Which is Better: Kotor or Budva in 2024?

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If you’re trying to decide between visiting Kotor or Budva for your next Adriatic Coast getaway, you’ve come to the right place. These two historic towns located in Montenegro both make for incredible vacation destinations, but they each offer their unique charm and attractions. 

Here I will share my experiences to help you determine which is better Kotor or Budva in 2023, for your travel style and interests.

Exploring Kotor

First up, let’s talk about Kotor. 

Located on the limestone cliffs and surrounded by medieval stone walls, Kotor’s old town has a fairytale-like quality that makes it a must-see. 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 12th century and is filled with Venetian palaces, Romanesque churches, and winding cobblestone alleys just begging to be explored. 

Some key things to do in Kotor include climbing the 1350 steps up the city walls for stunning panoramic views, visiting the 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, and wandering through the labyrinth of lanes lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants.

With a population of around 18,500, Kotor has a sleepier, more relaxed vibe compared to Budva. The pace of life is slower, emphasizing quality time spent soaking in the sights and flavors of the region. 

If you’re looking for lively nightlife, Kotor may not be the best choice, but if you prefer getting lost in historic charm during the day and dining al fresco in quaint squares at night, Kotor is perfect.

Further reading about Kotor:

The Draw of Budva

Now on to Budva. Located just 18 miles up the coast from Kotor, Budva has a completely different energy

Developed originally by the Greeks in the 5th century BC, Budva is one of the oldest settlements along the Adriatic coast. 

But modern-day Budva has an upbeat, happening ambiance that attracts both younger travelers and families.

With around 22,000 residents, Budva is Montenegro’s largest tourist destination. Its 15 beaches and vibrant promenade lined with restaurants and bars lend a more resort-like feel. The narrow streets of the old town still hold historic sites like the Citadel and the Church of Santa Maria in Punta, but Budva has an aura of coastal vacation fun. 

Among many things to do in Budva are activities like sunbathing on Mogren Beach, sipping cocktails at open-air clubs, and water sports like jet skiing and parasailing are popular.

Budva comes alive at night, making it the perfect choice if you want to mix sightseeing with a lively nightlife scene. During July and August, Budva hosts performances, concerts, and events like the Sea Dance Festival that keep the energy pumping into the wee hours. 

But don’t worry – you can still find quieter taverns and eateries if you want a peaceful dinner for two.

Further reading about Budva:

Budva vs Kotor: Comparing the Two Destinations

So how do you choose between Budva or Kotor, tempting and historic Montenegro destinations? Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Sightseeing – For exploring medieval architecture and historic sights at a relaxed pace, Kotor comes out on top. Its pedestrian-only old town is brimming with cathedrals, museums, and atmospheric lanes.
  • Nightlife – If dancing the night away is your thing, Budva is the clear winner. The promenade has the most vibrant nightlife on the Montenegrin coast.
  • Beaches – Budva wins when it comes to beaches too. Mogren, Slovenska, and Jaz Beach are just some of the most popular sandy spots to soak up the Adriatic sun.
  • Atmosphere – Kotor has a more relaxed, quiet ambiance while Budva feels livelier and more touristy. It depends on which vibe appeals to you.

Final Thoughts: Which is Better Kotor or Budva?

As you can see, both Kotor and Budva have so much to offer travelers. Kotor lets you step back in time and immerse yourself in history and culture at an unhurried pace. 

Budva opens the doors to sun-drenched beach fun and pulsating nightlife. 

Depending on your travel priorities and whether you want to relax or revel, you’re sure to have an amazing time visiting either destination. And since they’re so close together, consider visiting both if your itinerary allows!

No matter where you decide to spend your holiday in Montenegro, you really can’t go wrong. 

Both Kotor and Budva deliver breathtaking views, historic charm, delicious Mediterranean dining, and unique experiences to last a lifetime. 

I hope this comparison has helped point you in the right direction for planning your ideal Montenegro getaway. Let me know if you have any other questions – I’m happy to help offer advice for making the most of your travels through our beautiful Balkan country.

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