Pebble beaches. Stone docks. High cliffs. Waterfront walkways. Small hotels. A calm, peaceful bay on the Adriatic Sea… there is so much to love about Kotor Bay in Montenegro.
You can’t go wrong on deciding where to stay – but there are differences between towns. Some towns are larger and have buildings that are more packed together. For example, the landscape is more populated on the Dobrota side of the bay. So let’s start there.
Dobrota is close to Kotor and extends several kilometers. Here, there is everything a vacationer could need – small hotels, waterfront docks, etc. There also is a small grocery store. It’s on the eastern side of the bay, and for the summertime, mornings are cool before an afternoon baking. You can see the sun set behind the cliffs on the other side of the bay.
The Dobrota side has a waterfront road with few cars that goes all the way into Kotor. This is in addition to main, busy two-lane road off the water. The busier road is not fun to walk on as a pedestrian – take the waterfront route if you’re walking into Kotor. Buses run about every hour or so. Read the previous transportation post here.
Orahovac is a few kilometers beyond Dobrota, moving away from Kotor. This town is much smaller, it’s in the corner of the bay. It’s right up against majestic cliffs that are beautifully lit by the afternoon and evening sun because it’s on the eastern side of the bay.
The water and the immediate in-your-face cliffs make this place unforgettable. There are a few small restaurants on the shoreline – but you go here for the view and the clear water.
Perast is beyond Orahovac. This is more like a village. It has ferries that go to the island with the famous church and museum – Our Lady of the Rocks. A round trip to the island is five euros per person and entry to the museum (attached to the church) is one euro.
Perast is closed to through traffic. There are parking lots on each side of the little village, that sits right on the water. It’s really quaint and we enjoyed lunch right on the water after a visit to the island.
On the other side of the bay is Prcanj. This side is less developed, but still has small hotels, restaurants, waterfront stone docks, and pebble beaches. This side gets direct morning sun, and the sun sets behind the cliffs to the town’s back.
Unlike the other side, this one has one road for cars and pedestrians, but there isn’t much car traffic – it’s mostly locals. This side appears more laid back. A bus seems to run back and forth about every hour.
Muo another small town on this side in between Kotor and Prcanj that is similar to Prcanj.
This is not an exhaustive list of towns and villages around the bay – it’s just a sample what we experienced.
Most stone docks belong to the small hotels or restaurants, but not all of them. Generally speaking, if you see a dock with nice tables and chairs and umbrellas, it’s likely a private dock.
Public docks will have other beach-goers, and you usually can tell the difference by the quality of the dock. Pebble beaches are public areas.
Each side of the bay has its benefits – but for us, because of the time of year we went (late summer), we preferred the Dobrota side, on the far end from Kotor. Houses are not packed together yet it’s easy to get to Kotor.
On this side of the bay, mornings are cooler and beautiful sunsets are seen. But the trade-off: it’s more crowded. We met many tourists from Serbia, and we also ran across people from Italy and Russia and England. These are people who come here to vacation on the stone beaches and docks to enjoy the bay. These are not the cruise ship crowds.
As with any major cruise ship port city, if you want to avoid mobs of people, try to plan your days into Kotor when there are no cruise ships, or just one ship, or after the ship has left. Places like Old Town and the castle ruins are not as overrun with people taking selfies. Read the previous post about the castle ruins here.
One last note about places overrun with tourists. We skipped Budva, a popular beach town a short distance from Kotor Bay, but we did check out Jaz Beach. It’s technically part of Budva, but off the beaten path.
It has many restaurants and hotels with tables and chairs packed together, but you can walk the rock beach away from the noise to find a quiet place. There are boarded walkways over most of the beach.
Also, all the way at the end is a nudist beach. It’s blocked off with fencing so if you want quiet, but don’t want to lay around naked, you can still enjoy this quiet end of Jaz Beach.
Kotor is a place we would definitely visit again. We found Montenegro to be a great country with friendly people. I’ll never forget it for many reasons in addition to the beauty of the land and sea – including how they celebrate with fireworks on birthday cakes!