Tiny romantic Kotor is pressed by the mountains to the very edge of a narrow bay that cuts deep into the mainland. Its powerful fortifications, crawling along the steeps, cover a tight tangle of narrow streets, squares paved with marble slabs the size of a handkerchief, Catholic and Orthodox churches, palaces of the nobility, between the walls of which branches of figs and bougainvilleas peep through.
Kotor is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city owes its appearance to the Venetians, who owned it for 400 years. Untouched by wars and cataclysms, it seems to have frozen somewhere in the distant past. And only a multilingual crowd of tourists, umbrellas of street cafes and snow-white cruise ships in the Old Port remind that it is already the 21st century.
Renting a canoe, yacht or motor boat, you can appreciate the picturesque coast of the Bay of Kotor from the water, which Byron called the most beautiful meeting of land and sea in the world.
The beaches of Kotor
There are two types of beaches in Kotor – small pebbly 30-60 m long or concrete piers protruding into the sea with ladders for entering the water. The city beach is located next to the ferry pier. The views are very beautiful, but the water is not very clean. There is a rental of beach equipment (two sun loungers and an umbrella – 8 EUR), a small cafe and several kiosks with fast food, drinks and ice cream.
The beaches closest to Kotor with clean water are located in the neighboring town of Dobrota, which is a 15-minute walk from the Old Town, and stretches for 4 km. There are showers, changing rooms, toilets, playgrounds, cafes and bars, free parking. Many areas with a gentle entry into the water, suitable for small children.
By car or public transport, it is easy to get to comfortable beaches on the northern shore of the bay – a small sandy and pebbly one in the village of Morin, pebbly ones in Risan and Orahovac, concreted in Perast.
What to bring
Almost every second shop in Kotor is a souvenir shop: with dolls in national costumes, silver jewelry, ceramic dishes, shell crafts, tablecloths and napkins with traditional ornaments and other gizmos that can be found throughout Montenegro. But nowhere, except for Kotor, you can find such an abundance of cat-themed souvenirs – cat-boxes, cat-earrings, watches, candlesticks, pillows, cat-cups with a handle in the form of a tail. The inhabitants of Kotor adore these animals, which have become an unofficial symbol of their city.
For something truly exclusive, check out Cats of Kotor Souvenirs and Handicraft (Old Town, 490), which sells handmade souvenir cats.
The leaders of gastronomic shopping are cheese and prosciutto from the mountain town of Negushi. Connoisseurs will surely appreciate the red wine Vranets and the white Krstach.
Cuisine and restaurants of Kotor
The menu of Kotor food restaurants harmoniously combines meat Balkan cuisine and light Mediterranean cuisine. Lamb stewed in milk with spices and potatoes sits side by side with freshly caught grilled octopus, and a large cutlet of minced meat “splash” is served with shrimp carpaccio, which is served with a glass of strong brandy. The Venetians left a legacy of pasta with seafood and black squid risotto. Local specialties should be looked for in the menu by the prefix “po-” in the name, for example, “in Negush” (means the presence of Negush cheese or prosciutto in the dish).
For those with a sweet tooth, we recommend “tulumba” – a custard cake with chocolate or nut filling, soaked in honey.
You can have a bite to eat at one of the local pizzerias (or take away pizza). Those who wish to join the Montenegrin cuisine choose colorful restaurants in the national style. Their menu will definitely include thick, rich soup “chorba”, sausages “chevapchichi”, smoked ham and Negush cheese. The portions are large, so if you can’t eat it, you can take it with you. Lovers of beautiful panoramas prefer fish establishments on the waterfront overlooking the Bay of Kotor and the Old Town.
The most expensive restaurants are located in the Old Town. Those who want to save money look for moderately priced eateries south of the center, such as the family-run Grill Tanjga (Adriatic highway, opposite the Idea supermarket), a symbiosis of a butcher shop and a small restaurant where meat dishes are prepared quickly and inexpensively.
A three-course set lunch in a cafe – 6-8 EUR, dinner with wine in an expensive restaurant – 20-30 EUR, a piece of takeaway pizza – 2 EUR, a mug of beer or 0.5 l of homemade wine – 2 EUR.
Entertainment and attractions
Like 500 years ago, three gates in the fortress walls lead to the city. The main ones are Marine, built in the 16th century by the Venetians. Immediately behind them lies the largest square in Kotor – the Armory, with a clock tower and a pillar of shame in the form of a pyramid. Citizens were chained to it for petty offenses, and for serious crimes they were executed at its foot.
Back in the Middle Ages, the city was built as a labyrinth to make it a trap for invaders. Most of the streets and squares don’t even have names. As an address – only house numbers.
The width of Pusti me proc (“Let me pass”) is only 80 cm. It was famous for squabbles between the townspeople who did not want to give way to each other.
The Catholic Cathedral of St. Tryphon (sq. Sv Tripuna, 8:00-19: 00, 2 EUR) was founded in the 12th century by the “Brotherhood of Navigators of Boka Kotorska”. It united shipbuilders, sailors and shipowners of the Bay of Kotor, and its head held the supreme power in the city. The relics of St. Tryphon, brought by sailors from Constantinople, are kept behind an openwork lattice in a silver reliquary and are equally revered by Catholics and Orthodox. Both Christian denominations have existed in Kotor for centuries in peaceful harmony with each other. In the neighboring church of St. Luke (pl. Sv Luke) for almost 200 years, Catholic and Orthodox services took turns. In addition to two unique iconostases of the 17th and 18th centuries, fragments of frescoes of the 12th century have been preserved in it.
To learn more about the history of the city, you should go to the Maritime Museum (off. site in English), which occupies three floors in the palace of the Gregorian family. His extensive collection includes captured weapons, paintings, documents, ship models.
The Northern River Gate leads to a bridge thrown over a small mountain river Shkudra. From them you can climb the city wall (from 8:00 to 20:00, 2 EUR), which in this place goes uphill steeply to the citadel of St. John. You will have to overcome 1350 steps and climb to a height of 280 m, the most stubborn reward will be a stunning panorama of the city and the Bay of Kotor.
The climb is quite difficult, you should wear closed shoes and stock up on water.
5 things to do in Kotor
- Climb up to John’s Citadel for the best views of the city.
- Taste oysters from the Bay of Kotor with a glass of white Krstač.
- Feel the magical atmosphere of the medieval city in the early morning, while there are no tourists.
- Choose and take a Kotor cat with you.
- Count all the Venetian lions on the facades of houses.
Kotor for children
For children’s entertainment, it is better to go to the lively resort Budva, which is 23 km from Kotor. Here, on the Toplis hill with beautiful views of the city, from June to September, the largest water park on the Adriatic “Budva” is open (off. site). Near the city bus station (Popa Jola Zeca street) there is a mini-zoo with peacocks, deer, rabbits and other animals. During the holiday season, the Slovenska Plaza Hotel operates an interesting park “Dinosaur Secrets” with life-size figures of prehistoric monsters (from 11:00 to 23:00, adult / child ticket – 8/5 EUR).
33 km from Kotor – in Igalo on the Nicole Kovacevica embankment, the country’s largest amusement park operates in summer. Entrance is free, but you have to pay for each attraction separately, on average 2 EUR. On the city beach of neighboring Herceg Novi there is an unusual water park – slides and water attractions are installed on a shallow stretch of the sea. Entrance for adults is free, for children – 2 EUR.
An excellent option for an active family holiday is the Adventure Park on the slopes of Mount Lovcen, 35 km from Kotor. At a height of 1.5 to 15 m, 6 air trails are equipped with obstacles of varying degrees of difficulty. There is a paintball court and a shooting range. You can ride a pony, mountain bike or quad bike. Inventory rental is included in the ticket price: adult / children under 14 years old – 18/10 EUR.
The climate of Kotor is close to the Mediterranean, but drier and cooler. The holiday season begins at the end of May, when sunny weather sets in, and the water in the bay warms up to comfortable temperatures. Air and water reach their maximum values in July-August, but the heat is easily tolerated. In summer, rains are rare, and in August they may not be at all. See Citypopulationreview for weather information.
The best time to relax is September, when the city is empty and the heat of the day subsides. You can swim until mid-October. In November, the sky is overcast, it rains every other day. Winters are warm and humid, snow is very rare and melts quickly.