Rose, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

There’s no point in trying to be humble about it. You’ve already seen the views from our place in Montenegro, and we’ve already pointed out to you in enough photos how glorious these views are. And when you look out from our balcony, you’ll always see a strip of land across the water.

That land is called Luštica. It’s a peninsula that juts out from the mainland, flanked on one side by the bay (across from which, you’ll find us), and on the other side by the Adriatic Sea.

View of Luštica from Herceg Novi, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Even though it’s only about 2 km across the bay to the port village of Rose on Luštica, the Rose water taxi only runs a handful of times per day, and even less in the off-season. One can drive to Luštica, but that requires driving around the bay, jumping on a ferry, driving around Tivat and the salt flats, and then up and into the peninsula. And we don’t have a car.

Fortunately for us, we have adventurous and wonderful landlords, who invited us on a journey to Luštica for a day. It’s actually quite different than the area where we are, which is somewhat surprising given its close proximity.

After making our way around the river and through the woods – with no stops at Grandmother’s house for the holidays – we passed the medieval salt flats that lay between Tivat and Luštica. Back when they were in use and salt was more valuable than gold, the water would come in from the sea and then be blocked off with gates, land, and walls. One year later, the water would have evaporated and the money would flow.

While salt is no longer cultivated here, the marshy wetland has become a haven for birds and other fauna. It is now the protected Solila Special Nature Reserve, home to nesting and winter grounds for thousands of our feathered friends.

Solila Special Nature Reserve, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

I’m not 100% sure of the name, but I believe the name of this first village we stopped at is Bjelila. I immediately requested a stop, because I was overly fascinated by how small and quaint this place is. A few buildings, a café, a little port. And seriously – that’s it. I quite liked the five minutes we spent there.

Bjelila, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

And on we go. Climbing up and up from the sea and into the hills that make up the peninsula, we landed in Krašici. A few hundred meters up from the sea, the views of the bay area were quite gorgeous, not to mention the Life After People buildings that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

Krasici, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

These particular ones are for sale, and we can only hope that some respectful folks will buy them and return them to their former splendor. Unfortunately, they’ll probably end up being torn down and replaced with some gaudy, modern vacation homes that both sadden and anger us every time we see one of these nouveau-style monstrosities pop up in this country. Come on people: At least keep with the traditional style. Ugh.

Anyway, as we’re standing there looking over the glorious bay, someone starts shouting from the house behind us. It just happens to be an old acquaintance of our landlord, calling us up for a visit. And…wait for it…out comes the rakija.

Rakija in Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

The nice couple who owns this house must wake up every day and feel like they’re in some sort of surreal dream. Probably not, but I know that’s how we feel every day we wake up and look out onto the prime piece of fantastic amazement that is this landscape. The view from their balcony…

Krasici, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Onward, there are about eight million churches in the area…

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

When people built these churches, they sure knew how to pick their spots. We stopped at this one, which overlooks the bay on one side, the entrance to the bay on another, the Adriatic on another, and the rolling olive groves of Luštica on another. Seemed like a good place to stop and eat some burek while we ogled at its nearly 360-degree views.

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

After picking up our jaws and rubbing our bellies, we headed down the inclines and finally landed in the village of Rose: That so-close,-yet-so-far village that stares at us from our balcony.

Rose is a charming village that props itself up as a tourist attraction in the summer with its host of vacation apartments. While we’re sure it gets very crowded during high season, it’s nice and quiet in the off-season, with virtually no tourists around and a relaxed, seaside lifestyle.

Rose, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

We’re told that Rose was the entrance port to the bay way back when, and all ships and captains were required to stop and stay in the village for a certain amount of time before they were allowed to head into the bay and on to their destination. We can only imagine how insane this village must have been back then, our imaginations conjuring up all sorts of stereotypes from pirate movies. Arrrrgh, matey.

Rose, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Of course, we ran into more acquaintances of our landlord – because he knows everybody, or at the least, everybody knows him – before we had a coffee and jetted off. Not a bad place to sit and sip an espresso, eh?

Rose, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Being the off-season but still being nice and warm out, our landlord and his wife thought we should check out what are considered two of the most beautiful beaches in the land. This would be Mirišta…

Mirista, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

And this would be Žanjic…

Zanjic, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Each one has its own little cove, with a few restaurants and plenty of patrons to soak up the sun, drink, eat, and party. Boats run from Herceg Novi and other towns every day in the high season, when tourists and locals alike want to get away and relax for the day. It’s pretty easy to see why.

And this would be our first close encounter with the tens of thousands of olive trees that fill the peninsula and make the area well-known for its olive harvest and oil. I couldn’t even begin to count the bounty of olives that hung from each tree on Žanjic.

Olive trees in Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Our hosts have a favorite restaurant here as well, which is unfortunately only open in the summer. Good thing we gorged on burek only an hour or two earlier. We instead stopped at a remote corner store to get a drink. As we sat at a picnic table, our landlord got curious about what was going on behind the shop. Not even a minute later, he was back there talking to the proprietors and calling us over. Making wine! Yes, the value of his curiosity is unparalleled.

Making Wine in Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

This is where we first learned the saying, “young and crazy,” as wine is described when it’s finished being made but has yet to be aged. Here we are, toasting our revitalized youth and insanity with complementary glasses of red wine goodness, courtesy of the wine maker.

Making Wine in Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

As we wrapped up yet another episode of unique and memorable experiences, we hopped in the car and drove through the interior, full of lush olive groves and old stone partitions that separate plots of land.

Olive Groves in Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

The road became windier and narrower, and eventually landed at a dead end. We actually thought we went the wrong way, until our landlord informed us otherwise. A beach that not too many folks know about. In fact, he didn’t even know about it until recently. Seriously. In keeping with our feeling of exclusivity, I’m not going to tell you where it is. Just have a gander, won’t you?

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

That right there is the Adriatic, in all of its pristine blue glory.

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Here, our wonderful hosts are probably thinking a combination of, “Wow, this is beautiful,” and, “We wish we never brought people here so we could keep it for ourselves, forever.” And if that’s the case, I totally understand!

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Oh, here’s another tiny beach just around the corner. Its magnificence is almost unacceptable. Had enough yet?

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Driving around the southern area of Luštica, we ran into some very unpleasing developments that are starting to be built on the southern end of the peninsula. As much as I know tourism is a necessity, these new developments are planning resorts, golf courses, and other nonsense that makes me feel fairly punchy. You know how so much of southern Spain has been accosted by things like this? That’s all I could imagine when I saw the construction sites and luxury-targeted advertising. I didn’t even bother taking a picture and I won’t name any names, since I don’t want to give the developers an ounce of publicity.

Instead, we’ll show you another gem…

Lustica, Montenegro by Jets Like Taxis

Virtually every ounce of this peninsula is a wonder in its own right. Around every corner, every nook, and every cranny, there’s history and beauty to be found.

Whether that’s quaint port villages, world-class beaches, bountiful olive groves, old stone houses, hidden coves, or wonderful locals, the relative isolation of Luštica is a unique experience that appeals to everyone from dignitaries and jet-setters to locals and traditionalists. It is a must-see in a country full of must-sees, and city folk like us could probably spend a great deal of time living in one of its small villages experiencing the simpler, richer things in life. And it won’t be our only journey there – this I can assure you.

For more pictures of Luštica, join us on our Facebook page.

Questions or comments? Have you ever been to Luštica? If so, what’d you think? Let us know your thoughts below!