Kotor might be a small city that sits in the stunning bay of the same name but it what it lacks in size it makes up in the sheer scale of its beauty and history. The ancient old town sits perched on a mountain over looking the stunning fjord in which it sits offering views which can only be described as epic! The benefit to the compact size however is that you can see pretty much all this lovely city has to offer in just a few days.
The city of Kotor itself is so compact that all you ever need is your feet and a comfortable pair of shoes! Getting lost in the old town is a joy in itself and even with the best intentions it will happen to you!
However there are some places around the bay you might want to visit, if so there are regular local buses that pass down the main road outside of the city walls. These small buses are cheap and reliable.
There is also a coach station just a 5-7 min walk outside of the city walls which is well connected to many other cities around the Balkans. We arrived on the overnight bus from Belgrade for example and left for Tirana from here too.
Where to stay:
There are several options when staying in Kotor for such a small place. However the place we really loved was “Old Town Hostel”. This lovely place is built in a UNESCO listed property in the heart of the Old Town and has some wonderful original features all over the several floors and wings. It is also filled with friendly people and helpful staff, more than 1 kitchen and social space, large lockers and curtains on the beds!
What to see:
The old city walls
The ancient limestone city walls that surround Kotor are like no other, they don’t just encircle the city itself but they crawl up the mountainside towards the stunning fort that silently watches over the town. On a hot day the steep hike up to the top can be a challenge, but the views are so stunning that you will just have to stop every few steps to take them in! From this look out point you can see just what makes Kotor so special, the centuries old town below, the endless mountains that surround it and deep blue azure of the Adriatic and it winds its way through the sea of green.
The Fjord and Lovcen
Kotor is a city set in the mountains and as such there are a whole host of stunning viewing point to discover. Kotor bay is also a Fjord (quite rare outside of Norway), so you can see the stunning Adriatic flow through the dramatic mountainside almost more like a river than the sea. From the peak of Lovcen that towers over the old town you can take in one of the most unique and beautiful natural panoramas in the world. But if you don’t fancy tackling a mountain in the middle of the summer heat, the view from the fortress on top of the city walls offers a picture perfect location from which to take in the impressive fjord.
Just along the bay from Kotor is the tiny village of Perast, here you will find the stunning church of Our lady of the Rocks and Sveti Marko island. One of these islands is a natural occurrence in the bay, the other, was created hundreds of years ago using ship wrecks and rocks brought along by sailors whenever they were passing. Here you will find the striking Our Lady Of the Rocks, which you can take a boat over to or just enjoy from the lovely harbour.
Swim in the stunning blue sea
There are not all that many cities around the world which offer such amazing places to swim as Kotor. Just a short walk outside of the old town there are miles of local beaches and jetties from which to take a dip in this most unbelievably coloured water. The Adriatic is known for its deep blue hue and where better to experience it that surrounded by mountains and centuries old architecture!
The stunning Roman Catholic cathedral situated within the winding streets of Kotor is one of only two in the whole of Montenegro. Consecrated in 1166 the Saint Tryphon cathedral is one of the largest and most ornate buildings within Kotor and has become a symbol of the city. It is also one of the oldest and most impressive pieces of Romanesque architecture along the Adriatic coast and hosts many priceless artefacts and frescos.
Get lost in the old town
In comparison to Dubrovnik, Kotor might seem like the younger and much smaller brother. But don’t be fooled by its lack of size, no matter how many times you explore the limestone streets of this cat filled town you will get lost! But don’t fear, this is the best way to see all the city has to offer and really get a glimpse into how people live here as well as discovering some overlooked gems along the way! Forget the map, discovering Kotor’s centuries old Stari Grad by getting lost is a real joy!
We absolutely fell in love with Kotor, it has many similarities with Dubrovnik and yet the smaller size of it makes it feel much more intimate and the mountainside and fjord that it sits in that much more breathtaking!
Montenegro itself is such a stunning little country that is easy to get around, we managed to visit the wonderful Tara region when we went white water rafting but still left thinking there was so much more to see. In the future Montenegro is a country we would love to revisit and see in its entirety on a road trip!