Travelling through Eastern Europe was like travelling into the unknown. We really knew nothing about it, and this is always when the magic happens. Our travels were totally unexpected, cheap and full of new experiences, and it’s safe to say the city of Kotor in Montenegro, was a huge part of that magic.
Kotor is a fortified town dating back YEARS (think 5th century BC), so yup real old, that’s situated along the Adriatic Coast. The town itself isn’t coastal, but sits in a calm bay set in front of some epic mountains (so expect some good views here.). The fortified town is a maze of winding lanes and cobbled stone paths that open up into larger town squares.
The little streets are full of shops, restaurants, gelato stalls and cat stores…yes you read that correctly…cat stores. EVERYWHERE you look in the old town, you’ll find furry friends and Leah was totally into it (she’s a cat lover through and through.) The city is home to thousands of strays, but don’t sweat it, the cats are well and truly looked after by the local people and shop owners who put out little bowls of food and water.
KEEN TO VISIT, HOW DO I GET THERE?
Bus – Bussing is the best way to get around Eastern Europe and for this, we always use the company FlixBus. The website is user-friendly (a must when booking things while travelling), has tons of routes in and out of Kotor and its totally affordable.
Fly – If you’re coming from a further distance, then flying is the option for you. There is an international airport in Tivat, near the Boka Bay, or you can fly into Dubrovnik in Croatia and grab a bus from there.
WHERE TO STAY?
Hostel Old Town – This place made our stay in Kotor absolutely 100. We booked for one night and ended up staying for three. They have so many activities & things going on, from boat parties to sangria nights and sunset bbqs too, this spot is honestly one of the best hostels we’ve stayed at. There’s even a pool in the middle of the old town which is unheard of these days. Perfect to cool down after a hot day (or hour) in the sun with a beer in hand. If you’re a social backpacker, this place is a must.
WHAT TO DO?
Free walking tour
After a successful free walking tour in Mostar, we jumped onto the Kotor one too. Run through the hostel, it was good fun with all of us involved. Super interesting learning about the history of Kotor, the history behind all the cats and pretty cool seeing the old churches. Inside one of the churches, you could actually see the bones of an old lady whose coffin had a glass lid…creepy. We also walked just outside the old town walls to check out and talk about the fort walls that lead up to San Giovanni’s Castle which brings me to my next point.
The Castle of San Giovanni
For the best view of Kotor, climb the 1350 steps to the top. It costs 2 or 3 euros during the day in the 30+ degree heat but instead, do as we did and wait til 7pm to climb it for free #winning. The sunset and view from the top was absolutely insane, looking over the port of Kotor. Crack a few coldies up the top (Leah may have even been a little tipsy walking up), sit back with all your mates from the hostel and enjoy. The walk back down in the dark was also a laugh, perfect timing to get rowdy on the pub crawl, again, bringing me to my next point.
The Hostel Old Town Nightly Pubcrawl
So when it comes to partying, the Old Town Hostel has got you covered. As mentioned above, the hostel offers boat parties and different events to get you in your way. At about 10:30pm, after getting a little rowdy at the hostel, you head out to the most popular bar in town, The Old Town Pub. Be sure to take a few drinks with you (classic budget backpackers), people spill out of the bar and mostly hang around outside, so it’s easy to blend in with your cheap supermarket beers. The best thing about hostel life & pub crawls is making new friends, everyone’s up for a good time, is super friendly and keen to party.
Explore the promenade and bay of Kotor
At dusk, head outside the old town walls and explore the promenade and bay of Kotor. The rivièra is calming and although there is a fair bit going on, it’s a peaceful walk. Maybe even get yourselves a bottle of wine, sit down by the bay and watch the sky go golden. If your accom doesn’t have a pool, head to the bay during the day to swim and chill too.
Eat at the BBQ Tanjga
Okay something you most definitely can’t miss! This little BBQ joint was hands down the best eatery in Kotor. Not for the faint hearted (or vegetarians) but cheap and the best value for money in town. We, and most of the hostel, ate here at least once a day. Expect char grilled vegetables, meat, more meat, feta and olive oil. YUM!!
Day trip to Budva
We decided not to stay in Budva because we were having too much fun in Kotor, instead we went for a day trip. From what we experienced, it’s a “cheap Monaco” sort of vibe, with tacky clubs that cater for the richer Eastern European tourists. We wandered the old town, hit the beach and found some cool rock jumps on the far side of the town. Well worth a day trip to check it out but we’re both glad we decided not to stay.
Two euro pizza
During the day, while you party, or on your way home after a big night…hey maybe even for breakfast! But don’t miss out on the 2 euro pizza joint. With takeaway pieces about the size of a 13” MacBook Pro (except triangle), these pizzas will keep you going for a while. One of the easiest but obviously not the healthiest eatery in Kotor. Another crowd favourite from the hostel where we ventured on the daily.
So Kotor, you were absolutely epic, you really were. You know a place is special when you stayed longer than expected. Being free with your plans through Eastern Europe is a pro tip from us, there’s SO MANY places that will steal ya heart so go into it with a rough idea and let the travel life take you over.
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Bryn | FREE & ADDICTED