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How Travel Bloggers Save Money In Dubrovnik And Kotor

Croatia and Montenegro have been on my bucket list for some time. Given the recent troubles in the Middle East, and the continued upheaval at British Airways, our upcoming flights to Qatar were cancelled, so I jumped at the chance to book some last minute flights. I paid £528 for two flights, which is no bargain, so I’m keen to save money in Dubrovnik and Kotor. I’ve teamed up with a bunch of other travel bloggers to bring you some fabulous money saving tips for visiting this part of the world. Let’s hear what they have to say.

Montenegro

Take a walk on the Wild side – Michael – The World Was Here First

One of the best ways to save money in Kotor is to enjoy the great outdoors and hike! While Kotor’s most popular hike, climbing the city walls, charges €3 during tourist season, there are plenty of other hikes that you can enjoy for free. One of the most spectacular free hikes is the climb to Fort Vrmac, an abandoned fortress.

This hike is on the opposite side of the bay to Kotor’s famous city walls, which means you get spectacular views of Kotor’s Old Town as you climb to Fort Vrmac. The hike will take about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your fitness level. Once at the top you can explore the abandoned fortress or continue your hike to other nearby villages.

Kotor Old Town
Kotor Old Town views – doesn’t it look fabulous?

Visit nearby Perast – Natasha – The World Pursuit

A great way to save some money on a trip to Kotor, is to head over to the neighbouring town of Perast. It’s only a 15-minute bus ride along the gorgeous bay to the small town. The architecture and history are the same as Kotor, but it’s around the corner of the bay, so you have a view with no cruise ships and their passengers.

We were able to save a few dollars on a nice meal out on the water in the shoulder season as they were slow. When you finish your meal you can catch a cheap boat ride out to see Our Lady of The Rocks, which only cost €5 in spring.

Enjoying Kotor Bay
Photo credit: Natasha at The World Pursuit. Now that is one fabulous view from a coffee shop!

Book accommodation outside the old town – Margherita – The Crowded Planet 

The number one place we wanted to head to during our recent visit to Montenegro was Kotor. However, when we saw how much it cost to stay in the Old Town, we were about to change our plans and skip the country.

Luckily, we didn’t have to – Kotor is surrounded by many really cool fishermen villages, where you can easily rent a room or an apartment for a fraction of what you’d pay in the Old City. In Muo, our base for a week, there were several apartments located right in front of the coast (there aren’t real beaches in Kotor Bay). Kotor was just twenty minutes or so walk away, and about five minutes by bus or taxi.

Staying outside of Kotor Old Town also allowed us to have a more ‘authentic’ experience – we bought fish straight from the fishermen and headed to local konoba when we wanted to eat out. If I went back to Kotor, I’d definitely stay in Muo again!

Fishermen boats on Kotor bay
Photo credit: The Crowded Planet. Another fabulous view of Kotor Bay

Croatia

Book accommodation outside the old town – Inma – A World to Travel

As you know, Dubrovnik’s most touristy area is the walled city. Therefore, trying to get your accommodation sorted within the old city can get extremely pricey. My first suggestion to save money is to book your hotel outside King’s Landing and its busy streets. (Anne: we were astounded by how expensive some of the hotels are and settled on an Airbnb just outside the old town. If you use this link to sign up, you can get £30 of FREE credit towards your first stay! Our apartment in Villa Bona had spectacular views of the sea, a lovely private terrace and was extremely quiet. The added bonus was that Antonella, the hostess, was amazing!)

Claim your £30 in FREE Airbnb credit now

My second best tip is to avoid visiting the city from late Spring to early Fall. It is insanely crowded and prices go up accordingly. Instead, try late Fall or early Spring. With mild temperatures and fewer tourists, you will enjoy a more meaningful trip and save money at the same time!

Finally, I have a third tip: Explore the nearby islands! Cheaper and, again, with not so many tourists, islands like the gorgeous Korcula will make you feel as if you have stepped into paradise.

Explore the bays around Dubrovnik
Photo credit: A World To Travel. How stunning is this view?

Head to the market – Kristen – Travels and Treats

In Dubrovnik, Croatia, your food tab can add up really quickly. Many of the restaurants in the Old Town area are overpriced because they are in a busy tourist hot spot. Eating out can be extremely pricey, but here’s a few tips to help you save money on food during your time in Dubrovnik.

If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, consider cooking for yourself for a few meals. You can pick up fresh, locally-grown produce at the Gundulićeva Poljana Market in the heart of the Old Town. The market is set up every morning and sells beautiful fruit and vegetables, locally-made olive oil and other produce.

Another money-saving tip for food is to eat at restaurants that are located outside of the Old Town. Most of the restaurants located within the Old Town walls are expensive and flooded with crowds during the tourist season. If you head a few blocks out of the Old Town, you’ll have better luck finding affordable dining options

Shopping at the market in Dubrovnik
Dubrovniks colourful food market

Hire a car (yours truly!)

We planned to hire a car but a taxi transfer from the airport to Dubrovnik costs €30 each way. For £97 we hired a car for a week.

For just £40 extra, we have the freedom to explore to our heart’s content. Given, we paid double that in Albania last month, I’m delighted with this find.

You may also like – Five Easy Ways To Save Money On Hotels, Flights and Travel Spend

Do you have any other tips?

Maybe you have visited Croatia or Montenegro and have some top tips you would like to share. Don’t be shy, we would love to gain your insight.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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13 comments

  1. These are all great tips. I love when it’s possible to spend almost nothing or a small fee to have fun when traveling. I’m thinking about visiting Croatia next spring so I really appreciate these money-saving tips I know I’ll end up exploring the markets 🙂

    • Another thing I love to do (I know this sounds dull) is head to the supermarket as it gives you a much better insight into the cost of living and local culture. We have just spent £20 in Lidl and have enough food for two days of meals which would cost well over a hundred pounds based on our dinner last night. Not been to the market yet but have driven past and it looks cool

  2. Sandy N Vyjay

    Dubrovnik and Kotor are enchanting places. Accommodation is expensive in most if not all of Europe if you plan to stay at centrally located areas. But I can see that lovely places are available if you move a little away from the main areas. When we were in Florence we found a charming hotel just a 15 minute train ride away from the city set in a picturesque little town.

  3. These are great tips! Margherita’s point about staying outside the city is true anywhere – just a short distance away you can get huge discounts and a more local experience.

  4. I think it’s a great idea to save money by staying in accommodations that are in nearby towns instead. Taking a 20 or 30-minute bus ride is so worth saving that money. And getting a more authentic experience is THE best 🙂 I’m really hoping to visit Croatia and will definitely explore the nearby islands.

    • Yes I agree. We are staying in an Airbnb on the hillside above Dubrovnik. It is a long walk up but worth it for the views plus our hostess is amazing and is giving us lots more insight into what it was like during the Bosnian war. They even have a well which they used for water during the war when the electricity and water supplies were cut off

  5. These are absolutely fantastic tips! I’m heading to Croatia and Montenegro next summer, so these tips got to me at the perfect time! I think the tip about getting outside is applicable in many places, but it’s good to know that this is no exception. And you’re not kidding about that coffeeshop view! I’ll be hunting that down!

    • im hopefully going to be checking out the view from the Buza bar that Kristen recommends in her linked post later. A view with a drink is one of life’s sweet luxuries.

  6. I love heading to food markets as a cheaper and more healthy alternative to restaurants. I’d love to visit both Croatia and Montenegro

  7. I’ve just turned from a two months road trip to Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo. Except Kosovo, the first ones are cheaper than Romania (where I live) but I would still recommend taking in consideration the campgrounds. If you rent/have a car it’s easy to throw inside a tent and a sleeping bag. You lower the price of the accommodation to half and in summer is a good choice (sometimes by the sea/beach or with a blue swimingpool). As far as I know , campings are very popular in Croatia and Montenegro too.

    • Hey thanks for the great tip. I’m not a fan of camping (it doesn’t agree with my dodgy back) but I know loads of people who love it

  8. What a great travel journey that you have had. I love the fact that you took the chance to get here, despite of negative things that are rising at that moment. Truly, the places that you’ve shared is really beyond compare. The sceneries are naturally breathtaking and stunning at their own right. It’s like post card. I wish to traipse my feet here and amble around soon If I get the chance. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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