Travel is more accessible than ever and it sometimes feel impossible to stumble upon a hidden gem like Kotor. The old town of Kotor in Montenegro is just that: hidden inside a bay in the south of Montenegro and an absolute gem. Here’s how to visit Kotor Montenegro and make the most of your visit.
Arriving in Kotor
The southwest coast of Montenegro has been dubbed the next big thing in luxury travel and for good reason. Characterised by dramatic mountain ranges, a beautiful bay and charming small villages, this is Europe as it should be. Kotor is the crowning jewel in Montenegrin tourism as it has become the most popular town to visit.
You can arrive in Kotor by sea or by land. There are many cruise ships arriving in Kotor daily, so be sure to stay a few nights if you would prefer to enjoy the old town almost entirely to yourself once the cruise ships have left in the late afternoon.
What to See in Kotor
For a tiny town, there is plenty to see and do in Kotor over two days or you could easily stay a week and explore the region by car in a series of day trips. In Kotor itself, the main attractions are:
Hike to the Castle of San Giovanni – Pack a bottle of water because the hike to the castle overlooking Kotor is a calf burner! The entry fee is 8 euros if you are hiking from the old town, or you can make a five minute detor to the “Kotor Fortress Trail” just outside of the city walls and hike for free (I’d recommend choosing the latter, it is around the same distance).
Visit Kotor Cathedral – Once you’re back in the Old Town be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Kotor Cathedral. After several earthquakes and reconstructions, the church is in great condition and a beautiful display of Romanesque architecture.
Walk the streets of Old Town – The most enjoyable way to experience Kotor is to walk through the winding streets and see what you can discover on foot.
Hiking to Kotor Fortress
As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to pay the 8 euros entry fee to hike to the view over Kotor. You can instead hike from the base of the “Kotor Fortress Trail” and about half way up you will turn towards the castle of San Giovanni. You can take the same route down or walk down the traditional trail and enjoy the beautiful views as you pass all your fellow walkers who didn’t know the secret!
Day Trip to Lovcen
Kotor sits at the foot of the Lovcen mountain range. If you’re up for an epic adventure, pack your bags in the car and make your way up the winding road to the Lovcen mausoleum at the top of the Lovcen National Park.
Here you can enjoy sweeping views of the valley below and feel what it is like to be standing on clouds. The price to enter the national park is €2 and the price for the mausoleum entry is €5. There are 461 stairs to conquer to reach the view so be sure to pack a water bottle!
Warning: the road to Lovcen is narrow and winding in a series of hair pin switchbacks. It is not for the faint hearted but totally worth it for these views! An alternative option if you’re not a confident driver would be to take a taxi to the top or join a group day tour.
Day Trip to Perast
Perhaps the biggest secret of all is that the beauty of Kotor lies slightly beyond the town itself, in neighbouring villages such as Perast. You can reach the small fishing village of Perast in just 20 minutes by car from Kotor. An alternative way to arrive is by bicycle if you’re looking for a full day trip and prefer to keep active when you travel.