I love to eat out when I travel – it's a huge part of experiencing a country so when I planned my trip. I knew I couldn't wait to experience the best restaurants in Kotor, Montenegro. When I say "best" I don't necessarily mean the most expensive. I love to visit a range of bars and restaurants from the very authentic, local places. To the more mid-range right up to the more expensive places depending on my budget. Montenegro has been high on my bucket list for many years – I always thought it seemed such an underrated country.

Since visiting, it has become one of my favourite countries in Europe and I couldn't only describe it as the continent's best hidden gem. Not only is it insanely beautiful – particularly Kotor where the ocean meets the mountains. But the local culture, the history, the beautiful old town. And of course – the food! Kotor is a fantastic destination for foodies and best of all, it's very reasonably priced so perfect for budget travellers who still want to enjoy the local cuisine.

Fresh shrimps at Wine Bar Cesare

What is the food like in Kotor, Montenegro

Spending a week in Kotor, Montenegro, really showed the melting pot of different cultural influences from traditional Montenegrin cuisine, to Italian, Croatian and even Greek at times. I loved how light and fresh the food was – it was also perfect for my partner and I. While he's a big meat-lover and enjoyed the pork and meat dishes, I prefer seafood and vegetarian dishes – we were both catered for and rated the food very highly. I would go as far as to say Kotor has the widest range of food I've seen so far on trips to the Balkans.

Due to the area being a stop-off for cruises, it can get very busy during the day, this is why I would recommend you dine out in the evenings when it is more peaceful. Also be sure to look up the ratings of restaurants before you dine to avoid disappointment, the one night we didn't check was our most disappointing meal. There are a lot of more touristy restaurants where the standard of food is lower and the price is higher, so that's why I've created this blog post on the best restaurants in Kotor to give you a heads up on the places you need to experience.

Does Kotor have vegan or vegetarian food?

Kotor is not the best place for vegans, who might struggle to find variety among what is available. There is one restaurant – Restobar Taraca – which has an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu so you certainly won't go hungry as the food is great there! But just be aware before you travel that it might be challenging to find a dish on some menus which don't contain mean, fish or dairy. The language/cultural barrier at times makes it slightly difficult to check whether a dish contains animal products.

However, for vegetarians there is a huge amount of choice and every restaurant had at least one vegetarian dish on the menu. The staff were also extremely friendly and happy to make any changes to the dishes if you needed. Pecastarians will be in absolute foodie heaven as there is a lot of fresh seafood on the menu.

Morning coffee by Kotor cathedral, Mon bistro cafeteria is the best coffee in Kotor

The 10 Best Restaurants in Kotor, Montenegro

Konoba Scala Santa – innovative & unique dishes

Konoba Scala Santa was by far our stand-out favourite of the restaurants in Kotor. You'll find it situated in the most beautiful square of restaurants and bars in the heart of Kotor Old Town. Make sure to try and book ahead or go early to reserve a table, they get VERY busy every night during peak season and this is a meal you won't want to miss out on. We finally managed to get a table for our last night after a few attempts and we were so glad we managed to squeeze it in before the end of our holiday in Kotor, Montenegro. The staff were amazing and made every effort to get us in despite the queue of people trying to demand tables.

Make sure to look out for the overly friendly cats, one fluffball jumped up on my chair for a cuddle as I was drinking my wine. There's so many amazing dishes on this menu but what we loved was the variety and the creative twists the chef had put on the dishes. We both had dishes we had never tried before and we loved them! Started with the octopus salad which was a favourite of ours while in Montenegro. We really rated the monkfish which quite literally melted in your mouth, it was served in a tomato sauce with olives and other vegetables. While I had a rich and creamy gnocchi with truffle – I could have died happy after that meal. Do not miss dining at Konoba Scala Santa when you travel to Kotor, Montenegro.

La Catedral – pasta bar – the best pasta in Kotor!

My mouth is watering just thinking about La Catedral – pasta bar. We ate there twice in one week because the food was so good and I really recommend stopping by. Not only is the service amazing, there's one waiter in particular who was the reason we were so keen to go back and try the pasta. But the food speaks for itself, when a place only does one thing and does it so well. The second I saw a truffle tagliatelle dish on the menu I knew I was going back there.

We had one rainy day during our trip to Kotor, Montenegro, and it was the perfect day to sit outside and listen to the rain with a glass of wine and a bowl of delicious pasta. They have a huge menu of different pasta dishes so there's something for all tastes, and they also have other sides and dishes available. We also really loved the bruschetta – I had the salmon and it was huge!

La Cathedral Pasta Bar truffle pasta and rose wine, one of the 10 best restaurants in Kotor

Restobar Taraca – best vegan & vegetarian food in Kotor

This was our stop for breakfast/brunch after we hiked up to St John's Fortress in the early morning. We'd certainly worked up an appetite and after the hike we were craving something healthy and fresh. We ended up at Restobar Taraca which we had spotted earlier in the week. We were so impressed with this beautiful little spot, it's a super cute restaurant that overlooks a stream and the Kotor Old Town walls.

While we waited for our food, we sat and watched a family of ducks Think fresh juices, buddha bowls, vegan curries, burgers, salads, even vegan gyros! There's loads of choice and they also serve meat dishes so it's a great one for keeping everyone happy. Check out the Restobar Taraca vegetarian menu here.

Konoba Roma – romantic Kotor Old Town vibes

Konoba Roma restaurant is located in the same square as Scala Santa, it's a beautiful place and one of my fave areas for dining in the evening in Kotor. Ithas to be listed as one of the best restaurants in Kotor. Not only was the food incredible but it felt like a very special evening. The town square was buzzing and the restaurant was packed, there was a live musician playing and a sky full of stars above us. The service was a little lacking, but more in that slow European way. We were more than happy to lounge with our bottle of wine and enjoy the evening.

This was the night I got to enjoy the black cuttlefish risotto which is a dish I first tried years ago. I was so excited to have it again and it was delicious, not the best one I have ever had but still so good. My partner had a kebab/meat dish which he also really enjoyed.

Squid stuffed with shrimp and roasted vegetables at Caffe Pizzeria Mondo, best restaurants in kotor

Mon Bistro Cafétéria – the best coffee in Kotor!

If you're a coffee lover like myself, you can't visit Kotor without stopping at Mon Bistro Cafétéria for one. It is without doubt the best coffee in Kotor, Montenegro. This tiny cafe sits in the shadow of the Old Town cathedral with a few seats inside, but you'll want to sit outside to admire this beautiful building and watch the world go by.

They have some light snacks and cakes, and the orange juice is also delicious. Best of all, they have alternative milks such as soy and almond milk so it's a perfect spot for vegans or anyone who prefers non-dairy. We kept going back there for a cappuccino and an Americano.

Caffe Pizzeria Mondo – great pizza and seafood

By far the highest rated place for pizza in town, but they also serve a wide range of other delicious meals. One thing that really stood out about Caffe Pizzeria Mondo was the combination of the incredible views across the bay as you sit right by the water. It's a perfect spot for sunset and you won't be disappointed. It's also great value for money. We had been sat in a restaurant just down the road but were shocked by the prices so we left and tried this place, it was one of our best meals of the trip!

I had a local delicacy of squid stuffed with shrimp, served with roasted vegetables. It was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend. My partner enjoyed a pasta dish with a beef ragu which was also a hit. It was all washed down with an amazing red wine from the region. You'll find that most wine served in restaurants is either imported or from one specific brand who are the main wine producers in Montenegro. They have a huge range of wines so there are lots of try and enjoy! We didn't have a single bad wine while we were there.

Views at Caffe Pizzeria Mondo

Przun – the best for seafood and steaks

We truly were spoiled with great food on this trip and the night we dined at Przun was no exception. We had been eyeing this place up for a few days and when we looked online it was one of the highest rated  and considered one of the best restaurants in Kotor. Not only was the service fantastic and super attentive compared to other restaurants, but the food was delicious. It's a great spot for steaks and seafood.

We enjoyed a bottle of local rosé and we both had steaks, I went for a tuna steak with was incredible. My partner had a beef steak served with garlic butter, vegetables and potatoes. We also had a caprese salad which was so fresh and yummy!

Marshall’s Gelato Montenegro – best gelato in Kotor

You cannot leave Montenegro without trying Marshall's gelato! I had this recommended by a follower on Instagram so shout-out to her because I would have missed out otherwise. We went in our final hours before we flew home and it was the perfect way to end the trip. Whether you like ice cream or not (I'm not usually that bothered) this place is amazing.

The owners and staff are super friendly and welcoming, and the gelato is next level! We shared a lime and rosemary flavoured sorbet which was so refreshing and delicious on a hot day. Cannot recommend this enough on my list of the best restaurants in Kotor – it's a perfect after-dinner stop.

Fresh tuna steak with yellow risotto and avocado at Wine Bar Cesare

Little Bay Restaurant – best for ocean views & beach dining

This one was a totally unplanned dining experience but we walked over to the beach one day and we were both a little hungover. We decided to stop for a bite to eat and passed Little Bay Restaurant. It looked like somewhere that would be expensive due to the location and amazing views. But when we checked the prices it was actually very affordable. It's a beautiful location with mountains encircling the bay and ocean lapping at the steps and sides of the restaurant.

It's definitely a more touristy spot with a lot of burgers, pizzas, pastas and breakfast-type dishes on the menu. But there's also lots of Montenegrin options as well. I had a pizza and my partner had a local pork dish which he enjoyed. Overlooking Kotor beach, I'd recommend this place for the location alone but the food is also good. It's worth a stop-off if you're exploring that part of town.

Wine Bar Cesare – try the tuna steak!

We popped into Wine Bar Cesare on the night we arrived in Kotor and it was a great start to the holiday after a full day of travelling. I actually had one of my best meals of the holiday in Kotor at this restaurant. While overall I wouldn't necessarily rate the whole experience as one of the best restaurants in Kotor. I am still so impressed with the dish I ordered.

Fresh tuna steak is a weakness of mine. I ordered it at Wine Bar Cesare, it was served with yellow risotto and fresh avocado. It was truly incredible, my mouth is watering just remembering it. This combined with a bottle of local white wine was just dreamy to enjoy in Kotor Old Town. My partner had a fresh shrimp pasta which was also delicious.

*This getting started in vanlife blog post is a collaboration.

If you're thinking about getting started in Vanlife, or dream about life on the open road, this blog post is for you. I bought my camper van, a Vauxhall Movano, nearly two years ago and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. That's not to say it hasn't been a learning curve to own a van. Camper van life has been idealised over the last few years, with pictures of lust-worthy vans with beautiful owners dominating Instagram's feed. New vanlife festivals have cropped up all over the UK. But real vanlife is so more than just a pretty aesthetic, it's challenging and can be an expensive investment. It's important that before you make the jump to buying a van of your own, that you have a real understanding of what vanlife is actually like.

Before getting started in vanlife myself, I did countless hours of research and reading. I talked to other vanlifers and asked questions so I could gradually piece together some knowledge about this brand new world. Everything I learned along the way made me fall in love with this lifestyle even more. So when an amazing opportunity came up to purchase my dream camper van for a great price, I knew I was making the right decision. It was still terrifying to invest so much money, but I had a good feeling and knew I was making the right decision. So I wanted to write this blog post to share what I've learned and to help you on your own vanlife journey.

Absolutely Lucy sitting in boho aesthetic camper van wearing jeans and a hat, holding cup of tea, lots of plants and forest in background

10 Tips For Getting Started in Vanlife

Try vanlife out before committing to your own camper van

Before getting started in vanlife, I had already been lucky enough to experience it in both Australia and Europe. I knew I already loved this outdoor lifestyle and way of life, so it was an easy decision to invest. If you've always liked the idea of van living, but haven't yet experienced it. Why not hire a motorhome of your own?

Yescapa is Europe's largest camper van sharing platform with over 10,000 vehicles to choose from. Camper sharing means that camper vans that aren't in use all year round and often sit on the driveway unused can provide an income for owners. Those who have always wanted to try the lifestyle can hire a camper van and explore Europe. It's a great way of experiencing vanlife part-time or to help decide whether to buy a van. It's a more sustainable way to approach vanlife that benefits everyone.

Build your camper van around your lifestyle

Are you planning to live full-time in your van or will you save it for weekend trips? Will you be a summer vanlifer or an all year round road tripper? You might need to think about extra warmth during the colder months. For those who plan to work from their camper vans or go off-roading or even live off-grid. It's important to think about all of these factors when buying and designing your camper van. I really recommend hiring a van before you buy because it will help answer so many questions you might have.

It's really hard to know until you actually live in a van what your vanlife must-haves and deal breakers are. For instance, I knew I wanted a van I could stand up in because I planned to long-term road trip. I know how annoying the lower roofed vehicles can be. When it comes to designing the layout of your van – think about what is most important to you. Do you prefer a fixed bed or a lounge area to work in? So many things to consider but the clearer picture you have before you build, the better.

Make sure you check insurance, tax and repair costs

No-one wants to invest in a camper van then get a nasty shock when it comes to the running costs. Having a van is definitely a large price increase on having a car. So it's important to research insurance costs and tax for your potential vehicle. It's also worth looking at different types of vans, recurring problems that have been found with different makes and costs for fixing these.

No-one wants to think in worst case scenarios, but the truth is when you're buying a van it's often second, third or even fourth hand.  So you need to think about the van's MOT history and anticipate when your vehicle might require larger scale upgrades - even tyres! I spend around £1,000 per year on my van – this includes insurance, MOT and tax. It doesn't include additional service costs and any things that need fixing, or the addition of any features.

Camper van in Snowdonia with mountains and lake in background. getting started in vanlife

Think about camper van toilets before getting started in Vanlife

One of the less talked about elements of vanlife – but we've all gotta go to the bathroom. The question is - where do you plan to do it? Do you actually need – or want – a toilet in your camper van? Is it worth the investment and will you actually use it? All questions you need to ask yourself before getting started in vanlife. When I bought my camper van, it actually came with a portable toilet which was just stored under the bed and had never been used. It's now two years on and I've still never used it despite living in my van for months and taking regular weekend trips.

If you are planning to live in your van full time, I can see how they would be super helpful. However, I personally haven't felt the need has ever outweighed the thought of having to empty it. Everywhere I have been in the camper van, there has been lots of public toilets, campsites with showers and toilets, and if worse came to worse, I'm always down for a nature wee. If that sounds okay to you, perhaps it's not worth investing in a toilet. But if you think it's a non-negotiable when getting started in vanlife, start thinking about camper van toilet options.

First time vanlifers – Invest in your van electrics and plumbing

I cannot stress this enough – focus on your electrics and plumbing from the beginning of your build. It makes it more complicated to add these later on when the structure of your van is already in place. Be realistic about what electrics you will need in your van and whether you need to invest in an inverter or leisure battery. I have a leisure battery which charges from solar and also when I drive. I now use USB sockets for charging my laptop, camera, fridge. My lights are hooked up to the leisure battery. It's all straightforward and I've yet to run out of power despite never plugging in.

It's worth thinking about your kitchen & sink set-up and whether you want these inside or prefer to cook outside. I prefer a gas stove & bbq to use outside the van and while I have an electric pump set-up in the van, I don't tend to use it. Make sure you get your electrics done by a professional - a lot of van insurers are starting to look at gas & electrics in vans and self-done vans naturally hold more risk.

Maximise storage when designing your camper van

I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. Whether you live in your camper van, or just travel part-time, when getting started in vanlife it's super important to maximise every storage opportunity. Trust me, you'll thank me later. I bought my van with the intention of solo van life, since my partner has come along there is twice as much stuff to fit in the van. It really helps to have a higher fixed bed to maximise the storage space below, while also having storage benches as seating, and top cupboards above the kitchen and bed.

Every van is different as it is styled around your lifestyle, but it pays off later on to really think about how you want to store larger items. Even things like clothes & kitchen items need to be stored well so that your van doesn't feel cluttered. I love that my van has a place for everything and always has lots of extra storage so if I need more, I have it ready to go!

Absolutely Lucy sitting outside camper van with campfire . First time vanlifer

Have realistic expectations about Vanlife & expect slow living

Getting started in vanlife means being real about what vanlife actually is. It's not all beautiful views, open space and Instagram aesthetics. Sometimes it's sand everywhere (I mean everywhere!). It's emptying the toilet and washing up in the rain. Or parking on an industrial estate because there's no campsites.

I think it is really important to be realistic about how much longer everything takes when you live in a van. You're constantly cleaning and things like laundry are a day's activity. There's a lot of what I like to call van-admin – things like filling up water, topping up tyres, cleaning your solar panels. Vanlife really does encourage slower living, which is a huge benefit. However, it is to know when getting started in vanlife as this lifestyle may not be for you.

Do you need a sustainable off-grid camper van?

Investing in a more sustainable camper van suitable for off-grid living was the best vanlife decision I have made. My van came with solar panels which didn't work. I decided to add a new leisure battery which would work off the solar but also recharge when I drove the van. It's meant I have never once had to plug in and have lived for months without needing campsites. While it was a bigger investment upfront, it has meant saving a LOT of money on campsites and facilities. Now I use free camping spots and have access to everything I need wherever I go. It's also amazing for working while you travel – which I'll cover in the next section.

Absolutely Lucy laying upside down on bed in camper van, she's getting started in vanlife

Make your van digital nomad-friendly

If you work online, or while you travel, it's super important to design your van to suit your working needs. One big thing is having an endless supply of power as mentioned above – a great way to do this is through solar and a leisure battery. Think about internet access and the best way for you to manage this while travelling. When I was getting started in vanlife, I was working in digital marketing while I travelled. I needed unlimited access to the internet at all times. I used a Vodafone Unlimited SIM and found this helpful for getting signal wherever I went. It was even good enough for regular Zoom/Teams calls and uploading large video files.

Also think about the space you want to work in – are you happy working from your bed? Do you need a shady outdoor set-up or would you prefer a lounge/office area in your van? Create a space you love to work in and you'll have cracked digital nomad vanlife.

Take advantage of free camping, free showers & water points to save money

Setting up my sustainable off-grid camper van showed how little I relied on external facilities such as campsites, toilets, showers and water points. It was a great way to save money when getting started in vanlife. But, also to gain the freedom to camp and explore wherever I wanted. I started to use an app called Park4Night which has become invaluable for locating free spots to camp. It also helps with access to free facilities such as public toilets, showers and water points. Or find free spots at pubs where you can spend the night and paid campsites where you can plug in. It's an absolute must for any vanlifer!


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