39 Photos That Will Inspire You to Visit Kotor Montenegro
Last September I treated myself to a special birthday trip to Montenegro.
Despite reading some negative reviews about the country’s capital, I spent a couple of days there on a mission to tell everyone, Why You Need to Visit Podgorica When You’re in Montenegro. Then I went off to Budva for three days, sampling seafood, taking dips in the sea, and exploring Budva Old Town. I then concluded my holiday with a day trip to Kotor Montenegro.
While Budva was my favourite due to the beaches and the fact that they have way less tourists (cruise ships don’t make a stop there), Kotor is an undeniably sexy destination.
Recommended reading: Read what fellow travel bloggers had to say about Kotor. Start with Yomadic’s cheeky article – Kotor, Montenegro – This Is Why I Shouldn’t Be Telling You About Kotor and Kami’s dreamy photo filled post, Kotor, Montenegro In Pictures – Is It The Most Beautiful Place in the World?
39 Photos That Will Inspire You to Visit Kotor Montenegro
It’s hard not to fall under the heady spell of Kotor’s Mediterranean landscape, with Lonely Planet even calling the town of 13,500 “achingly atmospheric.” Kotor’s located in Northern Montenegro and is surrounded by steep towering mountains reaching heights of 1,500 meters on one side and the Bay of Kotor, an indented section of the Adriatic Sea, on the other side. The town’s steeped in ancient history and is thought to have Greek origins, existing before Homer ever penned his epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad.
Outside the Walls of Kotor’s Old Town
While Kotor lacks the beaches of Budva, a walk around the bay and walls of Kotor’s Old Town is worth your time. As you traverse the area, enjoy the beguiling combination of palm trees, limestone mountains, red roofed houses, not to mention the calm waters of the “fjord-like” bay (apparently there’s an ongoing debate about whether or not it’s actually a fjord – as some maintain it’s a rio), and the endless parade of luxury yachts that surround the fortified walls.
If you’re a bit weird like me, have fun taking pictures of tourists having their photo taken like this mother-daughter combination embarking on an extreme photo shoot. The mother assumed a variety of sexy and provocative photos while she directed her daughter about when and how to take the photos.
You’ll come across Gurdich Gate, the Southern (and less frequented) entrance into Old Town Kotor.
Walking across the drawbridge into Old Town’s Southern gate, there’s also a larger than life Pippi Longstocking doll perched on top of the wall. A Pippi Longstocking movie was filmed in Montenegro back in 1970 and in tribute, this doll now stands on eternal sentry duty, delighting children with her presence and puzzling adults as to why she’s there.
The Sea Gate is the main entry into Kotor. Constructed in 1555 during Venetian rule, it’s now marked with a communist star, a quote from Tito, and the date when the city was freed from the Nazis.
Inside the Walls of Kotor’s Old Town
Like Budva, Kotor boasts a pristine and well preserved Old Town or Stari Grad that’s garnered them with UNESCO World Heritage status. Enclosed within fortifications built during the Venetian period, the Old Town is a maze of narrow cobblestoned streets filled with an abundance of churches, museums, palaces, restaurants, bars, and more. This dizzying maze may leave you feeling disoriented at first; long ago, it was actually designed that way on purpose so any invaders would soon find themselves lost and confused. These days it’s the kind of place that just begs you to aimlessly saunter about for hours on end. As you wander, you’ll come across peaceful residential courtyards with bougainvillea covered walls and laundry hanging from wrought-iron balconies.
It will make your heart heavy to learn that Kotor is at risk of losing their UNESCO status and has been moved to UNESCO’s “in-danger” list as the quality of the site is rapidly deteriorating. A number of factors have contributed to this happening, including the increasing number of tourists which resulted in the construction of new hotels and summer homes, as well as the massive amounts of cruise ships which dock each day. As tourism is the mainstay of the Montenegrin economy, it remains to be seen what, if any, measures the government will undertake to preserve the integrity of the historic town.
Regardless, go there and soak up the ambience. If you enter through the main Sea Gate, you’ll immediately come upon this 16th century Clock Tower.
While there were many more points of interest to take in like Pima Palace and Bizanti Palace, as usual I chose to walk through the pedestrian only streets and takes lots of Kotor Montenegro photos.
I loved the shiny (and slippery!) stone tiles found throughout Kotor’s old town.
As you make your way through Kotor, you’ll notice many cats wandering through the streets as well. These are not feral cats and they’re lovingly taken care of by the town’s residents. There’s even an art and handicraft gallery, Cats of Kotor, selling all sorts of “crazy cat lady” memorabilia! The gallery owners explain that cats have inhabited the town for centuries, with many of them being brought over by sailors from different parts of the globe. The current cat population is a curious cultural mixture of the Egyptian Sphynx, Russian Blue, and Siamese breeds.
Quiet Residential Streets of Kotor’s Old Town
While it was enjoyable to people (and cat) watch on the bustling streets and piazzas, I took solace in having some quiet moments wandering through the more residentials parts of Kotor. More than 3,000 residents currently live within the walls of Kotor’s Old Town.
Dining Spots Around Kotor’s Old Town
- Stop by the Old Town market and buy some fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood.
- Climb more than 1,200 steps to the Fortress of St. John, also known as the Castle of San Giovanni. Expect the hike to take about an hour more or less, depending on your fitness level, pace, and how many times you stop to take photos. Be sure to plenty of water and wear proper footwear.
- Visit the nearby towns of Perast and Risan.
- Take a boat to view Sveti Djordje from afar. Alternatively, go to Gospa od Škrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks), a manmade island with a church, both built by local fishermen.
What do you think? Do you want to visit Kotor Montenegro?
Good to Know
2) Kotor’s about two hours away from Podgorica and can easily be reached by public transport. Buses run hourly and will cost you about €7 for a one way ticket.
3) Taxis are another option, but are on the expensive side. A one way fare will run you anywhere from €40-€50. Beware of taxi scams where drivers will offer you a “special” price and then refuse to turn on the meter. Their “special” price is often more expensive than what the trip would have cost had the meter been running. Insist they turn the meter on before you begin your journey.
4) If you’re renting a car, you can expect the journey between Podgorica and Kotor to be slow, as all roads in Montenegro only have two lanes. You’ll often find yourself snaking through winding mountain roads (some of which are under construction), makely speeds over 70 kilometers per hour unsafe. Play it safe, relax, and enjoy the picturesque drive.
5) Montenegro uses the Euro. Expect prices for everything to be much lower than a lot of other European countries. Unlike Germany, you can use your bank or credit card almost anywhere.
6) Kotor is jam packed with tourists, partially due to the large number of cruise ships making stops here. Your patience may be tested as you walk around town and find yourself constantly navigating your way through a tight crowd of people. Restaurant reservations are highly recommended. Kotor comes alive at night, with people enjoying the local bars, restaurants, and clubs and could make sleep hard to achieve without earplugs or sleeping aids. Our pro-tips? Either book a hotel room that doesn’t face the street for a more quiet experience or book a hotel in nearby towns, Perast or Risan.
7) Free public wifi is available in the town center. Most bars, cafes, and restaurants also have free wifi.
8) To see what other major travel publications say about Kotor, read Balkan Vibe’s, 6 Things You Shouldn’t Miss (But Might) in Kotor, Montenegro or Rick Steve’s, Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor.
9) For more help with Montenegro trip planning, consider purchasing one of these travel guides – either Lonely Planet Montenegro or the Montenegro Bradt Guide. Better yet, record your thoughts in this lovely travel journal.
10) Heading to the Balkans soon and looking for a little travel inspiration? Read about some of my previous Balkan adventures:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 8 Reasons to Visit Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Bulgaria: Exploring Bulgaria: Rila Monastery Photos
- Croatia: What a Day in Split Might Look Like … If You Were Me
- Serbia: 5 Reasons to Visit Nis Serbia
Where to Eat
As I only spent the day in Kotor Montenegro, I didn’t get to to eat and drink from many local spots. But I did manage to have wine at one place and a late lunch at another:
1) Hotel Cattaro – If you’re looking to sit back and relax with a cold drink while enjoying a view over the Bay of Kotor, climb the stairs to the top of the city wall at Hotel Cattaro and visit their Citadella bar. Their service is notorious for being bad and their food isn’t known for being that good, but don’t let that stop you from having a drink here and taking in the beauty of Kotor’s sea and mountains from above. Stari Grad 232, Kotor 85330.
2) Old Winery – Stocking a large selection of Montenegrin wine, Old Winery is the place in Kotor’s Old Town to come if you’re looking to sample local grapes. Popular with diners are the meat and cheese platters. If you want a lesson in their regional wine offerings, ask the server to lead you through a tasting. Zanatsla 483, Kotor 85330.
Recommended reading: For the lowdown on where to eat in Kotor, read Culture Trip’s The 10 Best Restaurants In Kotor, Montenegro.
Where to Stay
Looking for a hotel when you visit Kotor? Choose from 217 properties on booking.com.
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