Discovering the Medieval Charm of Kotor: Best Places to Visit in Montenegro's Coastal Gem

Kotor is a beautiful medieval city located at the base of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular attractions in the Balkans. There are many things to do in Kotor, from exploring its historic Old Town to hiking up to its fortress for a stunning view. 

Kotor, situated in Montenegro's Bay of Kotor, is a stunning medieval city that captures the essence of Old World charm
Old Town, Kotor

Here are some of the best things to do in Kotor:

  • Explore Kotor Old Town (Stari Grad) on foot: 

The Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets, narrow lanes, stone churches and orange-roofed houses encased in a fortification wall. You can admire the architecture, visit the museums, shop for souvenirs and enjoy the cafes and restaurants.

  • Hike up to Kotor Fortress for a view: 

The fortress of San Giovanni is perched on a hill above the Old Town and offers a panoramic view of the city and the bay. You can reach it by climbing about 1350 steps along the Old City Walls, which date back to the 9th century.

  • Take a boat trip or go paddleboarding on the Bay: 

The Bay of Kotor is one of the most scenic places in Montenegro and a great way to enjoy its beauty is by boat or paddleboard. You can visit the charming town of Perast and its two islands: Our Lady of the Rocks and St. George. You can also explore the Blue Cave, a natural phenomenon where the water glows blue due to sunlight reflection.

  • Indulge in Kotor cuisine and Montenegrin wine: 

Kotor has a rich culinary heritage influenced by its Venetian past and its Mediterranean location. You can try some of the local specialties such as pršut (smoked ham), sir (cheese), njeguški steak (stuffed with cheese and ham) and krap (fried dough with honey). You can also taste some of the Montenegrin wines such as Vranac (red) and Krstač (white).

  • Go on an adventure to Our Lady of the Rocks: 

Our Lady of the Rocks is a man-made island in front of Perast that houses a church and a museum. According to legend, it was created by sailors who threw rocks into the sea after each successful voyage as a sign of gratitude to the Virgin Mary. You can learn more about its history and see some of its treasures such as paintings, silverware and tapestries.

  • Visit St. Tryphon Cathedral: 

This beautiful cathedral is one of the most important landmarks in Kotor and dates back to the 12th century. It is dedicated to Saint Tryphon, the patron saint of the city. You can admire its Romanesque architecture, ornate interior and impressive collection of relics.

  • Enjoy the beaches: 

There are several beaches near Kotor where you can relax, swim and sunbathe. Some of the best ones are Jaz Beach, Trsteno Beach and Plavi Horizonti Beach. You can also try some water sports such as kayaking, snorkeling or windsurfing.

  • Take a day trip to Lovćen National Park: 

If you want to escape the city and enjoy nature, you can visit Lovćen National Park. It is located about 30 km from Kotor and offers stunning views, hiking trails, wildlife and cultural attractions such as Njegoš Mausoleum, a monument to Montenegrin prince-bishop and poet Petar II Petrović-Njegoš.

  • Attend a festival or event: 

Kotor hosts several cultural events throughout the year, such as KotorArt, a summer festival of music, theater and dance; Bokeljska Noc, a traditional maritime celebration; and Kotor Carnival, a colorful parade of masks and costumes. Check the calendar before your visit and don't miss the chance to experience local culture and traditions.

  • Discover the hidden gems: 

Besides the main attractions, Kotor has many hidden gems that are worth exploring, such as the Church of Our Lady of Health, the Palace of Drago, the Church of St. Luke, the Flowers Square or the Cats Museum. You never know what you may find around the corner!

Where are the best views in Kotor?

Kotor is a town situated at the base of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro and offers stunning views from several vantage points. Here are some of the best views in Kotor:

  • Kotor Fortress - The fortress of San Giovanni is perched on a hill above the Old Town, and offers panoramic views of the city and the bay. You can reach it by climbing about 1350 steps along the Old City Walls.

  • St. John's Hill (Sveti Ivan) - This viewpoint is located on the opposite side of the bay from Kotor and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Old Town and the surrounding mountains.

  • Our Lady of Health (Gospe od Zdravlja) - This church is situated on a hill above the Old Town, and offers a stunning view of the red rooftops of the town and the bay.

  • Kampana Tower - This tower is located in the Old Town, and offers a beautiful bird's-eye view of the town's narrow streets and squares.

  • Mountain Lovćen - For the most stunning and panoramic views over the bay and the Adriatic Sea, you can head to the top of Mount Lovćen, which lies just outside of Kotor. You can drive or hike up the mountain, where you'll find the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš.

  • Kotor Bay Cruise - The best way to take in the beauty of Kotor Bay is to hop onto a boat tour. You can relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the mountains, islands, and towns that line the Bay of Kotor.

Best restaurants in Kotor

Kotor is a town in Montenegro that offers a rich culinary scene, with plenty of restaurants serving up delicious seafood, Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and local specialties. Here are some of the best restaurants in Kotor:

  • Forza Mare - This elegant restaurant offers stunning views of the bay and serves up modern Mediterranean cuisine, including fresh fish, seafood, and grilled meats.

  • Bastion - Located in the heart of the Old Town, this restaurant features traditional Montenegrin dishes such as stuffed bell peppers, lamb chops, and prosciutto served with homemade bread.

  • Galion - This seafood restaurant is situated on a pier in front of the Old Town, and offers a romantic setting for enjoying fresh oysters, shrimp, squid, and other local delights.

  • Konoba Catovica Mlini - This rustic restaurant is located in a 17th-century mill building, and serves up organic farm-to-table cuisine, including cheese, honey, wine, and olive oil made on-site.

  • Caffe Pizzeria Pronto - If you're looking for a casual spot to grab a quick bite, head to this cafe and pizzeria that serves up delicious pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and smoothies.

  • Bokeski Gusti - This family-run restaurant is located in a quaint alley in the Old Town, and offers homemade pasta, risotto, and seafood dishes, accompanied by local wines and spirits.

  • Ella's - This cozy restaurant and bar has a laid-back vibe and specializes in comfort food, such as burgers, burritos, and nachos, as well as craft cocktails and draft beer.

  • Astoria - This hotel restaurant offers a wide range of international cuisine, from Italian pizza and pasta to Asian stir-fry and sushi, as well as live music and beautiful views of the bay.

  • Gatsby - This rooftop bar and restaurant is located in the heart of the Old Town, and offers a chic setting for enjoying cocktails, wine, and tapas-style dishes, with stunning views of the city walls and rooftops.

  • Tirana - This restaurant is located on the outskirts of Kotor, and features a large outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the bay, as well as fresh seafood, grilled meats, and homemade pastries.

FAQs

  1. What is the best time to visit Kotor?

The best time to visit Kotor is from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the town is bustling with tourists and cultural events.

  1. How do I get to Kotor?

Kotor can be reached by plane, bus, train, or car. The nearest airport is Tivat Airport, which is just 7 km away from Kotor. You can also fly into Podgorica Airport, which is 90 km away from Kotor. Buses and trains connect Kotor to other cities in Montenegro and neighboring countries. If you're driving, you can take the Adriatic Highway (A1) along the coast.

  1. Is Kotor safe for tourists?

Yes, Kotor is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. However, as with any tourist destination, it's always advisable to take precautions against pickpocketing, petty theft, and scams, and to pay attention to your belongings in crowded areas.

  1. What are the must-see attractions in Kotor?

Some of the must-see attractions in Kotor include the Old Town, Kotor Fortress, St. Tryphon Cathedral, Maritime Museum, Our Lady of the Rocks, Blue Cave, and Lovćen National Park.

  1. What are some popular activities in Kotor?

Some popular activities in Kotor include hiking up to the fortress of San Giovanni, taking a boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks and Blue Cave, exploring the narrow streets and squares of the Old Town, enjoying the beaches, attending cultural events such as KotorArt or Kotor Carnival, and trying local cuisine and wine.

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