A detailed overview of one of the most ancient and popular among tourists Montenegrin cities – Kotor. There will be a rating of the TOP places and attractions of Kotor, I will tell you about the best restaurants and taverns, learn about beaches and beach holidays and accommodation. Read on, it will be very interesting.
Table of contents:
- Kotor in Montenegro: general information
- A brief history of the city: everything a tourist needs to know
- Apartments and hotels in Kotor
- Beaches and beach holidays: myth or reality?
- The best restaurants in Kotor
- TOP 10 attractions or what to do in Kotor.
- Excursions in Kotor
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Montenegro without these websites
Kotor in Montenegro: general information
Today it is one of the most popular tourist cities in Montenegro. However, there are no good beaches. But people come here for medieval streets, views of the Bay of Kotor and atmosphere.
Some general facts about Kotor:
- City coordinates on the map: 42.42467758016793, 18.77088086858635
- Population: 14 thousand people (permanently resident). In the high season with tourists – from 50 thousand and above.
- This ancient city was founded in 168 BC.
- The city is located in the farthest part of the Bay of Kotor, all surrounded by rocks. Because of this, there are rarely winds and waves, but the sun here is 2.5 hours less per day than on the coast, the water is colder than the sea, and there are no sunsets at all.
- Details about the pros and cons, climate and weather in the Bay of Kotor. There you will also find out what other cities have the same features.
Interesting to know:Kotor is the most visited city in Montenegro, and Budva is only in second place. This is despite the fact that most tourists go to vacation in Budva. And also Kotor takes the second place in the list of the most beautiful cities of the Adriatic. Only Croatian Dubrovnik is ahead of him.
I am often asked the question, where is it better – in Montenegro or neighboring Croatia? because there are almost no differences between beaches, nature, people. The article at the link about all the differences, advantages and disadvantages of a vacation in each of these two countries. Spoiler alert: the most important difference between holidays between Croatia and Montenegro is the price. Montenegro is at least twice cheaper.
A brief history of the city: everything a tourist needs to know
I will highlight only important historical moments that will help you better understand this city.
- Kotor has a very good location and is protected on all sides from enemies and natural elements. It also has access to the sea. As a result, human settlements dating back to the Neolithic times have been found here.
- In ancient times, Illyrian tribes lived here. Approximately 3rd century BC.
- Around the same time, the Romans came here and conquered these lands.
- The first written mention of Kotor – 168 BC, is also considered the date of its foundation. But historians agree that the city was already here 100 years earlier.
- After the fall of the Roman Empire, control of the city passed to Byzantium. And until the 12th century, the Byzantines ruled here.
- From 1185 to 1420 Kotor made attempts to gain its independence. First, as part of the Serbian state, and then even for 50 years it was an independent city republic.
An important milestone in the history of Kotor:1420 – the city voluntarily becomes part of the Venetian Republic, which, in turn, assumes obligations to protect Kotor. At different times, up to 300 Venetian ships were simultaneously in the Bay of Kotor.
The rulers of Kotor took this step because of the threat of the capture of the city by the Turks. Actually, on the border with Kotor, the expansion of the Ottoman Empire stopped. They could not move further for the next 300 years. These 300 years were a period of endless wars, sieges and raids on Kotor by the Turks.
Interesting fact:In 1441, after a successful raid on Kotor, the Turks returned with loot. But literally 30 km south of Kotor they were intercepted and defeated by local residents. The stolen goods were not returned back to Kotor, but the church of St. Stephen was built on this money on a small island. This is how the new settlement of Sveti Stefan appeared. And today it is the hallmark of the country and the most expensive attraction. Overview of the island hotel Sveti Stefan.
The appearance of the city, which has come down to our days, was formed during the period of Venetian rule. By the end of the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire began to weaken and lose its lands, the threat from Kotor was gone. But the new period cannot be called calm. All of Europe was mired in wars and conflicts, they somehow affected Kotor:
- Napoleonic Wars (1797-1814)
- The period of Austro-Hungarian domination and a huge number of riots in the Kotor region (1814-1917)
- World War I
- World War II, when the entire Bay of Kotor was occupied by fascist Italy
- The Yugoslav period and the course towards socialism
- The collapse of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Yugoslav cities by NATO troops. There were no military operations in Kotor.
- And only in 2006, a new independent state appears on the world map – Montenegro. And the city is part of Montenegro..
Apartments and hotels in Kotor
The choice of accommodation here is huge, there are luxury hotels and private villas with a pool and apartments for every taste. Here is one little tip for those who travel by car.
Good to know:This city has a huge parking problem. Especially in summer during the high season. Firstly, in general, all parking lots are paid, and secondly, there are still no free places. There are two areas in Kotor where you can stay, see the photo below.
- Zone 1 (red) – the old city. Everything is cool and you can live here in medieval buildings if you travel without a car.
- Zone 2 (green) – many villas of local residents. They rent apartments for tourists. And each host has several parking spaces for their guests for free.
Below is a dynamic ranking of the most popular apartments and hotels in Kotor. You can click on each, see the price and photos, read reviews.
A large selection of hotels in Kotor and not only see the link.
Beaches and beach holidays in Kotor: myth or reality?
In short, it’s a myth! There are no beach holidays in the city. There are no beaches and a convenient water entry. The depth at 10 meters from the shore reaches 15-20 meters. There is active shipping here, every day from 1 to 3 huge cruise ships sail right under the walls of the old city.
Nevertheless, he who seeks the sun finds it. People sunbathe right on the promenade on concrete platforms. They bathe from pontoons and piers, which are along the entire embankment.
On the map of Kotor attractions, which will be below in this article, I marked two beaches in Kotor. It’s hard to call it a beach, these are just places where you can sunbathe and swim. There are a lot of people here during the high season.
The best restaurants in Kotor
Food service in Montenegro is well developed. In any city of the country, there are a huge number of restaurants, taverns, cafes, eateries and traditional fast food cafes. Servings are large everywhere, and prices are moderate. There are, of course, expensive restaurants.
There will be no problems for anyone to find a cafe to have a delicious meal. Almost any restaurant will not disappoint you. Below I will give recommendations of those cafes that I like personally. I put everything on the map that will be in the next chapter.
The best restaurants in Kotor:
- Konoba Akustik Porto: 42.42558, 18.76813
- The prices are slightly above average, the second course is 10-15 euros. But they are right under the walls of the old city. Konoba is a tavern.
- Tanjga BBQ: 42.42189, 18.77038
- Meat paradise and very democratic prices. Steaks, cevapi and pljescavica, half-kilogram servings.
- King of Gyros: 42.4308, 18.76772
- Bistro, takeaway, make great greek gyros. The size of the gyros is huge, and all this for 5 euros.
TOP 10 attractions or what to do in Kotor
Let’s move on to the most important thing. Below is a rating of the main attractions of the city and its environs. All points are marked on the map, there will be prices, opening hours and tips for visiting.
Green marks are beaches
Purple – taverns and restaurants
Dark red – attractions
- The old town of Kotor is a medieval residential area that has been perfectly preserved. Narrow streets, churches, 15th century fountains, small squares. By the way, this is the largest old town in Montenegro. The old city is surrounded by defensive walls on all sides, some of them can even be climbed.
- You can plan 2-4 hours of your time for the old town.
- Open 24/7, admission is free. There are many accommodation options for rent, you can rent an apartment right in the heart of the town.
- What you can see in the old town:
- Sea gate – the main entrance to the town
- river gate
- Gate Gurdic
- Kampana Tower: bastion and defensive walls
- Main square of the old city: square of arms
- Church of St. Nicholas. There are about a dozen churches here.
- Maritime Museum of Montenegro
- Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (Tripuna) in the Romanesque style
- Clock tower on the main square
- Farmer’s market, on the right in front of the sea gate, on the outside of the walls.
- And this is a small part of the sights of the old town. Every building here has its own history. You can just walk along the narrow streets and have fun.
Author rating:10 points out of 10. I don’t know a single person who was in Kotor but didn’t visit the old town. This is not possible. Just a must for everyone. More beautiful medieval buildings only in Dubrovnik. And it’s a free attraction. Although the prices for restaurants inside the old town are very high
- Fortress of Saint John. Another complex of attractions and cool activity. You can see the fortress from anywhere in Kotor when you raise your head up. It rises on a rock above the old city. The route starts from here. Only 1400 steps and you are at the top :). Be sure to take water with you.
- The fortress is open around the clock, you can climb even at night.
- Ticket price – 8 euros. The most expensive fortress in Montenegro. The box office is open from 8 am to 9 pm. If you come before 8 am or after 9 pm, you will get in for free.
- Here is the starting point, where the ticket office is: 42.42573659668004, 18.77279759581202
- Tip: there is a free alternative route on the old Austrian road. Here are the coordinates for the start of the trail: 42.42724917754599, 18.773329240443985. You can go back through the paid entrance. In 2019, a guard worked on this trail, who forbade walking along this trail. But after the pandemic, he disappeared and, as of 2023, has never returned. Maybe by the summer season it will appear again.
Author rating:10 points out of 10. It’s a must to go, although it’s hard. Plan 2-3 hours for up and down. On the way there will be a huge number of viewpoints for the panorama of Kotor and the entire bay, a beautiful church and the old city street. All the photos that you see in this article of the bay from a height and the old city are taken from this route.
And here you can and should:
- Take a walk along the promenade along the bay, its length is more than 3 km.
- On the waterfront, travel agents offer water activities and boat trips. There are sightseeing tours around the Bay of Kotor.
- Visit the remains of a Roman settlement, 5 minutes from the old town. Free and around the clock. Coordinates: 42.42187, 18.77103
For those staying in Kotor, here is a list of attractions outside the city. Somewhere you need a car, but somewhere you can take a bus.
- Breathtaking Kotor spiral mountain road and observation platform for the entire bay. Observation platform coordinates: 42.40938, 18.78634. We need a car here.
- Lovcen National Park, mountains, observation platforms, Njegus Mausoleum and a village where prosciutto and cheese are made in every family.
- Romantic city of Perast and two islands. Great review at the link.
Excursions to Kotor
ImportantFew people come to Kotor to rest for a week or two. The city is definitely beautiful, but there is absolutely nothing to do here for more than 2-3 days. In the high season there are traffic jams, crowds of tourists, no beaches, and daily cruise ships that bring crowds of rich tourists only aggravate the situation with prices in the city.
All travelers are divided into two types:
- Those who come to town for 2-3 days. Gets acquainted with the sights in the city and its environs and go further to the sea for a beach holiday.
- And those who come to Kotor with a one-day excursion without spending the night. You can come on your own by bus and walk around the city, you can take an individual tour, or you can take a tourist bus with a group tour. The choice is up to you.
From neighboring Budva, the country’s most popular beach resort, it’s only 30 km to Kotor on a good road. In one day you can see all the sights of the city that were in this article.
Today there are hundreds of excursions to Kotor from anywhere in Montenegro. Here is a link to the site, which contains the best excursions and tours in Kotor and the surrounding area.
In conclusion: the ancient city of Kotor is one of the top attractions in Montenegro. It is a must to come here. It is possible for 1 day with an excursion without an overnight stay, or for 2-3 days. On the one hand, the city is not big, but on the other hand, there is all the infrastructure necessary for life: shops, shopping centers and in the evenings life is in full swing here. If you are a lover of medieval architecture, this city should definitely be on your list of must-see places.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Montenegro
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental in Montenegro (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments all over the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual card in Montenegro
- Taxi and transfers from Montenegro airports: Intui.Travel