Kotor is a medieval town located on the Adriatic coastline of Montenegro. Kotor is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site, but was also featured in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016. But it doesn’t stop there. The town is surrounded by picturesque mountains in the idyllic Kotor Bay area, named one of the most beautiful bays in the world. It’s easy to see why – it’s got the charm of the Norwegian fjords combined with year round mild temperatures of the Mediterranean.
Want to know more? Then discover the best things to do and see in Kotor!
Wander the streets of the Old Town
Before you start sightseeing in Kotor, I recommend just wandering the streets of the Old Town. Grab a map at your hotel or the tourist office and take in the atmosphere. Let the enchanting alleyways take you from one piazza to the next and admire the old stone buildings. If you want to slow things down, take a seat at one of the cute cafes. Enjoy an hour of people (or cat) watching while you sip on your drink.
If you want to beat the crowds and snap some pictures head out early in the morning or around evening time. Kotor is a popular cruise ship destination and if you have ever seen the size of one of those ships, you can imagine just how busy a small town can get with the arrival of a new ship.
Climb the City Walls of Kotor
The Old Town of Kotor is wonderfully charming and still has medieval city walls which you cannot just look at, but also climb. With a whopping 1350 stairs a climb might sound slightly daunting, but I promise you the views are absolutely worth it.
The walls have a total length of 4 km (2.5miles) and reach a maximum height of 260m (850feet). As you make your way to the top there are plenty of photo opportunities with spectacular views of the town. After 30 – 45 minutes you will reach the fortress of Saint Ivan at the top.
Tip: Do not wear flip flops or any other type of loose-fitting shoes. The path can be very busy and slippery at times, which may cause you to slide or fall if you’re not wearing appropriate footwear.
Entry fee: 3€ (pay once you get to the wall)
Visit the Market
Just a little to the right of the Sea Gate you can find Kotor’s outdoor market. The vendors offer a fantastic choice of fresh, local produce from fruit & vegetables to local cheese. Sample some homemade delicacies or shop for some local ingredients like dried porcini mushrooms. If you’re staying in self-catered accommodation, why not try and prepare a local dish with regional ingredients.
Go on a sightseeing tour of the Old Town
If you would like to know more about the history and architecture of Kotor, I highly recommend signing up for a walking tour of the Old Town with Kotor Private Tour Guide.
The walking tour lasts two hours and the company is very flexible in terms of times, so you can pick an itinerary that will suit you. The friendly and knowledgeable local guide will show you the highlights of Kotor, let you in to some of the area’s secrets and really bring your surroundings to life.
Price: 65€ (based on up to two people joining)
They also offer a number of other tours and excursions in the area.
Kayak the Bay of Kotor
Kotor Bay has the ideal weather conditions for water sports almost all year round. So if you’re looking for an active day trip close to the Old Town – kayaking is the perfect choice.
Kotor Bay Tours offer a kayak rental service as well as guided tours. I chose to rent the kayak for an afternoon and explore the bay on by own. The company will provide you with a brief introduction, possible routes and a wet bag for your personal belongings if needed.
There are plenty of routes to choose from depending on your skill and fitness level, but with a spectacular setting like this you really can’t go wrong no matter which way you go. The bay also has plenty of little secluded beaches that you can stop at and have a swim to cool you down or a picnic with a view.
The Bay of Kotor is home to oodles of maritime wildlife. During my kayaking trip in the bay I saw something poke its head out the water but I was too far away to see what it was. I was convinced it couldn’t have been a seal so I started doing some research and the locals told me that it could have been a turtle or a dolphin. A dolphin! I really wish I would have stuck around and taken a closer look. So make sure to keep your eyes peeled for maritime animals. Who knows, you might spot a dolphin.
Kotor Bay Tours are located just a short bus ride away. The buses run every half an hour and a ticket costs 1€ one way.
The price for the rental starts at 10€ per person for one hour or 25€ for a whole day. Even the guided tours are very affordable at 35€ per day including kayak and a local guide.
Where to stay in Kotor
I stayed at the Monte Cristo, a charming four star hotel in the heart of the Old Town of Kotor. The hotel offers double & studio rooms as well as apartments. Rooms start at 75€ per night during off-season. The rate includes a fresh and delicious breakfast buffet which you can enjoy on their charming outdoor terrace or inside the restaurant of the hotel.
The hotel only has eight rooms in total so book in plenty of time to avoid disappointment as they do fill up fast.
Kotor also offers some budget friendly accommodation if you’re travelling on a shoestring. The Old Town Hostel East Wing offers dorms from a very affordable 10€ per night and private rooms from 29€. The Old Town Hostel West Wing has similar prices and equally good reviews on Hostelworld. I have not personally stayed at or visited either of those hostels, so I cannot speak from experience.
Where to eat in Kotor
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from in Kotor. Whether you want to sample some local fish and seafood or fancy a quick pizza, Kotor has just the right restaurant to match your taste and budget. I should mention that some of the places however are quite touristy and don’t necessarily represent the quality of food that is typical for the region.
The restaurant Trpeza is a great choice for a delicious dinner with fresh, local ingredients for a mid-range budget.
If you want to know more about the food in Kotor, check out my post: The Taste of: Kotor (Montenegro).
How to get to Kotor
There are a number of ways to get to Kotor, simply pick the one that is most suited to your style of travel and budget.
If you’re visiting Kotor as part of bigger trip itinerary across Europe or the Balkans and you would like to see other destinations close by, driving might be worth considering.
Both EasyJet and Ryanair offer budget flights to Montenegro from various starting points across Europe.
Manchester or London Gatwick – Tivat: from March – October starting at 10,50€ one way
Geneva – Tivat: from July – September starting at 18,99€ one way
Berlin Schönefeld or Brussels – Podgorica: from 16,99€ one way
London Stansted or Stockholm – Podgiroca: from 19,99€ one way
Tivat is only a short drive from Kotor, while Podgorica (the capital) is about one hour away.
You can also visit Kotor by ship, but I highly recommend staying in town for more than just a quick stopover.
The Tourist Office of Kotor hosted me during my stay, but as always all opinions are my own. For more information about Kotor, check out their website or contact them directly.