Canned Fish, Kotor, Montenegro.

Price Check: a Kotor Shopping List

Shopping may not be a highlight of a visit to Kotor, but shopping for food here can be fun. There is a tiny communal market every morning except Sunday just outside the city walls, a few small supermarkets in the newer parts of town, and several neighbourhood grocery stores in the surrounding villages, such as Muo and Dobrota.

Although oddly enough we’ve only found one bakery so far – a shock after Paris, where there are a dozen on any street. There’s a small shopping mall here too but who wants to shop at a mall in a historic town like Kotor?

The communal market is a tad odd in the way it’s organised, with the permanent shops inside being operated by Panto, the supermarket chain, and the stalls opposite and outside ran by local producers.

The most interesting are those under the umbrellas outside, selling everything from local cheeses, salamis and prosciuttos from surrounding villages such as Njeguski to fresh flowers and potted herbs, which are better value than bunches of herbs if you’re renting an apartment for a while.

There is not much difference in prices between the supermarket and market, and the cheeses and prosciuttos are more expensive at the market, although I’d rather give my money to an independent producer than a supermarket chain.

What is fun about shopping in the supermarket is seeing all the different products from the surrounding Balkan countries such as Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia, things we typically associate with this region, such as gherkins and salamis. But also things we didn’t expect to see, such as Turkish Delight, although it makes sense considering the Ottoman influence. They also have delicious-flavoured potato chips (crisps), including green paprika and grilled sausage.

Shopping is easy in the supermarkets here as many people speak a little English, or some Italian or French, and most speak Russian. While most of the labelling is in Serbian you’ll probably find a translation in fine print somewhere on the package.

The supermarket staff are not very friendly, but don’t let that deter you. Despite their grouchy faces, I persisted with saying dobro (hello), hvala (thank you) and do videnja or ciao ciao (yes, that’s Montenegrin for goodbye), and after half a dozen visits I eventually got a response, and after a few more visits a smile.

For our Price Check shopping list, we’ve surveyed the ubiquitous Panto supermarket for prices, rather than the market, as supermarkets provide a better yardstick for comparing prices between different cities and countries, and sometimes supermarkets may be your only choice for getting started, especially if you arrive on a Sunday.

One thing we love about shopping in Kotor, shops stay open late, and our local Panto is even open 24 hours!

Please do let us know if this list is helpful or if there are things you’d like to see added. We’re finding it a fascinating exercise. What about you?

Price Check: a Kotor Shopping List

We’ve used today’s currency rates below from www.xe.com rounding up/down. Here’s our Kotor shopping list:

1.5 litre water €0.35 £0.30 US$0.45
1 litre milk €1.05 £0.90 US$1.34
Bottle of local wine €3.60 £3.10 US$4.59
Beer: Niksicko Pivo €0.47 £0.40 US$0.60
100g Nescafe €3.79 £3.26 US$4.83
250 g Doncafe €1.25 £1.08 US$1.59
Lipton’s tea 50 bags €3.35 £2.89 US$4.27
1 kg sugar €0.75 £0.65 US$0.96
Jar of cherry jam €2.59 £2.23 US$3.30
1 loaf of bread €0.40 £0.34 US$0.51
250g quality butter €2.80 £2.41 US$3.57
200g Njeguski cheese €3.00 £2.58 US$3.83
500 ml olive oil €5.70 £4.91 US$7.27
1 dozen eggs €1.00 £0.86 US$1.28
1 kilo tomatoes €2.40 £2.07 US$3.06
1 kilo onions €1.10 £0.95 US$1.40
1 kilo apples €0.95 £0.82 US$1.21
250 g pistachios €4.65 £4.01 US$5.93
250g jar Ajvar €3.29 £2.83 US$4.20
Total: €42.49 £36.59 US$54.19


There are 2 comments

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  1. Emma Heywood

    It’s fantastic to read such thoughtful, tantalising and enthusiastic insights into beautiful Crna Gora. I’m English, but lived there for a year, at remote and stunning Lake Skadar. Local people will love you for your efforts to speak their language, but “dobro” means “good”, not “hello”. “Dobar dan” is the formal daily greeting, or use “zdravo” for “hi”. Younger folk tend to respond well to a casual “cao”, pronounced like Italy’s “ciao”. 🙂

  2. Lara Dunston

    Hi Emma – thanks for your feedback – much appreciated. In fact it was a local who taught us that “dobro” was sufficient, like saying hi instead of hello, g’day instead of good morning, a casual slang if you like which the supermarket cashiers greeted us with every day we went shopping. I loved how everyone said “ciao, ciao!” too, just like the Italians. Thanks for dropping by!


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