So there I was, driving up the Adriatic coast in a beat-up white panel van. My friend’s band had broken up midway through a European tour, and she found herself in sudden need of a driving buddy to relay-race the rusted thing all the way back to Brighton. That was the plan, to drive across Europe. It was hot, and we both wanted to swim, but many of Montenegro’s beaches are private, with public strands few and far between.
I tried to keep one eye on the road as I scanned the beach below. Somehow, something on the side of the road caught my eye: a couple in their 30s, thumbing their way up the coastal highway. I pulled over and invited them on board.
“You like party?” the woman asked after a few moments of silence. “Is great beach party near to here, you love it, good for young people, good party.” I raised my eyebrows at my friend. “Free entrance,” the hitchhiker continued. “Nothing to lose.”
One muttered joke about famous last words later, we were on our way to Ploce Beach, the Balkans’ answer to Cancun. And it turned out to be just as loud and sloppy and good for young people as the hitchhiker said it would be. We bumbled into Montenegro, and I’m glad of it. But this beautiful country should be on your radar well in advance for a Euro trip one day. You’ve got nothing to lose.