Insider Tips: Discover the Best Things to See in Kotor

Kotor, Montenegro’s gem, is a must-see on any road trip. Its Venetian-era walled city boasts medieval architecture, an authentic Old Town, and stunning natural beauty. Encased in fortifications against towering mountains, Kotor rivals the picturesque Kings Landing from Game of Thrones. Discover hidden treasures with our insider's guide.

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Foto: Shutterstock
Foto: Shutterstock

Key Highlights

  • Explore the historic charm of Kotor Old Town.
  • Ascend the fortifications for views of the city and the bay.
  • Visit Our Lady of the Rocks, the only artificial island in the Adriatic, and explore its beautiful island churches.
  • Wander through the quaint streets of Perast and discover its stone churches and maritime museum.
  • Enjoy the waterside views in Dobrota and take in the beauty of the Bay of Kotor and the Adriatic Sea.
  • Explore the maritime traditions at the Naval Heritage Collection and learn about Montenegro's rich seafaring history.

Must-See Attractions: An Insider's Guide

view from the fortress
view from the fortress foto: Shutterstock

In this insider's guide, we will take you on a journey through the must-see attractions that make this city a true hidden gem. From exploring the historic charm of Kotor Old Town to discovering the beauty of Our Lady of the Rocks and the serenity of Dobrota, there is something for everyone in this enchanting destination. So grab your camera and get ready to explore the old town, visit the iconic Lady of the Rocks, take in the breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor, and even make a day trip to the stunning Ostrog Monastery.

1. Delve into the Historic Charm of Old Town

Kotor old town is an experience for itself
Kotor old town is an experience for itselffoto: Shutterstock

One of the main attractions of the coty is its historic Old Town. As you wander through the maze of cobbled streets and narrow lanes, you'll be transported back in time to the days of the Venetian Republic. The old town is encased in a fortification wall, which offers stunning views of the city and the bay. Make sure to visit the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Cathedral, which are architectural marvels. You'll also find plenty of charming cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a leisurely meal and soak in the atmosphere of this historic area. Don't miss out on the top tourist attractions such as the Town Walls, the Sea Gate, the St. Tryphon Cathedral, St. Luke's Square, and the Maritime Museum of Montenegro. The real beauty of Kotor, though, lies in its overwhelming historic charm and the breathtaking views of the mountains behind it.

2. Ascend the Fortifications to San Giovanni’s Fortress

St John fortress is an amazing hike with even more amazing view
St John fortress is an amazing hike with even more amazing viewfoto: Shutterstock

For breathtaking views of Kotor and the bay, make sure to ascend the fortifications to San Giovanni's Fortress. The hike up is a bit challenging, with 1,355 steps to climb, but the panoramic vistas from the top are well worth the effort. From the fortress, you can see the red-tiled roofs of the old town, the sparkling waters of the bay, and the surrounding mountains. It's a great opportunity to capture some stunning photos and truly appreciate the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Don't forget to bring water and wear comfortable shoes, as the hike can be steep and strenuous.

3. Discover the Serenity of Our Lady of the Rocks

Lady of the Rocks - amazing history
Lady of the Rocks - amazing historyfoto: Shutterstock

One of the most iconic sights near Kotor is Our Lady of the Rocks, an artificial island created by sinking old ships and filling them with rocks on the islet. The island is home to a beautiful Catholic church, also named Our Lady of the Rocks, which you can visit on a short boat trip from Kotor and even shorter from Perast. Inside the church, you'll find stunning frescoes and a small museum dedicated to the history of the island and the Catholic Church. The island and its church are a true testament to the faith and determination of the local people. It's a peaceful and serene place to visit, offering a unique glimpse into the history and culture of Kotor. Taking a boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks is a great way to see the Bay of Kotor coastline and experience the thrill of the ride while also enjoying the scenic views.

4. Wander Through the Quaint Streets of Perast

roman city reminds you of movie scene
roman city reminds you of movie scenefoto: Shutterstock

Just a short distance from Kotor is the charming town of Perast, known for its stone churches and maritime history. Take a leisurely stroll through the quaint streets and admire the beautiful architecture of the palaces and mansions that line the waterfront. Make sure to visit the stone churches, such as St. Nicholas Church, which are architectural gems.

5. Waterside Views in Dobrota

Church of St. Matthew is located in Dobrota
Church of St. Matthew is located in Dobrotafoto: Shutterstock

Dobrota is a waterfront settlement located just outside of Kotor, offering stunning views of the Bay of Kotor and the Adriatic Sea. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and soak in the beauty of the bay, with its sparkling blue waters and majestic mountains. You'll find plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious meal with a view. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery. And for those looking to spend some time on the beach, make sure to check out Kotor Beach in Dobrota, just a 5-10 minute walk from the Old Town. With sun loungers available for hire and restaurants along the shore, it's the perfect spot to relax and take in the waterside views.

6. Maritime Traditions at the Naval Heritage Collection

Maritime Museum of Montenegro
Maritime Museum of Montenegrofoto: Shutterstock

For a fascinating look into Montenegro's maritime history, visit the Naval Heritage Collection. This unique museum showcases the country's rich seafaring traditions and offers insights into the lives of sailors and fishermen. Explore the exhibits on traditional boatbuilding, navigation techniques, and the history of Montenegrin naval warfare. You can also see a collection of historic boats, including traditional fishing vessels and military ships. The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the maritime heritage of Montenegro and is a great stop on a Montenegro road trip. Learn about the skills and traditions that have shaped this coastal nation and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural identity.

7. Unwind at Prčanj’s Seaside Promenade

PRcanj promenade is one of most serene in the bay
PRcanj promenade is one of most serene in the bayfoto: Shutterstock

Located just a short drive from Kotor, the charming village of Prčanj offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. Take a leisurely stroll along the seaside promenade and enjoy the stunning views of the Adriatic coast. The promenade is lined with charming cafes and restaurants, where you can relax and soak in the atmosphere of this idyllic coastal village. Prcanj is known for its beautiful stone buildings and traditional architecture, making it a perfect place to unwind and take in the natural beauty of the Bay of Kotor. Whether you're looking for a romantic walk along the waterfront or a quiet spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, Prcanj has something for everyone.

8. Visit the Cats Museum

cats museum - honoring the city symbols
cats museum - honoring the city symbolsfoto: Shutterstock

For cat lovers, a visit to the Cats Museum is a must-do experience in Kotor. This unique museum celebrates the city's beloved feline residents and their role in the local culture. Learn about the history and significance of Kotor's cats through exhibits that showcase their importance in protecting the city from rodents and their special place in the hearts of the locals. You can also browse the gift shop, which offers a range of cat-themed souvenirs and gifts, including small bags of food to feed the local cats. The Cats Museum is a fun and quirky attraction that offers a unique perspective on Kotor's rich history and traditions. Whether you're a cat enthusiast or simply curious about the local culture, a visit to this museum is sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

9. Savor Local Flavors at Kotor’s Farmers Market

Like they used to do it 100 years ago
Like they used to do it 100 years agofoto: Shutterstock

Immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors of Kotor at the city's farmers market. Located near the Sea Gate, this bustling market is a feast for the senses, with stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, dried fruits, and homemade rakija. Take a leisurely stroll through the market, chat with the friendly vendors, and sample the local produce. You'll be able to taste the difference in the quality and freshness of the ingredients. The farmers market is not only a great place to stock up on supplies for a picnic or a delicious meal, but it's also an opportunity to support local farmers and artisans. So grab a basket and get ready to savor the authentic flavors of Kotor.

10. Take a Leisurely Stroll Along Muo’s Coastal Path

Muo is small fisherman village
Muo is small fisherman villagefoto:

For a peaceful and scenic walk, head to the coastal path in the village of Muo. This picturesque path follows the shoreline of the Bay of Kotor and offers breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding mountains. Take your time and enjoy the fresh sea air as you stroll along the path, taking in the beauty of the coastline. Muo is a quiet and charming village, away from the crowds of Kotor, making it the perfect place to relax and soak in the natural beauty of the bay. Whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk, the coastal path in Muo is a must-visit destination.

Hidden Gems Around Kotor

While Kotor itself is a hidden gem, there are a few lesser-known places around the bay that are worth exploring. Stoliv is a small town known for its unspoiled beauty and sandy beaches. Gurdic Spring, located just outside the old town of Kotor, is a hidden treasure with its ancient ruins and natural beauty. Orahovac offers secluded beaches where you can escape the crowds and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. These hidden gems are perfect for those seeking a quieter and more intimate experience in the Bay of Kotor.

11. Discover the Unspoiled Beauty of Stoliv

Stoliv is beautiful settlement just couple of km from Kotor
Stoliv is beautiful settlement just couple of km from Kotorfoto:

Located just a short drive from Kotor, the small town of Stoliv offers unspoiled beauty and a serene escape from the crowds. Stoliv is known for its picturesque coastline, with sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and admire the charming stone houses, olive groves, and vineyards that dot the landscape. With its tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings, Stoliv is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Bay of Kotor. Whether you're looking for a peaceful beach day or a quiet spot to watch the sunset, Stoliv has something for everyone.

12. Explore the Ruins of Gurdic Spring and its Surroundings

Gurdich gate
Gurdich gatefoto: Shutterstock

Just outside the old town of Kotor lies the hidden gem of Gurdic Spring. This natural spring is surrounded by ancient ruins and offers a glimpse into the history of the area. Take a walk through the ruins and imagine what life was like in this ancient settlement. The natural beauty of the spring and its surroundings are truly breathtaking, with lush greenery and stunning views of the bay. Whether you're a history buff or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Gurdic Spring is a must-visit destination in the Bay of Kotor.

13. Seek Out the Secluded Beaches of Orahovac

Secluded village of orahovac
Secluded village of orahovacfoto: Shutterstock

Escape the crowds and discover the secluded beaches of Orahovac. This small village is a hidden gem in the Bay of Kotor, offering pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Whether you're looking to relax on the sand, take a refreshing swim in the sizeable swimming area, or explore the underwater world through snorkeling, Orahovac has it all. The peaceful atmosphere and unspoiled beauty of the beaches make it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the tranquility of the Adriatic Sea. Pack a picnic and spend the day soaking up the sun and taking in the breathtaking views of the bay. Orahovac is a true paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Kotor’s Culinary Journey

Crnogorska jela, Montenegro food, Montenegro dishes, Montenegro Tourism
foto: Shutterstock

No trip to Kotor is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Montenegrin cuisine is a delicious blend of Mediterranean and Balkan flavors, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. From traditional dishes like cevapi and burek to seafood delicacies, there is something for every palate. Explore the narrow streets of Kotor's Old Town and discover hidden dining spots that serve up authentic Montenegrin flavors. Don't miss the chance to savor local favorites like Njeguški pršut (smoked ham), kačamak (cornmeal porridge), and rakija (fruit brandy). Kotor's culinary journey is a feast for the senses, offering a taste of the region's rich gastronomic heritage.

16. Indulge in Traditional Montenegrin Cuisine

Crnogorska jela, Montenegro food, Montenegro dishes, Montenegro Tourism
foto: Shutterstock

When in Kotor, make sure to indulge in traditional Montenegrin cuisine. Start your culinary journey with some local favorites like ćevapi, small grilled sausages served with bread and ajvar (a red pepper spread). Don't miss the chance to try burek, a savory pastry filled with cheese, meat, or spinach. For seafood lovers, the must-try dish is black risotto, a flavorful rice dish made with squid ink. Wash it all down with a glass of local wine or rakija, a traditional fruit brandy. Kotor is home to several restaurants that specialize in traditional Montenegrin cuisine, so you'll have plenty of options to choose from. Treat your taste buds to the best that Montenegrin cuisine has to offer and savor the flavors of this beautiful region.

17. Discover Kotor’s Best Kept Secret Dining Spots

Kotor is home to some hidden culinary gems that offer a unique dining experience. Venture off the beaten path and discover the best kept secret dining spots in the city. These hidden gems serve up delicious local flavors and offer a true culinary journey. From charming family-run restaurants to trendy cafes, you'll find a variety of dining options to suit every taste. Indulge in traditional Montenegrin dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and savor the flavors of the region. Whether you're a foodie looking for new culinary experiences or simply want to explore the local flavors, Kotor's best kept secret dining spots are sure to delight your taste buds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Kotor?

The best time to visit Kotor is during the shoulder seasons of April and May or September and October. These months offer warm weather and fewer tourists compared to the summer months, making it an ideal to explore the city and enjoy the outdoor activities.

Are There Any Tips for Traveling Around Kotor?

To make the most of your trip to Kotor, consider renting a car for exploring hidden gems outside the city center. Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes for navigating the cobblestone streets and take advantage of local guides for insider tips.

Can You Recommend Any Day Trips from Kotor?

Yes, there are several day trips you can take from Kotor. Visit the Blue Cave and explore its stunning blue waters, or take a trip to Lovćen National Park and enjoy the breathtaking views from the mountain summit.

How Many Days Should I Spend in Kotor?

The number of days you should spend in Kotor depends on your preferences. For a short visit, one or two days are sufficient to explore the main attractions. For an extended stay, three to five days will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the city's charm.

Is Kotor Suitable for Family Travel?

Yes, Kotor is suitable for family travel. The city offers a range of child-friendly activities, such as visiting the Cats Museum and exploring the old town. The beaches in the area are also great for kids to enjoy.

What Are Some Tips for Budget Travelers in Kotor?

Budget travelers in Kotor can find affordable options for accommodation and dining, especially in the shoulder seasons. It's also a good idea to plan ahead and consider any extra costs, such as entrance fees for attractions or transportation.

How Can I Avoid Tourist Traps in Kotor?

To avoid tourist traps in Kotor, seek out local tips and recommendations. Explore off-the-beaten-path areas, try authentic local cuisine, and engage with the locals to get a true taste of Kotor's culture and avoid the crowds.

What Are the Best Souvenirs to Bring Back from Kotor?

The best souvenirs to bring back from Kotor are unique finds from the small gift shops in the old town. Look for local handicrafts, traditional jewelry, and products made with locally sourced ingredients, such as honey or olive oil.

In conclusion, Kotor offers a wealth of must-see attractions that showcase its historic charm, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Whether you're exploring the cobbled streets of the old town, taking in the panoramic views from the fortifications, or indulging in traditional Montenegrin cuisine, this hidden gem in the Bay of Kotor is sure to captivate your heart. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to Kotor, where ancient history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality await. Don't forget to bring back some of the top things to do in Kotor as souvenirs to remember your trip by.

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