Luda Travel: ULCINJ, THE LAIDBACK BEACH TOWN YOU NEED TO ADD TO YOUR ITINERARY
I'm the "Luda" from Adventures with Luda
When I was a little kid, I would always get in trouble with my parents. It happened so often that they used the phrase приключения на жопу, which is a nice way of saying "adventures that will kick your butt." Everyone thought I was a little troublemaker, and this blog came along some 15 years after that moment.
My blog is mostly about travel, but you might run into some beauty and style posts occasionally. I love to take (good) photos, eat (delicious) food, and go on (fun) adventures. Follow along and go on adventures with me!
Beautiful, laidback, unique Ulcinj.
Off the beaten path and hidden beneath the sands of south Montenegro, Ulcinj is famous for having the longest beach in Montenegro (more than 14 kilometers!) as well as being crowned New York Times' Best Destination back in 2010. In short, Ulcinj is an absolute paradise that you have to visit at least once in your life.
Whether you're already planning a trip to this marvelous city and need more information or are just dreaming for now, my Ulcinj travel guide has you covered!
Ulcinj is perfect for …
A relaxing seaside escape Non-touristy Montenegro Where Montenegrin and Albanian cultures meet Laid back atmosphere
Known as the southernmost city in Montenegro, Ulcinj has a special laid back atmosphere that few other cities can emulate.
Thanks to its close proximity to Albania, Ulcinj is unique because it's the only city in Montenegro that has an Albanian majority. In fact, more than 70% of locals are ethnically Albanian, and as such, Ulcinj is rich with Albanian culture — without needing to cross the border! In fact, you can see Albania's influence everywhere, from the signs written in both languages, dozens of mosques around the area, and locals who are happy to chat in either language.
Ulcinj's other claim to fame is, of course, its beaches! In fact, I had to create a special section under 'What to Do' just to talk about all of Ulcinj's beaches. With cute Bora Bora-inspired thatched umbrellas, warm sand, and smooth waves, Ulcinj definitely cinches the spot of having some of the best beaches in Montenegro — in a country that has exactly 117 beaches, is a true feat in itself!How many days do I need in Ulcinj?
Two days is plenty of time to get a taste of Ulcinj. Take the first day to explore the town, perhaps even make a day trip to the olive groves or Ada Bojana, and use the second day to go beach hopping.
However, to be honest, Ulcinj's pleasant ambiance will make you never want to leave… but that's a choice only you can make.
HOW TO GET TO ULCINJ
BY BUS: Ulcinj can be reached from most major cities like Kotor, Budva, Podgorica, Cetinje, and so on. Bus tickets cost less than 10 EUR per person — for example, a ticket from Kotor to Ulcinj costs between 7 to 8 EUR per person.
Please note that the Ulcinj bus station is a bit far away from the main tourist area, as it's about 2.5 kilometers away (around 30 mins. walking). You can grab a taxi from the Ulcinj bus station, but be careful when negotiating the price — there are scammers loitering around the bus station who prey on unsuspecting tourists. A taxi should cost anywhere from 1 to 3 EUR, but we ended up paying 5 EUR because we had no idea. :(
If possible, I recommend asking your hotel or accommodation to book your taxi ahead of time to avoid being scammed.
BY CAR: Ulcinj is right off the E851 freeway, which starts at the Croatian border and runs down the entire coast to the Albanian border. It's a lovely ride with gorgeous views, although some areas of the road are a bit winding and small. If you have time, you can exit off the freeway and visit the olive groves and Valdanos beach, which are a few kilometers before Ulcinj.
TRANSPORTATION & GETTING AROUND ULCINJ
Ulcinj is fairly compact and you can easily get around by walking, especially if you stay near the Old Town (or at least the lower part of the city).
However, like many other seaside cities in Montenegro (such as Kotor or Herceg-Novi), it can get pretty hilly in certain areas! I recommend bringing adequate shoes if you want to fully explore Ulcinj, including areas that have thick cobblestone streets, walking up the stairs around the Old Town, and so on. If you're planning to go to the beach after touring the city, I recommend wearing durable water shoes (like this pair) so that you don't have to go back home and change. :)
WHAT TO DO IN ULCINJExplore the Old Town
It might not be as famous as the Old Town in Kotor or Budva, but Ulcinj's Old Town has a unique historical charm that you can't get anywhere else! Thick cobbled streets, hidden nooks and crannies, and epic sea views await as you make your way up to the Old Town via the stairs that feel as if they were carved into the cliff. Although there's not much to see in terms of typical tourist attractions (it's mostly a residential area), give yourself an hour to get acquainted and wander around — and if you're up for a challenge, try to find the olive tree in my photo above!
Visit Ulcinj's Olive GrovesWe can't mention Valdanos without talking about its olive groves! Valdanos has one of the biggest olive groves in Montenegro (there's around 18,000 olive trees packed into 0.4 sq. kilometers) and many trees are hundreds of years old! In fact, there's an olive tree that's rumored to be more than 1,300 years old that can be found at the Buzuku Montenegro Olive Oil (call in advance for a tour of the farm).
Relax at the Beach(es)
After hiking up to St. John's Fortress in Kotor, partying in Budva, and traversing the old ruins in Bar, isn't it time to enjoy a nice break? I'm glad you chose Ulcinj as your next destination, because it has some of the best beaches in Montenegro — including the longest beach in the country, Velika Plaža!
Velika Plaža — Spanning more than 14 kilometers from Ulcinj to Ada Bojana, Velika Plaža is lined with warm sandy shores and framed with the country's picturesque mountains as its backdrop.
If you can't make it to Long Beach, no worries! Here are some of the best beaches in Ulcinj:
Mala Plaža – Located right in the center of Ulcinj between the Old Town and the marina, 'Little Beach' is such a cute and picturesque place to chill out and enjoy Ulcinj! My absolute favorite beach in Montenegro, Mala Plaža has these sweet thatched umbrellas (a la Maldives or Bora Bora style) and calm to normal water swells. When we spent our second day at this beach, we saw everyone from families with small children to couples, and even a group of sweet older grandmas chilling out. Mala Plaža has everything you need for a beach day — there are umbrella and lounger rentals, lifeguards on duty, showers, and restaurants and cafes nearby (with plastic chairs) .
Mala plaža photo: Bookiraj,com
Ladies Beach – As the name says, this is one of the few ladies only beaches in Montenegro! The entire area is hidden in an alcove (along with thick trees and a security guard at the entrance for good measure) so that it's completely covered from peeping toms. There's a small stand where you can buy drinks and snacks as well.
Valdanos – Just a 15 minute drive from Ulcinj, Valdanos is an inlet famous for its beach and olive groves. If Mala Plaža and Velika Plaža are full, escape to this lesser-known beach and enjoy the crystal clear waters. On the way down to the beach, you might encounter local farmers selling olive-themed goods — perfect if you want to buy a local souvenir. :)
Valdanos phot: Vijesti.me
Located just 15 kilometers south of Ulcinj, the river island of Ada Bojana makes for a relaxing day trip (or an entire week-long retreat!)
The legend of Ada Bojana started when some captain supposedly wrecked his ship, and that the island was created on top of the sunken ship. The more "scientific" theory states that the unique geography of Ada Bojana was created as a runoff from a river that connects to Lake Skadar, but I'll let you choose which story you prefer. ;)
Ada Bojana is a destination in itself with plenty of activities to do, including kitesurfing/windsurfing, camping, paragliding, horseback riding, or simply chilling at the beach. There's even a nudist resort called FKK Ada Bojana for the adventurous.
Read all impresions from Ulcinj on website Ludas Travel
Ada Bojana: photo Vijesti
Take a look at just some of the numerous beach bars on Velika plaza, as well as a fantastic drone video of Ulcinj by Gezim Mavric and its surroundings.
In anticipation of the sunset at the Ulcinj Saltworks on September 2 and 3, the "Bird Salt People" festival - Blog
National Geographic Traveler: Montenegro deservedly one of the most beautiful holiday destinations - Blog
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