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What to do in Kotor, Montenegro: 8 Essential Tips

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A while ago, I had the chance to visit the beautiful Montenegro. I wrote a post on the incredible mountains and national parks of Montenegro. I visited Kotor too, but for reasons I can disclose only personally, I didn’t manage to explore the town enough.

That’s why I invited a fellow travel blogger, Sam from samseesworld.com, to help me out and write about what to do in Kotor. You can find more about Sam and her blog at the end of the post. Here we go:

Kotor, Montenegro has quickly become one of the most popular Mediterranean tourist destinations during the summer months. It is a unique city full of natural and human-made attractions that are beyond charming.

The town itself sits at the base of the Bay of Kotor and is surrounded by huge mountains and beautiful blue waters. More so, the architecture within the city is all ancient white stone buildings and cobblestone paths.

Houses in Kotor
Houses in the Old Town of Kotor

The whole city is a dream, and its beauty radiates from all angles and directions.

However, Kotor is more than just pretty to look at, it’s full of exciting things to do, see, eat, and experience. It is a city with a long and complicated history with something new around every corner and some of the most remarkable scenic views in Europe.

Let’s explore the beautiful city of Kotor!

Hike the Kotor Fortress

The main thing Kotor is known for is its stunning views of the Bay of Kotor. However, these views are only achievable by climbing to the top of the Kotor Fortress, a.k.a. the Castle of San Giovanni.

The way up is over 1300 steps and costs 8 euros each, but despite the physical and financial payments, there is no doubt that the views from the top are worth it.

The hike is well worth the challenge because from the top of the Fortress you can see all of the buildings and houses of Kotor.

In addition to this, you get stunning panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor and the surrounding mountains. The landscape is truly breathtaking.

Kotor Fortress from above
Kotor Fortress from above

Find the Old Palaces

Kotor is a fortified town, and this is for a good reason. Back in the day, Kotor was home to all the Nobles and royals of Montenegro, and their protection was critical.

Because of this, there are various palaces scattered throughout Kotor’s old town just waiting to be discovered.

Admire the Ancient Churches

In addition to old palaces, Kotor is also home to various ancient churches that date back to the 14th century.

One of the most popular in the old town is Sveti Nikola, which is characterized by its two large bell towers that extend well into the air. However, one of these bell towers is shorter than the other because of economic hardships during constructions. The best thing about this church is that entrance is free.

While looking for churches, it is essential to seek out the Church of Saint Luke. This church is the oldest in Kotor and dates back to 1195!

The most visible of them all, upon entering the Old Town, is The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, a.k.a. the Kotor Cathedral. You can visit it on your own or with a guide (on an Old Town sightseeing tour).

Kotor Cathedral
Kotor Cathedral, i.e. Cathedral of Saint Tryphon

Explore the Old Town

The Old Town is where you will find all the churches and palaces of the city, but there is more to this area than these attractions.

The old town is a maze of winding streets, local shops, and hidden squares. It is an incredibly charming place to walk around, and you will feel like you were transported back in time.

Kotor Old Town
Beautiful streets of Kotor Old Town

Exploring the Old Town gets another dimension if you do so with an enthusiastic local guide. Join this affordable 1-hour walking tour or opt for a private 1,5 hour tour to have the guide all to yourself.

See the current availability of a small group sightseeing tour

See the current price & availability of a private sightseeing tour

However, due to the daily cruise ships arriving in Kotor, the old town gets bustling in the summer months.

From 10am to 5pm, the old town is packed with people, which ruins the authenticity of exploring it. Therefore, it is best to explore it before or after to see it in all its calm glory.

Entrance to Kotor Old Town
Entering Kotor Old Town.. upon rush hour. (photo by Samantha Karen)

Take a Day Trip

Montenegro is tiny, and day trips to nearby cities are more than achievable. Here are a few of the best day trip options.

Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi is a beautiful coastal city located at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor. It is known for its plethora of beaches, quaint old town, and local vibe.

This is one of the best cities to visit in Montenegro to escape the crowds of tourists and enjoy a more relaxed Montenegro vacation.

Herceg Novi Montenegro
Herceg Novi looks like it’s worth visiting, right?

Tivat

Tivat is the Monaco of Montenegro. Thanks to recent renovations and remodelling the city looks brand new and modern. It’s right here where all the mega-yachts from the Mediterranean are docked.

Perast

Perast is only a 10-minute boat ride from Kotor and is a quaint town with all the same beauty of Kotor but with 1/3 of the tourists. It is a great place to head to for lunch along the waterfront or to go for a swim.

You can reach Perast by car as well, it’s only a 13-minute ride. But who’d opt for the road when you can take the boat, right?

This boat tour takes you to Perast and to a church of the Lady of the Rock on a standalone island in the Kotor Bay. You’ll have 20 minutes to walk alongside the Old Town of Perast lying by the waterfront.

Check out the boat tour to Perast

Perast Montenegro
Pretty little Perast

Go on a boat tour

A great way to see Kotor from a new angle is by embarking on a boat tour around the Bay of Kotor. There are a ton of boat tour companies that are more than willing to bring you out and about as well. These tours will give you an excellent tour of the bay and some other small cities around along it.

Apart of the tour mentioned above, another amazing option is to take a quick trip to the Lady of the Rock island&church, enjoy a longer ride along the coast and finish off by a swim in a Blue Cave!

See the price & availability of the boat tour

Take photos of everything

Kotor is easily one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. There are more than enough beautiful buildings and scenic views to photograph and you should take advantage of this.

Moreover, Kotor is a city unlike any other, and capturing it on the camera will let you remember its beauty and share it with others.

View of Kotor Bay
Kotor is very photogenic… especially at sunset

Try a local Montenegrin Dish

Montenegro’s cuisine is a fascinating mix of Italian, Turkish, and Mediterranean food. Due to its proximity and past with these countries, the food options have become intertwined.

However, the main dish Montenegro is known for is fish! Therefore, during your Kotor adventures, it is a must to stop at one of the many restaurants and indulge in a fresh fish dish.

You can combine sightseeing with tasting local ham & cheese and being pampered with wine on this private tour.

Check out the private tour combining sightseeing with eating


Author bio

Samantha KarenSamantha Karen is the founder of the travel bog Sam Sees World. She is a millennial traveler on a mission to seek the new and unknown so she can document her experiences and inspire others to explore this wondrous world. Her objective is to provide valuable information on the best things to do, see, eat, and experience while traveling and getting some good Instagram photos along the way.

Make sure to follow her also on Pinterest.

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