Going to Montenegro, many travelers do not realize that a unique chance to visit two countries at once have been given to them. Ferry communication is established between Montenegro and Italy, so you can take an unforgettable tour for an additional fee.
This article will cover the schedule, the route, and the benefits of such tours. It will also deal with the visa regime and the necessary formalities, sketch out a list of attractions, and diversify the rest with excellent shopping.
The content of the article
Ferry tour – organization details
Travel companies offer one-day, two-day and even three-day trips to Italy.
Such trips are wildly popular since the specialized tour to the Apennine Peninsula is much more expensive. There are two key routes:
- Bar-Bari, and
- Bar – Ancona.
As you can see, Bar is the starting point. Therefore, planning a trip to Italy, this resort town is the best to stop in.
With the onset of June, ferries depart from here daily.You can either book such a tour in advance, or buy tickets from a local tour operators – this option will significantly save your money.
Paying for the tour, you need to provide passport data to organizers 4 days before the departure (at the latest). On the ferry, each passenger receives a document to be subsequently presented to the Italian customs.
The standard program will be as follows:
- In the evening, you depart from Bar by ferry.
- In the morning, you arrive to Bari.
- You spend the whole day on walks in the city and shopping.
- In the evening, you go to the Montenegrin coast.
Programs may vary depending on the tour operator offering the trip. See details below.
Tour route and schedule
The average ferry crossing takes 10 hours. Ferries run to Bari all year round, but it is more difficult to get to Ascona since the route is limited to the summer period. Therefore, in our review, we will focus on Bari.
This town cannot be compared with Venice, but there are enough sights there. You can enjoy excellent shopping in Bari, but we will tell about it later.
The approximate tour program is as follows:
- Day 1. Departure from Bar at 23.00.
- Day 2 (start). Breakfast on the ferry board at 07.00. After about an hour and a half (08.30) – arrival to Bari. Procurement of a “police visa” and meeting with the Russian-speaking guide.
- Day 3 (continued). Now you’ll enjoy the basic program – a tour bus (1.5 hours), acquaintance with culture, architecture and history of Bari, bus stop near the Castello Normanno Svevo castle.
Further, you’ll explore the Old Town, its cathedral, theaters, and other memorable places. Then you’ll go out onto the main square and the old Mussolini seafront. The walking tour ends at the Pontifical Basilica di San Nicola. This building is over a thousand years old.
- Day 2 (lunch and thereafter). After exploring the local architecture, you will have some free time to spend on shopping. After lunch (13.30) – boarding the bus and transfer to Alberobello with an intermediate stop at an old rural estate (where wine tasting awaits you). 17.00 – return to Bari. You still have plenty of time for independent walks and visiting luxury boutiques.
- Day 2-3 (return). At 20.30 you take the bus and drive to the port. Departure is at 22.00. The journey ends at 08.00 on the third day.
Important: the ferries run regularly, so no one is waiting for passengers who are late. This is not a cruise liner, but an ordinary ferry, so you should not expect the transcendental luxury. Do not be late.
There are 14 ways of accommodation on board – from “airplane” seats to luxury first-class cabins. It is worthwhile to find out in advance whether the cabin is equipped with a shower and toilet since some rooms offer a wash stand only.
There are several companies involved in the excursion program organization. These are:
- Montenegro Lines;
- Mercur Adriatica & Co; and
Sights to see
Both cities (Bar and Bari) have enough interesting places and entertainments. Before sailing to Italy, you can enjoy the tour to Stari Bar, lie on a magnificent pebble beach, and go shopping in the Topolitsa market – the largest coastal market in Montenegro.
- Medieval streets. Stari Bar is over a thousand years old, so the walk will be informative. You will see curved streets, weird squares, and well-preserved city gates.
- St. George’s Cathedral. Magnificent ruins remained from the gigantic cathedral, which certainly need to be seen.
- The City Wall. It is worth climbing here to open an excellent panorama of Novi Bar, the sea, the port.
- King Nikola’s Palace. This palace complex is a kind of “business card” of Bar. In addition to the small, large and winter palaces, there is also a botanical garden.
- Novi Bar. In the modern part of the city, you can walk along the embankment, look at the church of St. Nikola, and admire the monument dedicated to the liberators of Bar.
- Olive groves. Bar is surrounded by fragrant olive groves, where the oldest European tree that is over 2,000 years old grows.
The harbor of Barium (the current Bari) existed even two centuries before the Nativity of Christ, so there is a pile of antique buildings in the old part of the city.
Experienced tourists advice being wary of pickpockets operating in narrow Bari lanes.
It’s simply unrealistic to visit everything because Bari offers hundreds of temptations – the basilicas, the palazzo, 29 churches and the Norman castle.
Various excursion programs may include visits to such nearby towns as:
- Alberobello (the birthplace of the Trulli – the famous cone-shaped houses);
- Barletta (located 13 km from Bari, famous for the most beautiful castle – its visit will cost you 4-6 Euros);
- Matero (the stone town listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site);
- Fasano (Italians themselves call this place the “White City”).
The surroundings of Bari are literally crammed with historical ruins and medieval castles. The field trips prices range from 50 Euros.
Shopping does not interfere with rest
The first thing you need to do in Bari is to drop in the local market (Piazza del Ferrarese) to buy butter, cheese, and delicious Italian wine.
You can have a bite at the Enzo e Ciro pizzeria which is considered to be the best in the city.
By the way, do not deprive yourself of the pleasure to stroll through the Bar shops, you can also bring interesting gifts from Montenegro.
In the south of Italy, Bari is considered to be the most important economic center, so there are plenty of opportunities for shopping here.
The main sales outlets of the city are as follows:
- Via Sparano da Bari. Fashionable boutiques occupy the whole street. Here you can enter the Zara store that occupies an impressive two-story building.
- H&M. It is a four-storey brand boutique located on Via Niccolo Piccinni.
- Сentrо commercialе. It is the multi-brand shopping center behind the city limits. The choice of accessories, clothes and shoes is just incredible, and discounts reach up to 70%. The Italians themselves “shop” there – this is a kind of quality mark.
Do not forget about the tax refund.
You can perform an act of justice in one of the local department stores (Mediamarket Spa).
How much does the pleasure costs?
The cost is influenced by the class of the cabin, the age of the traveler (children receive discounts), and a list of additional items of the program. The average price varies from 190 to 410 Euros.
The full list of the services you receive for your money is as follows:
- onboard accommodation (cabin);
- port charges;
- Russian speaking guide;
- sightseeing tours (Bari, Alberobello);
- bus crossings;
- tasting (wines, olive oil, and Italian delicacies).
- bicycles (free);
When transporting a car, be ready to pay an additional service charge (5 Euros per person, 7 Euros per car).
Most likely, you will go on a cruise on the Sveti Stefan ferry. The cost of tickets there depends on the availability of a window (internal or external cabin).
The rates for external cabins are as follows:
- Apartment (1 bed) – 332 Euros, 2 beds – 268 Euros;
- Single cabin with toilet and shower – 210 Euros;
- Double cabin (with toilet, shower) – 175 Euros;
- Triple cabin (toilet, shower, extra bed) – 145 Euros.
If you want to save money by sacrificing the sea view – choose an inner cabin without a porthole. The price difference is quite tangible:
- Double cabin (with toilet, shower) – 148 Euros;
- Triple cabin (with the same facilities and an extra bed) – 135 Euros;
- Double cabin (without toilet and shower, but with a sink) – 130 Euros;
- Triple cabin without facilities (with a sink and an extra bed) – 125 Euros.
A total of 9 decks are located on the Sveti Stefan, which has about five hundred berths. The fourth deck hosts luxury apartments, free shop, restaurant, bar, and cafe.
Four-year-olds (and younger) travel for free, and there are 50% discounts (excluding apartments) for children 4-12 years old. You can make extra savings by booking an aeroseat – it will cost you about 50-67 Euros.
Bari is literally dying out during the siesta period – the midday heat is so unbearable that some foreigners prefer to sit on the ferry and then move to cozy cafes to indulge themselves with a portion of ice cream.
Do not miss the opportunity to taste pasta, carpaccio and an unimaginable range of exquisite seafood in Bari. Have a nice trip!