Kotor Montenegro

Go World Travel is reader-supported and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this piece.

If you haven’t heard of Montenegro yet, that’s a huge injustice that you can fix this summer. Every year, hundreds of the world’s most luxurious yachts and cruise ships visit Montenegro’s paradise, primarily for the luxury destination of Budva. But this time, I recommend something even more charming: Kotor, a small town whose beauty has been protected by UNESCO.

Similar to the beautiful Croatian coast, Montenegro is a small, hidden gem in the heart of the Balkans. It has a crystal-clear Adriatic Sea, breathtaking mountains, beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, and the most charming hosts (single girls, take note, but more on that later).

Beautiful Kotor and the Adriatic Sea
Beautiful Kotor and the Adriatic Sea. Image from Canva

It borders several other countries with beautiful natural landscapes: Croatia, Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The official currency is the euro, and the official language is Montenegrin, but don’t worry; charming Montenegrins know how to be charming in English too.

Anyway, here is a travel guide with all the travel tips for a vacation that you will undoubtedly enjoy.

Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip

But First: Meet Montenegrins

Aside from the picture-perfect scenery of Montenegro, one aspect that stands out is its people. Montenegrins are extremely charming, and the Balkans frequently tell jokes in which Montenegrins are not portrayed as the world’s hardest workers.

Instead of getting upset, Montenegrins organize an annual competition in – lying in bed. Is there anything else I should add besides the fact that the last winner was lying down for 50 days?

However, their laid-back attitude just reflects a more relaxed outlook on life, which will undoubtedly benefit you during your vacation.

Walk Along the City Walls of Old Town Kotor

Stone walls around Old Town Kotor
Stone walls around Old Town. Image from Canva

The beauty and charm of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are protected by massive city walls. This attraction is also the first thing you notice when you arrive in Kotor, as it is almost 5 kilometers long, 20 meters tall, and up to 10 meters wide.

If you want an unforgettable experience, take a self-guided walking tour of the city walls and admire the picture-perfect scenery of the sea, ships and mountains.

The construction of city walls began in the 9th century and continued until the 19th century. You see? There is no need to rush in Montenegro.

1000 Plus Steps to the Perfect View: St. John (San Giovanni)

View of Kotor Bay after climbing 1000+ steps
View of Kotor city and bayafter climbing 1000+ steps.
Image from Canva

Okay, it’s possible that no one has ever climbed to the Kotor Fortress of St. John’s without experiencing sore muscles, but I doubt anyone has ever regretted it. If you visit Kotor, this is a must.

Some say there are 1424 stairs to climb, others 1300, and some 1355… Don’t be surprised if you get a completely different result, because you’ll also be distracted by the breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor

When you finally reach 300 meters above sea level, it will be spectacular. And if you’re lucky, you might be greeted by a few cats (don’t worry, I’ll explain later). And that’s pretty much everything you need in that moment, other than a bottle of water, of course.

If you are a true enthusiast, hike up the trail called the Ladder of Kotor for an even more breathtaking view from 900 meters above sea level. I will say it again: if you are a true enthusiast.

Explore Old Town Squares With Interesting Names

Kotor Montenegro
Photo by Radik Sitdikov via Unsplash

Salad Square, Flour Square, Wood Square and more—Montenegrins simply named their squares after their intended purposes. The Balkans would probably joke that it was because they were too lazy to remember their real names.

The most important one is Weapons Square, which was formerly used for weapon storage and repair. There is also the popular Clock Tower

Don’t worry if it appears crooked to you; you are not in Pisa and you are not experiencing vertigo. It is the result of two earthquakes in 1667 and 1979, which tilted the tower 20 centimeters.

While you’re sightseeing, notice the pillar in front of the tower. It is the Pillar of Shame. People used to be bound there as a form of punishment, bringing shame to their family and passing it down through generations. 

A City that Loves Cats: Visit the Cat Museum

Kotor loves cats
Kotor loves cats. Image from Canva

I hope you like cats, because these cute hosts will meet you in the streets, beg you for some food, and invite you to check out the Cat Museum (so they can get a small commission, of course). I refuse to believe that you will reject them.

But don’t worry; they’re tame, clean, and have that well-known Montenegrin charm. But where do so many cats come from? Given its location on a stone hill, this European city has previously faced pest problems. 

As a solution, the sailors brought cats. Of course, cats used it wisely and began to own the city. It’s typical for cats, isn’t it? They have become a symbol of Kotor, and Lonely Planet named it one of the top ten cities for cat lovers.

By visiting the Cat Museum, you are assisting them because a portion of the proceeds from entrance fees go towards the care of Kotor’s street cats. The museum is the second of its kind in Europe (the first is in Amsterdam). 

As an added reward, you will see the first postage stamp with a cat from 1927. And life is too short not to see the first postage stamp with a cat, isn’t it?

Take a Walking Tour Through Kotor Old Town (Stari Grad)

Dusk in Old Town Kotor
Dusk in Old Town Kotor. Image from Canva

The Venetian-style streets of Kotor Old Town definitely have a soul. Although some of them have tourist-oriented restaurants and cafes, this doesn’t affect Kotor’s everyday activities. 

So don’t be surprised if you see locals drinking coffee in front of their homes, chatting with their neighbors and drying their laundry. All this gives the Old Town of Kotor even more charm.

Another interesting fact about the streets of Kotor Old Town is that they don’t have official names, but rather names that best describe them. You can visit all of them in one day, but don’t miss the opportunity to walk down “Let me pass” street; it is so narrow that two people can’t pass through it at the same time.

Swim and Enjoy Kotor Bay

Church of Our Lady of the Rocks
Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. Image from Canva

If you have the time and opportunity, plan an unforgettable boat trip that includes Kotor Bay, Blue Cave and the charming islet of Our Lady of the Rocks. It can be an all-day activity (there are tours lasting 8 hours).

It would be an unforgettable experience to spend the day eating on board, drinking wine and tanning while admiring the breathtaking views of Kotor Bay.

Another great way to explore Kotor Bay is to rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Of course, I hope I don’t have to remind you not to miss swimming in the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. I suppose that’s why you came?

Symbol of Kotor: Cathedral of Saint Tryphon

Towers of Saint Tryphon in Old Town. Image from Canva

Every street in Kotor Old Town leads to the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, named after the saint whose relics are housed there. 

You will not need a keen eye to notice that its towers differ in size by about 2 meters; this is due to reconstruction following several earthquakes. However, you will need a few euros to cover the entrance fee, so bring cash.

You can also visit the churches of St. Nicholas and St. Luke. The second one was built as a Catholic church in the 12th century and was transformed into an Orthodox one in the 17th century. 

When you visit, pay attention to the floor; it’s interesting because it’s made of tombstones from the Kotor families. It’s even more interesting that today this church hosts both Orthodox and Catholic ceremonies, making it a symbol of unity.

A City That Lived from Seafaring: Visit the Maritime Museum

Kotor Montenegro
Image from Canva

Historically, this small European city relied primarily on seafaring. From 1849 to the present, it has produced a number of internationally recognized seafarers.

If you want to learn more, visit the Maritime Museum.

You will go on a journey through its turbulent past, seeing models of sailing ships that transported mail to Venetia, the luxury captain’s living room, pirate memories, weapon samples and much more. What a nice way to pick up some new knowledge, isn’t it?

Have Fun at the Boka Aquarium

What better way to educate kids than by having fun? The Boka Aquarium is both informative and entertaining, and it will introduce you to the marine world.

In addition to being able to see live jellyfish, lobsters, starfish, rays, octopuses, crab and other sea creatures, there are information tables for learning while having fun. And we all know that information learned in this manner is the most memorable, right?

Day Trips From Kotor

Historic Town of Perast
Historic Town of Perast. Image from Canva

Kotor is ideal for road trips and boat tours to other interesting destinations, not only in Montenegro but also in neighboring countries. I recommend a boat trip to stunning Perast, a picture-perfect location near Kotor.

A one-day trip to Tivat is also a great option. If you visit Tivat’s Porto Montenegro, you’ll be greeted by a plethora of the most luxurious yachts on the planet.

If you want to see something different—the beautiful green lake, mountains, and dense forest—plan a full-day trip to Durmitor. Charming Herceg Novi will also not disappoint you, and if you are luxury-oriented, take a day tour to Budva and the Island of St. Stephen.

Montenegro is not so far from Croatia, so consider a boat ride to the pearl of the Adriatic, beautiful Dubrovnik.

If you have more than one day, it is also close to several other countries to consider, including Italy, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s clear that you have a lot of options, and the fact that these are smaller countries with abundant natural beauty is a significant benefit.

What to Eat in Kotor Montenegro: Brodet and Cake with the Aroma of Home

Montenegro Breakfast
Montenegro Breakfast. Image from Canva

I refuse to believe that anyone dislikes Mediterranean food. Begin the morning with traditional priganci (dough rounds), oil-cured cheese and prosciutto.

For lunch, order a glass of wine to complement the Bokel brodet, which is slow-cooked fish with vegetables and olive oil. 

After that, spoil yourself with Peraška or Dobrotska cake. Both cakes stay fresh for a long time, so sailors brought them with them to enjoy the aroma of home for as long as possible.

Perhaps you’ll also want to take it as a souvenir to remember the smell of Kotor for as long as possible, as it’s a city whose charm and friendly hosts you will undoubtedly miss.

Read More:

Katarina Marjanović

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *