Nestled on the picturesque Bay of Kotor, the fortified town of Kotor is a gem of Montenegro. With its medieval charm, stunning landscapes, and rich history, Kotor has become an increasingly popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and captivating experience. This travel guide will introduce you to the wonders of Kotor, providing insights into its historical significance, cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, and culinary delights.
Kotor’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, and charming squares. As you wander through its medieval walls, you’ll discover well-preserved architecture, including the iconic St. Tryphon Cathedral, which showcases a blend of Romanesque and Byzantine styles. The Maritime Museum offers a glimpse into the region’s maritime heritage, while the city walls provide breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the bay.
Beyond its captivating old town, Kotor offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Hiking enthusiasts can embark on an exhilarating climb up the Kotor City Walls, which leads to the Fortress of St. John and rewards visitors with stunning vistas of the bay and surrounding mountains. The nearby Lovćen National Park boasts scenic trails, pristine forests, and the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, providing a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage.
For those seeking relaxation, the Bay of Kotor offers idyllic beaches and crystal-clear waters. The nearby islands of Our Lady of the Rocks and Sveti Đorđe provide opportunities for boat trips, exploring charming churches, and enjoying the tranquility of the bay.
Kotor’s culinary scene is a delightful fusion of Mediterranean flavors and local Montenegrin specialties. Sample fresh seafood caught from the bay, indulge in traditional dishes like grilled lamb or cheese-filled pastries, and accompany your meal with a glass of local wine or the famous Montenegrin rakija.
Whether you’re captivated by history, crave outdoor adventures, or simply want to soak in the beauty of the Adriatic coast, Kotor has something to offer every traveler. This guide will provide you with the information and inspiration you need to make the most of your visit to this enchanting town. Get ready to embark on a journey of discovery in Kotor, where history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality await.
Kotor City Guide: A Brief History Of Kotor, Montenegro
The history of Kotor spans over two millennia, making it a city rich in historical and cultural significance. Its strategic location along the Adriatic coast has attracted various civilizations, resulting in a unique blend of architectural styles and influences. This section of the Kotor travel guide provides a brief overview of the city’s fascinating history for travelers to appreciate.
- Kotor’s roots can be traced back to ancient times when it was known as Acruvium, a small Illyrian settlement.
- The city later fell under Roman rule, becoming an important center within the Roman province of Dalmatia. The Romans fortified the city, constructing defensive walls that are still prominent today.
- During the medieval period, Kotor came under the control of various powers, including the Byzantines, the Venetian Republic, and the Kingdom of Hungary.
- In the 12th century, Kotor flourished as a major trading hub, attracting merchants from all over the Mediterranean.
- The city’s prosperity led to the construction of numerous palaces, churches, and public buildings, many of which can still be admired in Kotor’s well-preserved Old Town.
- From the 14th to the 18th century, Kotor was under Venetian rule, which greatly influenced the city’s architecture and culture.
- The Venetians fortified Kotor extensively, building the impressive city walls that encircle the Old Town and extend up the surrounding hills.
- During this period, Kotor became an important maritime and commercial center, contributing to the city’s wealth and cultural vibrancy.
Habsburg and Ottoman Rule:
- In the late 18th century, Kotor briefly came under Habsburg rule before being incorporated into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and later the French Empire.
- After Napoleon’s downfall, Kotor was handed over to the Austrian Empire and remained under Austrian control until the end of World War I.
- Kotor, along with the rest of Montenegro, then became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia).
- Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Montenegro became an independent nation in 2006, and Kotor is now a vibrant part of the country’s cultural and tourism scene.
- The city’s rich history and well-preserved architectural heritage have earned it a place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Exploring the streets of Kotor’s Old Town allows travelers to step back in time and witness the layers of history that have shaped the city. The diverse influences, from Roman and Byzantine to Venetian and Ottoman, are evident in the city’s architecture, churches, and public squares. Immerse yourself in the historical ambiance as you stroll through the narrow alleyways and encounter centuries-old buildings that tell the story of Kotor’s past.
Kotor Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Montenegro
Located at the very end of a fjord-like ocean inlet (this geological feature is a ria, or a former submerged river canyon), the beauty of Kotor defies description, the incredulity of which is only exceeded by how few know of it compared with nearby destinations like Dubrovnik.
With a set of fortifications comparable to its cousin further north, and buildings that are just as spectacular, those that choose to skip Croatia in favour of Montenegro and other cheaper Balkan states will get an experience that one would expect in Dubrovnik for less here.
The best place to start your explorations of the area is in the Old City of Kotor, which draws many favorable comparisons to Dubrovnik further up the Adriatic Coast.
Within the old fortifications that have protected this city for centuries lies numerous churches, museums, and other structures that were crafted with architectural styles that were in vogue during medieval times.
Spend all day getting lost in the many narrow passageways, which lead to many squares, markets, shops and restaurants that will fill your day with many intriguing discoveries.
While there are many churches that will take your breath away within the Old City of Kotor, one of the city’s most noteworthy religious institutions lies out in the harbor on an artificial island. The Church of Our Lady of the Rock is well worth the effort that it takes to reach, as the fact that city residents were able to create this isle in the midst of Kotor Bay by sinking ships filled with rocks over many years is an extraordinary feat in and of itself.
This single minded quest was brought about by a legend that posited that local mariners, after having seen an idol of Madonna and her child on a rocky outcrop at sea, were inspired to create an island by throwing rocks in the sea until the pile would emerge from the surface.
A church in the icon’s honour was built shortly thereafter, and today, it is noted for its collection of paintings from Baroque era artist Tripo Kokolja. Be sure not to miss his ten metre long work, The Death of the Virgin.
If your appetite for art is hungrier than what The Church of Our Lady of the Rocks can satiate, the Perast Museum just outside the city of Kotor will certainly be equal to the task. Painting, sculptures, medieval weapons and other artifacts gathered from noble families over the ages have found their modern day home here, allowing domestic and foreign visitors to appreciate the cultural heritage of this under-rated region.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Kotor, Montenegro
While the cultural highlights of Kotor will keep you busy for days, don’t forget to make time to explore the Fortifications of Kotor, which enabled much of the building stack to survive the violent times of the past more or less intact.
With the first reinforcements being built all the way back in the 6th century AD, it is easy to see how the interconnected system of walls, towers, battle stations and cisterns reached the grandiose proportions that they did, and with much of that infrastructure surviving through to the present day, it would be a sin if you missed touring at least part of it during your trip to Kotor.
Highlights include the crumbling castle of St. John (San Giovanni), Kampana Tower, and walking through the Sea Gate, but even if none of this necessarily appeals to you, the view of the Old City below makes a trip to the fortifications justified in its own right.
During your photography session along the walls of Kotor, you will also be getting some of the best views of the Bay of Kotor, which when combined with the mountainous terrain in the region, it makes for some of the most dramatic scenery in the Balkans. Don’t be content just to look at it though, as there are many ways to see this picturesque body of water up close and personal. Go on a boat tour with a well-informed tour guide, or rent a kayak and hit the waters in pursuit of your own solitary bliss.
Need a hit of adrenaline? Rafting the Tara River is the perfect day trip to take from Kotor which can satisfy this urge with ease. Sign up with local tour operators in Kotor, and all transportation and gear requirements will be taken care of – all you have to do is bring your sense of adventure and wonder, as you will be hitting one of the best, but lesser known whitewater rivers in Europe.
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
Top 30 Things To Do in Kotor, Montenegro For Visitors
Here are 20 things you can do in Kotor, Montenegro:
- Explore the Old Town: Wander through the historic streets of Kotor’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, known for its medieval architecture and charming atmosphere.
- Climb the City Walls: Hike up the ancient city walls to reach the fortress of St. John, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Kotor and the surrounding Bay of Kotor.
- Visit St. Tryphon’s Cathedral: Admire the beautiful Romanesque and Byzantine architecture of this cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century.
- Discover Maritime Museum: Learn about Kotor’s rich maritime history at the Maritime Museum, housed in the Baroque-era Grgurina Palace.
- Take a Boat Tour of the Bay: Explore the stunning Bay of Kotor on a boat tour, where you can visit picturesque villages, swim in crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the scenic landscapes.
- Cruise to Our Lady of the Rocks: Visit the man-made island of Our Lady of the Rocks, home to a 17th-century Catholic church and a museum showcasing local art and artifacts.
- Enjoy Kotor’s Beaches: Relax on the beaches near Kotor, such as Jaz Beach or Plavi Horizonti, where you can soak up the sun and swim in the Adriatic Sea.
- Explore Lovćen National Park: Take a day trip to Lovćen National Park, located nearby, and hike to the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, a famous Montenegrin poet and ruler.
- Visit Perast: Discover the charming town of Perast, situated just outside of Kotor, known for its well-preserved Venetian architecture and two picturesque islets.
- Go Sailing: Rent a sailboat or join a sailing excursion to experience the beauty of the Bay of Kotor from a different perspective.
- Try Local Cuisine: Sample traditional Montenegrin dishes such as Njeguški pršut (smoked ham), cicvara (cornmeal dish), or freshly caught seafood at local restaurants in Kotor.
- Explore the Market: Visit the lively open-air market in Kotor, where you can find fresh produce, local cheeses, and various handmade crafts.
- Hike in the Vrmac Peninsula: Embark on a hiking adventure in the scenic Vrmac Peninsula, which offers trails with breathtaking views of the bay and the surrounding mountains.
- Visit St. Nicholas Church: Discover the Church of St. Nicholas, located near the Old Town, which showcases beautiful frescoes and stunning views over the city.
- Attend a Festival: Check the local calendar for festivals and cultural events taking place in Kotor, such as the Kotor Art Festival or the Bokeljska Night celebration.
- Go Kayaking: Rent a kayak and paddle along the coast, exploring hidden coves and enjoying the tranquility of the bay.
- Visit the Cat Museum: If you’re a cat lover, don’t miss the Cat Museum, dedicated to the feline residents of Kotor and their historical significance to the city.
- Take a Scenic Drive: Drive along the scenic roads surrounding Kotor, such as the serpentine road leading to the Lovćen National Park, and enjoy stunning views at every turn.
- Visit Prcanj: Explore the charming village of Prcanj, located on the coast, known for its beautiful stone houses and the Church of St. Thomas.
- Relax in the Spa: Treat yourself to a day of relaxation and rejuvenation at one of the spa resorts in Kotor, where you can indulge in massages, thermal baths
- Explore the Gospa od Škrpjela: Take a boat trip to the Gospa od Škrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks) island and visit the church, which is adorned with stunning artwork and maritime artifacts.
- Go on a Wine Tasting Tour: Montenegro is known for its excellent wines, so join a wine tasting tour in Kotor or nearby vineyards to sample local varieties and learn about the winemaking process.
- Take a Dip in the Blue Cave: Venture on a boat excursion to the Blue Cave (Plava špilja), a natural wonder where sunlight creates a mesmerizing blue glow inside the cave.
- Attend a Concert at St. Tryphon’s Square: Enjoy live music performances in the picturesque setting of St. Tryphon’s Square, where you can listen to classical, jazz, or traditional Montenegrin music.
- Go Scuba Diving: Explore the underwater world of the Adriatic Sea by going scuba diving. There are diving centers in Kotor offering diving trips for all skill levels.
- Visit the Church of Our Lady of Remedy: Explore the Church of Our Lady of Remedy (Crkva Gospe od Zdravlja), located on a hill overlooking Kotor, and enjoy the panoramic views of the bay.
- Try Rock Climbing: If you’re an adventure enthusiast, try rock climbing in the Kotor area. There are climbing routes suitable for different levels of experience, and local guides can assist you.
- Discover the Roman Mosaics at Risan: Visit the nearby town of Risan, known for its ancient Roman mosaics. Explore the archaeological site and learn about the history of the area.
- Take a Sunset Cruise: Enjoy a romantic sunset cruise in the Bay of Kotor, where you can witness the stunning colors of the sky reflecting on the calm waters.
- Experience Kotor’s Nightlife: Discover the vibrant nightlife scene in Kotor by visiting bars, pubs, and clubs that offer live music, DJ performances, and a lively atmosphere.
What To Eat and Drink in Kotor, Montenegro
In Kotor, you can enjoy a variety of delicious Montenegrin dishes and beverages. Here are some traditional foods and drinks to try:
- Njeguški pršut: Smoked ham from the village of Njeguši, known for its rich flavor and unique curing process.
- Kačamak: A traditional cornmeal dish often served with cheese, kaymak (clotted cream), and meat.
- Skakavica: A local specialty made of dried and smoked beef or lamb.
- Peka: A slow-cooked dish consisting of meat, usually lamb or veal, and vegetables, cooked under a bell-shaped lid for a tender and flavorful result.
- Kajmak: A creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream, often enjoyed as a spread on bread or served with grilled meat.
- Čevapi: Grilled minced meat sausages, usually served with flatbread and onions.
- Sarma: Cabbage rolls stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, rice, and spices, cooked in a savory sauce.
- Riblja čorba: A fish soup typically made with local freshwater fish, such as carp or trout.
- Rakija: Montenegro’s popular fruit brandy, made from various fruits such as plums, grapes, or pears. Try the local specialties like lozovača (grape brandy) or šljivovica (plum brandy).
- Vranac: Montenegro’s indigenous red wine grape variety, known for producing full-bodied and robust red wines.
- Krstač: A white wine made from the indigenous Krstač grape, offering a fresh and crisp flavor.
- Nikšićko Pivo: Montenegro’s renowned beer, brewed in the city of Nikšić. It’s a refreshing option to enjoy with local cuisine.
- Herbal Teas: Montenegro is rich in herbs, and you can find various herbal teas made from ingredients like sage, chamomile, or mountain herbs.
- Narađžovani Voda: A refreshing and slightly carbonated mineral water from the Narađžovići spring, known for its unique taste and health benefits.
These are just a few examples of the many delicious foods and drinks you can savor while in Kotor. Don’t hesitate to explore the local restaurants and cafes to discover more culinary delights.
Top Restaurants In Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor offers a variety of excellent restaurants where you can indulge in both local and international cuisine. Here are some top restaurants in Kotor:
- Galion: Located near the Old Town, Galion offers a beautiful waterfront setting and serves a mix of Mediterranean and international dishes, including fresh seafood and grilled meats.
- Konoba Scala Santa: Situated in the heart of the Old Town, this cozy restaurant specializes in Montenegrin cuisine, serving dishes like lamb cooked under a bell, fresh fish, and homemade desserts.
- Bastion 3: Nestled within the historic city walls, Bastion 3 offers a unique dining experience in a charming courtyard. They serve a fusion of Mediterranean and international cuisine with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
- Tanjga: Known for its relaxed atmosphere and warm hospitality, Tanjga is a popular restaurant that offers a mix of traditional Montenegrin dishes and international options, all prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
- Galerija: Situated in a converted art gallery, Galerija offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that combines Mediterranean flavors with modern culinary techniques.
- Bokeski Gusti: Located just outside the city walls, Bokeski Gusti is known for its warm and welcoming ambiance. They serve a variety of traditional Montenegrin dishes, including seafood, meat specialties, and homemade desserts.
- Cesarica: Situated near the marina, Cesarica offers a picturesque setting with stunning views of the bay. They specialize in fresh seafood dishes, including grilled fish, seafood risotto, and octopus salad.
- Scala Santa Terrace: Located on the rooftop of the Scala Santa Boutique Hotel, this restaurant offers panoramic views of Kotor and the bay. They serve Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, including seafood, pasta, and salads.
- Marius: Situated in the heart of the Old Town, Marius is a cozy restaurant known for its friendly service and delicious food. They offer a range of Mediterranean dishes, including fresh fish, pasta, and homemade desserts.
- Forza Coffee Shop & Restaurant: This trendy spot in the Old Town serves a mix of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, including pizza, pasta, salads, and gelato. They also have a great selection of wines and craft cocktails.
These are just a few of the top restaurants in Kotor, offering a diverse range of culinary experiences. Don’t forget to explore and try out various local eateries to discover hidden gems and savor the flavors of Montenegro.
Tours For Visitors To Kotor, Montenegro
There are several tours available for visitors to Kotor that allow you to explore the city and its surroundings. Here are some popular tour options:
- Kotor Walking Tour: Join a guided walking tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Kotor to learn about its rich history, visit landmarks like St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, and discover hidden gems within the narrow streets.
- Bay of Kotor Boat Tour: Take a boat tour to explore the stunning Bay of Kotor and its picturesque villages. You can visit the island of Our Lady of the Rocks, explore Perast, and enjoy swimming stops in secluded coves.
- Kotor Bay Kayaking Tour: Embark on a kayaking adventure in the Bay of Kotor, paddling along the coastline, exploring hidden caves, and enjoying the beauty of the bay from a unique perspective.
- Montenegro Highlights Tour: Join a full-day tour that takes you to some of Montenegro’s highlights, including Kotor, Budva, Sveti Stefan, and the Lovćen National Park. This tour offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage.
- Lovćen National Park Jeep Safari: Experience an off-road adventure through the rugged terrain of Lovćen National Park. Ride in a 4×4 vehicle to reach the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, stopping at scenic viewpoints along the way.
- Skadar Lake Boat Tour: Take a day trip to Skadar Lake, the largest lake in the Balkans. Join a boat tour to explore the lake’s stunning landscapes, visit monasteries, and spot diverse bird species in the national park.
- Durmitor National Park Tour: If you’re interested in mountain landscapes, consider a day trip to Durmitor National Park. Explore the pristine wilderness, hike to the Black Lake, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Tara River Canyon.
- Wine Tasting Tour: Montenegro is known for its wine production, and you can join a wine tasting tour from Kotor to visit local wineries, learn about the winemaking process, and sample different Montenegrin wines.
- Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks Tour: Explore the charming town of Perast and visit the famous island of Our Lady of the Rocks on a guided tour. Learn about the history and legends associated with these unique locations.
- Olive Oil Tasting Tour: Discover the rich tradition of olive oil production in the region by joining an olive oil tasting tour. Visit local olive groves, learn about the production process, and sample various olive oils.
These are just a few examples of the tours available in and around Kotor. You can find tour operators within the city or book through travel agencies to tailor your experience based on your interests and preferences.
Kotor Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
Here’s a guide to accommodations in Kotor, highlighting different types of lodging options for visitors:
- Luxury Hotels: For those seeking a luxurious stay, Kotor offers several upscale hotels with amenities such as spas, swimming pools, and fine dining options. Some popular luxury hotels include Hotel Forza Mare, Hotel Astoria, and Hotel Cattaro.
- Boutique Hotels: Kotor is known for its charming boutique hotels that offer a unique and personalized experience. These hotels often feature stylish decor, attentive service, and a cozy atmosphere. Examples include Hotel Hippocampus, Hotel Vardar, and Hotel Casa del Mare – Amfora.
- Mid-Range Hotels: If you’re looking for comfortable and well-equipped accommodation without breaking the bank, Kotor has a range of mid-range hotels to choose from. Hotel Marija, Hotel Rendez Vous, and Hotel Porto In are some options that provide good value for money.
- Budget Hotels: Travelers on a budget can find affordable hotels in Kotor that offer basic amenities and comfortable rooms. Hotel Villa Duomo, Hotel Splendido, and Hotel Marija 2 are among the budget-friendly options in the city.
Guesthouses and B&Bs:
- Guesthouses: Kotor has a variety of guesthouses that offer a more intimate and homely experience. These accommodations typically have fewer rooms and provide a personalized touch. Guesthouse Aria, Guesthouse Carrubba, and Guesthouse Four Rooms are worth considering.
- Bed and Breakfasts: There are also cozy bed and breakfast establishments in Kotor that serve a delicious breakfast each morning. B&B Garden, B&B Marija II, and B&B Villa Ivana are a few options that provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Apartments and Vacation Rentals:
- Apartments: Renting an apartment in Kotor can be a great option for families or those who prefer a self-catering experience. Many apartments offer fully equipped kitchens and multiple bedrooms. Websites like Airbnb, Booking.com, and HomeAway offer a wide range of apartments to choose from.
- Villas and Vacation Rentals: For larger groups or those seeking more privacy, there are villas and vacation rentals available in and around Kotor. These properties often come with private pools, outdoor spaces, and beautiful views. Websites like Villa.com and Luxury Retreats offer a selection of luxury villas in the area.
It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (summer months), to secure your preferred choice. Consider the location, amenities, and price range that suit your needs and preferences when selecting your accommodation in Kotor.
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
Day Trips From Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning region of Montenegro. Here are some recommended day trips you can take from Kotor:
- Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks: Visit the picturesque town of Perast, located just a short drive from Kotor. From there, take a boat to the island of Our Lady of the Rocks, an artificial island with a beautiful church and museum.
- Budva: Explore the vibrant coastal town of Budva, known for its sandy beaches, historic Old Town, and lively nightlife. Stroll along the city walls, visit the Citadel, and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
- Lovćen National Park: Take a scenic drive to Lovćen National Park, located in the mountains near Kotor. Explore the park’s trails, visit the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, and admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Skadar Lake: Discover the largest lake in the Balkans, Skadar Lake, which is renowned for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Take a boat tour to explore the lake’s charming villages, spot birds, and visit monasteries.
- Durmitor National Park: Venture to Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its rugged mountains, deep canyons, and glacial lakes. Hike through the park, visit the Black Lake, and admire the dramatic landscapes.
- Ostrog Monastery: Visit the Ostrog Monastery, a remarkable pilgrimage site built into a vertical cliff face. Explore the monastery’s chapels and enjoy the serene atmosphere as you take in the panoramic views.
- Cetinje: Discover the historical capital of Montenegro, Cetinje, which is known for its rich cultural heritage. Visit the Cetinje Monastery, museums, and the former royal palace.
- Ada Bojana: Head south to Ada Bojana, a unique triangular-shaped island formed by the river delta. It’s a popular destination for water sports, sunbathing, and enjoying fresh seafood at beachside restaurants.
- Tara River Canyon: Experience the beauty of Europe’s deepest canyon, the Tara River Canyon, located in Durmitor National Park. Take a thrilling rafting trip along the turquoise waters and marvel at the stunning scenery.
- Bar: Explore the coastal town of Bar, known for its historic Old Town and Ottoman-era fortress. Visit the Old Olive Tree, one of the oldest olive trees in the world, and relax on the city’s beautiful beaches.
These day trips offer a glimpse into the diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and natural beauty that Montenegro has to offer. Consider your interests and preferences when choosing your day trip destinations from Kotor.
Kotor Transportation Guide
Transportation in and around Kotor is relatively straightforward, with various options available to help you navigate the city and explore the surrounding areas. Here’s a transportation guide for Kotor:
- Walking: Kotor’s compact size makes it easily walkable. The Old Town, in particular, is best explored on foot, allowing you to wander through its narrow streets and discover its hidden gems.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Kotor, and you can find taxi stands in popular areas like the Old Town and near the main bus station. It’s recommended to use licensed taxis or prearranged reputable taxi services.
- Buses: The local bus system connects Kotor with nearby towns and villages. The main bus station is located just outside the city walls, where you can find schedules and purchase tickets. Buses also provide transportation to destinations throughout Montenegro and neighboring countries.
- Car Rental: Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore Kotor and the surrounding areas at your own pace. Several car rental agencies operate in Kotor, and you can find them at the airport, in the city center, or at designated rental offices.
- Ferries and Boats: The Bay of Kotor is well-served by ferry and boat services, allowing you to travel between different towns and islands within the bay. This is a scenic way to experience the beautiful coastal landscapes.
- Excursion and Tour Operators: There are several excursion and tour operators in Kotor that offer organized day trips and tours to popular attractions and destinations. These can be a convenient way to explore specific areas or participate in activities such as boat tours, kayaking trips, or guided hikes.
- Airport Transfers: If you’re arriving at Tivat Airport, which is the nearest airport to Kotor, you can arrange airport transfers in advance or find taxis at the airport. Many hotels also offer shuttle services to and from the airport.
- Bicycle Rentals: If you enjoy cycling, you can rent bicycles in Kotor and explore the city and its surroundings on two wheels. Be aware that the terrain can be hilly in some areas.
It’s important to note that parking within the city walls of Kotor is limited and often reserved for residents. If you’re staying within the Old Town, check with your accommodation about parking options or consider choosing a hotel with parking facilities.
By considering these transportation options, you can easily get around Kotor and make the most of your visit to this beautiful Montenegrin city.
Kotor 1 Day Travel Itinerary
Begin your day by immersing yourself in the enchanting ambiance of Kotor’s Old Town. As you wander through its narrow, winding streets, you’ll be captivated by the medieval architecture and charming atmosphere. Take your time to explore the hidden corners and discover the architectural treasures scattered throughout.
A must-visit attraction is St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, an impressive Romanesque and Byzantine-style church located at the heart of the Old Town. Step inside to marvel at the intricate details and soak in the spiritual atmosphere.
For a truly memorable experience, embark on the ascent of the city walls leading to the Fortress of St. John. The climb takes approximately one hour, but the breathtaking panoramic views of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor from the top make it all worthwhile. The vantage point offers an opportunity to appreciate the city’s unique layout and the beauty of the surrounding mountains and sparkling waters.
After working up an appetite, indulge in a delightful lunch at one of the local restaurants within the Old Town. Delve into the flavors of Montenegrin cuisine, savoring dishes like Njeguški pršut (smoked ham), fresh seafood specialties, or local cheeses.
In the afternoon, embark on a boat tour of the Bay of Kotor. Cruise along the picturesque bay, visiting the charming village of Perast and the remarkable island of Our Lady of the Rocks. Allow yourself to be captivated by the natural beauty of the bay and immerse yourself in its rich history, as your knowledgeable guide shares fascinating stories and legends.
Returning to Kotor, set aside time to visit the Maritime Museum, housed in the historic Grgurina Palace. The museum offers a glimpse into Kotor’s maritime heritage through its collection of artifacts, ship models, and navigational instruments. Learn about the city’s seafaring traditions and the significance of the Bay of Kotor as a strategic maritime location.
As evening descends, take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade. Enjoy the scenic views of the bay as you pass by charming restaurants, cafes, and bars. Choose a restaurant that catches your fancy to savor a delectable dinner, whether it’s fresh seafood or other mouthwatering Montenegrin specialties.
To conclude your day, experience the vibrant nightlife of Kotor. Visit one of the lively bars or pubs that offer live music or DJ performances, or simply relax with a drink and soak up the bustling ambiance that fills the evening air.
Keep in mind the opening hours of attractions and plan accordingly to make the most of your day in Kotor. This detailed itinerary provides a well-rounded exploration of the city, combining its historical and cultural attractions with the natural beauty of the bay.
Kotor 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary
If you have 3 to 4 days to spend in Kotor, you can explore the city in more depth and also venture out to nearby attractions. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your multi-day visit:
- Start your exploration by immersing yourself in the charm of Kotor’s Old Town. Wander through its cobblestone streets, admire the medieval architecture, and visit landmarks like St. Tryphon’s Cathedral and the Maritime Museum.
- Climb the city walls to reach the Fortress of St. John. Enjoy the panoramic views of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor from the top.
- Indulge in a delicious lunch at a local restaurant within the Old Town, savoring traditional Montenegrin cuisine.
- Afternoon boat tour of the Bay of Kotor, exploring the villages of Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks.
- Return to Kotor for a leisurely evening stroll along the waterfront promenade, followed by dinner at a waterfront restaurant.
- Take a day trip to the beautiful town of Budva. Explore its historic Old Town, relax on the sandy beaches, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Visit the Citadel and take in the stunning views of Budva and the Adriatic Sea.
- Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Budva, savoring local seafood or other regional specialties.
- In the afternoon, head to the nearby resort town of Sveti Stefan. Admire the picturesque island with its luxurious accommodations and crystal-clear waters.
- Return to Kotor for the evening, and explore the Old Town further, discovering hidden corners and trying a different restaurant for dinner.
- Venture to Lovćen National Park, a scenic mountainous area near Kotor. Hike to the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš and soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the beautiful nature of Lovćen National Park or have lunch at a local restaurant nearby.
- On the way back to Kotor, stop by the village of Njeguši, renowned for its smoked ham and cheese. Visit a local smokehouse or shop to taste these delicious specialties.
- Return to Kotor and spend the evening at your leisure. You can explore more of the Old Town, relax by the waterfront, or enjoy a drink at a cozy bar.
Day 4 (optional):
- If you have an extra day, consider taking a day trip to Skadar Lake, the largest lake in the Balkans. Take a boat tour to explore the lake’s scenic landscapes, visit monasteries, and spot diverse bird species in the national park.
- Enjoy a lakeside lunch at a local restaurant, indulging in fresh fish dishes or other traditional cuisine.
- Return to Kotor in the afternoon, and spend the rest of the day exploring the city further, shopping for souvenirs, or simply relaxing by the bay.
Remember to check the operating hours and availability of attractions, as well as consider weather conditions, when planning your itinerary. This multi-day itinerary provides a comprehensive experience of Kotor and its surroundings, allowing you to appreciate its historical, cultural, and natural highlights.
Kotor 1 Week Travel Itinerary
If you have a week to spend in Kotor, you can explore not only the city itself but also the surrounding areas and nearby attractions. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your one-week visit to Kotor:
- Begin your journey by immersing yourself in the charm of Kotor’s Old Town. Explore its narrow streets, visit St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, and climb the city walls to reach the Fortress of St. John for panoramic views.
- Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant within the Old Town, savoring Montenegrin specialties.
- Take a boat tour of the Bay of Kotor, visiting Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks.
- Return to Kotor for an evening stroll along the waterfront promenade and dinner at a local restaurant.
- Venture to Lovćen National Park. Hike to the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš and admire the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Have a picnic lunch amidst the beautiful nature of Lovćen National Park or dine at a local restaurant nearby.
- On the way back to Kotor, stop by the village of Njeguši to taste the renowned smoked ham and cheese.
- Spend the evening exploring more of the Old Town or relaxing by the bay.
- Take a day trip to the beautiful coastal town of Budva. Explore its historic Old Town, relax on the sandy beaches, and visit the Citadel for panoramic views.
- Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a restaurant in Budva, savoring local seafood or regional specialties.
- In the afternoon, head to the resort town of Sveti Stefan. Admire the picturesque island and its luxurious accommodations.
- Return to Kotor for the evening and explore more of the Old Town or enjoy a drink at a local bar.
- Embark on a full-day excursion to Skadar Lake, the largest lake in the Balkans. Take a boat tour to explore the lake’s beautiful landscapes, visit monasteries, and spot diverse bird species in the national park.
- Have a lakeside lunch at a local restaurant, indulging in fresh fish or traditional cuisine.
- Return to Kotor in the late afternoon and spend the evening at your leisure.
- Enjoy a day of relaxation at one of the nearby beaches, such as Jaz Beach or Plavi Horizonti. Soak up the sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and indulge in beachside activities.
- Have lunch at a beachfront restaurant, enjoying fresh seafood or other delightful dishes.
- Return to Kotor in the afternoon and spend the evening exploring more of the city’s nightlife or relaxing by the bay.
- Take a day trip to the UNESCO-listed city of Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia. Explore its historic Old Town, walk along the city walls, and visit notable landmarks such as the Rector’s Palace and the Cathedral.
- Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant in Dubrovnik, sampling Croatian cuisine.
- In the afternoon, take a stroll along the picturesque streets or relax by the Adriatic Sea.
- Return to Kotor in the evening.
- Dedicate your last day in Kotor to further exploration of the city. Visit any attractions or areas you may have missed or revisit your favorite spots.
- Discover more of Kotor’s hidden gems, shop for souvenirs, or relax at a café, taking in the city’s ambiance.
- Enjoy a final dinner at a local restaurant, savoring the flavors of Montenegrin cuisine.
Remember to check the operating hours and availability of attractions, as well as consider weather conditions and other practical considerations when planning your itinerary. Additionally, feel free to make adjustments and prioritize based on your interests and preferences.
Throughout your week in Kotor, you can also consider additional activities such as:
- Renting a kayak and exploring the Bay of Kotor from the water, discovering hidden coves and enjoying the serene surroundings.
- Going on a wine tasting tour to sample Montenegro’s excellent wines. Visit local wineries in the region and learn about the winemaking process.
- Taking a scenic drive along the coast or into the mountains, exploring the breathtaking landscapes and stopping at viewpoints along the way.
- Participating in a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Montenegrin dishes, using fresh local ingredients and gaining insight into the culinary traditions of the region.
Remember to allow for some free time in your itinerary to relax, wander aimlessly through the streets of Kotor, and simply soak up the unique atmosphere of this historic city.
By following this one-week itinerary, you will have the opportunity to explore the best of Kotor and its surroundings, including its historical landmarks, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. Enjoy your time in this captivating destination!
Is Kotor A Safe City To Visit?
Kotor is generally considered a safe city to visit. The crime rate in Kotor and Montenegro, in general, is relatively low compared to many other European countries. However, it is always important to take standard precautions and practice common sense while traveling to ensure your safety and security.
Here are some tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable visit to Kotor:
- Be aware of your surroundings: Stay vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or tourist hotspots. Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of any suspicious activity.
- Take care of your valuables: Keep your valuables, such as passports, cash, and electronics, secure and out of sight. Consider using a money belt or a secure bag to protect your belongings.
- Use reliable transportation: When using taxis or other transportation services, ensure they are licensed and reputable. Avoid getting into unmarked or unofficial taxis.
- Respect local customs and laws: Familiarize yourself with the local customs and laws of Montenegro. Observe and respect local customs, dress appropriately, and be mindful of local sensitivities.
- Stay updated on travel advisories: Before your trip, check the travel advisories and recommendations issued by your country’s government or relevant authorities. Stay informed about any potential safety concerns or travel alerts.
- Drink responsibly: If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation and be aware of your limits. Excessive drinking can impair your judgment and make you more vulnerable to potential risks.
- Trust your instincts: If something feels off or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. It’s always better to prioritize your personal safety and well-being.
As with any destination, it’s wise to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances. It’s also helpful to have emergency contact numbers, including those for local authorities and your embassy or consulate, readily available.
By following these general safety tips and using common sense, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit to Kotor.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Kotor?
The best time to visit Kotor largely depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you’re seeking. Kotor has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and hot summers. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what you can expect during each:
- Spring (April to May): Spring is a lovely time to visit Kotor as the weather starts to warm up, and the landscapes are vibrant with blooming flowers. The temperatures are pleasant, ranging from around 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F), making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the city without the peak tourist crowds.
- Summer (June to August): Summer is the high tourist season in Kotor, attracting visitors who come to enjoy the warm weather and beach activities. The temperatures can reach up to 30°C (86°F) or higher during the day. However, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices during this time. If you plan to visit in summer, consider booking accommodations and activities in advance.
- Autumn (September to October): Autumn is another popular time to visit Kotor, as the weather remains pleasant, and the tourist crowds start to thin out. Temperatures begin to cool, ranging from around 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F). It’s a great time for sightseeing, hiking, and exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding areas.
- Winter (November to February): Winter in Kotor is the off-season, with fewer tourists and cooler temperatures. The weather can range from around 5°C (41°F) to 15°C (59°F). While it’s not a popular time for beach activities, it can be a good option for those who prefer a quieter atmosphere and want to experience the city without the crowds. Additionally, the festive season brings a unique charm with Christmas markets and celebrations in the Old Town.
Overall, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn offer a pleasant climate, fewer tourists, and more affordable prices. However, if you enjoy warmer weather and don’t mind larger crowds, the summer months can be a great time to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Kotor.
It’s also worth noting that Kotor hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Kotor Carnival in February and the KotorArt Festival in July, which may influence your decision on when to visit.
Consider your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and available activities when choosing the best time to visit Kotor.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Kotor?
After your trip to Kotor, there are several fantastic destinations you can consider visiting in the surrounding region. Here are a few popular options:
- Budva: Located just a short distance from Kotor, Budva is a vibrant coastal town known for its sandy beaches, historic Old Town, and lively nightlife. Explore the narrow streets of the Old Town, relax on the beaches, and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
- Perast and the Bay of Kotor: Perast is a charming town located near Kotor and is famous for its well-preserved baroque architecture. Take a boat tour to explore the nearby islands, including Our Lady of the Rocks, and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the Bay of Kotor.
- Durmitor National Park: Head inland to Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its rugged mountains, glacial lakes, and deep canyons. Hike through pristine landscapes, visit the iconic Black Lake, and marvel at the breathtaking Tara River Canyon.
- Lovćen National Park: Located near Kotor, Lovćen National Park offers panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor and the surrounding mountains. Hike to the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, the famous Montenegrin ruler, and enjoy the stunning vistas.
- Skadar Lake: Visit the largest lake in the Balkans, Skadar Lake, known for its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife. Take a boat tour to explore the lake’s picturesque landscapes, visit monasteries, and spot various bird species.
- Ostrog Monastery: A unique spiritual site, Ostrog Monastery is built into a vertical cliff face. It attracts pilgrims from all over the world and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
- Dubrovnik, Croatia: If you’re looking to explore beyond Montenegro, consider visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is famous for its well-preserved medieval Old Town and ancient city walls. Walk along the picturesque streets, visit historical sites, and take in the Adriatic Sea views.
- Herceg Novi: Located on the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi is a picturesque town known for its charming Old Town, beautiful beaches, and vibrant atmosphere. Explore the historic sites, relax on the beaches, and enjoy the lively waterfront promenade.
- Ulcinj: If you’re looking for a beach destination with a unique twist, consider visiting Ulcinj. It is known for its long sandy beaches, including the popular Velika Plaža (Long Beach), which is one of the longest in the Adriatic. Ulcinj is also culturally diverse, with a significant Albanian population and a rich history.
- Cetinje: Immerse yourself in Montenegro’s cultural heritage by visiting Cetinje, the historical capital of Montenegro. Explore its charming streets, visit the Cetinje Monastery, and learn about the country’s history and traditions at the numerous museums and cultural sites.
- Tara River Canyon: If you’re an adventure enthusiast, consider visiting the Tara River Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Go rafting on the emerald-green Tara River, enjoy thrilling zip-lining experiences, and marvel at the stunning natural landscapes.
- Ada Bojana: For a unique beach experience, head to Ada Bojana, a triangular-shaped island formed by the river delta. It’s a popular spot for water sports, kitesurfing, and relaxing on sandy beaches.
- Bar: Explore the coastal town of Bar, known for its historic Old Town, Ottoman-era fortress, and beautiful beaches. Visit the Old Olive Tree, one of the oldest olive trees in the world, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this coastal gem.
These are just a few options for destinations to visit after your trip to Kotor. Depending on your interests and the time you have available, you can tailor your itinerary to include other nearby towns, national parks, or even venture further into the Balkans.
Kotor Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Kotor is a captivating destination that offers a blend of history, natural beauty, and a charming atmosphere. As you plan your visit, consider the following final thoughts:
- Explore the Old Town: Kotor’s UNESCO-listed Old Town is the heart of the city and a must-visit. Get lost in its maze-like streets, discover hidden squares, and admire the well-preserved architecture. Don’t miss the chance to climb the city walls for panoramic views.
- Discover the Bay of Kotor: Take advantage of the boat tours available to explore the Bay of Kotor. Visit the picturesque town of Perast and the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks island. The bay’s stunning landscapes and tranquil waters make for a memorable experience.
- Embrace the Outdoor Beauty: Kotor is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes. Venture into the nearby national parks like Durmitor and Lovćen to hike, admire stunning vistas, and enjoy outdoor activities like rafting or kayaking on the Tara River.
- Delight in the Local Cuisine: Sample Montenegrin cuisine, known for its fresh seafood, hearty meat dishes, and flavorful cheeses. Don’t miss trying Njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and local wines, as Montenegro has a rich culinary heritage.
- Take Day Trips: Kotor’s strategic location makes it an excellent base for exploring nearby attractions. Consider day trips to Budva, Dubrovnik, Skadar Lake, or other captivating destinations to further enrich your travel experience.
- Respect the Culture: Montenegro has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and be mindful of local sensitivities.
- Stay Safe: While Kotor is generally a safe city, it’s always wise to take standard precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings secure and avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.
- Enjoy the Off-Season: Consider visiting Kotor during the shoulder seasons of spring or autumn to avoid the peak tourist crowds and enjoy a more relaxed experience. The weather is still pleasant, and you can explore at a leisurely pace.
Remember, this travel guide provides a starting point, and you can tailor your visit based on your interests and preferences. Whether you’re captivated by history, natural landscapes, or simply seeking a charming Mediterranean experience, Kotor has something for everyone. Enjoy your visit to this enchanting city!
In the heart of Montenegro, a jewel so fair, Lies a city of wonders, a place beyond compare. Kotor, oh Kotor, where history intertwines, With cobblestone streets and ancient designs.
Step into its embrace, the Old Town’s charm, Where time stands still, and stories disarm. Wander the alleys, narrow and steep, As whispers of the past through ancient walls seep.
Majestic walls rise, reaching for the sky, Guarding secrets and tales that never die. Climb the fortress high, to the heights above, Behold the panorama, a vision to love.
The Bay of Kotor, a breathtaking sight, Azure waters shimmering, bathed in sunlight. Perast and its islets, like pearls on display, Our Lady of the Rocks, where prayers gently sway.
Indulge in flavors, Montenegrin delight, Seafood fresh and savory, a culinary height. Sip local wines, with every sip a taste, Of the land’s soul, its history embraced.
Nature’s allure beckons, just beyond the gate, Lovćen’s peaks, a majestic landscape. Durmitor’s splendor, with canyons so deep, Skadar’s tranquility, where dreams find their keep.
In Kotor, wanderer, let your spirit soar, Immerse in its essence, feel its ancient lore. From mountains to the sea, this land so grand, Kotor welcomes you with open arms, sand to strand.
So come, dear traveler, to this city so divine, Kotor awaits you, its treasures will shine. In every corner, a story to be told, In Kotor’s embrace, memories unfold.