Known for its iconic aesthetic, exciting vibe, and incredible history, Kotor is a beautiful coastal city in Montenegro, within the Gulf of Kotor.
Did you know that this medieval city is part of a UNESCO world heritage site? It is! Which is an amazing nod to the culture you can expect to experience when you’re visiting Kotor.
There are many wonderful things to do in Kotor to inspire your Montenegro itinerary, with the Kotor Old Town steeped in history, and places like Kotor Bay which is known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty.
This Montenegro city is an excellent place for visitors as there are so many brilliant things to do in Kotor, whether you like to get out and about in the picturesque outdoors or take in stories and legends from times gone by.
So, to help you out, here’s a list of the 10 top attractions when you visit Kotor – make sure you try to tick off as many as possible when you’re there. Kotor is one of the most thrilling cities in Montenegro, so keep reading to see the top Kotor travel tips!
Top things to do in Kotor
Kotor in Montenegro is a fantastic destination, with so many sights and activities for all types of visitors to enjoy.
The Old Town of Kotor is surrounded by 4.5km of walls which begin at sea level and go all the way up to St John’s Fortress. The Walls of Kotor were built during the Byzantines, but most of the walls that are still there today are from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The historical significance of these walls make them a Kotor must-see and, although you can’t access each and every part of the walls as they’re crumbling with age in some places, you can still climb many parts as they’re well preserved in lots of areas. When you climb the Kotor city walls, you can expect epic views, including beautiful scenes of the bay.
Kotor Boat Tour
If you want to see some of Montenegro’s best sights in one day, day trips from Kotor, such as this boat tour, might be something to add to your travel itinerary.
On this 3-hour long boat trip, you’ll get to see some of the best of Kotor sightseeing, including Our Lady of the Rocks and the Blue Cave. One of the top Kotor attractions, Our Lady of the Rocks is an island built by sailors hundreds of years ago. On the island is the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, and both have a big historical significance to Kotor.
The tour will take you to Verige Straits and Herceg Novi Rivera, as well as past Mamula Island, a WWII prison.
Plus, you’ll also get a chance to swim in the famed Blue Cave and you’ll see awesome coastline views and the caves where World War I submarines were hidden by the army. This boat tour includes swimming stairs, free WiFi, a diving mask, music, and more handy things for your convenience.
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Saint John’s Fortress
The Saint John’s Fortress, which is also known as Castle of San Giovanni, promises panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding mountains.
Because of its altitude, the climb up the trail to the castle can be quite strenuous (1355 steps!) depending on your fitness levels but, if you’re able to complete the ascent, it’s well worth it for the beautiful scenes you’ll find when you’re there.
What is now a castle ruin used to be owned by the powerful Lodron family. It became dilapidated over time and, in the 1950s, a count of Milan bought the castle and rebuilt it, so you can visit it today and see the breathtaking views of Lake Idro and the Valle del Chiese valley from the terrace.
Expect the hike to talk you about 45 minutes up. The official way to go up to the fortress includes the most stairs and has an entrance fee of about €8. But there is an easier and free alternative that requires less effort and stairs! It’s called the Ladder of Kotor and starts just outside the city. Ask at your accommodation or on a walking tour where the entrances are for each.
Old Town Walking Tour
Taking a tour of Kotor’s Old Town (which is also known as Stari Grad) is a great way to get to know the area.
This tour starts at the main gate, which is also known as the Sea Gate, and you’ll be in the main square, called the Square of Arms.
You’ll get to see the highlights of the old town, including the 400-year-old clock tower, the Bizanti family palace, Beskuća Palace, Flour Square, Buca and Prima Palaces, St Tryphon’s Cathedral, the Church of St Luke, and other churches in the city.
This type of walking tour is a perfect activity if you’d like to get an overview of the wonderful things to see Kotor in one day and will help you get your bearings around the old town.
Bay of Kotor
One of the best things to see in Kotor, the Bay of Kotor (aka ‘The Boka’!) is an obvious must on any visitor’s list and simply can’t be missed as the city is built right beside this body of water.
The bay is on the Adriatic Sea and it’s absolutely picturesque, as is all of the Adriatic Sea with its stunningly blue waters. This is a lovely spot for a relaxed coastal walk where there are eateries and shops and you’ll get amazing views of Kotor city when you’re at the bay.
While taking a boat cruise on the bay is popular to see the highlights, other, active options include kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Food & Wine Tasting
To truly get to know a place one must understand and try the food and drinks of the area. Delve into the history of Kotor on a walking tour and then sit down to indulge on fine Montenegrin wine and delicious treats such as smoked ham (which Montenegro is famous for) and cheese.
Kotor is known for the many, many cats roaming its streets, so being home to a cat museum is quite fitting. This attraction began when countess Francesca Montereale di Mantica donated a large collection of period images. Many of the museum’s artifacts have come from International Cats’ Adoption Centre “Badoer” in Venice, too.
The Cats Museum has to be top of your list of places to visit in Kotor if you’re a cat lover or are just plain curious. Just like it says on the tin, the Cats Museum is an entire building dedicated to furry feline friends.
As well as its vast collection of cat memorabilia, including postcards, lithographies, and school exercise books, there are two exhibitions/events here: A Cat for Europe and The Cat in I World War. This is a really unique attraction and really is a must-do in Kotor if you love cats.
The Maritime Museum of Montenegro (or Museum Maritirum) was founded by the Boka Marine fraternity in around 1880, and was opened to the public in 1900.
Nowadays, you can learn all about the country’s maritime history in the 16th-18th centuries through its central exhibition which takes you through the domestic shipping and maritime trade, as well as notable events such as the 1756 battle of brothers Jozo and Marko Ivanovic against pirates of in the port of Piraeus.
There are many other artifacts and exhibitions at the maritime museum too, such as the room dedicated to the Boka Marine fraternity and the Steam-Shipping Department. This has to be one of the best things to do in Kotor for culture vultures!
St Tryphon Cathedral
Also known as Kotor Cathedral, this cathedral is one of the two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro and is named after the patron saint of Kotor: Saint Tryphon (Sveti Tripun).
In Old Town Kotor, the building itself is amazing, it’s the largest building in Kotor and it has two bell towers, but it also has a fascinating history.
It dates back to the 12th century when it was built to replace a church from the 8th century! Then, in 1667, it was significantly damaged during an earthquake and was reconstructed. The reconstruction job wasn’t fully completed because of a lack of funding, so that’s why the two bell towers look quite different.
In the earthquake of 1979, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, as well as much of the Montenegrin coast, was badly damaged, but the cathedral of Saint Tryphon was restored and it’s now one of the most loved Kotor tourist attractions.
Via Ferrata Rock Climbing Activity
For those of you who love the great outdoors, the Via Ferrata climbing is absolutely one of the best activities in Kotor.
It’s 250m long and 150m high and, as well as being an exciting (and challenging!) activity in Montenegro, it gives you beautiful views of the Kotor Old Town, the Bay of Kotor, the Port of Kotor, and the road to Cetinje.
Best Day Trips from Kotor
While Kotor is certainly worthy of your time to visit and explore, it’s also one of the best places in Montenegro to base yourself to explore more of this tiny, yet beautiful country. If you don’t have a car but want to explore more of Montenegro, or just prefer not to drive on the tiny and winding roads up mountains, then these day trips from Kotor will help you see the best sights in Montenegro!
Lovcen National Park & Beyond
One of the most popular tours from Kotor and to really make the most of your time in Montenegro, take this day trip from Kotor that covers many of the country’s highlights. It’s 12-hours long and will take you to some of the most beautiful places, including historical sites and outstanding viewpoints around Montenegro.
This day trip starts from Kotor and takes you through Budva and Tivet, stopping along the serpentines for photos. Stop at Njegusi village for breakfast and then go to one fo the most unique mausoleum’s you’ll ever see and then onwards to Lovćen National Park. The trip will also take you to Cetinje, the River of Crnojević, and St Stefan.
Durmitor, Tara & Ostrog Monastery
Another popular Kotor day trip, and my personal favourite, this full-day tours take you to the coastal city’s of Budva and Tivat and inland to explore the scenic Durmitor National Park and the beautiful Tara River. Plus, you’ll stop at the must-see Ostrog Monastery that is so high up and built into a cave that it is a sight to be seen.
This tour also includes other famous stops, so if you’re short on time in Montenegro, this tour is highly recommended.
Tara River Whitewater Rafting
In northern Montenegro sits the Tara River that is known for its historical significance during WWII, its beauty because of its stunningly blue waters, the zipline that runs high across it and of course, whitewater rafting. If adventure is what you’re after then look no further and join a trip to Tara River to raft down Europe’s deepest river canyon (second deepest in the world).
Enjoy your time in Kotor and Montenegro, I have no doubt it will be a vacation to remember.
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