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Which to visit - Kotor Montenegro or Mostar Bosnia?

Hello fellow travelers,
We are visiting Dubrovnik for 4 days in late Aug and plan to arrange a day trip to explore either Kotor Montenegro or Mostar Bosnia. Since we only have time to visit one, which one do you recommend?
Thank you

-G

Posted by
2019 posts

We are going to Dubrovnik mid September. We are trying to decide between day trip to Cavtat/Konavle or Kotor. Hard decision, I know. I’ve been to Mostar but back in 1977. I’ll be curious to hear of your decision

Posted by
935 posts

Because it is a day trip and not an overnight trip, make it the Bay of Kotor. It’s closer and if going to Bosnia and Herzegovina, you want to include Sarajevo. Furthermore, it’s a 2h 45m drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar making it too long for a day trip.

Posted by
2019 posts

Wanted to ask if you are thinking of going on your own, group tour, or private tour. We are looking at a private tour (6 adults). Cavtat is 5 hours and Kotor is 9 hours. This might help make our decision.

Posted by
2723 posts

We visited Mostar in 2018 and spent the night. It was one of the top highlights of our tour. We
missed Kotor due to time constraint. That said after reading the article from the website below
I would opt to do a day trip to Kotor. With limited time a private tour sounds like a great way to go. We’ve never regretted taking a private tour.

https://www.thetravel.com/is-kotor-montenegro-worth-visiting/

Posted by
12314 posts

Dubrovnik, Herceg Novi, Kotor, Perast, Dubrovnik. Send me a PM and I can send you a couple of guide names. Did this 2 days ago (but spent the night in Perast ... why not? Its about 1:30 back to Dubrovnik in the morning). Second time to do this in the last 5 years.

Posted by
1984 posts

I have been to Dubrovnik twice and Kotor once, but not Mostar. I would choose Mostar not because I have not seen it but because it is the most unique. I assume this is by private tour--see if they can stop at the waterfalls and other sites in Hercegovina en route.

Posted by
882 posts

How about this idea? Day 1 - Dubrovnik, Day 2 - Day Trip, Day 3 - Dubrovnik, Day 4 - more Dubrovnik or another Day Trip. FYI - I haven't visited any of the places on your list. If I had to pick one day trip I'd probably go with Mostar because it's inland and would likely be different than another stop along the coast (i.e. Rovinj, Croatia and Piran, Slovenia are similar when compared with Ljubljana, Slovenia).

Posted by
4859 posts

We did both on a single long cruise ship day. But the border crossing queue times make it risky. Our ship had to cancel an event and hold dinner for our three busloads. The two destinations are not comparable. Mostar is an important contemporary war and Muslim cultural site (rebuilt UNESCO WHS), while Kotor is a nice medieval city and pastoral coastal bay UNESCO WHS.

Note that there is nothing depressing or barren about Mostar. Because the US is (mostly) respected for its role in that war, it is, like Hungary or Czech Republic, a rare chance to visit a place where people vigorously "like" the US. I will say that (unlike a green pasture in France or Belgium), the quiet signs of the war are still visible in Mostar. And because the cemeteries are of unfamiliar (I mean to US tourists) design, it's a different kind of experience from the WW II cemeteries in France and so on. It's also important that it was dangerous to go to the cemeteries during the war to bury one's family member. There is a deconsecrated Mosque especially for tourist briefings.

My personal bottom line (opinion) is that because there are plenty of medieval cities (especially in Croatia), Mostar is the better choice.

Edit: Some clarifying adjectives and descriptions added.

Posted by
14 posts

Greatly appreciate all the sage advise. It is such a tough decision as both seem fabulous destinations. Thank you Janise for the link (WOW! High praise for Bay of Kotor), and Tim for sharing personal experience and informative comparison between the two. I will try to persuade my travel companions to do two separate day trips so we can visit both. There are 6 of us; I agree that private tour is the way to go.

Thank you all and happy journey!!

-G

Posted by
432 posts

Sounds like you have resolved your question, but we have been to both and out of the two I would go back to Mostar. It was quite something to arrive and hear the call to prayer echoing across the town from multiple mosques and to look up and see a collection of minarets and church steeples across the skyline.

Plus the trip to Mostar from our base in Cavtat was interesting with all of the war damaged buildings and curious cows. Although it was also an experience to be stopped by the Police for speeding after off getting off the ferry across the Bay of Kotor. The Cop pulled me out onto the centreline of the road trying to explain the difference between a solid and dashed line. Of course I couldn't understand anything he was saying so he shunted me off to the other guy sitting in the patrol car who also had no luck communicating with me. However he did finally understand I was a tourist and waved me off, and back to the rental car, while saying "you go", "you go", as the guy in the car furiously scratched out his notes.

Quite the memory.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you Peter. Now you are tipping the scale to Mostar... :-) Appreciate the funny(?) story about your encounter with the traffic officer. Yikes!

Happy Traveling.
-G

Posted by
2723 posts

If your group decides to visit Mostar our group had a wonderful authentic meal at Sadrvan. https://alyonatravels.com/the-best-restaurant-in-mostar/

PS, FYI, our favorite restaurant for dinner in Dubrovnik was Kazbek. kazbekdubrovnik.com
It is located by the Marina, 3 kilometers from Old Town. Our tour group enjoyed the best meal in Dubrovnik!

Posted by
432 posts

The car was an Alfa Romeo and I thought I was Mario Andretti or something, speeding around and trying to pass everybody off the Ferry. Police had other plans for me apparently.

Posted by
432 posts

PNW I sent you a private message a couple days ago.

P.

Posted by
1418 posts

I did an overnight in Mostar and a day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor.

The area around the Bay of Kotor is gorgeous. Kotor itself is lovely but not much different from old-town Dubrovnik in terms of architecture.

My time in Mostar was life-altering. I was fortunate to be able to have extended conversations with people who lived through the war there. I will never forget their stories. It's also a beautiful city. I am glad I got to spend the night there; I'm not sure I would have had the same appreciation for it on a day trip.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you Lane for sharing your experience. Mostar is added to my itinerary.

Happy summer!

-G

Posted by
12314 posts

I spend a time in the Balkans every year. Among my favorite places. There hasn't been a trip to any part of it that hasn't included long conversations about the wars, recent and past. People in each of the states have very strong and very conflicting beliefs on the subject. After several years of these talks I have read a few books to discover that most likely they are all correct to some degree. The war ended, but the attitudes still run strong. The region is a powder keg just waiting to happen.

Posted by
2129 posts

To follow up on James E's comment about varying attitudes, the full story of the war is very very complex. It's not one side v another. There were 3 sides, and each side had subdivisions. The Serbian Serbs were one of the main actors, but most of the atrocities happened in Bosnia-Herzogovenia due to the Bosnian Serbs in Republika Srbska.

When you go back to WWII, there was a huge colony of Germanic persons in Serbia-Croatia-Slovenia-Romania, who got there in the 1700s. There are some of those remaining, but 95% were ethnically cleansed after WWII and removed. But harsh feelings remain.

There are a number of books. For Mostar, there is "The Bridge on the Drina", a Nobel Prize winning book about the famous bridge. One favorite of mine is the British journalist Misha Glenny who wrote a good and long history, maybe several. Get the most recent edition (I think it is up to a 3rd edition). There is also Robert Kaplan "Balkan Ghosts". More books are being written all the time.

I have a family history in the region, but consider it to be one of the key fulcrums of European history starting in Roman times. The entire 20th century was shaped by 2 bullets fired in Sarajevo on June 30, 1914. Family lore says that my grandfather was there.

Posted by
2494 posts

I will respectfully offer that The Bridge on the Drina will give specific insight into Višegrad and its bridge (though it reflects historical tensions in Bosnia & Herzegovina more broadly, too). The river through Mostar is the Neretva.