Montenegro: 5 Reasons To Visit Kotor

Montenegro: 5 Reasons To Visit Kotor

Kotor is one of Montenegro’s most visited cities and having visited for ourselves last summer, it is easy to see why. It is a beautiful walled city and easily accessible from neighbouring cities, towns and even countries. Many people visit as day trippers from Dubrovnik, just over the border in Croatia. It is also a port of call on many cruise routes. Therefore allowing cruisers a few hours taster session of Montenegro. We on the other were based in the seaside town of Budva a mere 30 minutes by car from Kotor. Meaning our journey was super easy (and relatively quick). We simply jumped into a taxi and made the short journey for less than 20 each way.

Kotor Gate, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Before our visit to Montenegro, we had already decided that Kotor was going to be one of the places we visited and it certainly did not disappoint. We did expect it to be ridiculously busy, especially as we had visited Dubrovnik the week before and were completely overwhelmed by the number of people (and the heat). However, we were pleasantly surprised to find it busy but completely manageable, not too touristy and thoroughly enjoyable. Kotor is somewhere we definitely recommend visiting, whether it be your base in Montenegro or even if just for a day trip. Here are our 5 reasons why.

The History

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

The Old Town (Stari Grad) of Kotor is full of history. That is evident from the second you arrive. We pulled up in our taxi at the entrance to the Old Town and were blown away by it. it was right up our alley. Kotor was originally founded by the Romans in the 5th Century. The best way to learn all about the city’s history is to take an organised walking tour. There are even free Kotor walking tours you can opt for if you are travelling on a tight budget (just remember to leave a reasonable tip) or hire a personal (local) tour guide who will be able to give you the low down.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

They will lead you through the narrow cobbled streets and through beautiful squares littered with numerous shops, churches, bars and restaurants giving you information about what you are seeing and its history. Unfortunately, it’s something we never did. But given the opportunity again we definitely would book a tour prior to arriving in Kotor. We saw a number of such groups wandering around the city following their tour guide and hanging onto their every word. We’ll be honest, we did loiter near them and earwig on what was being said on a number of occasions.

The Cats of Kotor

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Yep – the cats! Kotor is full of and famous for its cats. In reality, if you don’t like/are scared of/possibly allergic to cats then we guess this is a reason not to visit Kotor. But if you love the furry four-legged fuzz balls you will be in your element like we were. The cats rule the streets of the old town. I don’t think we walked down one street without seeing at least one moggie strutting its stuff or simply sitting in the middle of the street refusing to move as people shuffled past it. A cheeky ginger cat even joined us for lunch, got what he wanted and then strutted to the next table – the cheek!

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

In many countries we have visited around the world we have seen stray cats roaming the streets looking a bit mangy and foraging for scraps of food. Not in Kotor. In Kotor, the cats are loved by the locals and tourists alike and looked after very well. There are a number of shops in the Old Town labyrinth that sell cat souvenirs, the most famous of which is Cats of Kotor gift shop. You can also find the Cat Museum in the Old Town which we didn’t have time to visit but by all accounts is a fun way to spend an hour, if you’re a cat lover of course.

The Buildings

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

Apart from the Cat Museum, there are also a couple of other museums you can visit in Kotor including the 3DMuseum and the Maritime Museum. But if history is more your thing, like it is ours, then the buildings in Kotor Old Town are where you will get your fix. As the medieval old town and fortifications (including ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, cisterns and a castle) were inscribed in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 it is full of beautiful historical buildings all screaming to be looked at and explored (if possible).

Kotor, Montenegro

Mr ESLT in Kotor, Montenegro

Some of the buildings were destroyed or badly damaged during an earthquake that hit the area in 1979. However, a lot of the town has been rebuilt to the same specification as they were originally built. As we love churches (all religious building really) we were pleased to find a number for us to visit in Kotor. The biggest being St. Tryphon Cathedral which dates back to 1166. Even though the number of Orthodox Christians outnumber Catholics (roughly a 90/10 split) the residents of the city, regardless of religion get on well and respect each other’s beliefs.

The Water

Perast, near Kotor, Montenegro

Lady of The Rocks, Near Kotor, Montenegro

Lady of The Rocks, Near Kotor, Montenegro

The Bay of Kotor (know as Boka), the body of water that Kotor is sat on is beautiful. The waterfront is a great place to take a walk along. There are a number of tour companies based along the waterfront offering boat tours around the surrounding area. I imagine if you have just got off a cruise ship, jumping onto another boat may be too much. However, we were eager to hop on and see what the surrounding area of Kotor had to offer. We opted for a 90 minute (which actually lasted 3 hours) tour including stops at the neighbouring town of Perast and Our Lady of The Rocks islet, costing €15 per person.

Lady of The Rocks, Near Kotor, Montenegro

Bay of Kotor

Blue water of Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

With the wind in our hair (well Vicky’s at least) and salt on our lips, we whizzed along the water leaving Kotor behind before arriving in Perast. We were given 20(ish) minutes to explore the town (which is stunning). Yet more narrow cobbled streets, churches and cats greeted us. If we’d had more time we would have happily wandered for hours. However we were on a schedule and our next stop was the Our Lady of The Rocks (man-made) islet, home to the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. Here we got the full effect of the amazing scenery the Bay of Kotor offers. Especially the topaz blue water – it is simply stunning. If only we had, had our swimming gear with us!

The Views

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Boat on Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The fantastic scenery in the Bay of Kotor is a good enough reason to visit – it is a breathtaking spot and one that is going to become more popular (and fast) we’re sure. With the stone fronted, red-roofed buildings and their colourful shutters, numerous church spires, beautiful Bay water and not forgetting the huge, but not oppressive, mountains surrounding the bay – Lovcen (1749 m), Orjen (1895 m), Radostak (1446) and Dobrostica (1570), the area beautiful. Therefore, you’ll want to get the best views that beautiful Kotor has to offer. We certainly did and actively sought out (well tried) the best viewpoints in the town.

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The view of Kotor from the water (on the boat trip we mentioned above) was second to none. Sitting back on a boat, in the hot Montenegran sunshine enjoying the scenery is something we would recommend to anyone visiting the town. The other viewpoint we wanted to see the town from was the city walls (1200 metres/1350 steps to the top). Unfortunately, because our 90-minute boat ride was actually 3 hours we simply ran out of time. It reportedly takes between 90 minutes and two hours to get up and down again. They are open between 8 am and 8 pm (the North Gate is the main entrance) between May and September and it is something we are still kicking ourselves that we missed out on now.

 



 

Advertisements
Follow:
Sharing is caring:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.