Croatia and Montenegro have so much to offer. Dubrovnik and Kotor are spectacular, the village of Cavtat is charming, and Montenegro’s fjord is sublime.
I searched the apartment for the free wifi password, only to discover it was ‘welcome to my home’. I knew from that moment, I was going to like it here! I wanted to see visit Croatia and Montenegro and searched for a resort that would not be too crowded during the summer months – Cavtat ticked all boxes.
Surrounded by cypress trees, when we arrived in the picturesque resort, it reminded me of the Tuscan coast. We stayed at the Villa Milica, which is only a few minutes from the seashore and a leisurely 20 minute stroll to the village. A traditional farmhouse, we were warmly greeted by the owner Milica who kindly offered to give us a lift to the grocery store, for what she called our ‘big shop’!
This spacious two-bedroomed apartment is a mixture of old and new. It has a country cottage feel, but with all mod cons including a large double bath, a separate shower room, and a huge balcony with sea views.
Cavtat is situated about 45 minutes from Dubrovnik by water taxi and has everything you need for a relaxing break. The village is really authentic, with stone buildings housing superb restaurants. The town remains unspoilt and although there are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from, they fit in with the landscape perfectly.
Bugenvila is one of Cavtat’s best restaurants, but you will need to book it a day in advance. The food would rival many Michelin Star restaurant and the service was excellent. Unlike many restaurants there, they have a separate kids menu so the prices are very reasonable for such high quality food.
Try the hangar steak, you wont be disappointed. Pizzeria Desteka was another great find. It has great pizza and an ideal choice for a family night out. In fact most restaurants were very reasonably priced and the quality was very high.
Be prepared to ogle at the super yachts as you enjoy a drink at the waters edge – there are many multi-million euro yachts here. The emerald green sea is the perfect temperature for bathing, although the beaches are stoney. In fact, most beaches along the Dalmatian coast are stoney, so make sure you bring surf shoes.
There are great watersports available, including jet skiing and scuba diving. There are plenty of small fish that swim close to the shore, so we picked up cheap snorkel masks and spent hours swimming with them.
Cavtat is a good choice for families and couples. There are lots of four and five star hotels perfectly suited for couples who a upmarket holiday as well as apartments like ours which are great for families.
Visiting Dubrovnik from Cavtat
There are regular ferries / water taxis to the old town of Dubrovnik – this suited us perfectly. We took the 5pm ferry so we could climb the city walls when the city was less crowded. It was also nice to explore the city at night time and soak up the atmosphere over dinner.
We also took an early ferry another day and rode the cable car to Srd Hill and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. This is a great way to see the city without the crowds and heat, with the added advantage of enjoying a one hour boat trip on the Adriatic Sea.
Read: My top tips for discovering Dubrovnik
Day trip to Montenegro from Croatia
From Cavtat there are numerous boat trips and excursions to choose from. We decided to take a day trip to Montenegro, and booked this through the local Croatia tours representative. Normally we would hire a car and travel independently, but the organised coach tour was a better option.
With the recent influx of migrants to Italy and Greece, the border check points have long delays. We were advised that if travelling by car you could be hours waiting to get through – the tour was a much better option.
We drove around the bay of Kotor and saw the Mediterranean fjord – the only fjord in Southern Europe. The scenery was spectacular. We stopped at the beautiful walled city of Kotor and had plenty of time to explore the cathedral and the city’s winding streets.
Kotor was built to hide from the enemy, and therefore not on a grid system. This adds to the charm when exploring as you really don’t know where you will end up. However, the furthest point is only ten minutes walk from the entrance, so there is no chance you can get lost.
Our next stop was the popular town of Budva. We drove through the tunnel used by James Bond in Casino Royale, before arriving at what was unfortunately a massive let-down. Budva has an authentic walled city, but unfortunately this has been ruined by the modern resort built beside it. It looked like there was no planning involved and modern high rise blocks are placed beside the medieval city – it is such a shame.
After a quick bite of lunch, we took the ferry across the fjord before heading back to our hotel. I would highly recommend a day trip to Montenegro – if for no other reason than to visit Kotor, it is absolutely stunning. Note: Although Montenegro is not in the EU, they use the Euro and don’t readily accept Croatian currency.