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What is Better Kotor or Dubrovnik? How do you choose?


a city next to a body of water
Kotor Old Town

Are you planning a trip to the Balkans and wondering which city to visit: Kotor or Dubrovnik? Both cities have a rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning landscapes that make them a favorite among travelers.

However, with so many similarities, choosing one city over the other can be a tough decision. In this article, we’ll compare Kotor and Dubrovnik, taking a closer look at their history, culture, food, and attractions. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of which city is better suited to your travel preferences.

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The History and Culture of Kotor and Dubrovnik

Kotor and Dubrovnik have a long and complex history, with both cities playing important roles in the development of the Balkans. Kotor was founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC and has been inhabited by various peoples over the centuries, including the Illyrians, Venetians, and Ottomans. Dubrovnik, on the other hand, was founded in the 7th century and has been ruled by a number of different powers, including the Byzantines, Venetians, and Austro-Hungarians.

Dubrovnik by Night - Credit Jeff Miller
Dubrovnik by Night – Credit Jeff Miller

In terms of culture, Kotor and Dubrovnik have a lot in common. Both cities have a strong Mediterranean influence, with a mix of Italian and Balkan architecture. Both cities also have a rich artistic heritage, with many museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing local talent.

The Top Attractions in Kotor and Dubrovnik

When it comes to attractions, Kotor and Dubrovnik both have a lot to offer. In Kotor, the old town is the main draw, with its medieval walls, charming squares, and narrow streets. The Maritime Museum and St. Tryphon’s Cathedral are also worth a visit. Dubrovnik’s old town is equally impressive, with its well-preserved city walls, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and numerous churches and museums. The main attraction in Dubrovnik is arguably the old city walls, which offer stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.

Towers of the Cathedral of St Tryphon, Credit Cycling Man
Towers of the Cathedral of St Tryphon, Credit Cycling Man

If you’re interested in nature, both cities have plenty to offer. Kotor is located on the stunning Bay of Kotor, surrounded by towering mountains and crystal-clear waters. Dubrovnik, on the other hand, is situated on the Adriatic Coast, with numerous beaches, islands, and national parks nearby.

While both are impressive, Dubrovnik is more established, and Kotor is still deemed off the beaten path and still feels undiscovered.

Read Also: 10 best free things to do in Kotor

The Food Scene in Kotor and Dubrovnik

Food is an important part of any vacation, and both Kotor and Dubrovnik have a diverse culinary scene. In Kotor, you’ll find a mix of Italian and Balkan cuisine, with plenty of fresh seafood and local produce. Traditional dishes include grilled fish, seafood risotto, and beef stew. Dubrovnik also has strong seafood culture.

seafood dubrovnik
Seafood rules

Also Read: 5 delicacies of Montenegro which you must try

The Natural Beauty of Kotor and Dubrovnik

One of the main reasons people visit Kotor and Dubrovnik is for their natural beauty. Kotor is located in a stunning bay, surrounded by towering mountains and crystal-clear waters. The drive along the coast to get to Kotor is breathtaking, with scenic vistas at every turn. The city itself is nestled between two hills and has a stunning old town with medieval walls.

Kotor Walls, Credit Cangaroojack
Kotor Walls, Credit Cangaroojack

Also Read: Best Views of Kotor

Dubrovnik, on the other hand, is located on the Adriatic Coast and has numerous beaches, islands, and national parks nearby. The most famous beach in Dubrovnik is Banje Beach, which offers beautiful views of the old town. Dubrovnik’s city walls offer stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, and a cable car ride up to Mount Srđ provides panoramic views of the entire city.

Which City is Better for Families?

If you’re traveling with children, both Kotor and Dubrovnik have plenty of family-friendly activities. In Kotor, kids will love exploring the narrow streets of the old town and climbing the city walls. There are also boat tours of the bay, which provide a unique perspective on the city. There is also the amazing Cat Museum in Kotor which is the right balance of informative and off-beat.

In Dubrovnik, kids will love walking along the city walls and visiting the museums and galleries. There are also several beaches in and around Dubrovnik, which are perfect for families. If the kids are Game of Thrones fans, there is an amazing tour for the whole family.

Which City is Better for Nightlife?

If you’re looking for nightlife, Dubrovnik is probably the better choice. While Kotor has a few bars and clubs, it’s generally a quieter city. Dubrovnik, on the other hand, has a thriving nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Dubrovnik nightlife
Dubrovnik nightlife

The old town is particularly lively at night, with many bars staying open until the early hours of the morning.

FAQs: Your Questions About Kotor and Dubrovnik Answered

Q: Is Kotor or Dubrovnik more expensive?

A: Both cities can be quite expensive, especially during peak tourist season. However, Dubrovnik is generally considered to be more expensive than Kotor.

Q: Which city is better for history buffs?

A: Both Kotor and Dubrovnik have a rich history and are filled with historic sites and museums. However, Dubrovnik’s old town is more extensive and better preserved, making it a better choice for history buffs.

Q: Which city is easier to get around?

A: Kotor is a smaller city and can be easily explored on foot. Dubrovnik is larger, but its old town is pedestrian-only, making it easy to get around.


In conclusion, both Kotor and Dubrovnik have a lot to offer travelers, but depending on your preferences, one may be a better choice than the other. Kotor has a more unique and laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and is generally more affordable.

On the other hand, Dubrovnik has a more extensive old town, a livelier nightlife scene, and more beaches. Ultimately, the choice between Kotor and Dubrovnik comes down to personal preference, but we hope this guide has helped you make an informed decision.

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