In Ulcinj we said goodbye to our friend in the gold aviators, after he spent half an hour trying to negotiate a share from the guesthouse he took us to. We would have left, but we were paying 20EU a night between us for a room with a balcony overlooking the water and the Stari Grad (old town). No complaints. In May-September, Ulcinj is apparently packed. By October, we felt like the only visitors. In the Stari Grad we saw more dogs, cats and chickens than we did people. Locals were chatting and selling pomegranates and oranges on their car bonnets, and just a few determined souls braved the water.
Ulcinj has been occupied by the Roman, Bynzantine, Venetian and Ottomon Empires. It was once the pirate capital of the Adriatic, and the home of a water cult obsessed with sinking wells. Fifteen of these wells survive around the old town, and the different beaches are still rumoured to have different healing qualities. But outside of the Stari Grad, the architecture more closely reflects the design sensibilities of the former Yugoslav and neighbouring Albania. Bright colours, big balconies and chintzy fabrics.
GETTING THERE From Tirana, we got the Fergona (mini-bus) to Shkodra – this is 5EU pp and leaves from Sheshi Zogu i Zi when it is full. From Shkodra, a random local offered his services – we paid him 20EU between us for the one hour journey to Ulcinj.
ACCOMMODATION Finding something online is difficult/impossible, but if you’re not there in peak season you shouldn’t need to pre-book. 20EU bought us a basic room with ensuite, balcony and a bar fridge in the ‘Florina Rooms.’ This is just off the Small Beach, behind the Rodamarket and Aragosta Restaurant.
EATING It’s more expensive than Macedonia and Albania – Montenegro uses the Euro, which doesn’t help! The Rodamarket has a great variety though and is good value.