Hiking through Montenegro: Part 2 Lovcen National Park to Kotor and Cavtat

If you made it this far I’m guessing you’ve already read Part 1 of this post, being the start of the one of my favourite hiking holidays in Europe. Thanks and welcome back.

Just as a small reminder of the itinerary if you would like to follow part or even all of it yourself:

Day 1 – 5 took us from Podgorica down to Lake Skadar, and then up into the mountains and the Lovcen National Park (you can read about this in Part 1 of this post here).

Day 6 – Hike from Lovcen National Park to Kotor

I’d recommend you head off early on this day. It’s a pretty long hike, at least a 4 hours, and it gets very hot and exposed. Make sure you have plenty of water and try see if you can get your hotel/accommodation to pack a lunch as there isn’t really anywhere to stop for refreshments.

This was one of my favourite sections of the trip. You’ll start off walking through high mountain passes and valleys, which then dramatically open up to a panoramic view looking out over the Bay of Kotor. With its impossibly high mountains with sheer sides that seem to fall into the water below, this is a view that sticks in my memory and helped to cement Kotor as a place I definitely want to go back to. The hike takes you down a zig zagging goat path (yes, with goats all over the place putting everyone to shame with their nimble movements while the humans slip and slide and scramble down the very steep path). Enjoy the spectacular view all the way down.

Looking back. The end of the hike down from the mountain pass you can see at the top!

Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can read more about why that is here if you’re interested. It is an exquisite old medieval town that has been amazingly well observed within the existing old city walls. Basically it’s a tiny architectural and historical gem packed with amazing buildings everywhere you turn. You can definitely stay in the town itself if you so choose. However, a couple of hours walking around will also give you a good feel for the place, and that’s what we did. Stop for a platter of fresh seafood at the tiny cafe called Cesarica on a side lane and pick up an ice cream from one of the street vendors while you continue wandering the old town streets. There are a lot of tourists that visit every day and I personally felt like it might be a bit stifling to stay in town in a small and hot room that was probably also overpriced.

The beautiful, ancient, jumbled old town of Kotor.
Lunch spot.
Local seafood for lunch.

Day 7 – Stay in/near Kotor

Rather than stay in Kotor we chose to stay in a little guest house called Villa Old Mariner around the other (western) side of the bay. Such a good decision if I do say so. Not only was the guesthouse in a quiet and pretty village called Prčanj where it felt very much like local life was the order of business, it was much more affordable than staying in Kotor old town and as an added bonus had an amazing stone terrace right on the bay with lounge chairs under lemon trees, from which you could dive right into the crystal clear water. Not only that but because of the location you look right across AT the beautiful view of Kotor nestled against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. I could have stared at it forever. Stroll about 15 minutes north and you’ll find some little restaurants serving super fresh seafood. We ate at one by the name of Bokeski Gusti which had cute little tables with checked tablecloths right by the waters edge and afforded a relaxing and scenic view as the sun went down.

The Guesthouse where we stayed in Prčanj (on the left) with the pretty stone terrace over the road on the right.
About to go for a dip with views over the water towards Kotor.
Dinner spot by the water.

Day 8 – Travel from Kotor to Cavtat

In order to get to Cavtat from Kotor there are a few options. Allow about 1-2 hours. There is a bus service, you can drive yourself, or like us, you can get a taxi. We were lucky because we were able to strike a deal with a taxi driver who had to head back to Dubrovnik regardless after dropping people off at our accommodation so he gave us a discount that made it comparable to getting the bus! Something worth asking about. The drive is not too long and includes a short ferry ride. You will need to show your passport crossing the border so remember to keep it handy.

The ferry crossing between Kotor and Cavtat.
Cavtat, buzzy and bursting with colour.

Day 9/10 – Stay in Cavtat. Fly out from Dubrovnik, Croatia

We wanted to do a linear trip and not have to backtrack (all those mountains y’know) so we decided to fly out of Dubrovnik airport in Croatia. I did some research and rather than travel in and stay in Dubrovnik (similar reasoning to my thought process with Kotor) it seemed like the little town of Cavtat would be a good place to stay and travel to the airport from. Cavtat is only 20 minutes drive from Dubrovnik airport so very accessible and an efficient choice if want to minimise travel time.

Cavtat is a small charming little place. We chose to stay there for the handy location near the airport primarily but it was such a pleasant surprise. If I had time for a 3-4 day trip only I would come back to visit Kotor and Cavtat together. After seeing the number of super yachts drawn up by the harbour I’m guessing other people have cottoned on to how nice it is as well! We stayed in an old converted monastery by the water called Rooms Cavtat Old Town. Stroll around the headland and you’ll find a fun beach bar Beach Bar Little Star – perched on the cliff – which is a great spot to watch the sunset set over the water while downing cold beers/trying the local cocktails. A little further along we found a lovely bay to swim called Beach Rat, and overlooking that a restaurant called Rokotin with, again, super fresh and delicious seafood (are you sensing a pattern here?)

Our hotel in Cavtat. You can go for a swim from right out front.
Hotel courtyard.
Beach bar for sunset .

I headed to Dubrovnik airport the next day with still salty hair, a few more freckles and a full camera roll, all signs of a great holiday. I hope you enjoyed coming with me on this trip and please let me know if you decided to follow in our footsteps! I’d love to hear your experience.

L x

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