Kotor, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.