Can’t decide on where to go between Croatia and Montenegro? Then this is the article for you!
Croatia and Montenegro. Now that’s the question.
The other day I was going through some old photos of Croatia and Montenegro and it got me thinking – if I could only go back to one, which country would I prefer to travel to?
At the time when I was researching Montenegro everyone said the same thing – “Montenegro is what Croatia was like 20 years ago!” – so I wanted to see for myself, I wanted to see the differences between the two countries.
I always find that such a funny phrase when comparing one country to another.
No two places are ever the same, let alone with the passing of time. I understand it’s supposed to be evocative, reminiscent of another time, but often I think it paints the wrong picture. Montenegro isn’t trying to be like Croatia, nor vice versa. Montenegro is Montenegro, Croatia is Croatia.
However, having been to both places at roughly a similar time (I can assure you that nothing seismic happened in the one year gap between visiting these two countries to significantly impact or sway one’s decision), there are positives and negatives to each country.
First of all, you probably just want me to choose between Croatia and Montenegro, but I’m going to be that guy, I’m going to make you read to the end before I answer that one. I will answer it though!
I should also add another caveat. I absolutely love both countries dearly, and I think they’re among the most beautiful in the world. If you’re struggling to decide between the two then I envy you – it’s a good problem to have, trust me.
So, Croatia and Montenegro – which one should you travel to?
Dubrovnik Vs. Kotor
The two cites everyone talks about in each country is Dubrovnik in Croatia and Kotor in Montenegro.
It only takes two hours to drive between the two, and yet they are both so different.
Dubrovnik is charming city of 42,000 people where you can spend hours walking the winding streets of Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
By comparison, Kotor is third of the size with 13,000 people living there. However, the town itself (also worth noting a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is tiny. The problem with this is it always seems so crowded with tourists, especially when cruise ship passengers spill out onto the streets and take over the town.
The same thing does happen in Dubrovnik, but it’s much less obvious.
The thing is Kotor is the more beautiful city, and that’s saying something, but having up to 2,000 passengers running around a town the size of Kotor is a major negative.
If you can’t decide between the two, you can actually do a day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor so then you get the best of both worlds!
Verdict – If you’re looking for somewhere quiet, especially during the day, go for Dubrovnik. Kotor is more beautiful though…
Makarska Vs. Žabljak
When people see images of both Croatia and Montenegro, it is usually of the beaches and the islands, yet both countries have mountains worth exploring.
In Croatia, Makarska (to the north of Dubrovnik) has the best of both world – the beach overlooked by the mountains. For those brave enough, you can even drive to the top of Biokovo Nature Park, considered to be one of the scariest roads in the world. I did it and I can assure you it’s shit-sweatingly scary.
In Montenegro there’s Žabljak, an area that’ll please hikers from around the world. In the winter this place is blanketed in snow, but in the summer it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the country. There are so many different hiking opportunities here and it’s an amazing place to get away from it all. There are also some really great tours in the area too if you’re looking for a guide.
Verdict – Žabljak, hands down.
Plitvice Lakes National Park OR Krka National Park Vs. River Cijevna Waterfall
One of the things Croatia has in abundance are waterfalls. They’re almost two a penny here.
In comparison, the River Cijevna Waterfall (otherwise known as the Montenegrin Niagara Falls) is impressive but it’s not even in the same league. And don’t expect them to look anything like the Niagara Falls.
Verdict – Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krka National Park
Pula Arena Vs. Ostrog Monastery
One dates back before the birth of Christ, one celebrates the birth of Christ.
Pula Arena (you can get queue-jump tickets here) dates back to 27 BC and is one of the best preserved ancient monuments in the world (rivaling that of the big one in Rome).
Cut into the surrounding cliffs, Ostrog Monastery is an impressive sight. The Upper Monastery is dubbed ‘Sv Vasilije’s miracle’, because no one seems to understand how it was built, and it’s almost as if the monastery was born out of the rocks.
Verdict – Pula Arena
Kuna Vs. the Euro
A lot of people are surprised by this but the currency used in Montenegro is the Euro. Back in the 90s Montenegro tied its currency to the Deutsche Mark, so when Germany joined the Euro in 2002 so did Montenegro.
That means things aren’t as cheap in Montenegro as you’d think. Yes, the price of food and drink is cheaper, but not significantly so.
Verdict – honours even
So, Croatia and Montenegro?
Arguing between Croatia and Montenegro is a bit like arguing whether you should go to a 2-star Michelin restaurant or a 1-star. The thing is you’re still going to have an amazing meal there, much like you’re going to have an amazing time if you’re going to either Croatia and Montenegro.
However, I’ve brought you this far and I’m not going to be one of those bloggers who sits on the fence at the end of an article.
Which country would I choose over Croatia and Montenegro?
If it was just the towns and villages along the Adriatic Coast, I would say Montenegro – they are small, quieter and cuter – but it’s not, it’s everything else that makes Croatia such an amazing country to travel to.
There aren’t many places around the world where you’ve got an amphitheater dating back 2,000 years, waterfall after waterfall after waterfall, and idyllic islands dotted all over the place, but in Croatia you do.
That’s why should choose Croatia over Montenegro.
Tours in Croatia and Montenegro
Have you ever been to Croatia and Montenegro? Which country did you prefer? Which country would you go back to? I’d love to know what you think so let me know in the comment box below!
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