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Top 5 Things To Do In Kotor

23.11.2020


No trip to Montenegro is completed without exploring the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kotor. This historic town is tucked away in the deepest reaches of Kotor Bay, between sparkling waters and a majestic mountain backdrop. Kotor is a cradle of both beauty and culture, and a must-see for every visitor.

Kotor is one of the best-preserved Medieval towns in the entire Adriatic region. To appreciate the town, a splash of history is in order. Kotor has been settled since prehistoric times, with some experts dating the first inhabitants as far back as 1000 BC. Many historians believe Kotor was founded by the Romans after they conquered the Illyrians in the 2nd Century BC. Kotor has been ruled by the Roman, Byzantine, Slovenes, Hungarian, and Austrian empires. It was part of Yugoslavia between World War I and became the independent state of Montenegro in 2006. Kotor’s tumultuous past has created a rich and vibrant history that awaits your discovery.

Modern-day Kotor is a popular cruise port and day-trip destination for tourists in Dubrovnik. But as experts and residents, we can confidently say that one day in Kotor is not enough to explore its vast treasures. We recommend spending several days in Kotor alone to fully enjoy all it has to offer including history and art, dining and shopping, sightseeing and venturing into the surrounding nature.

Whether you’re staying for a while or pressed for time, these are the top 5 things to do in Kotor.

1. Wander through the Old Town of Kotor

There is much to discover inside the fortified walls of Kotor’s Old Town. Stroll through myriad cobblestone alleys, enjoy the sun and scenery in quaint squares, and find traces of history all around. On every street, there are opportunities to taste local food, browse through artisan shops, and get a taste of local life. Those intrigued by history will find an abundance of historic buildings, Renaissance palaces, and Venetian structures. Don’t miss Kotor’s many churches, which offer a combination of grand architecture and tell the story of Montenegro’s history. There is so much to discover inside this walkable city center, which is why the Old Town of Kotor is #1 in our list of the top 5 things to do in Kotor.
We encourage you to get lost and allow serendipity to lead the way, but we have a walking tour designed to introduce you to our beloved Kotor. Join one of our Daily Walking Tours or book a Private Tour of Kotor for your travel group. Both tour options will connect you with a local and licensed tour guide who will help you get acquainted with the Old Town’s landmarks, history, and culture. It’s a great way to start exploring all that the Old Town of Kotor as to offer!

 

2. Climb to Fort San Giovanni

From afar, Kotor’s most striking feature is its fortifications. Ancient stone walls surround the Old Town and rise up the steep mountain slope until they reach Fort San Giovanni. Central to Kotor’s defence, the fort offers commanding views of the Bay of Kotor and the surrounding landscape. Today, visitors are welcome to follow the historic walls from the Old Town of Kotor up to Fort San Giovanni. It is another must-see, especially for photographers, because it offers the best views in the city.
The trail is a combination of marked pathways and stone steps the wind up to the fort, passing a chapel and many breathtaking viewpoints along the way. It is a fairly steep trail that looks intimidating from afar, but it is possible to reach the top and come back down in a couple of hours. There is an entrance fee (approx. 8 euros) to access this hike from the Old Town, which is used towards maintaining the oath. You may also reach the fortress from an alternate route by finding the Kotor Ladder trail.
The best times to do this hike are early in the morning to avoid heat and crowds, or at around sunset for dazzling views. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing. We also advise that you carry water and snacks with you. 

 

3. Cruise the Bay of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor’s sparkling waters have sparked wonder for centuries. In fact, sailing has long been intertwined with the local culture. In order to get a true feeling of the region, we recommend exploring it by water.
Jump aboard a boat and cruise along Kotor Bay, feeling the sun and fresh air as the scenery changes around you. Discover new viewpoints and perspectives as nature surrounds you. There is no better way to appreciate Kotor’s natural beauty.
One can spend the day exploring beaches and swimming spots or visit nearby historic sites by boat. Check out our half-day and full-day boat cruise tour options for inspiration.

 

4. Explore Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks

Visit Kotor’s neighbours to get a unique perspective on our local history and landscape. Two must-visit destinations close to Kotor are Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks. 
Perast is a historic fishing village facing the mouth of the Bay of Kotor. It is home to a seaside promenade and centuries-old mansions best discovered on foot. You can also climb a church tower for rewarding views of the charming town, blue waters, and Our Lady of the Rocks domed church. 
A short boat ride away, you will find the man-made island of Our Lady of the Rocks. Local legend has it that the island was built after two brothers discovered a painting of Our Lady. They sunk rocks around the site of the discovery until it was large enough to build an island and church. Explore this church and museum to discover this unique story from Montenegro’s past.

 

5. Taste the Flavors of Kotor

You can visit all of the most famous sites but your experience won’t be complete until you taste our local cuisine. Cuisine has played a big role in our culture and many specialty dishes have evolved over time. Our people are dedicated to preserving these culinary traditions and sharing them with the world.
Within our cuisine, you will discover a deep connection to our land and natural resources. Seafood dishes like Fish Thick Soup, Buzara, and Black Risotto are inspired by our bountiful waters. Njegusi steak is a must-try while Njegusi Proscuitto is unique due to the climate and altitude of the village where the meat is sourced and smoked. Dishes like Cevapi, Burek, and Njoke (like Italian gnocchi) speak to our history and relationships with surrounding cultures. 
While in Kotor, you can explore food from every region in Montenegro if you know where to look. Be sure to try the seabass at Galion restaurant in Kotor. For the best experience, be sure to wash it down with local beer and wine!