Where we stayed in the Balkans + How we choose accommodation


Our accommodation in Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.

People always ask me about I decide on which country or city to travel to next, but the truth is that my selections are often based on what I estimate the total trip cost will be. I usually have an idea of how much I can/want to spend, so it’s simple arithmetic:

Cost of getting there + Cost of lodging and food + Cost of activities and/or entrance fees to monuments/museums/other touristic sites

To cut costs on the “getting there” part of the equation, I typically try to travel in the region I’m living in at that moment — tickets are naturally cheaper when you travel closer to home. This then means that when I lived in London, I travelled extensively in mainland Europe — it was just logical since the abundance of low-cost European air carriers (think Ryan Air, Norwegian Air, Easy Jet, etc) enabled me to fly to most places on the continent on the cheap. With a few notable exceptions (our trip to Peru being one, my trip to India being another), I didn’t stray too far from my home base, all in the name of saving money on expensive plane tickets.


At any rate, I tell you all this because one of the main reasons we chose to vacation in the Balkans this past summer is that we knew it would be cost effective, especially when it came to lodging.  This area of Europe is still regenerating itself after a long period of political and economic strife, so prices are still low (though expect them to rise astronomically as the countries in the region accede to the European Union).  We stayed in really nice, affordable places during our jaunt in Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia, and in the interest of sharing my finds with my fellow travellers, I figured I would detail them here.


Kotor, Montenegro

Name: D & Sons Apartments

How much we paid: $101 USD/night

We spent three nights in this large two bedroom apartment located in Kotor’s Old Town. Though we ate all of our meals at local eateries, it was comforting to know that we had the option of making our own food in the fully equipped kitchen. It was just Liebling and I, but apartment sleeps up to four people.




Mostar, Bosnia

Name: Shangri La

How much we paid: $68 USD/night

This was by far the best deal on accommodation we got the whole trip! Our room was newly renovated and so nice! My only complaint was that the wifi was absolutely terrible.





Dubrovnik, Croatia

(Note: we stayed in two different hotels in Dubrovnik)

Name of Hotel #1:  Apartments Dalmatino

How much we paid: $122 USD/night

This place was modern, beautiful, and secluded.  However, beware: Dalmatino located in Lapad beach area of Dubrovnik, making it a 15 minute or so bus ride from the old town (and thus, most of Dubrovnik’s touristic sites).




Name of Hotel #2: Villa Sigurata

How much we paid: $163 USD/night

We spent the last night of our vacation in this hotel, situated right in the thick of Dubrovnik’s old town.  While the location was stellar, I didn’t love the place: after revelling in fantastically cheap and spacious accommodation the other nights of the trip, this place felt small and too expensive by comparison. Still, the owners were very nice and our room was clean and newly renovated.




Notes on how we source and choose accommodation

+ We scour TripAdvisor and spend hours poring over reviews, particularly focusing on the pictures that guests at the hotel have taken.

+ When we finally find a hotel we like check rates on booking sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Agoda, and Booking.com.  Usually the prices are pretty much the same but every once in a while one of the sites will have a better deal.

+ Before booking through one of the sites above, we always check the hotel’s website (if they have one) to see if they have lower rates. While it’s highly unlikely that they do, it’s always good to check, just in case.

+ Location, location, location.  As a rule, especially on a shorter trip, we try to stay in areas that are close to all the tourist attractions.

+When Liebling and I travel together, we tend to stay at nicer places — hotels and B&Bs in the 4-star range.  However, staying in a newer hotel or B&B ALWAYS trumps staying in an older construction, even if the older hotel has a higher star rating.  I am obsessed with cleanliness and hygiene in hotel rooms and somehow it is more comforting to me to know that, if a place is newer, less people have slept in my room, used the toilet, touched the doorknob, etc.  Sadly, hotels are a hotbed for germs.


How important are price, location, and amenities when you are selecting a place to stay on your travels? 


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  • Eeep! After 14 months in Asia, these prices got my pulse racing! We’ve definitely been staying in budget accommodation but I was hoping that when we transitioned over to Europe that we might be able to lessen the sticker shock a bit by sticking to parts of Eastern Europe & the Balkans at first. Apparently our wallet is going to take a hit no matter what!

    One question for you: we’ve often found that we can get better deals than even online booking if we show up and then try to negotiate a discount in person, especially if we are planning to stay for 3+ nights. Obviously this is standard practice in Asia, but do you think we’d have much luck with it in Europe, particularly if we are not traveling during the high season?

    • Hi Steph!! You can definitely spend less that what we spent — there is a full range of accommodation at all price levels! As I said in the post, Liebling and I like to stay in nicer places so we are willing to pay a premium. 🙂

      As for online booking, we booked in advance merely because we are picky and didn’t want to leave where we would be staying to chance. However, if you’re flexible (and not travelling in high season), I would actually recommend waiting until you get there to find a place to stay, as many guesthouse owners are willing to bargain! That said, out of curiosity I *did* go around to a few guesthouses to ask about rates — and prices were only about $10 to $15 USD cheaper a night.

  • We stayed in local rented apartments during our trip to Dubrovnik and Montenegro, basing ourselves in the historic city of Dubrov, then in Herceg-Novi along the bay of Kotor. Since we went in late March, we paid just 15 euros a night each! We looked on booking.com, as another blogger recommended it, and stayed with a really lovely woman who made us breakfast daily and offered to pay for our parking ticket!

  • Hi Oneika,
    Thank you for sharing those useful tips with us, the accommodation looks amazing.
    I’ll follow your tips to chose my next holiday destination.

    Merci beaucoup madame…I hope there’s no mistake 🙂

      • Hi Oneika,

        J’ ai appris le Francais during my A Level but I still had to Google your sentence to understand what you said lol
        I have a friend who comes from Madagascar you remind me of her because she is an adventurer just like you 🙂
        and she’s been trying to teach me French but no results bless her 🙂

        Bonne journee

  • Wow, I had no idea it was so expensive in the Balkans! I’m the same though, when I’m travelling with my guy we always opt for 4*accommodation. I’m far too old for budget hostels and would rather pay more for something really nice.

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