Getting There and Getting Around Croatia

To save more time for the many attractions, drive around the Bay of Kotor one way and return by ferry across the narrow Verige Strait. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott To save more time for the many attractions, drive around the Bay of Kotor one way and return by ferry across the narrow Verige Strait. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Most visitors to the Bay of Kotor arrive via cruise ship or an all-day excursion from Dubrovnik, Croatia. These options usually leave only a few hours to enjoy Kotor and neglect most of the bay’s other attractions.

I recommend staying at least two nights and either renting or hiring a car so you have the flexibility to explore at your own pace. If you decide to drive around the bay, I recommend taking the ferry one away across the Verige Strait. Reservations are not required.

Tivat airport, located just 8 kilometers from Kotor, has flights year-round from Moscow and Belgrade and seasonally from many continental European hubs, including Frankfurt and Paris. Independent travelers can also fly into Dubrovnik (about a two-hour drive) or take a ferry from Ancona or Bari, Italy, to Montenegro’s Port of Bar, situated 60 kilometers southeast of Kotor. The airports in all of these towns have a number of local and international car rental agencies.

Accommodations around the bay span a wide range of quality and price. Greater Kotor offers the largest selection, including private apartments (called “sobe”) that are generally a better value than hotels. I recommend staying at the comfortable bayside Apartment Nikola just outside the old town (contact: Nikola.Lazović@t-com.me) or searching booking.com, which offers more than 100 reviewer-rated properties in Kotor alone.

Guesthouses like this one in Kotor are delightful places to stay and a great way to meet some locals.  Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott Guesthouses like this one in Kotor are delightful places to stay and a great way to meet some locals. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Although Montenegro is not part of the European Union, it has adopted the Euro as its currency. Most vendors will also accept U.S. dollars and, until Croatia completes its transition to the Euro in 2015, Croatian kuna as well.

While visiting the region, be sure to try some of the delicious local food featuring seasonal produce, roasted lamb, grilled seafood such as squid stuffed with cheese and locally dried ham, and plenty of Italian options, including individual pizzas, steaming pasta and crunchy salads. Montenegrins favor wines made from local grapes, including the red Vranac and the white Krstač, as well as the light local Nikšićko beer.

Terri Cook

Terri Cook

Based in Boulder, Colo., and trained as a geologist, Cook is a freelance writer whose career has focused on exploring and explaining the history of our amazing planet, including as a roving correspondent for EARTH. Follow her travels at www.down2earthscience.com. Follow her @GeoTravelTerri.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 06:00