Niksic, Montenegro

(If you haven’t already read my ‘Things You Should do in Kotor Montenegro” you can by clicking here!!)

Niksic is the second largest city in Montenegro, and another place I had never heard about until maybe two days before I arrived. Contrary to Kotor, there isn’t really much to see or do in Niksic which is probably why no one knows about it. Usually people just pass through for a night or so on their way to either the capital, Podgorica, or to go rafting in the canyon. Even the closest tourist sight, Ostrog Monestary, is kilometers away by train.

So why did we even go to Niksic? Sometimes we travel to see amazing things: the Colosseum in Rome, the golden sands of the Sahara Desert, ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico , or centuries-old Buddhist temples in Thailand. And sometimes we travel to live life just as everyone else does, enjoying the simple things. For me, this is the most important aspect of long-term travel because if every day was camel riding in the Sahara, ‘d never appreciate those moments with the same grandeur. 

Niksic was the epitome of simple life, but no less special than other places I’ve traveled. The town center is small but lively, lined with bars and cafes, and filled with the sounds of laughter and singing. The meat filled ‘burek’ pastries are exceptional, and the soft-serve ice cream that Kathryn bought for me from a vendor was so sweet and cold it must have tasted like clouds.

Last but not least, we became friends with our Airbnb host Darko, who showed us the best of Niksic: kindness, natural beauty, and delicious coffee at the Blues Brothers bar his brother runs. The photos below are from our last day, when Darko and his brother drove our family to the nearby lakes, where they often swim and grill in the summer months.

Niksic Montenegro, nature, friends

 

Niksic montenegro, friends and nature

With his niece at the lake

Now we will continue our Eastern European travels into Belgrade, Serbia and Bulgaria. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

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These 5 Historical Activities Are Why You Need to Visit Kotor, Montenegro

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Flash back a few months ago and we were in Kotor, Montenegro, a stunning Eastern-European city only a few hours by bus from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The title of this blog post is an another article I wrote for wanderingeducators.com on the 5 best history related things to do in Kotor. From an intense fortress hike, to a legendary church in the middle of the bay, Kotor is a must-visit for history lovers and adventure seekers. You can click here to read the full article :).

I loved Kotor both because it is gorgeous, and because pushing through crowds of summer-time Dubrovnik tourists got old very quick. It was so much quieter here. Kotor’s old town may be small, but the stone walls of its streets, and the bright orange tile roofs that cover every house carry all the romance and ambiance you could ask for. Even more amazing were the blue Adriatic waters, the mountains, the interesting history, and the dangerously delicious meat-filled pastries in every bakery to fall in love with.


These 5 Historical Activities are why you need to visit Kotor, Montenegro

1)Hike the Ancient Castle Fortress

When you arrive in Kotor, the first thing you’ll see are the massive stone walls of St. John’s fortress, which, while they ascend the mountain, seem to touch the clouds. The walls carry all the aesthetic of a centuries-old fortress, with crumbling rocks laced with green, overgrown nooks to explore, a historical church, and even the occasional goat. The hike itself starts from the very back of Old Town Kotor, and takes a good 30 minutes to an hour to reach the top. It’s a very steep and somewhat challenging climb for sure, but definitely worth it. The reward for trekking is a dazzling view of the city of Kotor and its immense blue mountains rising out of the bay that form the only fjord in the region.

The history of the fortress goes way back, as the mountain has been fortified since Illyrian times. Later, it was expanded under Venetian and Albanian rule. During the 16th and 17th century, the Ottomans successfully laid siege to the fortress and occupied the area twice. Finally, the fortress was a part of both world wars. It was controlled by the Austrians in WWI and the Axis powers in WWII, until it was liberated in 1944.

The View from the top of the Bay of Kotor fortress, things to do in Kotor, Eastern-Europe travel

View of the Bay of Kotor and Fjord from the top of the fortress.

Want to read the rest? Click here. Thanks for reading and happy travels! -Izzy