Lizzie Churchill | Fashion & Wedding phototgrapher

Travel Diary: Montenegro

Smallest of the Balkans, Montenegro sits on the east of the adriatic sea neighbouring Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Albania boasting a mediteranian climate on the coast and alpine conditions in the mountains - which, by the way look spectacular! With mountainous ranges and rivers flowing through to the coast there’s vast geological scope and plenty to visit between the coast, country and small idyllic old towns. Not surprisingly, Montenegro is full of Italian charm as at various times, it’s been part of the Venetian republic, the napoleonic empire and both the ottomans and Austro-Hungarians held these lands. Budva’s Old Town was ruled by the Venetians for nearly 400 years and also built the walls which lend it the feel of a mini Dubrovnik. However, the jewel in Montenegro’s crown and a town I was super excited to visit is Kotor; a stunning walled old town with history stretching back to the Roman times. Our home for the week was a 10 minute drive from the airport in the village of Djurasivici; a tranquil spot up in the hills that looks over the rooftops and up into the mountains, between the bay and the ocean. 

Once familiarised with our surroundings we headed straight to our little launch harbour to complete our advanced SUP session where your ability or experience makes no difference because we’re there to practice and refine our skills together at a  group pace. Throughout the week Sean and WeSUP’s professional instructors were there to help guide, educate and hone our skills through interval training, fitness and a super fun footwork clinic. This will be my third year paddling now and taking part in these activities always helps improve my confidence on the water. One member of the group had never paddled before and to see his confidence throughout the week tackling 15k paddles proves how you really can be any level to participate.

So, what can you expect from a week paddle-boarding with WeSUP? Well, with all abilities considered and previous experience completely un-necessary, our itinerary included a spectacular 15k paddle from our launch site (just 5 minutes from the house!), along the bay, across to the chapel island that houses ‘Monte’ ‘n ‘Egro’ - the resident dogs (I named them), where you can take in 360 degree views of the water before hugging the coast all the way around Tivat to finish up in Porto Montenegro. A shorter river tour to the infamous horse shoe bend on Rijeka Crnojevica where the lily pads take over the water in places as you wind your way around. Another 15k paddle along the whole stretch of the bay passed submarine bunkers, old naval bases, war ships and fields of jellies before finishing in the most adorable town with Croatia just ahead of us! We paddled on our last day from the beaches passed Budva back in to the town around the Island and we also spent a (slightly hungover) day cycling over and around the hills down the BEST road that curved and fell with the land to a quite little fishing village before cycling back up. A day didn’t go by were we weren’t exploring, paddling, or sharing stories and holding group chats where ever we went and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they all gave to that trip.

As well as paddling and cycling we visited Kotor, went for dinner together in Porto Montenegro, alfresco dinned on the beach front of Budva, petted plenty of dogs, stopped to coo over cats, found a litter of puppies, reminisced and planned over dinner, danced to street musicians, stroked more cats, took part in morning rooftop yoga and generally thoroughly enjoyed the constant company of one another. We ate hearty meals each day by our top Chef to keep us fuelled correctly, our guts happy and our energy up with healthy breakfasts, picnic lunches and wholesome evening meals so that during the whole retreat we really were looked after from top to bottom. Expect to take away a full heart, a happy soul, friends for life, a positive mindset and a whole host of unforgettable memories. <3

So HOW can you get yourselves on this incredible trip..?! Head straight to WeSUP Montenegro’s specific site where you can find our trip video, extra information place a deposit and start packing your bags!

I hope you all found this helpful and has inspired you to book a trip as I promise you won’t regret it. It honestly stands as one of my all time favourite holidays, so thank you to everyone who made it the week it was.

Lizzie

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