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Budva vs. Kotor: Which Should You Visit?

Having extensively visited both Budva and Kotor, I assert that each Montenegrin coastal town has its distinct allure. Budva boasts lively nightlife and sandy beaches, making it a hub of entertainment. In contrast, Kotor’s medieval architecture and UNESCO World Heritage status offer a rich historical experience. Both are captivating, but their unique features will guide your choice. So, will it be Budva or Kotor for your upcoming trip?

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The Pros and Cons of Budva & Kotor

When deciding between Budva and Kotor, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each town.

Budva: Pros and Cons

Budva is known for its very lively nightlife and bustling energy, which makes it a popular destination for younger travelers. However, this same energy can be overwhelming for some visitors, and the town can get crowded during peak season.

mogren beach
Mogren Beach, Credit Robert Cutts

Pros

  • Beautiful beaches, including the famous Mogren Beach
  • A bustling nightlife scene with bars and clubs to suit all tastes
  • A wider range of restaurants serving local and international cuisine
  • More choices for shopping, from traditional markets to modern boutiques
  • Easy access to other parts of Montenegro and the surrounding area

Cons

  • Crowds, especially during the summer months
  • Higher prices for accommodation and dining compared to other parts of Montenegro
  • A more touristy atmosphere compared to some other coastal towns

Kotor: Pros and Cons

old town kotor
Old Town Kotor, Credit Richard Mortel

Kotor, on the other hand, is a more peaceful and serene town that is ideal for travelers looking to unwind and relax. It has a well-preserved old town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which makes it a must-visit destination for history and culture enthusiasts. However, the town can be a bit quieter than Budva, which may not appeal to everyone.

Pros

  • A stunning old town with historical landmarks such as St. Tryphon Cathedral and the Maritime Museum
  • A more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere compared to Budva
  • A wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking and kayaking
  • Lower prices for accommodation and dining compared to some other coastal towns
  • A convenient location close to other popular destinations such as Dubrovnik and the Bay of Kotor. You can also visit Perast and the islands of Kotor Bay as well as Lovcen National Park.

Cons

  • Limited nightlife options, especially compared to Budva. However, if interested here are 5 exciting nightspots to keep you entertained in Kotor.
  • Fewer beaches than Budva, although there are still some beautiful options nearby such as Jaz beach and Plave Horizonti
  • A more challenging driving environment compared to some other coastal towns due to narrow and winding roads

Sights and Attractions

budva at night
Budva by night, Credit Milachich

Both Budva and Kotor have a wide range of sights and attractions to explore, with something for everyone. For more detailed information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Kotor and Ultimate Guide to Budva. Here are some of the must-see destinations in each town.

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Budva attractions

sveti stefan
Sveti Stefan – Credit Harshil Shah
  • Old Town Budva: The historic heart of the town, with narrow streets and stunning architecture.
  • Citadel: A fortress that provides great views of the town and the sea.
  • Mogren Beach: A beautiful beach with crystal-clear water and a lively atmosphere.
  • Budva Riviera: A stretch of coastline with stunning views and plenty of restaurants and cafes.
  • Sveti Stefan: A small island that has been turned into a luxury hotel, with stunning views and plenty of photo opportunities.

Read Also: Free Things to do in Budva

When it comes to beaches, Budva generally holds the upper hand. Budva is renowned for its sandy beaches and vibrant beach life, making it a popular destination for sunseekers and partygoers. The most famous is probably Mogren Beach, which is often praised for its beauty.

Read Also: When is the best time to visit Budva?

Kotor attractions

kotor old town
Kotor Old Town, Credit mariusz kluzniak
  • Old Town Kotor: A UNESCO World Heritage Site with winding streets and ancient architecture.
  • St. Tryphon Cathedral: A stunning church with a unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
  • Maritime Museum: A fascinating museum that tells the story of Kotor’s maritime history.
  • Castle of San Giovanni: A fortress with stunning views of the town and the Bay of Kotor.
  • Bay of Kotor: A breathtaking natural setting that is perfect for hiking, kayaking and other outdoor activities.

On the other hand, Kotor, situated in a stunning bay, doesn’t boast the same type of beaches. Its coastline is more rugged and the waterfront in the town itself is mostly a harbor front. However, it offers an exceptional historical and cultural experience with its well-preserved medieval old town.

Practicalities

When it comes to practicalities, both Budva and Kotor are easy to get to and offer a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Read Also: Best Ice Creams in Kotor

Getting There

Budva and Kotor are both easily accessible by car or public transport. The closest airport is Tivat, which is about 20 kilometers from both towns. There are also regular bus services that connect Budva and Kotor with other parts of Montenegro and neighboring countries.

Accommodation

Both towns offer a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Some of the best options include:

Hotel Avala, Budva, Credit Robert Cutts

Read Also: Where to stay when visiting Kotor?

Read Also: Top Budget Hotels and Hostels in Budva that Won’t Break Your Bank

Getting Around

kotor vs budva
Amazing views from Kotor, Credit Fabuolosfabs

Both towns are best explored on foot, as the old towns can be difficult to navigate by car. However, if you do need to get around by car, be prepared for narrow and winding roads in some areas.

Conclusion

In the end, the choice between Budva and Kotor depends on your individual preferences and interests. If you’re looking for a lively nightlife scene and plenty of beaches, then Budva is the better choice. However, if you’re more interested in history and culture, and prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, then Kotor is the better option.

Some visitors to Montenegro choose to combine both towns in their visit, as they are relatively close to each other and offer a good contrast – they are about 22km apart and take about 30 mins by road. Read our article on how to get from Budva to Kotor.

Regardless of which town or towns you choose to visit, you’re sure to be rewarded with stunning scenery, delicious food, and plenty of opportunities to explore and unwind.

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