Montenegro is a beautiful region covered with charming mountains offering also access to a beautiful coastline. Emir and Alice were exploring it between 18 and 24 of April, driving 451 km from the capital city of Podgorica. Along the road, they stopped at six locations including the old castles of Bar and Ulcinj. During their journey, the vloggers met local entrepreneurs to talk about how cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkans had created opportunities for them to develop their businesses. These and many other unforgettable experiences were shared daily on the webalkans.eu website and social media channels.
Meet our Vloggers
Emir is an outdoor adventure enthusiast dedicated to promoting the natural beauty of the Balkans through social media, blog posts and guided tours. His goal is to nurture economic opportunities and inspire a change in culture to preserve the wonders of his homeland. Emir’s life is about planning the next expedition and working for younger generations to build a better future.
Alice has always been asking questions about the complexity of the world. This is why she constantly strives to inform herself, something which she believes lets her see beyond prejudices. In 2019 she became a climate activist using her passion for storytelling to bring people closer to seemingly complex issues. She strongly believes that stories can change the world.
Vloggers arrive in Podgorica to join the “Made of us” campaign launch event.
Podgorica, Lovčen, Kotor
Visiting the EU-funded Radević Estate Wines project and the digital creative hub at the Maritime Faculty in Kotor.
A stop at the EU-funded project of Calafat wooden ship workshop.
Meeting with Maja Kljajic, manager of the EU-funded project of her grandfather’s restored house.
A visit to Ulcinj, a well-known pirate stronghold.
Guided tour of the ancient castles, the old olive tree in the Old Town of Bar, EU-funds projects beneficiaries.
Back to Podgorica for the last day of the road trip.
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The welcome reception in Podgorica
Hi, we are Alice and Emir and today we woke up in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. After a hearty breakfast, we decided to go and explore the city. We walked among super colourful and very diverse buildings. Spring has brought out wildflowers around the city, especially near the Morača River. Alice had never visited Montenegro before and was fascinated by the clear colour of the water. The water in Montenegro is in fact very clean and it is possible to drink it.
In the afternoon there was a big launch event at the Europe House in Podgorica where the Made of us campaign was presented. There were also many Young European Ambassadors from Montenegro who told us about their daily commitment to the area.
The day ended with a quiet dinner. We had to realise that it was true, the journey had begun!
Snow, Sun and Sea
We started our day out in a special way by visiting Goran at Radevic Wine Estates. His passion for wine and his great pride in Montenegro was inspiring. With the EU's support, he was able to survive the pandemic and it was great to see first-hand the impact these programs have.
Next, we started to drive to Kotor and stopped at Lovčen National Park. We drove through rain, but we were welcomed in Kotor by sunshine and a spectacular rainbow. The Old Town felt magical and we got lost in its tight alleyways.
After some much-needed rest tonight we are off to Budva!
Traditional wooden boats, the dancing girl statue and a beautiful sunset
We woke up very early at the hostel in Kotor and headed immediately in the direction of Budva where we had breakfast. At that moment we got a call about a little change in the destination. We were supposed to go to Bar so we set off right away. There the owners of Calafat, a wooden ship workshop, an EU-funded project, were waiting for us. They showed us how the boats are built and the machinery they use. There were also some young people there busy with shipbuilding. In fact, this project aims to teach the community, but especially the younger generation, about the traditional wooden boat craft.
Afterwards, we went for a walk in Sveti Stefan and then around Budva's Old Town.
Small streets, traditional historical buildings and a street musician accompanied us to the dancing girl statue, the symbol of loyalty that represents the town. The day ended with a stunning sunset.
Discovering the North of Montenegro
Tired and sleepy, we set off in the direction of Berane. The road was long, we had to cross the whole of Montenegro following winding but super scenic mountain roads.
Around lunchtime, we arrived at Maja and Milan Kljajić’s place. They welcomed us with coffee because as they told us, 'before business, you need a coffee'. Their welcome surprised Alice, because after the coffee came the house gin, blueberry juice and then cheese, honey and many other local products.
They told us that living in the mountains of north Montenegro is a choice. There is a sense of community there, life is slower and there is good food.
In fact, they decided to restore their grandfather's house keeping the traditional objects in order to make this area known to travellers passing through.
Afterwards, Emir guided Alice around his hometown Plav. Together with his cousin, they went for a walk among the snow and spring flowers. And then, they relaxed at Lake Plav waiting for the sunset.
Riding the Ulcinj wave
Although the drive from Plav to Ulcinj is about 3 hours, we took our time. First stop was one of Emir's favourite places, Grebaje Valley. He felt that Alice had to see this place and the look of awe on her face when she did was all Emir wanted to see.
Next, we hit the road again and made a few more stops along the way. Finally, we arrived in Ulcinj and were greeted by Emir's friends Bani and Koko. The two would serve as our guides for the day and we shared many laughs as we explored their city. We visited Ada Bojana (the long beach), the old salt mine in search of flamingos, the old town in search of ice cream and finally a lighthouse for sunset.
Bouncing around Bar
We started off our morning with an icy swim at the hidden crystal beach. The colour of the water was spectacular and we spent some time exploring the surrounding cliffs. Next, we made our way to Bar's old town. Here we checked into our hotel and had lunch. Our goal for the day was to go on a hike to a famous waterfall in the mountains.
After about an hour of hiking, we came to the swimming hole and waterfall. Alice was braver and took a swim in the freezing cold water. Emir was happy to stay warm and take photos of her swim.
As we headed back down the mountain we started to realize that our trip was nearing its end. With a bit of sadness mixed with appreciation for the great experience we had, we headed down to the old fort to watch the sunset. There we shared some laughs and let the day come to an end. Bar was like the cherry on top of an amazing week. We slowed down a bit and enjoyed all that we could.
Not a goodbye, but a see you later
We woke up in the morning in Bar and packed our bags quietly reflecting on the trip of a lifetime we’d just had. Emotions were mixed as we were sad that it was over, but happy that we'd had the experience. We started out as strangers, but through this experience, we became great friends. Though we live separated by the Adriatic Sea, we are both travellers and our paths will cross again.
Alice invited Emir to her family home in Tuscany and Emir's home in Montenegro is always open for Alice to visit. A week with someone can seem like an eternity, but with Alice, it felt like two seconds.
Many moments filled with laughs and sharing stories made this trip one to remember. We will never forget when we were bouncing around Montenegro soaking up the culture, taking in the sights and hopefully inspiring some change.