Bay of Kotor – the greatest place you’ve likely never heard of

1-4-IMG_2009Kotor, Montenegro is one of those places that once you see it, you can’t understand how you’ve never heard of it before. Adam and I spent six weeks living in Kotor and fell madly in love with it. We would recommend this destination to anyone and although we have a million reasons why, here are six good ones:

1. The Views

The Bay of Kotor is a winding bay in southwestern Montenegro surrounded by limestone mountains. It has the stunning appearance of a fjord, but is actually a ria of the disintegrated Bokelj River.

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Incredible views of the Bay are easily accessible by climbing up to the Fortress Sveti Ivan behind the Old Town or driving up the Ladder of Kotor where each of the 25 hairpin turns provides a better vista than the last.

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 2. Old Town 

The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period. It’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Within the town’s walls you’ll find narrow cobblestone streets opening up to cafe-filled squares. When you gaze up at the white stone buildings you’ll see shutters in all shades of blue and green, framed by a wall of steep, almost overhanging mountains. Within the old town you’ll find half a dozen Catholic and Serbian Orthodox churches and  a multitude of restaurants and shops.

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3. Farmers Market

Every Saturday (and often throughout the week as well) there’s a farmers market where you can sample and buy Montenegro’s local specialties like homemade cheese and olive oil. It’s set up next to the entrance to Old Town, against the town’s fortifications. It’s so cool, we wrote a whole blog about it.

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4. Cafe Culture

Both inside of Old Town and along the bay, Kotor has an endless amount of great cafes. The service is good (and English is prevalent), drinks are cheap and the views are stunning.

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Molly and her sister in a cafe in Old Town Kotor

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waterfront cafe in Perast

5. Perast

There are many well preserved medieval towns along the Bay of Kotor, but Perast takes the cake. Only a few miles up the road from Kotor, Perast is a gorgeous little Mediterranean style village offering up tons of charm and a handful of good restaurants ON THE WATER with view to kill for.

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6. Walking along the Bay

A stroll along the Bay of Kotor will offer you a range of sights like pristine white stone docks and turquoise water, upside-down dinghies, teenagers on rollerblades, well fed street cats, fishermen sitting on beer crates, precariously parked cars, groups of men wearing matching tracksuits, a variety of different homes and a  bevy of vessels on the go.

The weather in the Bay of Kotor can be really dramatic and the surface of the water is always changing as it reflects the sun against the mountains encircling it.

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TIPS-FOR-TRAVELERS

  • To see Bay of Kotor at its best we highly we recommend avoiding the summer months when cruise ships populate the bay and the Old Town is crowded with visitors. In March and April the weather is cool and clear and the old town is just opening its shutters. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, witnessing a Bay of Kotor thunderstorm from a covered cafe is worth the trip.
  • Don’t feel the need to stay in Old Town – the bay and surrounding mountains are so beautiful that it’s a shame to wall yourself in. Instead look for a guesthouse in the adjoining towns of Dobrota or Muo where you can try some local cafes and bakeries and have a view of the gorgeous bay. We had a magnificent view from our airbnb rental listed here.
  • Make sure to get out and about: take a hike up the Vrmac Peninsula, hike up to the Fortress Sveti Ivan, drive up the Ladder of Kotor (or do the all-day hike up the Old Ladder of Kotor) and definitely get to Perast to get a good view of Crna Gora, Montenegro’s eponymous Black Mountain.

3 thoughts on “Bay of Kotor – the greatest place you’ve likely never heard of

  1. Pingback: Top FOURtresses | Adam and Molly Go

  2. My husband and I just got back from our 3 week vacation to Slovenia,Croatia,Bosnia-H and Montenegro. I had read your blog before we went and we too fell in love with the Bay of Kotor. It was magical and no one we know had ever heard of it also! Your trip looked wonderful. We drove it ourselves which was quite a challenge, but we did it! We are 64 and 65 years old. So glad we went into it not realizing what we were getting into! It was so worth it.

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