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The Bay of Kotor is located in the Adriatic Sea in southwestern Montenegro just miles from the Croatian border. It is a submerged river canyon forming a unique Balkan destination with impressive fjord features.
Nothing similar can be found elsewhere in South Europe. Made of four little bays and a fistful of ancient towns surrounded by incredible natural sceneries, the “Boka” joined the UNESCO world heritage in 1979.
Bay of Kotor
The bay is named after the old town of Kotor. It’s a medieval gem surrounded by the impressive limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovcen. Such a combination of natural and historical elements, curiously located in a very secluded corner of the Adriatic region, forms a landscape with no equals.
Kotor’s history begins during the Roman era and develops over two millenniums of occupations and conquests that gradually create the town’s impressive cultural background.
Bulgarian, Serbian, Ottoman Empires, amongst the others, succeeded each other in ruling Kotor until the Republic of Venice took over in the 15th Century. This shaped the town with its recognizable architecture, surviving to date.
Cat lovers are going to have a great time around here. The town counts a large number of felines as well as a cat museum and Cat Square. It’s no wonder cats have also become Kotor’s symbol.
Tivat, the youngest municipality in the area and smallest in the whole country, lies on the other side of the bay. It boasts natural reserves, remarkable sunset viewpoints and coastal villages beautifully frozen in time.
The area has become an increasingly popular tourist destination and recently saw the establishment of Porto Montenegro. This superyacht marina is comparable to a little Monaco and is now the main base for wealthy visitors looking to explore the coast and inland.
Tivat Bay is a spectacular place for boat trips and all-day-long photography. For a relaxing immersion into the local atmosphere, the coastal village of Bjelila is a must-see. Traditional houses, an old dock and little taverns make for a time travelling experience.
Only a short car ride away, the protected natural reserve of Salina hosts rare and endangered plants and animal species. Surprisingly, you’ll even find flamingos here.
Paying a visit to this hotspot during the flamingo season can result in spectacular views one could hardly expect around the Adriatic Sea.
The Bay of Kotor is naturally divided in two by Mount Vrmac. Sitting at 300m above sea level the almost-uninhabited settlement of Gornja Lastva welcomes visitors with traditional white stone houses, amazing panoramic sceneries and hiking trails.
Climbing Gornja’s steep streets to beautiful overlooks on the Bay is well worth the effort. Visitors are gifted with a further, deeper immersion in the authentic atmosphere featuring each traditional village of the Bay.
As Bjelila can be taken as the emblematic local coastal gem, Gornja Lastva is an ideal inland counterpart. By the way, cats outnumber inhabitants even around here.
The Sea of Kotor
Traditional fishing has always been a big part of Montenegro’s heritage. This is especially relevant around the Bay of Kotor in virtue of the strong bond between the locals and the sea.
Follow the boats into sunrise and sunset whenever the opportunity presents itself. Whether by jumping on a boat yourself or observing them from the shore. The skies and their profusion of colours are going to paint everlasting memories.
One of Montenegro’s most popular features lies in the proximity between sea and mountain. One can literally go for a swim in the morning, and ski in the afternoon.
While the Bay of Kotor isn’t a destination for snow aficionados, its proximity does not lack hotspots for mountain lovers.
Lovćen, home to the Homonym National Park and the most spectacular panoramic view of the whole Bay. Twenty-five hairpins lead to the most spectacular panorama of the whole bay and beyond, from Kotor to the Adriatic Sea down the horizon.
Learn more about this beautiful Adriatic town by reading Kotor Beyond the Wall: Guide Yourself around the Highlights and Hidden Gems of Kotor, Montenegro by Sarah Pavlovic. Available for purchase and delivery here.
Author Bio: Mathias Falcone is an Italian film director and travel photographer, currently living in London. Tradition, culture, heritage, crafts, and ever-lasting natural dreamscapes form the core of his still image production. Mathias loves Africa, overlooked locations, and capturing the unseen in popular destinations. He likes to exchange sources of inspiration, letting documentaries inspire his photography and the approach to still image crafting his films.