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Two Days in Kotor

Old Apr 12th, 2017, 07:41 AM
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Two Days in Kotor

Dear Fodorites,

The timing is such that DH and I have available a long weekend in early June to our own making, and Montenegro looks appealing for this brief getaway. The flights are into Podgorica, from where we would rent a car and head to Kotor for 2 nights, whatever is left of our arrival afternoon; the final night would be in Podgorica to catch an early return.

The question is, is it too short a trip to appreciate coastal Montenegro? Living in Central Europe, the sun factor is always important (lounging on a beach, not so much). We were thinking of Kotor for one day and figuring out the rest for the second day. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

In advance, thank you.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 09:07 AM
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Sure--it's a small area, tooling around the bay and then up the mountain or down to the coast would be a fine weekend.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 09:08 AM
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I can offer you only the perspective of someone who visited Montenegro briefly as part of a longer visit to Croatia and Bosnia. I drove from Dubrovnik to Kotor, spent one night, and then drove from Kotor to Trebinje, Bosnia. (You can dig up my trip report, with pictures, by clicking on my name.)

I obviously didn't spend much time in the country, but I think I got a good taste for it. I drove along the bay (beautiful scenery!) winding my way around past Perast down to Kotor. I spent the night just north of the center (easier/free car parking) about a 10 minute walk from the center. The second day, I walked above the walls of Kotor - a steep hike with many steps but worth it for the amazing views down - and then drove through the mountains from Kotor up a twisty road with about 25 hairpin turns, with breathtaking views down on the Bay of Kotor, then on to Cetinje via Njeguši. The drive from Njeguši to Cetinje feels like you are in the back country (though the road is fine) - very different from the touristy area around the bay below. Kind of rocky scenery, small towns (but the road was fine). I stopped for a little walk around Cetinje but mid-day the town was empty, and it wasn't particularly interesting.

I thought Kotor was OK, but I was kind of comparing it to Dubrovnik and elsewhere in Croatia, which you may not be unless you've been there. I didn't fall in love with Kotor itself. I stopped for a bit in nearby Perast, a much smaller town that is lovely - I kind of wished I had stayed there instead of in Kotor (though I would have wanted to do the walk the walls above Kotor no matter what, for the views and the experience). Had I not been to Croatia, I think Kotor would have impressed me much more. It does have some neat buildings and that "walled old town" feel.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 05:19 PM
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I took a day trip from Dubrovnik to Perast and Kotor, and was very glad that I did. For just those locations, I thought the timing worked well, but of course, I can't speak to what I didn't see. Given my particular interests, I found it a very full day; if you want a more leisurely pace and / or choose to visit other parts of Montenegro, I can imagine it being a very pleasant long weekend.

Hope that helps!
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 03:56 AM
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Thank you, everyone, for confirming my suspicions. We had one ill-fated outing to Istria a few years ago, but after spending time with friends who have island homes in Croatia we are more keen to explore more of the coastal area.

The flights into/out of Dubrovnik seem reasonable, too, so perhaps we will base there and rent a car for a day to tour Perast and Kotor. Aside from the requisite insurance and identification information, is there anything special to know about taking a rental car into Montenegro? Or about the roads?

Thank you again.
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 04:34 PM
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IMO, Dubrovnik would be an excellent base for a long weekend -- just be sure to take the cruise-ship schedule into consideration, as it can get a bit unpleasantly crowded when overrun by daytrippers. (Dubrovnik has set some limits in recent years, so it's gotten a bit better -- thank goodness!) I don't know the web-site, but thursdaysd has posted it a few times, so you might try googling with relevant key words.

While in Dubrovnik, consider a visit to the "original" Buza Bar -- the one reached through the hole in the city wall, marked with the sign "cold drinks."

I had no trouble renting a car in Dubrovnik for a day trip to Kotor, but of course, you should make sure that the rental car company knows you plan to do that and provides all the documentation you need.

The first part of the road south of Dubrovnik is a well-designed major highway. The only problem -- and it was one for me! -- is that the scenery is spectacular, but the road demanded my attention. How I would have loved to savor those views! IIRC, there were a few scenic overlooks, but the on and off ramps weren't well designed, IMO, so one couldn't give much warning to the tailgating cars behind before pulling off, and then pulling back into heavy traffic was a challenge.

As you get closer to Kotor, the roads remain in good condition, but with more cross-traffic, etc. The road around the Bay of Kotor is 2-lane and narrow, but perfectly manageable, IMO.

Hope that helps!
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 08:12 AM
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Off we go! Flights into/out of Dubrovnik are booked; the hotel and rental car are reserved. Thank you, everyone, for your insights! I will be certain to report back on the holiday.

kja, when there is scenic driving involved, DH and I take turns driving and taking snaps so that we can both enjoy the experience. No doubt this holiday will be the same.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 08:31 AM
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I stopped many times along the Bay of Kotor for pictures - there are plenty of places to pull over.

Enjoy!
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 04:25 PM
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I envy you a driving partner. ;-) Enjoy!
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