Best 7 Things To Do in Kotor
“Budva’s got the beaches, and nearby Dubrovnik’s got the bling, but for romance, ambience and living history, Kotor outflanks them all.”
In the far north-east of the Bay of Kotor, listed as one of the 25 most beautiful bays in the world, the city of Kotor is placed. This more than 2000 years old city, has been listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1979, for its well-preserved architecture, cultural heritage and beautiful natural surroundings.
Kotor, with an area of 340 km2 has certainly much to offer to its visitors; starting from the tiny narrow streets, squares, churches, museums, beaches, festivals, carnivals, to local restaurants and taverns, here are the best things to do in this gorgeous medieval town.
1. Visit Old Town of Kotor
A brief but rich history of this small town dates back from 10-12 BCE. Surrounded by the city walls, the Old Town of Kotor was first settled during the Roman times when it was known as Acruvium. In the 10th century, it became an autonomous city of the Byzantine Empire. Kotor was an independent republic for a brief period of time at the crossing between the 14th and 15th centuries. After that, for almost 3 centuries, Kotor and its surroundings belonged to Venice, whose influence is still very evident in the architecture of the city nowadays.
The get to know the real soul of the city, we recommend you to walk around the narrow streets because every corner has a different story to tell. Feel the magic of the hidden squares and mesmerizing buildings while learning a little bit of history.
2. Climb the City Walls to the San Giovanni Fortress
If you want to experience the magnificent view over the Boka Bay, then you should make an effort of climbing the stairs that lead straight to the San Giovanni fortress, located on the top of the walls surrounding Old Kotor.
The zig-zag track might be a challenge, considering it has more over than 1300 steps, but with every step you take, you will realise that it was worth the climb. The fortress which takes place at the same named hill has had an important role being used to protect the town during its turbulent history. The fortress consists of two parts, and it can be accessed from the two entrances of the Old Town. The best part of the day to visit the fortress would be either in the mornings to get yourself full of energy or in the evenings when you can enjoy the sunset and the breath-taking romantic view not only of the city but also of the entire Bay. You can also decide to make a detour around the city, by hiking the Vrmac Hill and we are happy to share our experience from the hiking tour.
3. Visit the Saint Tryphon Cathedral
The symbol of Kotor, Saint Tryphon Cathedral stands as one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals. Located at one of the main city squares, Saint Tryphon Square which got its name after the cathedral, it was built in 1166. For all of you architecture and art lovers, this building can be of extreme interest because it was built in the Romanesque style, with elements of Byzantine architecture, as well as distinct features of the Renaissance and Baroque styles. Therefore, it represents a true testament to the times and influences which left strong impacts on the Bay of Kotor and its cultural and historic legacy.
4. Discover the Town's Fascinating Nautical Heritage at the Kotor Maritime Museum
Another inescapable part and the symbol of the town is the Maritime Museum. Founded at the end of the 19th century, the museum is located in the Palace Grgurin on the Square of the Boka Fleet. Here you will find the entire history of the famous Boka Navy, which is successfully being preserved from oblivion. An audio guide helps explain the collection of photographs, portraits of the famous captains, uniforms, navigational instruments, models of ships, old galleys and sailboats and other very valuable exponents. During the summertime, the working hours are 08–23 h.
5. Attend Carnivals and Other Events in the Streets of Kotor
Known as the cultural centre of Montenegro, Kotor is a city of festivities, with a great number of festivals and carnivals organised during the whole year. If you’re visiting Kotor in the summer, then you don’t want to miss the Kotor Summer Carnival when the whole city becomes alive and vivid. Traditionally, thousands of people from all over the world gather to enjoy the parade, music, dancing and the food under the masks.
Worth the mention is also the International Festival Kotor Art as one of the most significant regional cultural events. The festival program consists of several features, which enriches the summer atmosphere through numerous nights of music, concerts, theatre, and philosophy. Here you can find the list of other traditional festivals taking place in Kotor that you might find interesting.
6. Taste Seafood in some of Kotor's Beautiful Restaurants
Coming to Kotor, and not tasting its local food is absolutely unacceptable. We recommend you to go to small local taverns where you can taste the real authentic food. Some of our favourite places are Konoba Scala Santa, with fantastic seafood and beautiful ambience, imaginatively and unusually decorated. In one of the narrow walkways, enjoy a refreshing lunch in Tavern Trpeza and after a long day of wandering and exploring have a delicious fresh fish for dinner at Dekaderon Pescaria.
7. Explore the Whole Bay, Finding Secret Places
The Bay of Kotor is a story for itself and you will never get enough of its beauty. After you’re done with the beautiful Old Town of Kotor you can continue exploring the rest of its Bay. From the fairy-tale sightseeing of Perast, lush greenery of Prcanj and the hill Vrmac, all the way to fortresses Mirac and Gorazda located above the city of Kotor, on the road that leads to Njegusi and National Park Lovcen. Walk along the coast or the pedestrian promenade and enjoy a cup of coffee while the sun dives into the colours of the rainbow and you will make memories of a lifetime!