Hey all, I’m just back for a week long trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia and Kotor in Montenegro. I got asked a lot of questions on social media about certain aspects of the trip so I’ll cover them in this trip report.
To give you an idea of a breakdown of my trip. I spent 3 nights in Dubrovnik then took the bus to Kotor. I spent 3 nights in Kotor and finally a final night in Dubrovnik. The reason why I spent the night at the end in Dubrovnik is explained in the “Getting to Kotor” section below.
Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (or Placa) is lined with shops and restaurants.
Kotor is a fortified town on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, in a bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen. Characterized by winding streets and squares, its medieval old town has several Romanesque churches, including Kotor Cathedral.
Getting to Dubrovnik:
There are direct flight options from both Dublin and Cork to Dubrovnik. Aer Lingus fly from Dublin or Cork and Ryanair fly just from Dublin to the Croatian city. These flights are seasonal.
Getting to Kotor:
Getting to Kotor is a bit trickier. There are currently no direct flight options from Ireland to Montenegro. Pre covid, Ryanair operated a direct flight to the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica but at time of writing this has not been reinstated.
The option I did to get to Kotor was flying to Dubrovnik, I spent a few nights in Dubrovnik then got the bus from Dubrovnik main bus station, located in Gruz, to Kotor. Montenegro is not a member of the E.U so their border can take a while to get through. Of the two times I passed through the border the total time for the bus and the border crossing took over 3 hours. This can vary quite a bit from what I’ve read online(peak season can be a lot longer due to a higher volume of travelers and buses passing through the border). I decided to spend one more night in Dubrovnik before flying back to Ireland to be on the safe side. The bus cost €30 return.
Another option would be to rent a car. I don’t know the full ins and outs about this but as far as I’m aware if you rent a car in Croatia and drive it across the border you have to pay roughly €40 for the correct documentation. You could also rent a car in Montenegro, either in Kotor or Herceg Novi (close to the Croatian border).
You could also arrange a private transfer or you might even be on a cruise that takes in both places.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik:
There are many options where to stay in Dubrovnik include the Old Town, Lapad, Ploce or Babin Kuk. The local bus service in Dubrovnik is excellent and as long as you are relatively close to a bus stop then you’ll be close to most attractions. You can purchase a single ticket on the bus from the driver for 15 kuna or from a ‘Tisak’ (roadside kiosk) for 12 kuna I stayed in Lapad as I didn’t want to be amongst the hustle and bustle of the Old Town, Lapad is situated 10/15 minutes out of the walled city, It is home to Sunset beach (like most Croatian beaches its a stony beach) where there is ample opportunity for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling and you can enjoy beautiful sunsets in the evenings. it has a range of restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s also less expensive than the Old Town.
Since I mentioned I was going to Dubrovnik, a lot of people messaged saying that they go to Cavtat. Cavtat is the most southerly Croatian resort of all, located around 20 km south of Dubrovnik and only 22 km from the border with Montenegro.
Where to stay in Kotor:
Ideally the best place to stay in Kotor would be to either stay in the Old Town or stay just outside the city walls. I stayed in an Airbnb across from Shopping Centre Kamelija. I felt it was a great location as we were close to the Old Town but away from the noisy streets.
Things to do in Dubrovnik:
There is tonnes of things to see/do in Dubrovnik including climbing the city walls, various sites in the Old Town, hiking/cable car to Mount Srd, kayaking, ziplining, taking a boat trip to the Elaphiti Islands, visiting Lokrum, visiting Cavat and visiting the stony beaches of Lapad.
Things to do in Kotor:
Things to see/do in Kotor and surrounding areas include: hiking the city walls, various sites in the Old Town, hiking the ladder of Kotor, taking a boat trip to the Blue Cave, visiting Perast, taking a boat to Our Lady of the Rocks, various scenic drives around the bay.
Day trips from Dubrovnik:
Due to the location of Dubrovnik its possible to do many day trips including Cavat (Croatia), Mostar (Bosnia) and Kotor (Montenegro). There are various day trips that you can book through websites like Viator. There is a link below to various day trips from Dubrovnik.
Day trips from Kotor:
Day tours from Kotor mostly consist of tours around Northern Montenegro and other places like Budva. There is a link below to various day trips from Kotor.
Food/drink in Dubrovnik:
I tried a few restaurants but I had great food/drink experience in Taj Mahal in the Old Town (Bosnian food), Buza Bar (cash only drinks overlooking the bay). In Lapad, I’d recommend dining at Pantarul and for a drink I’d recommend the Cave Bar More for a sunset drink.
Food/drink in Kotor:
I had great food/drink experience in BBQ Tanjga (restaurant/butcher shop) and the Old Winery for a wine tasting of Montenegrin wine.
Many of you have been to this part of the world multiple times so if you have any tips/tricks to add, feel free to add them in comments on Facebook/Instagram.
I hope this helps!