What NOT to do when you visit Montenegro!
So, there we were, crashed on the couch at home in our village near Laktaši in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Thoughts were concentrated on what to do for the warmer months of the Balkan seasons.
For the previous 4 years or so we had spent two, ten day breaks, in Prčanj, in Montenegro, just out side the picturesque town of Kotor.
It’s always been a bucket list item for me, to just go somewhere for a month, each year and just CHILL, so why not Prčanj?
Cool. Decision made.
In previous years we made the 9 hour journey by road, via Mostar and Trebinje to the shores of the Bay of Kotor, without a hitch.
Crossing the border was easy. Tam has a BiH passport, so she’s like one of the family, being a former Jugoslav. Right?
Me? Well I am a Brit and Montenegrins seem to like Brits (they are after all selling everything they can to them).
Last year when we exited the country the border officer asked us where we had been and why hadn’t registered.
Tam’s good with answering awkward Balkan official questions and we were allowed to pass without hindrance, although the border officer said we needed to register from now on.
Spin forward to 2 weeks ago.
We cross the border. The border officer says we need to register within 24 hours at a tourist registration office or a police station on Monday (its Saturday when he tells us this).
We arrive in Prčanj, exhausted.
We spend Sunday recovering and happily re-aquainting ourselves with the area.
Monday we hit the tourist office in Kotor. “You’re too late to register” we are told. There are other complications too as we are not strictly tourists but visiting a family members house.
Umm. OK Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll square it all away with the police. Simple.
Simple it seems is not in the Montenegrin language.
After visiting the Inspector at the police station and getting seriously told off, we are informed that a fine of 60 Euros is in order.
Come back on Friday to get that sorted.
Friday’s visit is postponed to Monday (at 0730 on each day may I add).
Monday its sorted but not before we spend 2.5 hours completing the formalities. The only highlight to all this is we got a reduction to 40 Euros for paying on the spot.
The law is the law. We were wrong, but really had no clue that the registration law had changed.
If you are travelling to Montenegro outside a travel package or not staying at a registered tourist venue (hotel/BB) then take our advice and get yourself to the local tourist registration office or Police station within 24 hours (you need a registration card which is available from most kiosks)
Get registered and enjoy the magnificence that this country offers.
The pain of former Jugoslav bureaucracy is best avoided!