Stunning Places To See And Awesome Things To Do In Kotor

The idea of visiting Kotor first came to me from my Serbian friend who just happens to have grown up in Montenegro.

I didn’t worry much about planning things to do on our visit, because I knew I was in good hands. Sure enough, she took me to see all the great spots in and around Kotor.

Though there’s no shortage of things to do there, we also took a day trip to a couple of other great little places in Montenegro.

All in all, our few days in Kotor were full of sightseeing and eating some great food!

What Are The Top Things To Do In Kotor?

It was a nice change for me to not have to plan out an itinerary for Kotor. Typically, I plan way too much and get myself worn out.

Luckily, my Serbian friend made me feel taken care of so I could just sit back and take it all in.

We arrived after a short flight from Belgrade, landing in Tivat Airport.

A local friend picked us up and showed us some lovely hospitality with a fantastic, homemade meal in her home.

view of castle walls in Kotor - things to see

The drive from the airport to where they live was absolutely stunning to me.

Having grown up here the other two didn’t seem a bit distracted by it and continued their catching up while I gazed out the window with my mouth open and eyes wide!

It was nice having a Montenegrin (who now lives Serbia and showed us all around Novi Sad as well) with me.

Not only did she know the place like the back of her hand but she spoke the language! Now, you can easily get around in Kotor speaking English.

The country of Montenegro is starting to pick up steam with respect to tourism (get there soon!!) so traveling around and not speaking Serbian/Croatian/Montenegrin languages is not an issue.

As I mentioned before, we went to a friend’s home located on the west side of Kotor Bay.

However, going to Kotor Old Town directly from the Tivat Airport is a short taxi ride of about 10 minutes. This can be longer, though, with traffic.

We encountered a bit of traffic on our way so I suspect it can happen on a daily basis.

From what I remember, there’s a shortcut drive now through the mountain thanks to the “new” tunnel. There’s also a route around the mountain that takes a bit longer.

Either way, taxis are relatively cheap in Montenegro as compared to other popular European countries and the U.S.

streets of old Kotor town - sightseeing

For those of you who just want to get the list, here are the best things to do on your visit to Kotor:

  1. Roam around the Old Town and Check out The architecture. Let the charming, pebbled alleys absorb you into their maze of delight.
  2. Peak into the fascinating churches and see where the heart of the culture lies.
  3. Stroll along the bay, dine along the water, and gaze up at the towering mountain ridge that hugs the waterside in a U formation.
  4. Hike the magnificent Fortress walls and pay a visit to the Castle Of San Giovanni for epic vistas of Kotor Bay.
Old Town Kotor Rooftops

That’s it in a nutshell for visiting one of the most amazing places in Montenegro. If you want to know more details of what to do in Kotor, keep reading below.

We’ll also give some insider travel tips for your visit along with some easy day trip locations you can explore if you have a couple of extra days.

Taking a walking tour is a great way to get an introduction to this beautiful place and will also help you get your bearing. If you’ve never tried one, this is a great place to fo it!

Kotor Old Town

If you do nothing else in Montengro, visit the Old Town Of Kotor. This is a must see!

With its stone architecture reminding me of our time in Venice (yet the Republic of Venice had this place at one point in history!), I’d venture to say that the appeal and romance is unmissable here.

Just get lost here!

Kotor Montenegró things to do - Old Town Streets

You’ll realize the area is not very big and eventually you end up somewhere you’ve already been as you walk around.

There are, arguably, way too many touristy knickknack shops. However, it does make it easy to grab a postcard of souvenir here.

Aside from those, you’ll be able to find some treasures in one of the local shops, offering unique or handmade gifts.

Even if you don’t really enjoy shopping (like me), it’s still fun to pop your head in a couple of them and check them out.

Kampana Tower - Kotor

One of my favorite aspects of the Old Town is that it is pedestrian only. The no car element is also enjoyed by the many cats of Kotor.

They dart around and even, occasionally, sneak into some shops and get shooed out of eateries. They are well cared for in this town and really add to the magic of this historic area.

There’s even a cat museum, if you want more of these furry felines!

Kotor Montenegro Old Town - Gurdić Bastion

You can enjoy a full day visiting the many squares where people have gathered over the ages as well as admiring the gates, arches, pathways and magnificent fortifications surrounding the center.

Places to check out along the way:

  • Gurdić Bastion
  • Maritime Museum (Grgurina Palace)
  • Kampana Tower
Maritime Museum (Grgurina Palace)

The Old Town of Kotor is a great example of a well preserved historic center where monuments, churches, cathedrals, and medieval architecture are presented in a small package for visitors to enjoy.

Explore Kotor’s Churches and Cathedrals

One thing that I never really plan on, but always end up doing, is going inside churches when I visit a new place.

Kotor was no exception to this. You can’t not stop and, at least, admire these structures from the outside.

what to do in Kotor - visit a church

The churches are usually in an area with a small square (pretty convenient since they are the ultimate gathering hub of any culture, past or present).

The photos above and below here were taken at Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (Катедрала Светог Трипуна).

The cathedral was pretty much located in front of our apartments and we even had a cool rooftop view of it from our place.

Cathedral of Saint Tryphon terrace

It was interesting to see the inside and walk up to the second level.

The fee for getting in was minimal and we made the decision on the spot.

This is an iconic building in Kotor. One that is featured in many postcards, so it is worth a close look at some point on your trip.

Kotor Montenegró things to do - Visit Churches

We never got the opportunity to visit the inside of St. Nicholas Church, but it is another one of Kotor’s best in our opinion.

This Serbian Orthodox church was built in the early 1900’s in the location of a previous church that was destroyed by fire and is located in the northern edge of the Old Town.

The two bell towers on each side topped with golden crosses, along with it’s “newer” look give this church it’s prominent distinction.

things to do in Kotor - Sightseeing Old Town Churches

There are a lot of churches and cathedrals in such a tiny town center.

One of my top favorites to see was located on the way up to the fortress on the mountain.

I’ll talk more about making the hike up coming up.

Church of Our Lady of Remedy is a little bit of a climb up St. John Mountain, but well worth a visit even if you are not there for religious prayer.

Though this church was built in 1518, the oldest building in all of Montenegro has been discovered right under it!

what to do in Kotor - Church of Our Lady of Remedy

Below is St. Luke’s (Црква Светог Луке) orthodox church and the historic square surrounding it..

Kotor Old Town St. Luke’s Church and square - things to see

Hike The Ramparts To The Hilltop Fortress

The place we were staying at in the Old Town was a very convenient walk over to one of the many spots where you can start the hike up to Saint Giovanni Castle (AKA Castle of St. John or Tvrđave Kotora).

Castle of San Giovanni- view at top

I guess we got out of having to pay since we didn’t go in from the main entrances. Ooops!

Anyway, I’d recommend having a good breakfast (and coffee, perhaps) before you start going up. We had some food, but no caffeine so that was a bit challenging for me!

ramparts of St. John Castle in Kotor

Having said that, we also recommend going up early in the day. In April, we went around 10 A.M.

It was a bit cool that time of year but I can’t imagine doing this hike in the middle of the day in the summer time!

You may even consider going around 8 or 9 A.M. if you are there during the busy season.

Pro-Traveler Tips:

  1. Make sure you have drinking water with you.
  2. Wear hiking boots or sneakers.
  3. Be careful where you step. Some areas are not so stable.
  4. Wander off and explore the different branches of the pathway (use caution).
  5. Try to find a different way to come down so you can get some more views.

Watch our quick video below to see what it’s like!

It was nice not having more than a couple of sets of people pass us along the path and made for great photo opportunities.

You might need to stop once in a while to catch your breath, but this is a good thing because you’ll have incredible views to distract you!

Kotor Montenegro things to do - San Giovanni Walls

The bay and fjords are just mesmerizing!

It took us about an hour to go up the 1300 something steps. Admittedly, we were going a bit fast.

It might be better to give yourself a couple of hours so you can make multiple stops for photos.

Take photos. Lots of photos as you go!

Kotor Montenegró things to do - Castle of San Giovanni

Walk Along The Water At The Bay

Kotor Montenegró things to do - Along The Bay

An easy stroll along the east side of the bay is a great way to take in the magnificence of the surrounding mountain as well as stretching your legs out a bit.

There are restaurants all along the way if you happen to have an appetite and want to stay a bit longer.

view of Kotor Bay from walkway - things to do

Where Is Kotor?

Kotor is located near the Adritic Sea on the western side of Montenegro. The unique bay and towering mountain ridges give this city in the Balkans it’s appeal.

Cities nearby that are also favored by tourists year-round include, Perast to the north and Budva to the south, along with Tivat further west adjacent to the sea.

where is kotor - in Montenegro (Balkans)

When Is The Best Time To Go?

Our trip to Kotor took place in April (right around Easter, actually) which turned out to be a great time of year to be there.

Now the weather may not have been the best at the time (mostly cold and a bit rainy), but it did keep the crowds away.

Jeans, long sleeves, and a medium jacket is the perfect outfit for getting around and sightseeing in the springtime.

Make sure to pack some hiking boots (or, at least, sneakers) for going up the Fortress. Comfortable shoes are also a good idea for all the walking around you will likely do in town.

I’d much rather put up with some cold and cloudy days than have to fight my way through a thick layer of people in the narrow streets and small shops of Kotor’s Old Town.

I would, without a doubt, recommend going on the “off season” for the best travel experience.

I know that people generally prefer to take their holiday in the summer and have the warmth and sunshine, but I know that it can get really busy in this town during that time.

Prices are likely to be higher with the higher demand as well.

Kotor Travel Tips - best time to visit

You may not be able to enjoy water activities or work on your tan if you’re there in the Spring or Fall but you’ll certainly enjoy the quiet and feeling of exclusivity.

Where Should You Stay?

I highly recommend renting an Airbnb right inside the Old Town. If you take our advice of going in the less crowded seasons, you’ll really appreciate the feeling of being in the heart of Kotor.

The experience is really one of a kind.

where to stay in Kotor

Staying in an apartment in the Old Town is also a good idea if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in Kotor.

If you plan on staying only a couple of nights, like us, you’ll enjoy the convenience of this location. It will allow you do do a lot in a short amount of time.

If we were staying around 5 days or a week, I may have liked to get a place along the bay. Regardless, I think that being right in the Old Town is a must if you are there for the first time.

things to do in Kotor - fortress walls

You may also consider an apartment down the way along the water, if you are there during the summer.

You will enjoy being a it farther from the crowded spots and might even be able to score something with a view!

You’ll still be close to everything if you go with the second option, so no need to worry about the distance.

If you prefer to stay in hotels nearby, there are also a great selection to choose from:

What To Eat

Seafood is certainly the top choice for the best type of food to eat while in Kotor.

There are mussel farms located all around the bay (we saw them on our bus ride to Croatia). The fish and prawns are also top notch dishes.

Kotor Montenegró things to do - Restaurants in the square

Our favorite restaurants in old town Kotor:

  • Konoba Scala Santa
  • Sara
  • Grad
  • Regina del Gusto

There are a variety of mediterranean style dishes as well as Italian specialties if you are not a fan of seafood.

Our favorite pizza place was Pizzeria Pronto. We loved the pizzas as well as the “cave-like” interior.

where to eat in Kotor Montenegro

If you’ve traveled to other countries in the region you will start seeing a lot of overlap in the foods.

A popular meat dish, Ćevapi, is a good one to try. The cheeses and cured meats are yummy snacks as well!

As far as desserts go, Krempita is probably our favorite. It’s a cream filled filo dough like a Napolean.

However, crepes are not bad either. Generally, the cakes are good too. The gelato is a great choice in the summer!

Going From Kotor To Dubrovnik

It was super easy to take the bus from Kotor to Dubrovnik in Croatia.

At the time, it cost around $20 per person for the one way bus ticket.

Day trip from Kotor to Dubrovnik by bus

The tickets can be purchased at the bust station located just about 10 minutes walking distance from the southern part of the Old Town.

There are stops along the border (you get a new country stamp!). For us, the stops only took about 20 minutes and there was very little traffic.

You do have to exit the bus and approach the border patrol booth individually.

bus ride to dubrovnik from Kotor

Expect to arrive in about 3 hours, which is not bad even if you just want to spend one day in Dubrovnik.

The bus ride is comfortable and even a bit scenic. Do keep an eye out for some great views of Old Town Dubrovnik from above the cliffs  as you approach it on the bus.

The taxi ride from the Dubrovnik bus station to the historic town took about 20 minutes and cost around 15 Euros at the time.

Visiting Tivat In Montenegro

Tivat Seaport from above - Kotot Day Trip

Tivat is a short distance from Kotor and makes a great day trip to add to your itinerary.

This is where the Port of Montenegro is located. You will undoubtedly walk by some luxurious yachts as you stroll down the docks.

It is a very upscale area with delightful cafes and restaurants. Though everything is pretty high end, the prices are still really great for those traveling from the U.S. or Western Europe.

Tivat Seaport Dining - Kotor day trip

You can also take a full day tour from Kotor to see some other amazing sights like Cetinje Monastery and River Crnojevica.

Are You Ready To Visit?

We made this itinerary jam-packed for your visit to Kotor. Grab a guide, too, for further reading.

Don’t forget to take a camera! Kotor is super picturesque. We’d recommend one of these for photo taking on your trip.

We also have our favorite travel gear listed on our Amazon store, so make sure to take a look for anything you may need.

Oh! You’ll also want to make sure you have travel insurance!

If you’ve already been here, let us know in the comments. We love hearing about other people’s travel experiences and stories.

The Best Things To Do In Kotor To Make Your Trip Unforgettable
14 responses
  1. Nelly Avatar

    I love reading about new places, your pictures are amazing! and the post is very inspiring!
    keep exploring and sharing amazing cities!

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      Thank you! Glad you like it!

  2. Marvi Avatar

    Wow! I love that your friend was very thoughtful and served as your personal guide in Kotor! The view is indeed amazing, with lots of history and stunning scenery! Cool to know that despite some cold and cloud, the weather allowed you to explore :)

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      Yes, a little drizzle didn’t stop us! So much beauty to explore here, it was hard to sit still!

  3. Lena Avatar

    Wow – Kotor’s old town really seems like a must-visit medieval gem. I also really loved your photos! :)

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      Thank you Lena! Yes, get to Kotor if you can before it gets too popular!

  4. arv Avatar

    I have never heard of Kotor before. Is a very popular tourist place?

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      It is becoming more and more popular every year. People who visit Dubrovnik and other places in Croatia tend to make the day trip over to Kotor. Montenegro has a lot to offer without the crowds so it’s worth a visit soon!

  5. Michelle Chang Avatar
    Michelle Chang

    This looks so amazing. We’re always on the look out for beautiful Old Towns that aren’t over-run by tourists. Kotor is rising to the top of the list – would love to know more details about costs of food, transit, and airbnbs..

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      The prices are fairly cheap. Our Airbnb (1 bed) was around $30 a night. Getting around is fairly priced but if you eat in the main historic area, the restaurants are more pricey than outside (but still not very expensive, either)

  6. Rhiannon Avatar

    Kotor is gorgeous! I only had a day and a half there (then visited Perast) but absolutely fell in love with the place. I wish I’d seen your post before my visit though, as aside from the walk to the Fortress (which is incredible at sunset!) and wandering around the Old Town, I didn’t really get up to much else.

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      I’m sure it was nice to get up to Perast! Hopefully, I’ll make it there on the next trip!

  7. Meghan Avatar

    This is such a detailed post! I love the old town and how beautiful all of the buildings are. You can just tell there is history there and so many cool places to explore. Also the location in the mountains with all the water? Awesome!

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      I really love this historic place! The architecture and nature really made great scenery!

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Hi! We’re Rob and Taiss. We set off to live a life in as many places as possible. To actually live in locations around the world long enough to get to know the locals, the culture, and the food, not just a taste of it.
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