6 Best Things To Do In Kotor, Montenegro That You CAN’T Miss

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Kotor is a charming coastal town and is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the Balkan region. Located in the Bay of Kotor, surrounded by mountains, it is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to discover new places. If you are looking for the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro, this article is perfect for you. The Old Town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, is full of beautiful narrow cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old stone buildings, cafes, and cute souvenir shops. Kotor has always been on my travel bucket list, and I was so excited to visit it for the first time! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro, and why you should add this charming town to your travel itinerary.

A Brief History Of Kotor

Kotor has a history that stretches back over two millennia! Founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, this town has seen it all – from ancient empires to medieval kingdoms. During the Middle Ages, Kotor was an important trading place, thanks to its strategic location along important trade routes. Its impressive city walls that still surround the old town, were built to defend against invaders. Today, these walls stand as a testament to Kotor’s history, and the views from the top are just amazing! In the 15th century, Kotor came under the rule of the Venetian Republic, leaving a lasting influence on its architecture and culture. In the Old Town you’ll find Venetian-style buildings, churches, and squares at every turn. So, if you’re a history lover looking for a charming destination, Kotor is the place to visit!

Best Time To Visit Kotor

Kotor’s beauty shines through in every season, but to avoid the crowds and fully experience the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro, I highly recommend planning your visit between March and June, or from mid-September to late October. Once a hidden gem, Kotor now attracts visitors from all around the world, making it quite busy during peak seasons.

Now, let’s take a look at best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro!

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Top 5 Best Things To Do In Kotor, Montenegro

This charming coastal town offers a lot of activities to suit every taste and interest. First on your list of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro should be exploring the historic Old Town on a walking tour.

Once you’ve had your fill of history, it’s time to get out into nature. Kotor is surrounded by stunning landscapes just waiting to be explored. Hike the trail up to the Fortress of St. John for panoramic views of the bay and surrounding mountains. Or, if you prefer a more relaxed adventure, one of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro is to hop on a boat tour of the Bay of Kotor to see the town from a different perspective. With so many outdoor activities to choose from, you’ll never be bored in Kotor!

Of course, no visit to Kotor would be complete without enjoying the local cuisine. From fresh seafood caught right in the bay to traditional Mediterranean dishes, the food in Kotor is sure to amaze you. Be sure to try specialties like grilled fish, seafood risotto, and traditional Montenegrin pastries. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of local wine or rakija (fruit brandy). So, make sure to put trying local food and drinks on your list of best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro.

Explore The Old Town

I love the look and feel of the narrow streets of old towns in Europe, and I was really excited to explore the one in Kotor! Walking through the Old Town in Kotor, Montenegro, is like going back in time! Wander through narrow cobblestone streets lined with old buildings and discover something interesting at every turn. For example, the Kotor Clock Tower – one of the most iconic landmarks in Kotor, is located opposite the main gate, so it is a perfect place to start your walking tour. I definitely recommend taking a walking tour of the Old Town, either on your own or take a tour with a local guide.

The City Clock Tower is located in the main City Square of Arms. The City Clock Tower stands as a symbol of Kotor, much like the clock towers found in many other seaside towns in Montenegro. The tower was built in 1602, by order of the Venetian governor named Antonio Grimaldi. The clock tower is constructed of massive stone blocks, and on the third floor, there are two large clocks on each side. The clock bell can be heard every 30 minutes. The interesting thing is that if it’s 10 o’clock in the morning, the clock will strike 10 times; if it’s 10:30, the clock will strike only once. After the earthquake of 1979, the tower became slightly tilted. At the base of the tower, there is an old clock shop owned by the Homen family, who moved to Kotor in the 19th century. Their generations still sell clocks and take care of the mechanism of the old Kotor clock (the clock mechanism can be seen from the Homen family shop) to ensure that the old clock never stops ticking.

After the Clock tower, you should stop by the Pima Palace, which showcases a blend of Baroque and Renaissance styles, making it a beautiful landmark in the Old Town of Kotor. The palace is located across from the Buća Palace, on a small town square called Trg od Brašna (The Flour Square). Trg od Brašna got its name because only flour used to be sold there in the past. The Pima palace belonged to the noble Pima family and was built in the 17th century. It is one of the luckiest palaces in Kotor, as it has never been destroyed in earthquakes, boasting its original appearance dating back more than 300 years. The palace has two floors, stone columns, and a balcony with a 250-year-old metal railing, and it simply looks amazing. Don’t forget to snap a few photos to capture the beauty of this historic landmark!

As you stroll through the Old Town, you’ll see squares filled with lively cafes and small shops selling local crafts and souvenirs. There are also a lot of street performers and musicians in the Old Town, and they are pretty good, so it creates a nice atmosphere. Take a break and sip on a refreshing drink, or have an amazing lunch while enjoying the lively atmosphere around you.

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Try Local Seafood

Even though we stayed for just one day, and had to try so many of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro, we didn’t want to miss having lunch at one of the many beautiful restaurants in Old Town. We decided to dine at restaurant called Konoba Kantun. It was a great experience; the food was delicious and looked beautiful, so we would definitely recommend anyone visiting Kotor to dine there.

Imagine yourself sitting at a cozy table in a restaurant right in the heart of Kotor. The salty breeze dances through the air as you browse the menu filled with tempting options of fresh seafood caught that very day. From octopus and shrimp to oysters, there were many dishes to choose from.

We decided to order grilled squid. When the plates arrived, I was amazed at how well the dish looked. They put so much thought into decorating the dishes they serve, even using edible flowers, which look just lovely! We were really surprised to see that, and we loved how it looked!

Although we ordered seafood, there were many other types of food available, such as pizza, fries, and more, so there is something for everyone.

The friendly ambiance of the restaurant, combined with the amazing flavors of the sea, creates an experience like no other. With each delicious bite, you’re not just enjoying a meal – you’re immersing yourself in the traditions of Kotor. So, next time you are visiting Kotor, make sure to have a lunch at Konoba Kantun.

Climb The San Giovanni Fortress For Amazing Views

The San Giovanni Fortress offers one of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see. Climbing up may seem daunting, but trust me, it’s worth every step. Once you reach the top, prepare to be amazed. The panoramic view of Kotor Bay and the surrounding mountains is simply stunning. It’s the perfect spot for snapping some memorable photos or simply taking a moment to appreciate the natural beauty around you. The San Giovanni Fortress is located at 280 meters above sea level, and this fortress is often visited by Game of Thrones fans because it resembles Dubrovnik, where the last season of the series was filmed. The walls surround the entire old town along a length of 5 kilometers, and it takes exactly 1350 steps to reach the top of the fortress. It’s approximately an hour and a half climb, depending on individual fitness levels and stopping for photos at various spots. From the top of the fortress, Kotor is visible in the shape of a perfect triangle. While the climb can be a bit hard, especially on warmer days, the reward at the end is totally worth it. Plus, there are plenty of spots along the way to stop and rest if needed.

Where there are no written records, legends arise. Kotor is a city of numerous legends, one of which is tied to the city’s origin and the construction of its walls. Above Kotor, high in the rocks, there is a cave called Vilinica, and that part of the mountain is called Pestingrad. According to legend, a wise fairy named Alkima lives in that cave. When the first inhabitants of Kotor arrived in the area of ​​today’s city, they began to establish the city high in the cliffs above the water. One night, the wise Alkima appeared, advising them not to build the city far from the sea, where there is neither water nor salt, but to build it by the sea because the sea is life. The people listened to the wise fairy, and starting from its walls, they built the city by the sea. Today, above Kotor, near the Vilinica cave, an unusual stone creation resembling large doors can be seen, called the Fairy Doors. According to legend, at dawn, a fairy can be seen sitting on the Fairy Doors, waiting for the golden ship to sail into the Bay.

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Take A Boat Tour To The Blue Cave

Taking a bout tour to the Blue cave is one of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro! You just must try this! We had so much fun and enjoyed amazing views. The water is crystal clear, and the color is almost unbelievable, you will feel like you are in a tropical place like Zanzibar. The boat ride itself is a pleasure to be on. We were on a small speedboat with about 10 people in total and the tour lasted for 3 hours. The views of the bay were wonderful, and we were so excited to reach the Blue cave and swim there. One fun fact is that the monk seal which was considered extinct, was spotted inside the Blue cave in 1985., which was one of the 14 sightings of the monk seal spotted in Montenegro from 1885-2010. Once we arrived the boat stopped and we were able to swim in this amazing cave.

But, there is one trick I am not sure many tried. The Blue cave where all the boats arrive (the one on the first picture), looks really great and is pretty tall, but it can get overcrowded in the summer months as more than one boat stops there. However, there is a smaller cave on the right (about 50m to the right), where we decided to swim to explore to avoid the crowds. The cave is a lot smaller than the Blue cave, but there is almost no people in it, and the experience is, at my opinion, much more special. We didn’t have a clue how deep the smaller cave is, as you can’t really see the end of it because it gets dark after about 10m, but we kept swimming to the dark, and a bit more in the dark, and it was a special mix of excitement and a little bit of a fear because you don’t know what’s there. You can also hear something from the inside (my guess is bats?), so it gives some spooky vibes. The water in the part that has a light is really clear, so you can see the bottom floor which is a sand with no rocks. Make sure to book this tour in advance and I promise you won’t regret it!

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Visit Our Lady Of The Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks near Kotor is a unique place with a fascinating history. According to the legend this island was built by local fishermen who found an icon of the Virgin Mary on a rock in the middle of the bay. To show their gratitude for her protection, other people began adding rocks to the spot. Over the centuries, the tradition continued, and today, the island is home to a beautiful church and museum.

Visiting Our Lady of the Rocks is a must if you’re in Kotor. It’s a peaceful and serene place with stunning views of the bay and surrounding mountains. You can take a boat tour from Kotor’s Old Town to reach the island, which adds to the charm of the experience. Once there, you can explore the church and museum, learn about the island’s history, and take in the beautiful scenery.

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In the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, there is a famous tapestry embroidered by Jacinta Kunić from 1803 to 1828, while waiting for her sailor husband. Composed of seven different materials, the tapestry was done on a base of Japanese silk, while Jacinta used silk, gold and silver threads, damask and pearls. What makes this tapestry even more special is that she even used strands of her own hair to create the hair of the depicted figures, the Mother of God and Christ. It is particularly interesting that careful observation of these strands reveals evidence of the passage of time. By 1828, when the painting was completed, its author began to age, and in the hair of the Virgin Mary, one can see the interweaving of dark and gray strands of a woman who patiently awaited her husband for a quarter of a century.

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Visit The Cats Museum

On the last but not least place on this list of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro, is visiting The Cats Museum. The Cats Museum is a very interesting place in Kotor for some tourists, especially cat lovers. Opened in 2016, the museum is a space where you can find fascinating photographs of photogenic cats from Kotor, as well as a few real, live cats who enjoy walking around their museum.

Cats have become a symbol of Kotor over time, and there isn’t a square or street where you can’t encounter this animal. Kotor’s cats climb up to the top of the walls, and many of them live in souvenir shops and boutiques. The most popular souvenir in Kotor is a magnet featuring the image of a Kotor cat. The museum is located in the Square of the Cinema, across from the Lapidarium.

The ticket price for the Cat Museum in Kotor is a symbolic €1.00, and the money collected from tickets is used to buy food for the cats of Kotor. The museum’s opening hours are every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

I hope that you enjoyed this list of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro! From wandering the narrow streets of the Old Town to enjoying the breathtaking views from the Kotor Fortress, there’s no shortage of unforgettable experiences to be had here. While Kotor has become popular in recent years, it is still a very underrated place to visit, but it is definitely worth it! Have you ever visited Kotor, and what did you love the most? Let me know in the comments.

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