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Kotor, Montenegro is an finely preserved medieval city in a secluded nook of the visually beautiful Bay of Kotor. It’s a high attraction within the younger Balkan nation of Montenegro in Southeastern Europe and guarded UNESCO World Heritage Web site. There’s no denying it’s a vacationer magnet, however few can resist its attraction as soon as they step meals in Stari Grad, the Previous City of Kotor.
Whereas most guests come as a cease on a cruise or as a day journey from Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia, there are sufficient compelling issues to do in Kotor to justify staying for no less than just a few nights. Should you solely go to for a pair hours, you’ll want you had extra time to linger and take in its fairy tale-like environment.
There are additionally some nice day journey prospects from Kotor, justifying a fair longer keep. You possibly can even go so far as making a day journey to Ostrog Monastery, one of the vital spectacular sights within the Balkans.
Kotor can be the proper dwelling base for additional exploration of the Bay of Kotor, comparable to the unbelievably stunning village of Perast, and it’s potential to make day journeys additional afield to different enchanting Montenegrin locations, and even throughout the border in Croatia. Irrespective of how lengthy or brief you might be within the nation, it’s an important cease in your Montenegro itinerary.
On this Kotor information I’m going to checklist the highest Kotor points of interest and what to see in Kotor in someday or extra. I’ll additionally cowl the place to remain in Kotor, plus some concepts for Kotor day journeys on the finish of the article.
Should you’re visiting with little ones like we did, see my article on visiting Kotor with children.
A boat tour like this one is one of the simplest ways to expertise the Bay of Kotor.
An audio information is included on the Bay of Kotor Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, which is a enjoyable solution to attain close by Perast and different points of interest on the Bay of Kotor.
To get to Kotor, discover the most effective flight offers on Kiwi, a flight hacking web site.
Should you plan to hire a automobile, we had an excellent expertise with this automobile reserving web site.
A Transient Historical past of Kotor
The Previous City of Kotor dates again to Roman occasions, first being talked about in 168 BC. Occupying a strategic place on the Adriatic Sea, it has been fortified for the reason that Center Ages.
Over the centuries, the city has been occupied by Illyrians, Serbians, Hungarians, Venetians, Austrians, and the French. The city has additionally been subjected to quite a few earthquakes, with notable ones in 1537, 1563, 1667, 1729, and 1979.
Montenegro was subsequently part of Yugoslavia, and at last achieved independence in 2006.
The Previous City of Kotor and its historical metropolis partitions climbing up the slopes of Saint John’s Mountain towards Mount Lovcen (1749 m) have been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Web site since 1979, nevertheless it wasn’t till the 2000s that it began catching on in an enormous method as a vacationer vacation spot.
The easiest way to expertise Kotor’s wealthy historical past is by getting into although one of many three principal gates and exploring the Previous Metropolis’s historical cobblestone streets, strolling alongside the Previous Metropolis partitions, and stepping in to its stone church buildings.
The place to Keep in Kotor
Spending the night time in Kotor means you get to get pleasure from crowd-free streets and a extra romantic vibe within the night when all of the cruise ship vacationers have cleared.
If the noise will trouble you (the streets of Kotor Previous City are so slim that even speaking from the streets, to not point out music from the eating places and bars, funnels as much as each window), take into account staying in a guesthouse in a quiet nook of the Previous Metropolis.
An excellent instance is La Dolce Vita Residences (see on Reserving / Agoda), or someplace simply exterior of the Previous Metropolis, comparable to Residences Ana (see on Reserving / Agoda) close to the River Gate.
Once we visited in October, we stayed in this Airbnb located in the midst of the Previous Metropolis. We had a particularly cute rooftop balcony with a shocking view of Kotor rooftops and components of the Previous Metropolis partitions snaking up the mountain to Kotor Fortress. It was the most cost effective condo we stayed at throughout our 10-week journey throughout Europe!
At night time, we may hear folks speaking on the streets under and a few gentle music, nevertheless it wasn’t too dangerous, and our children slept positive. The church bells did wake us up early within the morning although.
Search right here for different nice offers on motels in Kotor.
When to Go to Kotor
In summertime Kotor and different well-known locations in Montenegro like Budva are packed and have a celebration vibe, with bars pumping music till the midnight. The climate can be insufferable scorching for sightseeing.
We strongly advocate visiting within the shoulder seasons of late spring or early autumn. We went in October, and the climate was completely attractive; it was completely clear on daily basis and simply scorching sufficient to go swimming, and solely a touch chilly at night time.
Nevertheless, by mid- to late-October, some issues begin shutting down for the season, and should you go to Kotor or different locations in Montenegro in winter, chances are you’ll discover many issues closed and the the climate wet and chilly, however no less than you’ll be a few of the few vacationers on the town!
Additionally see my associated article on visiting Lake Bled in October and November.
High Issues to Do in Kotor
The next locations to see in Kotor are listed roughly so as of what you completely should see whereas on the town. Additionally you should definitely decide up an in depth map of the Previous City from the Kotor Vacationer Data Heart, which is situated simply exterior the Sea Gate (the principle entrance to the Previous City).
Discover Stari Grad (Kotor Previous City) on Foot
You’ll most definitely start your Kotor expertise by getting into by means of one in every of Kotor Previous Metropolis’s three principal gates: the River Gate (relationship to 1540) within the north, South Gate (Gurdić Bastion, thirteenth to 18th century), or the principle Sea Gate (1555) on the western facet.
Most individuals enter through the Sea Gate, and its unattainable to not be obsessed on Kotor’s glistening cobblestone streets and medieval edifices from the second you stroll in.
To the left is the Essential Sq. (Trg od Oružja) of Stari Grad, whereas proper in entrance of you you’ll see the spectacular Clock Tower (1602).
From there, select a course, begin strolling, and get misplaced in Star Grad’s unforgettably charming maze of streets. The Previous City is surprisingly small, so even should you get just a little disoriented, simply hold going, and also you’ll ultimately encounter one in every of Kotor’s high points of interest and notice the place you might be.
Should you’ve obtained restricted time, then I’d recommend becoming a member of a strolling tour to cowl the principle sights. This one-hour strolling tour is budget-friendly and has small teams, whereas this non-public 90-minute tour is extra complete.
Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (Kotor Cathedral)
The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (1166, on the location of a church relationship to 809) is probably the most spectacular of Stari Grad’s dozen or so church buildings, cathedrals, and monasteries. It’s the most well-liked factor to see in Kotor, and one of the vital well-known Cathedrals in Montenegro.
Kotor Cathedral is one in every of solely two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro (most of them are Christian Orthodox). It was in-built honor of Saint Tryphon, the patron saint of town.
The Cathedral includes a attractive Romanesque inside and two Baroque bell towers that had been added after an earthquake in 1667. It was badly broken by one other earthquake in 1979, however extensively repaired in 2016, which is why you may see each 1166 and 2016 on the entrance. Look ahead to the gilded-silver bas-relief display screen on the altar, thought of a very powerful treasure.
The cathedral is only some minute’s stroll from the Sea Gate on the southeastern finish of city; taking a look at a map, the streets might seem difficult, however you’ll be shocked the way you simply stroll in that basic course, and the roads appear to steer you there.
The two€ entrance contains entry to the Sacral Artwork Museum, a treasury of invaluable relics on the second ground, together with valuable silver objects, 14th century frescoes, and different artworks. From the second ground balcony you can even get pleasure from a powerful view of the sq. under.
The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon opening hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with extra restricted hours in winter. It didn’t open till 9 a.m. once we visited in October, and in January/February, it could shut as early as 1 p.m.
Church of Saint Nicholas and different Kotor Church buildings
The second most spectacular non secular construction within the metropolis is the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas (1909, on the location of a church relationship to the seventeenth century). The church fronts St. Luke’s Sq. on the northwestern finish of the Previous City.
The church’s entrance façade is topped with two bell towers with black domes and golden crosses, whereas a big Serbian flag hangs down. Essentially the most putting characteristic as you enter are the large frescoes adorning the partitions. Many guests benefit from the mystical environment of the church.
In the identical sq. sits smaller St. Luke’s Church (1195), with its distinctive spherical high. Its price a fast look, however like a number of different Kotor church buildings, there’s a memento stall inside, which sadly takes away from the expertise.
Different locations of worship on the town price a glance are the Franciscan Monastery of Saint Claire (18th century, simply south of the Church of Saint Nicholas), Saint Michael’s Church (18th century, throughout from the Kotor Vehicles Museum (see #7 under), Church of Saint Mary (1221, in entrance of the doorway to the Kotor Fortress hike (see #4 under), and the Monastery of Saint Francis (seventeenth century, on the southeast finish of city).
Hike to Kotor Fortress
The hike to Saint John’s Fortress, or Fort of San Giovanni, is one probably the most attractive issues to do in Kotor. 1355 steps observe a piece of Previous Metropolis partitions steeply up the hill subsequent to the Previous City, offering completely epic views of the Bay of Kotor. Across the midway level, you’ll go the Church of Our Girl of Treatment, seen within the picture under.
It solely takes about 45-minutes going up, however a tiring 45 minutes, and 30 to return again down. Most individuals spend two hours or extra in complete with all the image stops and time on the high. Do that hike within the morning should you can for the most effective daylight, in any other case you’ll be taking pictures photos into the solar.
Observe that there’s a cost of 8€ (8 a.m. to eight p.m., Could to October) to do the hike, payable on the entrance to the hike within the northeast nook of the Previous Metropolis close to the Church of St. Mary Collegiate/Rd. to the Fort of St. Ivan. Go earlier or later (or out of season) to keep away from the doorway payment; the partitions are open 24 hours!
An excellent (and free!) different to the principle path to Saint John’s Fortress is the Ladder of Kotor (or “Ladder of Cattaro”), a sequence of switchbacks up the hill that begins simply north of the Previous City. The hike is free to enter (and freed from crowds!) and connects to the Kotor Fortress half method up.
If these hikes aren’t wild sufficient for you, then you may even cycle down the mountain whilst you benefit from the unbelievable views!
The Previous Metropolis Partitions and Bastions
Kotor’s Previous Metropolis is encircled by partitions, going through the waterfront within the south, Scurda River within the west and snaking up Mount Lovcen to Kotor Fortress to the east (see #4 above).
The partitions are crumbling in lots of sections, so it’s not potential to stroll all the way in which across the Previous Metropolis on the partitions like guests can do in Dubrovnik just a few hours to the north in Croatia.
Nevertheless, there are nonetheless a number of part of the wall that guests can simply entry proper within the Previous City, together with Gurdić Bastion (South Gate), Korner Bastion (on the south facet), Valier Bastion (additionally on the south facet, above the Sea Gate), Kampana Tower and Citadel on the southwest nook, and Bembo Bastion (at the moment a efficiency stage, with Bastian Restaurant (Бастион 1 on GoogleMaps) occupying the park under, close to the River/North Gate).
Its essential to take care when strolling on wall, as some sections are in decay or have steep drops with no fence.
Kotor Farmer’s Market
We confirmed up on the native Kotor Market (“Маркат” on GoogleMaps) to anticipate solely fruit and greens, however had been pleasantly shocked to search out a lot extra. We ended up leaving with armfuls of groceries and treats.
In addition to low cost produce, you’ll find olives, rings of dried figs, native fruit wines (raspberry, blackberry, pomegranate) and rakija (distilled fruit liquor), fish, prosciutto and different cured meats, and a number of cheeses. The verdant inexperienced pesto cheese we purchased was probably probably the most scrumptious cheese I’ve ever had!
The market is about up below a piece of the Previous Metropolis wall. To search out it, exit the Previous Metropolis from the Sea Gate, flip left, and stroll 100 meters round a nook of the wall. It’s open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. (greatest visited within the morning). It’s labelled “Kotor Meals Market” on GoogleMaps.
Kotor Cats Museum
One factor you’ll immediately discover about Kotor is the presence of numerous cats. They’re in all places, lounging within the solar, accepting strokes from passersby, and mooching for meals on restaurant patios.
Locals and guests alike appear to have a tender spot for the cats and are properly taken care of (so far as strays go), judging by the dishes and piles of cat meals in all places.
The Kotor Cats Museum is, because the title suggests, dedicated to the cats of Kotor. Largely the museum is a set of work and souvenirs about cats, and the small entrance payment goes in the direction of serving to town’s strays.
After being closed for just a few years, the museum is open once more (excessive season solely), although it doesn’t really home as many cats because it used to.
Cat lovers may take a look at the Cats of Kotor store cat-related jewellery and different objects which are prettier than the standard cat souvenirs you see in all the opposite outlets.
Additionally constructed into a piece of the Previous Metropolis wall, in between Saint Claire Church and Saint Nicholas Church, the Kotor Bazaar is nothing however a set of memento and trinket stalls, nevertheless it’s price a fast look.
Head to the again and search for for a powerful view of the crumbling stays of a sixteenth century Dominican Monastery.
Eating in Kotor
The quite a few tourist-oriented eating places in Kotor’s Previous Metropolis characteristic inviting out of doors seating within the city’s many squares and small lanes. Menus characteristic Italian and Montenegrin fare, heavy on seafood.
These eating places are notably romantic after the solar goes down. Once we visited in October, evenings had been changing into just a little chilly, however fiery heaters positioned between tables solely added to the atmosphere.
I might personally advocate Cesarica Restaurant, which is tucked away in a quiet little alley and is thought for the Montenegrin specialty of squid filled with shrimp and a facet of blitva (chard with crushed potatoes and olive oil).
You possibly can in fact additionally discover gelato stalls all through city, and they’re half the value of what you’d pay in close by Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Meals lovers may take into account this guided strolling tour that features sitting all the way down to get pleasure from an area snack with wine.
Sampling Montenegrin Wine and Beer
Montenegro produces some wonderful wines, and it could be a criminal offense to go to and never attempt some. I might advocate Previous Vineyard Wine Bar on the northeast finish of city close to the doorway to the Kotor Fortress Hike.
The small wine bar with road facet chairs options dozens of wines from Montenegro and Serbia on its menu. I attempted the sampler deal which includes a Chardonnay and two purple wines for 16€, together with a plate of cheese, olives, nuts, dried fruit, and prosciutto.
The rose wine I additionally tried was wonderful, as was the bar’s meals. We noticed different tables having fun with monumental plates of charcuterie to pair with wine.
For a bottle of native Montenegrin wine at a fraction of the value, attempt the couple of Mini Markets on the middle of the Previous Metropolis, and even higher (and to replenish on groceries), head to the grocery store in Buying Centre Kamelija simply north of the Previous City or Concept Grocery store simply south of the Previous City.
For pivo (beer) lovers, there are a handful of pubs on the town, whereas most eating places additionally serve draught Niksicko beer, Montenegro’s principal brew. Should you’re fortunate, you’ll find the tamno (darkish) model and (not so bitter) IPA. The grocery shops out of city carry each, however they’re powerful to search out within the Previous City.
What would a vacation be with out spending a while tanning on the seashore? Kotor’s principal seashore is situated a 5 minute stroll north of the Previous City, previous the Port of Kotor and Park Slobode.
The seashore is usually pebbles and has paid solar loungers in summer time plus a free part. The sizeable swimming space is roped off to supply safety from the numerous passing boats (no person desires to get run over by an unlimited cruise ship, proper?)
Kotor Maritime Museum
Though I personally wouldn’t take into account it a must-see, historical past buffs will benefit from the Maritime Museum in Kotor’s Previous City. The small museum covers the maritime historical past and tradition of the world.
Entrance is 4€ (kids 1.5€, very younger kids free). See the museum’s official web site for the opening hours by season.
Boka (Bay of Kotor) Cruise
Probably the most in style (and worthwhile) issues to do in Kotor is to cruise the extremely picturesque Bay of Kotor on a motorboat.
Should you’ve obtained children, they’ll have enjoyable on this half-submarine Kotor Bay cruise like ours did, however heads up that we didn’t see any fish by means of the glass backside. It was too foggy.
Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
For a extra environmentally pleasant solution to discover the Bay of Kotor attempt paddling round in a kayak or driving a SUP (stand-up paddle board).
For stand-up paddle boarding, here’s a advisable 2.5-hour tour.
View the Previous Metropolis Partitions at Night time
Whereas wanting down on the Bay of Kotor from Kotor Fortress is a outstanding expertise, wanting up on the mountain partitions at night time when they’re lit up can be very particular. The lights come on round nightfall and make the wall extra seen that it’s within the daytime, when it’s camouflaged.
The very best spot to view the lit up metropolis partitions is from the waterfront space exterior of Gurdic Bastion (South Gate). Simply exit the gate and cross the street to the parking zone on the opposite facet. Should you observe the parking zone to the tip, you’ll attain in style, upscale Restaurant Galion, whose patio has the most effective night time view on the town.
Day journeys from Kotor
Kotor can be a handy base for doing day journeys to surrounding areas. Listed below are a few of the greatest day journeys from Kotor.
Perast is a particularly fairly village on the bay of Kotor that’s second solely to Kotor in recognition. It’s solely 20 minutes away by bus, so it will possibly simply be finished as a half-day journey from Kotor. You possibly can learn my information to Perast right here.
The village is tiny however has a wealthy naval historical past, occupying a strategic entrance going through the one water entrance into the Bay of Kotor. It solely takes 10 minutes to stroll throughout city, however there are over a dozen and simply as many palaces, image postcard views, and several other romantic eating places on the water’s edge.
Most particular of all, Perast faces two tiny islets, a pure one that’s off limits to vacationers, and a man-made one, Our Girl of the Rocks, housing a small church. Boats run from Perast for five€ return.
To get to Perast from Kotor, take the Blue Line bus from the principle street simply north of the Kotor Previous Metropolis, hop in a taxi (20-25€ one-way), or attempt the Kotor Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus, which additionally stops at different scenic factors on the Bay of Kotor.
White Water Rafting Tara Canyon
The Tara Canyon 3.5 hours north of Kotor options the nation’s greatest white water rafting. The everyday route is from Brstnovica to Šćepan Polje, which is eighteen kilometers and takes two to a few hours.
A typical tour like this one is a full-day journey that features navigating thrilling rapids, lunch at a riverside restaurant, stopping to admire Piva Monastery, and extra.
Budva is without doubt one of the hottest cities on the coast of Montenegro. Seashore lovers flock to Budva in summer time to hit the seashore and occasion. The town additionally boasts a well-preserved Previous Metropolis with 2500+ years of historical past, occupying a rocky peninsula jutting out from one finish of the bay.
Should you’ve obtained sufficient time in Montenegro, chances are you’ll need to commit a number of days to Budva, however it will possibly simply be finished as a day journey from Kotor as it is just 45 minutes away by bus. Catch any Podgorica-bound bus from Kotor Essential Bus Station, 5 minutes’ stroll south of Kotor Previous City. Budva can be included on this day tour from Kotor, which additionally stops in a well-liked Sveti Stefan and Perast.
Whereas it’s simpler to make a day journey from Podgorica to Ostrog Monastery, it is usually potential from Kotor; I did it myself!
Should you’re prepared to hire a automobile in Montenegro, you may drive there your self in simply over two hours, however watch out on the winding roads! By public transportation (which is what I did), it’s important to catch a bus from Kotor to Podgorica (2-2.5 hours), then a practice from Podgorica to Ostrog (45 minutes), and at last stroll uphill to the monastery (2 hours return, not counting time on the monastery). See all the main points in my information to creating a day journey from Kotor to Ostrog Monastery.
To avoid wasting all that bother, you can even be part of an Ostrog Monastery day tour from Kotor, which incorporates stops at a number of different scenic points of interest.
Day journey to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is Kotor’s bigger, dearer, extra crowded, and extra in style sister just a few hours north on the Adriatic coast in southern Croatia. If Dubrovnik will not be already in your journey itinerary, you may nonetheless squeeze in a day journey from Kotor if that’s your own home base on your journey.
Count on to spend 2-2.5 hours getting there on a bus, or be part of a hassle-free day-tour from Kotor to Dubrovnik.
Thanks should you made it this far, and I hope I’ve helped you determine what to do in Kotor to make the most effective of your go to! Please don’t hesitate to remark under when you’ve got any questions!
I by no means journey with no good guidebook! Listed below are just a few extremely advisable ones, plus a gorgeous puzzle that includes Kotor!