Why the small town of Kotor in Montenegro is a paradise for backpackers
I arrived to Kotor at 9am hot, hungry and tired. After an 11 hour night bus from Serbia to the coast of Montenegro, all I wanted to do was sleep for a few hours.
Instead, I found myself banging on the door of a closed hostel, hoping someone was within.
Eventually, someone came to the door, bleary eyed and hungover.
“Why are you banging on the door so loudly?” he asked.
“Because it’s 9am. According to that sign, you’re supposed to open at 8am,” I replied.
“Well, we had a party last night. Lots of sangria. Lots of shots,” as if that was supposed to explain the situation. It did, for I had arrived at Old Town Hostel in Kotor, a paradise for backpackers.
Kotor on the southern coast of Montenegro, is one of the main reasons people visit the country.
It is a small town situated in the most secluded part of the Baka Kotorska Bay, and it is one of the most beautiful locations along the whole of the Adriatic Coast.
The town has developed around Stari Grad (Old Town) with steep mountains that almost come down to the waterfront, and it is now a UNESCO National Heritage Site.
Kotor is one of those places that you just have to take in the beauty surrounding you, both natural and manmade.
Every stone paving the street in Old Town is as shiny as polished marble, evidence of the millions of people who have walked these small streets over the centuries.
Every side street holds a new wonder, a new delight, and despite the town’s tiny size, it is surprisingly easy to lose your bearings and get lost.
And as you lose yourself, the mountains are an ever present reminder of where you are.
Right in the heart of Old Town is the Old Town Hostel, an oasis that backpackers flock to.
Maybe it has something to do with the setting, or maybe it has something to do with the hostel itself (it is bright, comfortable and spacious), but I think it is down to the fact that it is one of the most social hostels in all of the Balkans with a different event going on every night.
The first night I arrived at Old Town Hostel, I hung out with an American, an Aussie, and two German girls, all of us trading stories over dinner.
After a few shots of rakia with everyone else in the hostel, we took to the streets going on a mini bar crawl, taking in the best local bars.
Everyone was in such a good mood, and it was long before we were all dancing in the street, our feet stomping on these ancient stones.
I asked Martin, one of the guys who worked at the hostel, if it was always this good. He said: “Every night is like this. Welcome to Paradise.”
During the day I took to the streets of Old Town, often sitting in a café or a restaurant with a coffee or a glass of red wine watching the hustle and bustle go on around me, and during the evening I partied with an ever changing group of people, just enjoying the good times.
With the World Cup going on, it is not hard to find a bar and a group of people to watch it with.
Eventually, you are always brought back to where you are, and overlooking Old Town is an ancient fortress. One evening I spent an hour hiking up to the top to watch sunset over the town and the bay, something that I would recommend to everything visiting Kotor.
After spending a few days in Kotor and at the Old Town Hostel, it is easy to understand how and why it has become a paradise for backpackers. Now you just have to get yourself there…