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 Dubrovnik yet wanted 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 2 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 fantastic restaurants – none of which have photographs of the food outside! It 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 restaurants and the service was excellent. Unlike many restaurants there, they have a separate kids menu so the prices are very reasonable for such a high quality food. Try the hangar steak, you wont be disappointed. Pizzeria Desteka has great pizza and is a great choice for a cheap night out. In fact most restaurants were very reasonably priced and the quality was very high.
There are also plenty of super yachts to mesmerise you, while you enjoy a drink at the waters edge. The emerald green sea is the perfect temperature for bathing, although the beaches are stoney. In fact, beaches along the Dalmatian coast are all more or less the same, 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 young kids can try snorkeling. 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.
There are regular ferries, or water taxis to the old town of Dubrovnik – this suited us perfectly. We decided to get a 5pm ferry so we could climb the city walls when the city was less crowded. We were able to explore the city at night time and soak up the atmosphere over a nice meal. We took an early ferry for our second visit 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. For more information on Dubrovnik you can read my blog here.
Day trip to Montenegro
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 coach had only Irish people onboard so thankfully there was no need for multiple languages by the tour guide.
We drove around the bay of Kotor and saw the Mediterranean fjord – the only fjord in Southern Europe. The scenery was sublime. We stopped at the spectacular walled city of Kotor and had plenty of time to explore the cathedral and the city’s winding streets. This city 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 can only be described as a huge 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. Overall it was a great trip and if travelling to Croatia, I would highly recommend a day trip to Montenegro to see Kotor specifically. Note: Although Montenegro is not in the EU, they use the Euro and don’t readily accept Croatian currency.
Cavtat and the Dalmatian coast is a great choice for a summer holiday. There is so much to see and do, yet with such stunning scenery you may just find you want to chill out and enjoy it.