Kotor is worth an invisible selfie moment.
Taking a study break from my Hong Kong exchange student travels, I’d like to reminisce a bit about my time in Montenegro with Ivana from Black Hummus Diaries. This is the continuation of our trip through Northern Macedonia and Albania.
We were lucky enough to grab a ride with our Couchsurfing host in Shkodër, Albania. For those going by public transport, there is reliable bus service from Podgorica in the South or Dubrovnik in the North. The city is worth a day at least, as its cute streets are easily walkable for a relaxed day on the coast. Here are my suggestions for having a great, budget and relatively non-touristy time in Kotor.
Kotor, like many cities on the Dalmatian Coast along Croatia and Montenegro, was built up by the Venetians during the Renaissance. This means a stroll through its cobblestone old town is the best way to introduce oneself to the city.
The old town is small, but key sites include the Kotor Cathedral pictured below. Other than that, the city is small enough to explore in near entirety in an hour or so. Take your time and get lost.
The morning we went was foggy, giving the surrounding mountains a little shroud to give them a certain “Lord of the Rings” feel. Kotor is rather touristy, so a walk through the city is beautiful but equally taxing for those wishing to avoid crowds. To get some privacy: head uphill.
Start climbing uphill to St. John’s Fortress on the hill atop Kotor. There’s extensive signage pointing to the path uphill, which will lead through little houses and streets.
The cats will help guide your way.
The walk is fairly steep, so bring water on a hot day. It’s usually a bit less touristy up here as the steepness is a bit too much for a lot of hungover party boys and pensioners. If you’re lucky, you may make friends with some of the other kids on the climb. We met an Aussie and a Kiwi, who stayed at our same hostel.
The view at the top of the fortress is well worth the effort, and a good idea for a sunset hike.
As with any touristy European city, restaurant prices can be a bit exorbitant. So why not enjoy the picturesque Montenegrin coast and go for a picnic? There are plenty of delicious local cheeses, olives, wines, beers, and meze spreads available for reasonable prices at every grocery store. I recommend the Idea supermarket just outside the South entrance of the old city. If you walk West along the coast from there, you can grab a spot of rocky beach completely to yourself for one of the best picnics possible.
One can also exit out of the old city and walk North along the coast, to an area of town much less touristy and more local in nature. Here, cafes are reasonably priced and the views will be shared with Montenegrin’s rather than a herd of German tourists.
Alcohol is the fluid of life in the Balkans. Kotor is a party city, which is great for some but terrible for everyone else. There are countless bars around town for cheap drinks and plenty of party hostels for those wishing to binge drink until their organs and minds are empty.
But for those wishing for a more relaxed local bar experience, head to the Cafe Bar Perper in the square right next to Hostel Old Town Kotor. From our research around town, this is one of the cheapest and most local-filled bars in old town.
Do not, however, stay in the hostel unless you wish to be woken up at 3 am by a drunken idiot stumbling into bed before basting himself in his own stomach fluids.
Splurge a bit and go for a private room. You deserve it.
Enjoy the beautiful country of Montenegro. It truly is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, and well worth the journey. Thank you for reading, and please like and comment if you had a good read!