polce beach, Jaz beach is sandy and is usually very crowded as it is a spot for musical events. Jaz Beach was one of the locations for the The 2007 Rolling Stones “A bigger Bang” Euro Tour. The beach was formerly a nudist beach, there is still a nude section till date, and is also known for sunbathing and camping. Jaz beach also has a bunch of water sports which only one of us participated in. We were really there to relax before heading back to Belgrade. On our way back to town, I decided to go fly boarding at a place I had spotted earlier. Oh boy, I really sucked at it and I totally blame their equipment ( I don’t think their equipment was good). Good enough, I paid a fraction of what others offered and had fun. Unfortunately, there was no one to take professional photos of it, lol. My advice, pay more and get it done at Jaz beach so you can have your photos taken for memories sake. After that we walked around looked for food. I went home to chill and shower while my friends hung out at some restaurant called Vilvadi and had a few drinks. Later that night, we said our goodbyes to the beautiful city of Budva, checked out and walked to the bus station, and we were off on a night trip back to Belgrade, Serbia. It was a short trip but definitely well worth it!
Things to note for Nigerians planning a trip to Montenegro:
- Montenegro is definitely not a place you’ll want to spend your entire holiday. It’s a perfect addition to a South-Eastern Euro tour and good for a couple of days (2-3) stay.
- A trip to Montenegro should be combined with a trip to Croatia, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia
- Montenegro has its own visa, but they allow entry for tourists with multiple Schengen visas.
- The quickest and cheapest way of getting to Montenegro from Lagos is via Turkish Airways (Turkish airline is most ideal for anyone embarking on a tour of South-Eastern Europe)
- Montenegro, Budva precisely, is an affordable city and €5- €10 (N1,790 – N3,580) will get you a good meal + drink.
- Fly boarding costs €20 (N7,160) and you will spend between €40- €50 (N14,320- N17,900) if you get it done with professional photos (which i strongly recommend).