Looking to explore the Adriatic gems of Dubrovnik, Kotor and Budva? Find out how I spent one week in Croatia and Montenegro, exploring these popular destinations and everything they have to offer. Learn more about where to stay, what to do, how to get around, where to eat (vegan-friendly options!) and so much more.
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There’s nothing more exciting than exploring a new destination. When I was initially planning my trip to Croatia and Montenegro, I’m not going to lie… I thought I was going to hate Dubrovnik.
As a destination seriously suffering from overtourism (especially during the summer months), I was dreading the crowds, touristy gimmicks and cheesy Game of Thrones tours.
Much to my pleasant surprise, Dubrovnik in the early spring months is gorgeous (and pleasantly lacking in the atrocious crowds). Not to mention, it’s seriously beautiful–like one of the most beautiful European cities I’ve ever visited.
Plus, with its endless Adriatic sea views, wondrous history and cultural aspects, it’s an exceptional destination with tons to do.
Aside from Dubrovnik, I also explored the magical coastal town of Kotor and the historical city of Budva. With their incredible Old Towns, stunning architecture, endless mountain views, affordability and unique things to do, these two Montenegro destinations are well worth a visit.
If you’re interested in visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor and Budva for yourself, take a peek at how I spent one week exploring this small area of southeast Europe.
ONE WEEK EXPLORING DUBROVNIK, KOTOR AND BUDVA
3 Days in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Personally, I found that three days in Dubrovnik was the perfect amount of time. Dubrovnik, affectionately referred to as “the pearl of the Adriatic,” is a city that boasts a vibrant history and deep cultural significance.
Perched on the rocky coastline of Croatia, bordering the sparkling Adriatic sea, Dubrovnik has captured the heart’s of countless travelers.
And it’s no wonder, with its quaint little lanes snaking throughout the Old Town, picturesque views, rusty orange rooftops, well-preserved city walls, rich history and harmonious blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural styles.
Personally, I found three days in Dubrovnik the perfect amount of time to do everything I wanted, while also having a nice amount of downtime to relax and soak it all in.
What to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
As you can imagine, there are a ton of things to do in Dubrovnik! Far too many to do in just a few days. Here’s everything I did while in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as well as a few other things I wish I would have done!
- Walking tour of Dubrovnik (great way to see the city and learn about it from a local!)
- Walking the Dubrovnik City Walls (well worth it, as you get wonderful views of the surrounding sea and islands)
- Visiting Fort Lovrijenac (gorgeous views of Dubrovnik! Entrance is included with your city walls ticket.)
- Getting lost among the charming labyrinthine of streets that make up Dubrovnik’s Old Town
- Exploring the scenic Lokrum Island (known for its botanical gardens and peacocks!)
- Going on a boat trip to the nearby Elaphiti Islands
- Visiting the museum and gardens at Dominikanski Samostan (Dominican Monastery)
- Browsing the local shops and marketplaces
- Riding the cable car to Mount Srđ for breathtaking views of surrounding vistas
- Exploring Rector’s Palace (a shooting location for Game of Thrones!)
- Visiting the Franciscan Monastery (one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe)
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik (Vegan-Friendly!)
If you are vegan, vegetarian or primarily plant-based, here are a few great vegan-friendly restaurants in Dubrovnik that I really liked.
- Nishta — 100% vegan restaurant in Dubrovnik with healthy plant-based dishes
- VegeDub — vegetarian fast-food restaurant
- Soul Kitchen — lots of delicious vegan options, like tacos, curry and loaded fries
- Sladoledarna — ice cream shop with a ton of fruit-based vegan ice cream (the lemon is divine!)
- Pizzeria Oliva — Italian pizzeria with customizable vegan pizza options
- SILK — pan-Asian food with some delicious vegan options, like fried rice, gyoza and miso-glazed eggplant
3 Days in Kotor
When spending one week in Dubrovnik, Kotor and Budva, Kotor was by far my favorite!
It’s a crazy beautiful destination that seems to be quite underrated and slightly off the radar for many travelers (to me at least, as it was pretty quiet in April).
Nestled in the gorgeous Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, Kotor is a surrounded by deep blue waters and towering mountains. It has a small, yet captivating Old Town that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting narrow cobblestone streets, historic buildings and impressive architecture.
What to Do in Kotor, Montenegro
While there isn’t a ton of things to do in Kotor, my favorite was by far exploring the maze-like alleys, ancient churches and cathedrals, charming squares (like Cat Park!) and lovely little local shops.
Additionally, here are some other things I did and some things I really wish I did:
- Hiking up to Kotor Fortress (unbelievable views of the bay and surrounding mountains)
- Walking the fortified city walls of Kotor
- Heading out on a boat trip to visit Our Lady of the Rocks and Sveti Đorđe
- Learning about Kotor’s history and seafaring traditions at the maritime museum
- Visiting the Cathedral of St. Tryphon
Where to Eat in Kotor (Vegan-Friendly!)
Though Dubrovnik is bigger, I found the vegan options to be way better in Kotor! Here are some of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants in this little lovely town:
- Resto Bar Taraca — phenomenal vegan options, like a buddha bowl, vegan burger, creamy vegan curry and Vietnamese spring rolls
- La Catedral — some vegan pasta options and really great homemade wine!
- Ombra Caffe & Lounge Bar — vegan pizza and pasta options
- Moritz Eis — vegan-friendly ice cream place with vegan sorbet
1 Day in Budva
Budva is a bustling city located on the gorgeous Adriatic coast. Known for its rich history, stunning Old Town, pristine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters (perfect for sea dips!) and lively nightlife, Budva is an exciting and popular destination in Montenegro.
While it wasn’t my favorite (compared to Dubrovnik and Kotor), Budva does have its charms! Its Old Town is so so magical and the surrounding beaches are truly stunning.
If you’re looking to visit Budva while gallivanting around Croatia and Montenegro for one week, I recommend staying near the Old Town. Getting lost in this area of Budva was by far my favorite thing to do, as there are so many little viewpoints, hidden corners, cute restaurants and eateries, lovely local shops and alleys to explore.
Additionally, I really loved finding relaxing cafes to just sit at, sip on a coffee or spritz and watch the world go by. Budva’s Old Town is SO much quieter than the rest of the city, so it was really nice to just relax and soak it all in.
If you’re visiting Budva in the summer and are feeling adventurous, this area is known for its abundance of water activities! Have a go at exciting water spots like jet skiing, parasailing or paddleboarding. Or just sit on one of its many sandy beaches and lay out in the sun!
Without a doubt, this was one magical week in Croatia and Montenegro!
While I don’t think 7 days in Dubrovnik, Kotor and Budva was nearly enough time to really see and do everything, it was definitely enough time to get a feel for each place and see the best attractions and experience a small taste of what each destination has to offer.
Are you looking to spend one week in Croatia and Montenegro? Which destination do you think you’d love more? Share in the comments below and tell me your travel plans!
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Dorothy NoeckerMay 20, 2023 7:03 am
Always nice to go where not everyone else does.