Towards the end of our stay in Dubrovnik, we started wondering what course we should take. Hop over to Montenegro? Continue our way north through Croatia? At the very last second, we went for it: We hopped on a bus and found ourselves in Kotor hours later. Why not? Heard from fellow travelers in our Dubrovnik hostel how much they prefer Kotor over Dubrovnik. I mean, Dubrovnik's Old Town is pretty nice, but something nicer? Such testimonials had us intrigued. We just had to see for ourselves!
Upon arrival to Kotor's Old Town, it's clear why most travelers rave about this place. It has more personality. More quaint nooks and crannies with many hidden little shops. A LOT more cats here. Most of Old town is thankfully flat - not covered with long, steep uphill stairs like Dubrovnik.
But the one important thing that separates Kotor from Dubrovnik: Less tourist crowds. Don't get me wrong. Kotor Old Town is nothing but touristy, but there's a stark contrast with the amount of foot traffic between the 2 cities. Dubrovnik is stupid crowded. So crowded that the city officials have thought about capping the number of guests entering it's Old Town walls by way of purchasable tickets. Oof. Kotor does get crowded, but it comes and goes in waves. When the cruise ships dock - the city is suddenly alive. By nightfall, the cruise ships are gone and Kotor is back to a sleepy town.
Overall, there isn't much to do in Kotor. It's a great base to do day trips to other parts of Montenegro and Albania. Which we probably would have considered if I hadn't gotten sick. So Kotor, for us, was more of a place to chill out and recover asap. I did, however, muster enough energy to hike the rather steep fortress walls to the top of the mountain. Had to wake up quite early to avoid paying the 3 Euro fortress entrance fee, but so worth it as we beat the tourist crowds AND caught a glimpse of the beautiful early morning light bathing the city of Kotor. Avoided the heat, too! But let me tell ya, the views were insanely spectacular from the top! Only takes an hour to get to the top. (2 in our case if you're anything like us, stopping every 5 minutes for photo ops!) Honestly, probably the only thing worth doing in Kotor if the Old Town scene bores you!
When: September 2016
Stay: Old Town Hostel Kotor. $13/night for 10 bed dorm.
Recommend: Old Town, Kotor Fortress Hike (Go super early in the morning, around 6-7am, to avoid paying 3 Euro entrance fee).