One of my favourite ways to explore abroad is to simply wander and be: become immersed in the locality, enchanted by the atmosphere. When I slow down, I feel like I can truly catch a glimpse of local life, and that’s what makes travel even more delightful. Our stay in tranquil Dobrota last year provided plenty of opportunity, with the beautiful historic Kotor only a short taxi ride away.
Its charming alleyways inside the city walls make up the Old Town, dotted with tiny boutiques, restaurants serving Mediterranean delicacies and, of course, the famous Kotor cats offering an abundance of cuteness around every corner. Arriving in the late afternoon, we had time to stroll along the pretty streets and fall in love with the laid-back character weaving itself delicately through the cobbled alleyways.
A visit to Kotor wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Cats Museum, a tiny locale filled with art, writings and the quaintest ambience that supports the feline community. Needless to say, we spent a little longer than usual here, marvelling at the whimsical displays through the various decades in history. Beautiful Catholic and Orthodox churches, coupled with the small Maritime Museum and the Clock Tower, make up the rest of the tourist landscape, all equally worth experiencing.
Stomachs rumbling and the sun nearing golden hour, it was time to find a spot to settle for dinner and a cocktail. After taking a few wrong turns and ending up back in the exact same place, we gave up hope of finding the restaurant we had set our taste buds on and decided to venture out of the Old Town. Past the harbour and its myriad of boats, we made it to Ladovina, a highly recommended option tucked away on a busy undiscerning street.
Stepping through the entrance into a magical garden was a welcoming escape from the bustle of the outside, the terrace blending seamlessly with the semi open-air interior, peppered throughout with trinkets and eclectic touches. Tasty seafood and freshly caught fish graced the menu, complete with a delectable list of cocktails on the side. The Mediterranean sea bass and cuttlefish risotto here were firmly a favourite of the entire holiday. We ate, laughed, and admired the décor.
The sun now past the horizon, it was time to slowly make our way back along the marina to catch a taxi back to our hotel, ready for another day to greet us. Captivated by the quiet charisma of the Old Town’s streets, we returned each day for a dose of local charm. Kotor is often compared to Split or Dubrovnik, but its the slower pace and understated nature captured my heart far more than its bigger, more prominent neighbours.