Nestled in a valley amongst the mountains, overlooking a bay, is Kotor, a must see if you visit Montenegro or the Balkans. Most people just do a day trip here from Dubrovnik, but I would recommend spending a few days in the Bay of Kotor exploring more of Montenegro. In this post I will go over the Top Things to do in Kotor as well as day trips from Kotor.
Where to stay in Kotor
If you don’t have a car, I would recommend staying in Kotor town. If you are looking to stay in a reasonably priced, clean double room within Kotor old town then I would suggest Katareo Apartments. Please note that Kotor Old Town is pedestrian only but it is small and easy to walk everywhere.
If you have a car you might want to consider staying a bit out of Kotor, you’ll be more likely to find a better deal and it will be a lot more peaceful. I stayed in the Apartments Sea Star which was just a 10 minutes drive north of Kotor. We had a large modern studio to ourselves for just €33 a night.
Top Things to do in Kotor
1) Walk around Kotor Old Town
The top thing to do in Kotor is to walk around the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can find a mix of roman, gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture.
The best way to explore Kotor’s Old Town is just to wander and get lost around the narrow lanes. Make sure you head to St Tryphon’s Cathedral (or Kotor Cathedral), Church of St. Luka, Church of St. Nicholas, Gurdich Gate and Pima Palace.
Join a walking tour around Kotor to learn more about the history.
2) Hike up to the Old Town Viewpoint (Kotor Fortress)
Enjoy a beautiful view over the Bay of Kotor and the Old Town by hiking the 1350-steps up to the Kotor Fortress.
I would recommend doing this around sunrise to enjoy not only the amazing light on the mountains but also the cooler temperature. It is also free to enter (no barriers) before 8am. Between 8am-8pm you will need to pay €8! It used to only cost €2 but has recently sprung up out of nowhere, and it’s unclear as to where the money you pay goes as the site does not look like it’s maintained.
About one third of the way up you will come across the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, this is the iconic viewpoint that you will see a lot on Instagram. So make sure to stop and take a photo!
TOP TIP – The climb up to Kotor Fortress is quite steep with a narrow staircase on one side of the slope, the rest of the slope is cobbled so I would recommend wearing trainers to hike up here.
3) Swim in the Bay of Kotor
Have a relaxed morning or afternoon cooling down with a swim in the Bay of Kotor. With the mountains framing the bay it makes for a super epic scenery.
There are a few beaches around, which you can access by car or local bus. There was one within walking distance of our Apartments Sea Star, which is where the below photo was taken.
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You should MonteneGO to the Bay of Kotor 🗻 :::: Montenegro simply took my breathe away! The mountains rising above the Bay of Kotor are like something from a fairytale 😍 :::: TRAVEL TIP – Kotor isn't the best place to swim (lots of boats) so I recommend driving a bit out of town (theres a local bus too). This picture was taken near @konoba_barba 📍 :::: 📷 by @alexwandr and edited with my Golden Film Preset #gingerpresets 💫 :::: Join my travel family! Tag your photos with #thewanderlustfamily for the chance to feature in my stories 🥰 :::: #montenegro #kotor #kotormontenegro #bayofkotor #balkans #sheisnotlost #womenwhoexplore #iamtb #speechlessplaces #discoverearth
4) Eat in a restaurant right by the bay
There is nothing quite like eating a tasty meal right by water and surrounded by mountains whilst the sun goes down.
There are quite a few restaurants by the Bay, I would recommend just going for a walk and seeing what you comes across. We stumbled across Konoba Barba by chance (it was near our accommodation) and the prices were good, the food was good and the view was exceptional! Make sure you book a table to have one right by the water.
Easy Day Trips from Kotor
1) Visit Perast
One of the easiest day trips from Kotor is to Perast, the prettiest town on the Bay of Kotor. The best way to get here is by car, but there are also organised boat tours from Kotor. Make sure you spend at least a morning or afternoon in Perast.
For €5 you can get a boat across the bay to the Lady of the Rocks island, they have a limited amount of people allowed on the island so it never eats too busy but I would recommend going early morning or later afternoon if you would like it mostly to yourself.
2) Go hiking in Lovcen National Park
At the top of the mountains above Kotor is Lovcen National Park. There are a number of different hikes to enjoy in the park and this is also you will find the mausoleum of Montenegrin ruler and poet Petar II Petrovic Njegos, a super Instagrammable spot with views over the mountain tops.
The drive up to Lovcen National Park is on steep winding roads, but they are well paved. Whilst you drive up you will see a number of beautiful viewpoints over Kotor Bay, so don’t forget to stop! If you don’t have a car you can also book a tour to Lovcen National Park.
The entrance fee to the park is €2 per car and for the mausoleum is €3 per person.
TOP TIP – You need to go through the Mausoleum to get to the viewpoint, and the viewpoint doesn’t open until 9am (in the summer) so there’s no point going for sunrise. However I would recommend going early (8:30am ish), so that you can easily park.
3) Visit the Montenegrin coastline; Sveti Stefan and Budva
Another great trip to make from Kotor is to the coast, a 30-40 minute drive. Make a stop at the beautiful Sveti Stefan, to swim in the sea and marvel at the cute red houses. Head up onto the road for a unique view of the island (The viewpoint is titled Sveti Stefan on Google Maps).
Then spend the afternoon in Budva, enjoy one of the many beaches and walk around the Old Town.
If you don’t have a car then you can either take a public bus from Kotor or book a private tour.
4) Marvel at the beautiful Skadar Lake
If you drive up to Lovcen National Park then you can carry on driving to an incredible viewpoint over Skadar Lake. Type Pavkiva Strana Viewpoint into Google. There are two roads in, I would recommend taking the longer one as it is well paved and not as winding or steep.
If you are road tripping around the Balkans then I definitely recommend spending some time exploring the south of Montenegro. Kotor has such a rich history, and the landscape is really unlike anything I have ever seen!
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