Top Things to Do in Kotor Montenegro for a Memorable Trip

Kotor, Montenegro, nestled in the Bay of Kotor, offers a mix of old town charm, stunning scenery, and rich history. Explore the narrow streets, visit historic landmarks, and hike to the Fortress of San Giovanni for an unforgettable trip.

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Foto: Shutterstock
Foto: Shutterstock

Key Highlights

  • Explore the charming Old Town of Kotor and its historic buildings
  • Take a boat tour of the breathtaking Bay of Kotor and visit the iconic Lady of the Rocks
  • Venture into the Blue Cave for a mesmerizing underwater experience
  • Hike to the top of the Fortress of San Giovanni for panoramic views of the city and bay
  • Walk the ancient city walls and experience the fortifications of Kotor
  • Enjoy a relaxing day at the beautiful beaches near Kotor

A Brief History of Kotor

one of the old maps of ancient kotor settlement
one of the old maps of ancient kotor settlementfoto:

Kotor, with a history dating back to ancient times, became a Roman colony and thrived under various empires, including the Byzantines, Venetians and Austro-Hungarians. The old town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcases its rich past through narrow streets and medieval architecture. A highlight is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, an architectural masterpiece housing the saint's relics. Kotor's history as a bustling port city is evident at the Maritime Museum, offering insights into its maritime legacy from Mediterranean traders.

One of the best ways to experience Kotor's history is by entering through one of the three main gates and exploring the Old City's ancient cobblestone streets, walking along the Old City walls, and stepping into its stone churches.

unique architecture makes kotor a wonder
unique architecture makes kotor a wonderfoto: Shutterstock

The old buildings in Kotor, such as the prestigious mansions from the 1600s and 1700s, offer a glimpse into the town's wealthy naval officers and families who once lived there. Additionally, the St. Nicholas Church, the most important Serbian Orthodox Church in Kotor, is a must-visit for those interested in the town's religious history.

Kotor is not only historically significant but also renowned for its natural beauty. The city's rich history and architectural beauty make it a unique destination not to be missed.

Essential Activities in Kotor Montenegro for an Unforgettable Journey

view over old town
view over old townfoto: Shutterstock

Discover the charm of Kotor Old Town on foot, visit the majestic Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, explore the Maritime Museum for a glimpse into Kotor's history, hike to the Fortress of San Giovanni for breathtaking views, walk the ancient city walls and experience Kotor's fortifications, enjoy a relaxing day at the beaches near Kotor, take a scenic boat tour of the Bay of Kotor, savor local Montenegrin cuisine in Kotor's best restaurants, shop for unique souvenirs and handicrafts in old town markets, discover the serene Our Lady of the Rocks Island by boat, sample Montenegrin wine and beer, visit the Cats Museum and learn about Kotor's feline guardians, participate in a guided cultural and historical walking tour, and embark on an unforgettable Montenegro road trip to explore the stunning beauty of this small country.

1. Discover the Charm of Kotor Old Town on Foot

Kotor Old Town is a true gem best explored on foot to fully appreciate its beauty and charm. The narrow streets and picturesque squares transport you to a Game of Thrones setting. Start at the main entrance, the Sea Gate, and marvel at the medieval architecture and historic buildings.

Gurdich gate
Gurdich gatefoto: Shutterstock

Get lost in the maze-like streets, admire ornate facades, visit quaint shops and cafes, and experience the lively atmosphere. Don't miss the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, a stunning Romanesque church from the 12th century with intricate carvings and beautiful frescoes. A walking tour will deepen your understanding of Kotor's history and unique charm, including its location near the breathtaking Kotor Bay. Be sure to explore Kotor's old town, designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979, and take in the sights of the town's walls and gates. Don't forget to also walk outside the walls and explore the gates to truly appreciate the scale of the walls built to protect Kotor's old town.

2. Visit the Majestic Cathedral of Saint Tryphon

st.tryphon is an old catholic cathedral
st.tryphon is an old catholic cathedralfoto: Shutterstock

When exploring Kotor, make sure to visit the majestic Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, also known as the Kotor Cathedral. This Romanesque church, dating back to the 12th century, symbolizes the city's religious heritage and is dedicated to the patron saint of Kotor. Inside, admire intricate carvings, beautiful frescoes, and stunning mosaics that showcase the city's rich cultural history. The cathedral houses the relics of Saint Tryphon and charges a small entrance fee. It's a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture.

3. Maritime Museum

For a deeper understanding of Kotor's maritime heritage, a visit to the Maritime Museum is a must. Located in the heart of the town, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the city's seafaring past. Inside the museum, you'll find a collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that showcase Kotor's rich history as a bustling port town.

Maritime museum kotor
Maritime museum kotorfoto: Shutterstock

Learn about the city's naval traditions, explore the role of trade and commerce in shaping Kotor's identity, and discover the stories of the sailors who braved the open sea. The Maritime Museum is not only informative but also engaging, making it a great activity for visitors of all ages. Whether you're a history buff or simply curious about the city's past, a visit to the Maritime Museum is sure to be a memorable experience.

4. Fortress of San Giovanni

For travelers seeking the most breathtaking panoramic views of Kotor and its picturesque surroundings, embarking on a hike to the ancient Fortress of San Giovanni, also known as Kotor Fortress, is an absolute must.

view from the fortress is stunning
view from the fortress is stunning foto: Shutterstock

Despite its challenging nature, this hike promises unparalleled vistas of the bay, mountains, and the charming old town below. As you ascend steep inclines and navigate numerous steps, take the opportunity to savor the stunning scenery unfolding around you. Upon reaching the summit, take a moment to find a serene spot and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing beauty of Kotor from a bird's-eye perspective. It is advisable to pack an ample supply of water, wear sturdy and comfortable shoes, and be prepared for a physically demanding trek, especially on a rainy day. Without a doubt, this invigorating hike to Kotor Fortress stands as an essential experience for every visitor exploring the enchanting city of Kotor.

5. Ancient City Walls and Kotor’s Fortifications

city walls protect the old town
city walls protect the old townfoto: Shutterstock

To fully experience Kotor's history and architecture, walk along the ancient city walls for stunning views of the old town, bay, and mountains. The well-preserved fortifications offer a unique perspective on the city's defensive past, passing by the iconic Sea Gate and providing access to lookout points. Capture the Instagram-worthy views with your camera while gaining insight into Kotor's defensive strategies. Walking the city walls is a must-do activity for any visitor to Kotor, with entry points at the Northern Gate, Sea Gate, and Gurdic Gate (or the South Gate).

6. Scenic Boat Tour of the Bay of Kotor

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Bay of Kotor is by taking a scenic boat tour. These tours offer a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings, allowing you to see Kotor from a different vantage point.

morning routes are tranquil and beautiful
morning routes are tranquil and beautifulfoto: Shutterstock

During the tour, you'll cruise along the bay, passing by towering mountains, charming coastal towns, and picturesque islands. One of the highlights of the tour is a visit to the iconic Lady of the Rocks, an artificial island with a stunning church that is said to have been built on the site where sailors discovered an icon of the Virgin Mary.

As you sail through the bay, be sure to keep your camera ready, as there will be countless opportunities for breathtaking photos. A boat tour of the Bay of Kotor is a must-do activity for any visitor to the city.

7. Savour Local Montenegrin Cuisine in Kotor’s Best Restaurants

from meat to fish - whatever you try you wont regret it
from meat to fish - whatever you try you wont regret itfoto: Shutterstock

No visit to Kotor is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. The city is home to a vibrant food scene, with a wide range of restaurants and cafes that showcase the best of Montenegrin gastronomy. In the old town, you'll find a variety of restaurants serving traditional dishes such as cevapi (grilled meat sausages), burek (a savory pastry filled with meat or cheese), and seafood fresh from the Adriatic Sea. Many of these establishments source their ingredients locally, ensuring that you get a taste of the region's authentic flavors.

burek - ideal for breakfast with yoghurt
burek - ideal for breakfast with yoghurtfoto: Shutterstock

For a truly immersive experience, try dining in one of the restaurants housed in the historic palaces of Kotor. These elegant establishments offer not only delicious food but also a glimpse into the city's aristocratic past.

8. Unique Souvenirs and Handicrafts in Old Town Markets

To bring a piece of Kotor home with you, make sure to visit the old town markets where you can find an array of unique souvenirs and handicrafts. Take your time to browse through stalls offering handmade jewelry, locally produced olive oil, and fresh produce at the Green Market. Wander through the narrow streets to discover locally made ceramics, textiles, and artwork that perfectly encapsulate Kotor's vibrant culture. By shopping at these markets, not only do you get to take home a special memento from your trip, but you also support local artisans and craftsmen who pour their heart and soul into creating these beautiful pieces. It's a wonderful way to cherish your memories of Kotor and contribute to the preservation of its rich artistic heritage.

9. Lady of the Rocks Island by Boat

Old lady of the rock - island that was handmade
Old lady of the rock - island that was handmadefoto: Shutterstock

A visit to Lady of the Rocks is a must-do activity when exploring the Bay of Kotor. This picturesque island is located just off the coast of Perast and is home to a stunning church that is said to have been built on the site where sailors discovered an icon of the Virgin Mary. To reach the island, you can take a day trip by boat from Perast, enjoying a scenic boat ride on the breathtaking bay. As you approach the island, you'll be struck by its serene beauty and the crystal-clear waters that surround it. Step ashore and explore the church, which is adorned with beautiful artwork and religious relics, and learn more about the town's past at the Perast Museum, located inside a stunning 18th-century palace.

Gospa od Škrpjela
foto: Shutterstock

After visiting the church, take some time to wander around the island and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. The views from the island are breathtaking, offering panoramic vistas of the bay and the surrounding mountains. A trip to Our Lady of the Rocks is a chance to experience the tranquility of the bay and immerse yourself in the region's rich religious heritage.

10. Montenegrin Wine and Beer

No visit to Kotor is complete without sampling the local wine and beer. Montenegro is known for its excellent winemaking traditions and the region's vineyards produce a variety of reds, whites, and rosés that are sure to please any wine lover's palate.

montnegro is known for amazing but affordable wines
montnegro is known for amazing but affordable winesfoto: Shutterstock

Take a tour of one of the local wineries and learn about the winemaking process while sampling some of the region's best offerings. From bold reds to crisp whites, there is a wine to suit every taste.For beer enthusiasts, Montenegro offers a range of craft beers that are brewed using traditional methods and local ingredients. Visit a local brewery and try some of the unique and flavorful beers that are produced in the region. Whether you prefer wine or beer, sampling the local libations is a great way to immerse yourself in Montenegrin culture and experience the flavors of the region.

11. Cats Museum

unique visit that is for sure
unique visit that is for surefoto: Shutterstock

Kotor is famous for its large population of cats, and one of the best places to learn about these furry residents is the Cats Museum. This unique museum is dedicated to the feline guardians of Kotor and offers a fascinating insight into their history and role in the city.Inside the museum, you'll find a collection of exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the cats of Kotor. Learn about their ancient origins, their place in local folklore, and their important role in keeping the city free of rodents. The Cats Museum is a must-visit for any cat lover or anyone interested in the cultural heritage of Kotor. It's a fun and quirky attraction that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

12. Guided Cultural and Historical Walking Tour

To appreciate Kotor's rich heritage, join a guided walking tour led by local experts. Explore landmarks like the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon and the old town walls, gaining insights into the city's history and architecture. Walk through medieval streets to uncover hidden stories and immerse yourself in Kotor's past. This tour offers a deeper understanding of the city's cultural significance, perfect for history buffs and curious travelers.

Hidden Gems in Kotor

dobrota panorama is amazing for leisure walk and exploring historic houses
dobrota panorama is amazing for leisure walk and exploring historic housesfoto: Shutterstock

While the main attractions in Kotor are certainly worth exploring, don't miss out on the city's hidden gems. These off-the-beaten-path attractions offer a unique and often less crowded experience.

  • Explore the lush gardens of Gurdic Spring
  • Find solitude at the secluded Dobrota Palazzi
  • Admire the artistry at the Church of St. Eustahije
  • Hike the trails of Lovcen National Park for panoramic views

These hidden gems provide a chance to escape the crowds and discover the lesser-known treasures of Kotor.

Gurdic pond - hiddent entrance to the city

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Gurdic gate and pond. This off-the-beaten-path attraction is located just a short distance from Kotor and offers a peaceful retreat from the crowds.

Gurdich gate and tranquil pond
Gurdich gate and tranquil pondfoto:

The gardens are adorned with vibrant flowers, towering trees, and tranquil water features. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding paths and breathe in the fresh scent of nature.

Gurdic Spring also home to a natural spring that provides crystal-clear water. Fill up your water bottle and taste the refreshing water that flows from the mountains.

Whether you're looking for a quiet spot to relax or a picturesque setting for a picnic, the lush gardens of Gurdic Spring are the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature.

Artistry at the Church of St. Eustahije

church was completed in 1772
church was completed in 1772foto: Shutterstock

Visit the Church of St. Eustahije and be amazed by its stunning artistry and intricate details. This hidden gem is located in the heart of Kotor's old town and is a must-see for art enthusiasts.

Step inside the church and marvel at the beautiful frescoes that line the walls and ceiling. The intricate details and vibrant colors are a testament to the skill and talent of the artists who created them.

Take your time to admire the artistry and craftsmanship of the church, and be sure to look out for the small details that make it truly unique. From the ornate altars to the beautifully carved wooden pews, every corner of the Church of St. Eustahije is a work of art.

A visit to this hidden gem will leave you inspired and in awe of the talent and creativity of the artists who have contributed to Kotor's rich cultural heritage.

Trails of Lovćen National Park for Panoramic Views

For a truly breathtaking experience, venture into the stunning Lovćen National Park and hike its scenic trails. Located just a short drive from Kotor, the park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the bay.

Lovcen and Njegos mausoleum
Lovcen and Njegos mausoleumfoto: Shutterstock

Choose from a variety of hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels and interests. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there is a trail for you to explore.

As you hike through the park, you'll be treated to stunning vistas at every turn. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of the landscape.

A hike in Lovćen National Park is a must-do activity for any nature lover or adventure seeker. Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and experience the natural wonders of Montenegro.

Kotor’s Cultural Festivities and Events

Kotor is not only known for its history and natural beauty but also for its vibrant cultural scene. Throughout the year, the city hosts a variety of festivals, events, and cultural celebrations that showcase the region's rich heritage.

From the Kotor Carnival, a festive event that takes place in February, to the KotorART International Music Festival, which attracts world-class musicians and performers in the summer, there is always something happening in Kotor.

Immerse yourself in the local culture and join in the festivities. Whether you're interested in music, dance, or traditional customs, Kotor's cultural events offer a unique and memorable experience.

Kotor Carnival’s Festive Atmosphere

kotor carnival
kotor carnivalfoto: Redakcija Mediabiro

If you're visiting Kotor in February, don't miss the Kotor Carnival, a vibrant and festive event that showcases the city's lively spirit. The carnival, which dates back to medieval times, is one of the oldest and most important cultural events in Montenegro.

During the carnival, the streets of Kotor come alive with colorful costumes, music, and dance. Join in the festivities and watch as locals and visitors alike participate in parades and street performances.

The Kotor Carnival is a chance to experience the city's vibrant atmosphere and immerse yourself in the local culture. Whether you're a spectator or a participant, the carnival is sure to leave you with lasting memories of your time in Kotor.

KotorART International Music Festival

performances are held the whole day
performances are held the whole dayfoto: KotorArt

If you're a fan of music, don't miss the KotorART International Music Festival, a world-class event that attracts renowned musicians and performers from around the globe. The festival, which takes place in the summer, offers a diverse program of classical, jazz, and contemporary music.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting sounds of the performances and enjoy the unique ambiance of the historic venues where the concerts are held. From the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon to the Old Town Square, each location adds its own charm to the musical experience.

and in the evening
and in the eveningfoto: Duško Miljanić

Attending the KotorART International Music Festival is a chance to appreciate the beauty of music and witness the incredible talent of the performers. Whether you're a music aficionado or simply appreciate a good melody, the festival is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Kotor, Montenegro?

The best time to visit Kotor is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warm and the city is bustling with activity. However, if you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall.

How Many Days are Ideal for Exploring Kotor?

Ideally, you should plan to spend at least two to three days in Kotor to fully explore the city and its surroundings. This will give you enough time to visit the major attractions, take a boat tour of the bay, and enjoy the local cuisine.

Can I Explore Kotor on a Budget?

Exploring Kotor on a budget is indeed feasible with the availability of cost-effective accommodation options, reasonably priced dining establishments, and an array of free or low-cost activities to partake in. For budget-conscious travelers, opting for guesthouses, hostels, or even Airbnb accommodations can help keep lodging expenses at a minimum. Dining at local eateries and street food stalls offers delicious meals without breaking the bank.

Additionally, visiting local markets like Kamelija Market allows travelers to experience the local culture and sample fresh produce without spending much. Taking a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade or relaxing at one of the public beaches, such as Pebble Beach in Dobrota, provides a serene way to enjoy Kotor's natural beauty without any cost involved. By making savvy choices in accommodation, dining, and activities, it is entirely possible to have a memorable and fulfilling experience in Kotor while sticking to a budget.

What Are the Must-Try Foods in Kotor?

When in Kotor, be sure to try cevapi (grilled meat sausages), burek (savory pastry filled with meat or cheese), and fresh seafood caught from the Adriatic Sea. These dishes are staples of the local cuisine and are deliciously representative of the region.

Is Kotor Accessible for Cruise Ship Passengers?

Kotor is easily accessible for cruise ship passengers with its picturesque port located near the Old Town. The proximity allows visitors to explore Kotor’s attractions effortlessly, making it a convenient and memorable stop on any cruise itinerary.

How Can I Experience Kotor Like a Local?

Immerse yourself in Kotor's local life by mingling at authentic markets, savoring traditional cuisine in hidden eateries, and joining cultural walking tours. Engage with locals, sip Montenegrin wine, and explore off-the-beaten-path gems for a truly authentic experience.

Can I Rent a Car to Explore the Surrounding Areas of Kotor?

Yes, renting a car is a great way to explore the beautiful surrounding areas of Kotor at your own pace. It allows you to visit hidden gems like Lovćen National Park conveniently. Embrace the freedom of discovering off-the-beaten-path attractions with a rental car.

How Do I Get to Kotor from Podgorica Airport?

To get to Kotor from Podgorica Airport, opt for a convenient taxi or bus ride from Podgorica. Taxis are readily available at the airport and offer a direct journey to Kotor.

What are the Safety Tips for Tourists in Kotor?

To ensure a safe trip in Kotor, tourists should stay alert in crowded areas, safeguard belongings, be cautious when exploring narrow streets, and follow local customs. Additionally, it's advisable to have emergency contacts handy and respect the natural surroundings.

What are the Best Souvenirs to Bring Back from Kotor?

Discover unique souvenirs in Kotor, Montenegro. Bring back local goods like handcrafted jewelry, traditional textiles, or local wines. Don't miss out on intricate filigree silver pieces or handmade ceramics to capture the essence of your tr

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