Which is correct: Bay of Kotor or Boka Kotorska? I’ll tell you about the weather in the bay. About resorts, attractions, what tourists can do here. All the pros and cons of a holiday in the Bay of Kotor.

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Bay of Kotor
The city of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor. Cruise ships come here every day.

What is the correct name for the Bay of Kotor?

In fact, there are several names and they are all used in communication.

  • Bay of Kotor
  • Boka Kotorska – so the inhabitants of Montenegro call the bay
  • Boka – it’s just a short one
  • Bocche di Cattaro – this is what the Italians call the bay

The name of the bay comes from the name of the city – Kotor, in Italian – Cattaro. The bay is called the southernmost fjord in Europe. There used to be a deep river canyon here. After earthquakes, part of the mouth of the river collapsed and sea water entered the canyon, forming a deep bay.

Interesting to know:

The Bay of Kotor itself is a bay, but also consists of four bays.

All bays are named after cities where:

  • bay of Herceg Novi
  • bay of Tivat
  • there is also Risan Bay
  • and the Bay of Kotor. Below they are all on the map.
bay of kotor map
Map of the Bay of Kotor with all bays

Climate and weather in the Bay of Kotor, differences from the coast

This is the most important topic for tourists. It seems that Budva, which is located on the Adriatic coast, is only 30 km away. But there are significant differences in climate. And they can affect your vacation.

  • The entire Bay of Kotor is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Looks like Norwegian fjords. Only in Norway the fjords are glacial, and this one is tectonic.
  • The mountains begin already 100 meters from the water. And all the cities are located on a rather steep slope.
Bay of Kotor resorts
Look at the mountains around Kotor, they are from all sides

Because of the rocks around:

  • The sun rises over the mountains an hour later than on the coast
  • The sun sets an hour and a half earlier: this is especially noticeable in Kotor, Perast and Risan.
  • In total, the sun shines in the bay for 2 – 2.5 hours less. Therefore, the water in the bay warms up worse than in the coast. And the sea is colder here.
  • The Bay of Kotor is also very deep. The average depth is more than 30 meters. And 10 meters from the shore, the depth is often 15 meters or more. This is another reason for cold water in the bay.
  • And among other things, many mountain and cold springs flow into the sea from the mountains of the Bay of Kotor, especially in spring near Kotor and Perast. These streams also cool the water of the bay.

In total, we have: a short daylight hours and the water temperature during the year is 3-4 degrees lower than on the coast in Budva or Bar.

It is important to understand:

There are no long and wide beaches here, as rocks are everywhere. Bay of Kotor is not suitable for a beach holiday. The exception is Herceg Novi. There is more sun in Herceg Novi, the water is warmer, and there are good beaches. But the city is almost at the very exit from the bay to the sea.

I also recommend an article about the weather and seasons in Montenegro, which month is best for holidays, and when it rains a lot.

Resorts of the Bay of Kotor

Now I’ll tell you which cities are popular with tourists and where you can go on vacation to the Bay of Kotor. I will give a brief assessment of each city, whether it is suitable for a beach holiday and whether excursions are interesting here. There will also be links to detailed reviews and attractions for each city separately.

  • Kotor is the most ancient city of the bay with a huge number of defensive and historical buildings. There are practically no beaches here, but there is not a single city in Montenegro more interesting than the medieval architecture of Kotor.
    • Beach holiday – 3 points out of 10.
    • Attractions – 10 points out of 10. Hereinafter there will be a score on a 10 point scale.
    • It is best to come here for the whole day for a walk around the city.
    • Detailed guide to Kotor
Bay of Kotor attractions
Old town of Kotor.
  • Perast is one of the most romantic towns in all of Montenegro. He is very small. You can walk the whole town at a leisurely pace in about 40 minutes. But the views and architecture of the city delight everyone. And here you can also buy an excursion to the nearest islet – Our Lady of the Rocks – for the cheapest price.
    • Beach holiday – 1 point out of 10.
    • Attractions – 8 points out of 10. Interesting, but not enough.
    • You can spend 2-3 hours on Perast with a boat trip to the island. The best way to come here is to travel around the bay by car.
    • Detailed guide to Perast
perast in the bay of Kotor
View of Perast from the boat. Please note that the entire city is located on a mountainside. And in Kotor and Herceg Novi. Many steps and uphills await you everywhere in the bay.
  • Herceg Novi. The largest city in the Bay of Kotor. Today it is so big that it has already merged with the fishing village of Igalo, and it has become part of Herceg Novi. There is an old town and a fortress on a hill. And here are the best beaches in the entire bay. Although in Budva, Petrovac, Ulcinj the beaches are undoubtedly better.
    • Beach holiday – 5 points out of 10.
    • Attractions – 8 points out of 10. There is a very long and beautiful promenade, almost 9 km.
    • You can come to Herceg Novi to relax for a week. There are beaches, more sun than in Kotor, excursions and yacht trips around the bay. The Croatian border is 6 km from the city, if you have a Schengen visa, you can go to the world famous Dubrovnik. It is only 45 km away.
    • Detailed guide to Herceg Novi
view of the bay of kotor from herceg novi
View from the walls of the fortress on Herceg Novi. The sea is already visible here – the exit from the Bay of Kotor and the mountains are already lower, which means there is more sun
  • Tivat is another major city of the bay. I won’t write too much about it, since it is the most boring city for tourists. There are almost no beaches, no medieval architecture. This is a young city and it began to be built only in the times of Yugoslavia. But here there is one of the two international airports in the country.
    • Beach holiday – 3 points out of 10.

The Bay of Kotor is not only these four cities, which were mentioned above. These are dozens of small villages at the very edge of the water: Doni Orahovac, Risan, Biela, Zelenika.

Attractions and activities in the bay

You can find a detailed list of all the interesting locations and attractions of the Bay of Kotor using the links above in the reviews of each individual city. But I will mark the best places below that every tourist must visit.

Important:

I will not indicate the old town of Kotor, Perast, Herceg Novi here. And so it is clear that they are very beautiful and there is something to see for a lover of medieval architecture. I will indicate sights and activities outside of these cities.

And at the link you can find a large selection of excursions around the Bay of Kotor by boat or by car.

Bay of Kotor and oyster farms

Another attraction of the bay are the oyster farms, where oysters and mussels are grown. Each farm has its own restaurant. Everything you order will be nicely served there. The menu is always fresh oysters, mussels in cream or wine sauce. There is also grilled fish, squid and octopus from local fishermen. There are always homemade wines.

Bay of Kotor oyster farms
Oyster farms look like this from the shore

There are about 10 such farms in Montenegro and almost all are located in the Bay of Kotor. I know another one on Lake Piva, but it’s far away.

You can visit the farm both by boat and by car traveling along the coast. There are even food tours on a boat to oyster farms.

The prices on the menu of such farms are almost the same everywhere:

  • Oysters: 2 euros per piece
  • Mussels: 10-15 euros per kg
  • Tiger prawns: 15 euros for 10 pieces
  • Grilled fish: 10 euros per kg
  • Home made wine: 10 euros per liter
  • Oysters and mussels are taken out of the water only after your order.
  • An order with wine, 10 oysters and a pound of mussels will cost about 35 euros for two.
oysters in the Bay of Kotor
fresh oysters 🙂

Important:

Oyster farms are closed for the winter. Already at the end of October, only a few are open. There are no farms elsewhere on the coast, since it is the cold waters of the Bay of Kotor that are ideal for growing oysters.

Below are the coordinates of proven oyster farms:

Pros and cons of holidays in the Bay of Kotor

And now, briefly but most importantly, what will definitely affect your decision whether to go here on vacation. Let’s start with the cons of the Bay of Kotor.

Bay of Kotor, cons for tourists:

  • No good beaches. You will find relatively good beaches only in Herceg Novi.
  • Cold water and great depth near the shore.
  • Short daylight hours.
  • There are no beautiful sunsets here. However, they are in Budva
  • All cities are built on mountain slopes. A walk to the beach, to the store, home, through the old town is in any case steps, ups and downs. And a lot of paving stones. It will be difficult for those who rest with children in a stroller to move around the cities of the Bay of Kotor. It is better to choose Budva which is located on the plain.
islands of the Bay of Kotor
You can get to this island from Perast by boat for only 5 euros.

And now the Bay of Kotor and the advantages of rest here:

  • Insanely beautiful mountain views
  • It’s just a paradise for lovers of medieval cities and architecture
  • Huge selection of boat trips around the bay and islands. There is no such choice on the coast.
  • On any mountain there are observation decks with a view of the entire bay – fans of mountain hiking will like it.
  • Well, oyster farms are definitely beyond praise.

In conclusion: The Bay of Kotor is a special region of Montenegro, where everything is very different from the coast. Most tourists choose Budva or Becici for holidays, which are less than 30 km from Kotor. And in the Bay of Kotor people come for the whole day on excursions, both independent and with a guide. But if you want to relax here and you don’t need beaches, then look for accommodation in Kotor. And if you need a beach, then in Herceg Novi and Igalo.


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