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Kotor

by Discover Montenegro
The city of Kotor.




Kotor is located in the most secluded part of the Boka Kotorska. The town has a population of 13,510, and is administrative center of Kotor municipality. The old Mediterranean port of Kotor, surrounded by an impressive city wall built by House of Nemanjic, is very well preserved and protected by UNESCO. Between 1420 and 1797, Kotor and its surroundings were under the rule of the Republic of Venice and the Venetian influence remains among the architectural influences.

“In spring or Autumn, the most beautiful seasons throughout Montenegro, the city of Kotor is held spellbound while the sun slips minute by minute down the jagged face of rock, bathing granite and marble in a honeyglowed.”

The Boka Kotorska, one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea is sometimes called the southern-most fjord in Europe, although it is actually a submerged river canyon. With the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen one of the great Mediterranean landscapes is created. In recent years, Kotor has seen a steady increase in tourists attracted by both the natural beauty of the Boka Kotorska and the old town of Kotor itself.

History of Kotor

Kotor, first mentioned in 168 BC, was settled during Ancient Roman times, when it was known as Acruvium, Ascrivium, or Ascruvium and was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Kotor has been fortified since the early Middle Ages, when Emperor Justinian built a fortress above Ascrivium in AD 535, after expelling the Goths , and a second town probably grew up on the heights round it, for Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in the 10th century, alludes to Lower Cattaro. The city was plundered by the Saracens in 840.

In 1002, the city suffered damage under occupation of the First Bulgarian Empire , and in the following year it was ceded to Serbia by the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil, but the locals revolted, in alliance with Ragusa now known as Dubrovnik, and only submitted in 1184, as a protected state, preserving intact its republican institutions, and its right to conclude treaties and engage in war. It was already an episcopal see, and, in the 13th century, Dominican and Franciscan monasteries were established to check the spread of Bogomilism.

Trg od oruzja is the main square of Kotor's old town located at the entrance through the town's main gate.
Overview of Kotor and it's surroundings.
The small Skurda river protecting the north of the old town.

In 1185, on his campaign to annex Zeta, Serbian Duke Stefan Nemanja entered Kotor triumphantly which surrendered to him peacefully. He spared the City and built in it an impressive Chateu. In the 14th century the commerce of Cattaro, as the city was then called, rivaled that of the nearby Republic of Ragusa, and provoked the jealousy of Venice. The downfall of Serbia in 1389 left the city without a guardian, and, after being seized and abandoned by the Republic of Venice and Kingdom of Hungary in turn, it passed under Venetian rule in 1420. Kotor was besieged by the Ottoman Empire in 1538 and 1657, visited by the plague in 1572 , and nearly destroyed by earthquakes in 1563 and 1667. Under the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, it passed to the Habsburg Monarchy, but in 1805 , by the Treaty of Pressburg, it was assigned to the French Empire ‘s client state, the Kingdom of Italy, although in fact held by a Russian squadron under Dmitry Senyavin. After the Russians retreated, Kotor was united in 1810 with the French Empire’s Illyrian Provinces. In 1814 it was restored to the new Austrian Empire by the Congress of Vienna. In 1838, The Palace of the Serbian Gathering was built in Kotor as a three-story house as well as the Serbian Library. The following 1839, the Serbian Vocal Society Unity (Jedinstvo) was founded. In 1848, the Serbian People’s School under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Church was founded in Kotor.

The Serbian Library became the Slavic Library in 1849 to attract local Croats, Slovenians and Czechs. In 1854, the Serbian Memorial Music School was built, in 1862 the Serbian National Guard; in 1868 the Serbian National Charity Society Saint George ; in 1869 the Serbian Orthodox School, while the Serbian Orthodox Episcopate was established in Kotor in 1870 and the Schematism of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Boka Kotorska and Dubrovnik was first printed in Kotor, in 1874. The attempt to enforce compulsory military service , made and abandoned in 1869 , but finally successful in 1881 , led to two short-lived revolts among the people of Krivošije on the western branch of mount Orjen, during which Kotor was the Austrian headquarters.

kotor-dome

Two of the three domes of the orthodox Sveti Nikola church.

In 1893 the Serbian Memorial Women Primary School was opened; in 1895 the Serbian Tamburitza Orchestra; in 1897 the Serbian Music; in 1899 the Serbian Workers’ Cooperative; in 1901 the Serbian Credit Union. In 1903 the Unity was cancelled as it joined the Union of Serbian Vocal Societies. The Serbian Falcon Society was founded in Kotor in 1910. In 1912, a massive celebration was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Serbian National Guard in Kotor. In World War I, Kotor was the site of some of the fiercest battles between local Montenegrin Slavs, and Austria-Hungary.

After 1918, Kotor became a part of Yugoslavia and became known as Kotor. After 1945, it became a part of the then Socialist Republic of Montenegro within Yugoslavia’s second incarnation.Up until the beginning of the 20th century, Croats (including Bokeljs ) constituted the majority in Kotor as well as in other places around the Gulf of Kotor, with the other major ethnic group being the Serbs. During the last century the percentage of Croats in the area declined sharply and today, Montenegrins make up the majority in all communities. Kotor is still the seat of the Croatian Catholic Bishopric of Kotor, which covers the entire gulf.

The old town of Kotor

The old town of Kotor, known as Kotor stari grad is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in this part of the Mediterranean. It was succeeded in preserving its original form, so typical of towns between the XII and the XIV century.

The asymmetric structure of the narrow streets and squares, combined with the numerous valuable monuments of medieval architecture, contributed to Kotor being placed on UNESCO’s “The world natural and cultural inheritance” list.

The cultural inheritance of this town is enriched by the unique architectural styles and the ambient atmosphere. The fortification system of Kotor, which protects it from the sea, is actually a wall 4.5 kilometer long, 20 meter high and 15 meter wide, and is preserved as one of the world’s historic values.

Tourism in Kotor

Kotor is a major tourist destination. It has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic, listed with UNESCO world heritage sites. It has numerous other sights, such as Cathedral of Sveti Tryphon in the old town built in 1166, and ancient walls which stretch 4,5 kilometer directly above the city.

Sveti Ðjorde and Gospa od Škrpjela islets off the coast of Perast are also among more popular destinations in Kotor vicinity. Nightlife is another thing which attracts tourists to Kotor. Old town is filled with pubs, taverns and cafes, and there are some excellent nightclubs in Kotor. With the opening of Maximus nightclub, it has once again become the focus of nightlife of Montenegro’s coast. Summer events, such as Summer Carnival or Bokeljska Noc, are visited by thousands of tourists. These are the most visited happenings in Montenegro during the summer, with over 30,000 people partying in Kotor during Summer Carnival. Kotor is not a premium destination for sunbathing, as there are no sandy beaches, and water is not of reasonable quality in this part of the Boka Kotorska. However, the drive is no more than half an hour to some of the beaches on the Budva and Tivat Rivièra.

Kotor is situated in a most secluded tip of Boka Kotorska, in the northern part of the Montenegro coast on the Adriatic Sea. Kotor has developed around Stari Grad, the city’s old town and best known landmark, which is listed with UNESCO World heritage sites. The Boka Kotorska bay is the deepest natural fjord-like bay in the Mediterranean Sea, and the scenery around it including the steep mountains which come almost straight down to the waters edge is spectacular. Kotor is also unique because it is the only town on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea to be located by name in historic and strategic maps. Old Kotor was built like a maze for protective purposes and it is very easy to get lost here. In fact, even the locals get lost.

Take a wrong turn and you will wind up far from your destination. This can happen even with a town map in hand. However, looking for landmarks, such as the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral, will help. And these landmarks are listed on nearly every tourist map. The population of Kotor is multi-ethnic: less than half are Montenegrins, less than a third are Serbians, and a tenth are Croatians. Kotor is still the seat of the Catholic Bishopric of Kotor, which covers the entire area surrounding the gulf of Kotor.

One of the many restaurants found in Kotor's old town.
Child playing with one of the many streetcats found in the old town.
Cruiser leaving the harbor at nightfall.

Accommodation in Kotor

Much of Kotor’s charm consists of the beautiful hidden location surrounding steep cliffs in the deepest part of the bay. The city is starting to become as a real European tourist destination and the number of visitors has taken ever increasing growth in recent years and with it the demand for accommodation. Which then logically again led to the construction of new accommodations, especially apartments. Due to the limited space in Kotor itself, in recent years much has gone to the surrounding villages of Muo, Prčanj to meet the growing accommodation demand. The location of Kotor with the narrow coastal strip with little space is the cause of this. At first glance this part seems to belong entirely to Kotor, because the transition between Kotor and the surrounding villages is not easy to see or not noticable at all. Most new accommodations have been built in Muo and Prčanj. Situated next to each other at the foot of the Vrmac mountain, which cuts the bay in half, it faces Kotor, which gives a nice panoramic view of the old town of Kotor, and the Orjen and Lovćen mountains. However, both villages also have their own history and beauty, which made them a suitable place for tourism development.

Kotor itself is roughly composed of three parts; the old town, Dobrota and Škaljari. Officially, however, Kotor even exists only of the old city, with only 961 inhabitants. But Dobrota and Škaljari are counted as Kotor’s urban areas. Muo is located 2.5 kilometers from the old town, and costs around 30 minutes to reach Kotor by foot. A taxi costs around 2 to 3 euros and a ride takes around 7 minutes. Prčanj is 5 kilometers away and can be reached by car or taxi in about 12 minutes. Škaljari is the deepest part of the bay that goes up from the old town towards the mountains and looks directly into this part of the bay. Dobrota is the part that lies on the narrow coastal strip, at the foot of the Orjen Mountains. The fishing village of Ljuta is also a good option for accommodation in Kotor. Ljuta is located at 7 kilometers from Kotor’s old town, but of the Dobrota’s part of Kotor only 700 meters, so that as previously mentioned it seems to be part of Kotor city itself. The old town of Kotor can be reached by taxi or car in about 12 minutes. Characteristic of Kotor is the absence of really large hotel complexes.  In the old town of Kotor, accommodation can mainly be found in the monumental buildings. The often former villas of the noble families who have been transformed into boutique hotels. This gives these types of hotels a special character and charm. A large part of the cheaper hostel rooms and guest houses in the old town have a shared bathroom. Since most buildings in the old town are narrow, the shared bathrooms are often not on the same floor. This special character can also be found in the coastal area of the Dobrota area where you can also find beautiful monumental villas, which are now offered as accommodation. These have traditionally been the richer parts of the bay. Higher upland accommodation forms are newer. The same principle applies in Muo and Prčanj. Where closer to the coast are the monumental accommodations and higher up the newer ones. In Muo and Prčanj this is especially the case where many new apartments have been built in recent years.

Hotels in Kotor

Best Hotels in Kotor € 0 – € 60 per night.

  • Garni hotel Vila Panonija – The suites and apartments at Villa Panonija have modern furnishings and parquet floors. They have a private bathroom with a bath or shower. Guests can enjoy their breakfast in the breakfast room with stained-glass decorations and an adjoining bar. Outdoor cafes, pizzerias and eateries are just a 5-minute walk from Vila Panonija.
  • Location – Dobrota, 1.1 kilometer to the center (old town).
  • Facilities : Breakfast options, Free parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet access, Terrace, Bicycle rental, Airport shuttle, 24-hour front desk, Car hire, Secured parking.
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  • Hotel Marija – The hotel Marija is housed in a beautiful baroque building, where once the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph stayed, and since 1995 it serves as a hotel. The hotel has 17 comfortable rooms with air conditioning and bathrooms. Modern furnished rooms with satellite TV, telephone, minibar, free internet access, laundry service, and a 24-hour reception.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Restaurant (à la carte and buffet), Free Wi-Fi, Bar, Laundry, Breakfast options.
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  • Hotel Rendez-Vous – Hotel Rendez Vous is located on one of the squares of the UNESCO-protected Old Town of Kotor. It offers a restaurant with a terrace and free Wi-Fi. All rooms at Rendez Vous are decorated in pastel shades, with hardwood floors and offer beautiful views of the surrounding historic buildings. Amenities include air conditioning, satellite TV and a minibar. The restaurant serves fresh Adriatic seafood, Montenegrin dishes and international classics. The bar has a terrace right on the square.
  • Location– Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Restaurant (à la carte and buffet), Free parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet access, Terrace, Snack bar, Bar, Airport shuttle, Laundry, Ironing service, Luggage storage, Car hire, Room service, Bicycle rental, Breakfast in the room, 24-hour front desk, Private and check-out, safety deposit box.
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Best Hotels in Kotor € 60 – € 100 per night.

  • Villa Duomo – Villa Duomo, once the most beautiful noble houses of its time, transformed into a first-class hotel, is quietly situated in the heart of Kotor. Timeless design and comfort of the old palazzo from the Renaissance has not affected the luxury and charm of the villa. All 13 luxury apartments are furnished with exclusive, handmade furniture and high-quality accessories. Each room has plasma screens with satellite TV, a DVD player and an international direct telephone line.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Breakfast in the room, Free Wi-Fi Internet access, Terrace, Garden, Car hire, Safety deposit box, Airport shuttle, Laundry (surcharge), Ironing service (surcharge), Dry cleaning (surcharge), Luggage storage, Sauna, Express check-in / check-out, 24-hour front desk, Childcare (surcharge).
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  • Hotel Cattaro – Uniquely decorated rooms with a modern and elegant design revive the cultural heritage of the city. The interior is decorated with artwork inspired by the sea. Historic boutique Hotel Cattaro officially became a member of the association of Historic Hotels of Europe (HHE) from March 1st 2017, a leading association that includes exciting, intriguing, fascinating but above all unique accommodations. This hotel is part of the old city walls of Kotor and offers views of the Boka Kotorska and surrounding. All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with luxury toiletries, bathrobes and slippers.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Restaurant (à la carte) and buffet, Secured parking (surcharge), Free Wi-Fi Internet access, Terrace, Spa and wellness facilities, Bicycle rental, Bar, Airport shuttle, Laundry (surcharge), Ironing service (surcharge), Luggage storage, Tour desk, Express check-in / check-out, Snack Bar, Concierge Service, ATM / Cash Machine on site, Breakfast in the Room, Car Hire, Room Service, Bridal Suite, Ticket Service, Babysitting / Child Services (surcharge), Meeting / Banquet Facilities.
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  • Porto In Hotel – All rooms are air-conditioned with modern appliances and are equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a minibar and a safe. Some rooms offer views of the mountains or the city. Each room features a private bathroom with a shower, a hairdryer, free toiletries, free Wi-Fi and an à la carte restaurant serving international cuisine. Kotor’s old Town and the Kotor Marina are a 2-minute walk.
  • Location – Škaljari, 0.3 km to the center (old town).
  • Facilities : Restaurant (à la carte), Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet Access Included, Breakfast in-room, Concierge Service, Bar, Airport Shuttle, Laundry, Ironing Service, Luggage Storage, Shoe Shine, 24-Hour Reception.
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Best Hotels in de Kotor € 100 – € 150 per night.

  • Boutique Hotel Astoria – This hotel offers nine rooms, a restaurant, a lounge bar, a covered terrace next to the walls of Kotor’s old Town, as well as a front terrace of the hotel serving international cuisine and traditional and modern cuisine. The hotel is decorated to the highest standards and is categorized as a 4-star hotel. The interior of the rooms combines old stone elements with modern design.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Restaurant (à la carte), Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet Access Included, Terrace, Minibar, Bar, Airport Shuttle, Laundry, Ironing Service, Luggage Storage, Tour Desk, 24-Hour Front Desk, Bicycle Rental (surcharge).
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  • Boutique Hotel Hippocampus – The medieval stone building, located next to the St. Anne’s Church from the 12th century, has been carefully restored to the highest standards of architecture and the refined interior is a combination of preserved stone elements and modern design solutions. All tables, chairs, beds, lighting and are made as small series or unique items exclusively for hotel Hippocampus. The walls are decorated with small sculptures and original large-format paintings. The floors are made of oak, and large-sized ceramics. It offers free Wi-Fi and a restaurant with a view of the walls of San Giovanni.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Restaurant, Terrace, Concierge Service, Bar, Garden, Airport Shuttle, Laundry, Ironing Service, Luggage Storage, 24-Hour Reception, Shoe Shine, VIP Room Facilities.
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  • Hotel Vardar – Located between the historical monuments on the main square of Kotor’s old Town, Hotel Vardar offers elegantly furnished accommodation with free internet, satellite TV and a seating area. Hotel Vardar features a terrace and a sauna. Guests can enjoy the restaurant at the hotel. Some rooms have a seating area where you can relax.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Restaurant (à la carte), Free parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet access, Terrace, Bar, Airport shuttle, Laundry, Ironing service, Luggage storage, 24-hour front desk, Car hire, Hamam, Breakfast options, Fitness center, Sauna, Massage, Room service, Meeting or Banquet facilities .
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Best Guest houses in Kotor

  • Guest House Forza Lux – Guest house Forza Lux is a 16th-century house that offers rooms with LCD satellite TV and free Wi-Fi. All rooms have wooden furniture and some are decorated with stone walls and wooden beams. Each room offers views of the surrounding historic buildings and has a private bathroom with a shower, a hydromassage shower or a spa bath. You can easily reach the nearby sights and attractions, such as the churches of Sveti Luka, Sveti Nikola and Sveti Ozana.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Terrace, Airport Shuttle, Luggage Storage, Private Check-in / -out, Express Check-In / Check-Out, Restaurant (à la carte), Tour Desk, Ironing Service (surcharge), Dry Cleaning (surcharge), Free Wi-Fi Internet Access Included, Room Service, Car Hire, Bicycle Rental (surcharge).
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  • Guesthouse Katarina Kotor – Guesthouse Katarina has a terrace and is located in the old town of Kotor. Each accommodation at the guest house offers mountain views and features free Wi-Fi. All rooms at the guest house are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a kitchen. Each room is air-conditioned and some rooms have a balcony. The rooms have an oven.
  • Location – Škaljari,
  • Facilities : Free Wi-Fi, Free parking, Airport shuttle, Terrace, Balcony.
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  • Guesthouse Athos – Guest house Athos is located in Kotor’s old town. This Guest house offers a tour desk and free Wi-Fi. All rooms have a patio with mountain views. All rooms are equipped with a work desk and a TV. Each room has a private bathroom. All rooms are equipped with a refrigerator.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Faciliteiten : Bicycle Rental (surcharge), Airport Shuttle, Free Wi-Fi.
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Best Apartments in Kotor

  • Apartments Parteli – Apartments Parteli is located in the center of Kotor’s old town. It is housed in a stone house and offers accommodation that mixes modern and traditional. Free Wi-Fi and free parking are available. All studios are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fully equipped kitchenette and stone walls. They all have a private bathroom with a shower.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Free parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet access, Airport shuttle, Car hire, Terrace.
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  • Apartment Palata Bizanti – The apartment is housed in the former villa of the Bizanti family, a listed building in the old town of Kotor. It includes air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. The apartment consists of a living room and a kitchenette with dining area. The bathroom is equipped with a shower and a washing machine.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Free Wi-Fi, Free parking, airport shuttle.
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  • Apartments Marko Kotor – Marko Apartment is located in the center of the old town of Kotor, in an old stone building on the 3rd floor, a short distance from the main entrance of the old town. It is in a quiet part of the city, without noise. The apartment is 57 m2 and has two floors, connected by a wooden staircase. There is a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom on the lower floor, while on the upper floor there is a bedroom with a sea view. All essential household appliances are present, along with air-conditioning, television, Wi-Fi and furniture. It lies on the sea side of the old town, giving you a view over the bay and Kotor’s old town itself.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Terrace, Free Wi-Fi, Sea view.
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Best Hostels in Kotor

  • Hostel Old Town – Housed in the old town of Kotor, built in the 13th century, the hostel consists of two parts, Old Town East Wing Hostel and Old Town West Wing Hostel. Each of the dormitories has a private bathroom with shower and toillete. Also in the dorms and rooms there is a small kitchenette and a washing machine available. In both wings there is a larger, fully equipped kitchen to cook more extensively. It also has its own library and personal lockers.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi Internet Access Included, Laundry, Airport Shuttle, Bicycle Rental, Shared Kitchen, 24-hour Front Desk, Shared Lounge / TV Room, Luggage Storage, Entertainment Staff, Express Check-In / Check-Out.
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  • Hostel Pupa – This hostel is located next to the old town and 5 meters from the sea. This stone building is 150 years old and has just been completely renovated. The hostel has 4 large rooms (28 people) with a lounge area and a large shared bathroom. Some rooms have a terrace or a patio. It features a sun terrace and water sports facilities. It is a 2-minute walk to the heart of the old town.
  • Location – Old town of Kotor.
  • Facilities : Free Wi-Fi, Free Parking, Airport Shuttle, Terrace, 24-Hour Reception, By the Sea, Lockers, Canoeing (surcharge), Bicycle Rental (surcharge), Car Hire.
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  • Hostel Cent – Hostel Cent is located in a historic building from the 15th century in the old town of Kotor. Hostel is near the entrance of the San Giovanni fortress and the Maritime Museum. It offers air-conditioned accommodation with stone walls and wooden furniture and free Wi-Fi. Hostel Cent features a terrace and views of the mountains.
  • Location – Kotor’s old town.
  • Facilities : Bar, Free Wi-Fi, Restaurant (à la carte and buffet), Luggage Storage, Tour Desk, 24-Hour Front Desk, Laundry (surcharge), Bicycle Rental (surcharge), Shared Kitchen, Car Hire, Airport Shuttle.
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Transport in Kotor

Kotor is connected to the Adriatic Motorway and the rest of the coast and inland Montenegro by the Vrmac Tunnel. Inland is reachable by detouring from Adriatic motorway at Budva or Sutomore through the Sozina tunnel. There is also a historic road connecting Kotor with Cetinje, which offers spectacular views of the Boka Kotorska.

Tivat Airport is 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) away, and there are regular flights to Belgrade, Moscow and Paris and dozens of charter planes land daily on Tivat airport during the summer season. Podgorica Airport is 90 kilometers (55 mi) away, and it has regular flights to major European destinations throughout the year.

kotor-sunset

Reflecting old towns city lights in the mostly calm sea of the bay.

Talk

The Montenegrins’, Serbs’ and Croats’ languages are all mutually intelligible and derived from Serbo-Croat. The dialect and the vocabulary of the local people are heavily influenced by Italian. Locals usually speak and understand Italian, Russian and English.

Get in

By plane

Tivat Airport is 5 kilometers away. The following airlines operate to/from Tivat Airport: Air Moldova (Chiṣinǎu, seasonal), Jat Airways (Belgrade), KrasAir (Moscow-Domodedovo), Montenegro Airlines (Belgrade, Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Moscow-Domodedovo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pristina, Rome-Fiumicino, Skopje, St Petersburg), Moskovia Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo) Rossiya (St Petersburg), S7 Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo), Transaero Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo) There are also Charter flights to Moscow, Helsinki and other cities. Taxi drive from Kotor to Tivat Airport will cost around €7.

Podgorica airport is 90 kilometers away, and has flights throughout the year to Belgrade, Istanbul, Budapest, Zurich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome, Vienna and , London-Gatwick. Buses run from Podgorica to Kotor year round.

Dubrovnik airport in Croatia is 73 km away from Kotor, and maintains flights to many European destinations throughout the year, providing a good alternative to the Montenegrin airports. A taxi to Kotor will cost €80, when you arrange the transfer at least a day before. Taxi drivers at the airport use a approximately price of 100 euros. There is a large border crossing and a small border crossing, the small crossing is a 7 km detour but less busy and may prevent waiting up to two hours. Taxi drivers might ask for more money (e.g. 10 euros extra) to go via the small border, even though it is in their interest to do so.

By bus

Kotor is fairly well connected with neighboring countries by bus. The main bus station is about a 10-minute walk south of the Old Town, along the road towards Budva.

Bus times and frequency varies greatly seasonally. As of summer 2009 there is no accurate source of the varying schedule available online. Kotor bus station telephone number: +382 32 325 809

From Budva, during the summer 2009, buses run to Herceg Novi, stopping in Kotor (trip costs around 3€), almost every 30 minutes from 7:00 to 23:00. Buses also run between Kotor and the following cities: Podgorica (hourly), Bar (6-8 per day), Dubrovnik and Mostar (leaving at 14:30), Split (3 times a week, 7 hours), Sarajevo (1x daily), Belgrade (10 hours), Skopje (night bus, 12 hours, twice a week on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm). During the week you can go to Skopje via Nis, Serbia (bus from Kotor to Tivat at 3.50 pm, fromt Tivat to Nis 5.30 pm).

By car

All roads in Montenegro are two-lanes only, and mostly are curvy mountainous roads, so speeds over 70 km/h (43 mph) are rarely legal, and rarely safe.

The Vrmac tunnel has recently been completed, which significantly shortens the journey from Budva to Kotor. Road traffic was formerly diverted to alternative road over Trojica hill above Kotor. It is still possible to travel via this very curvy mountain road, so you might travel from Budva to Kotor a bit longer. From this hill you can enjoy beautiful views not only of the tiny countryside villages, but also of Podgorica when approaching from Cetinje, and also the Boka Kotorska bay.

Be aware that when driving in Montenegro that the locals drive a bit aggressively (although not as much as Italian drivers) and think nothing of overtaking across white lines on steep bends. Be careful. There is also a great deal of road building underway and the safety considerations are a little less onerous than those in more developed countries.

By boat

There aren’t any scheduled ferries traveling to Kotor but there are services between Bar and Bari, Italy most days. Cruise ships plying the Adriatic Sea call regularly on the port of Kotor during the tourist season. Both the sail in and sail away offers not-to-be-missed views of the spectacular Boka Kotorska. The ships either dock at or tender to the long pier that juts out directly in front of the Old Town. Passengers are funneled out of the same port gate, with the Old Town just five minutes away. There is an ATM in a freestanding orange kiosk to the left of the port gate as you leave, and the official taxi stand to the right. After you cross the busy harbor-front road (watch for the brown Kotor sign and use the crosswalk), it is a short walk to the area in front of the Sea Gate of 1555 (the main entrance to the Old Town), where you will find a Tourist Information kiosk with free wifi.

“The Gulf of Kotor, suddenly seen from the top of the Lovćen Pass, is literally heart-stopping. But here, following Edith Durham’s sensible example, I rest my pen”

Get around

The medieval walled Old Town is shaped roughly like a triangle. The side facing Kotor Bay and the north side fronting the Skurda River are both heavily fortified with a thick wall.

kotor-art

All around Venetian architecture in Kotor’s old town or locally known as Kotor’s stari grad.

The third (east) side backs into the cliff face with a meandering defensive upper town wall (a short version of the Great Wall) climbing the mountainside. There are three entrances to the Old Town, including the western Sea Gate of 1555, which serves as the main door. The southern gate is at the south apex of the triangle, on the road to Budva. The northern gate leads to a bridge that crosses the Skurda River.

The main Tourist Information kiosk is in the area outside the Sea Gate of 1555, facing Kotor Bay to the Old Town. This should be one of your first stops. Open daily 8:00 – 17:00. Pick up a free map. Free wifi hot spot TOKOTOR.

The best way to get around is on foot inside the compact old town, especially since cars cannot get into the old town. There are some golf carts that are used as taxis and/or city tour.

If you are cycling, there is a bicycle shop which has a few basic spare parts and equipment: STIHL Moto Shop, Dobrota bb., tel. 032 332 065, on the main road a bit after the old city of Kotor towards Perast.

See

  • Old town The Old Town is the most famous part of Kotor, where the Kotor history, culture, and tradition are being preserved. The old town of Kotor has a great number of monuments of the medieval architecture: churches, cathedrals, palaces, and museums. They are complemented with the multitude of narrow streets, squares, and markets. The main and the biggest square is Trg od oruzja (Square of arms). That square was and remained the main place for gathering. In addition, there are some significant cultural monuments like: Tower watch (VIII century), Cathedral of Sveti Tryphon (XIII century), Church of Sveti Luka (XIII century), Prince’s palace (XVII century), Church of Sveta Marija (XII century), Church of Gospe od Zdravlja (XV century), and Napoleon’s Theater (XIX century). Old Kotor has also numerous palaces like: Bizanti, Buca, Pima, and Grgurin (which houses the Maritime museum). The old town of Kotor today is considered to be the best preserved medieval urban entity in the Mediterranean. There are three entrances to the Old Town, the main one is the Sea Gate of 1555.
  • St Tryphon’s cathedral — (Old Town). First built in the 11th century, reconstructed after earthquakes. Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Chapel holds the remains of St. Tryphon, the patron saint of Kotor. €2.
  • Sveti Nikola church — The biggest Orthodox church in the Old Town.
  • Maritime museum — (Old Town) Mo-Sa: 8am-8pm; Sundays: 9am-1pm. The memories on those long gone sailing days and years, the successes of the famous Kotor seaman, artists, ship builders, crafts man, states man, and diplomats, intermediaries between west and east, are kept in the Maritime museum, which is housed in the baroque palace Grgurin. In the museum, one can find three floors of portraits of the famous captains, models of old galleys and sail boats, navigational instruments, photographs, uniforms, weapons, paintings, and model ships. €4.

Do

  • Climb up the Upper Town Walls — daily 8:00-20:00. Stretching some 4.5 km directly above and east of the Old Town, on almost vertical cliffs, is the meandering upper town walls. It looks a little like a short version of the Great Wall. Climbing up the 1350 steps will be rewarded by an excellent view of Kotor and the bay from the Church of Our Lady of Health (half way up) and the St John’s fortress on top. Only advisable for physically fit people, furthermore on some sections the steps are broken up. Choose your footware wisely (sturdy shoes preferable over sneakers and definitely no flipflops). If you walk early in the morning (e.g. between 7:30 and 9:30), the steps and Fortress is less crowded and you will be walking in the shadow (which is advisable in the summer). The 1200ft ascent may take an hour. There are two access points to the Upper Town Walls, one near the northern gate by St. Mary’s Church, and one closer to the southern gate to the Old Town. €3 May-Oct, otherwise free.
  • Paragliding — from the top of the high surrounding cliffs. An amazing experience with a stunning view.
  • Hike to Krstac — Leave from the north gate of the old city and walk right until you see the path. If you continue straight, the path takes you to a small waterfall with crystal-clear water. (Note: In the summer the waterfall runs dry, but the sturdy rocks make for some nice mountaineering!) If you veer right, the path takes you past mountain goats and up rocky switchbacks with commanding views over the old fort and the bay. After you reach the top (in about 2 hours), the hike takes you through dense forest where you eventually reach Krstac (total time 3.5 hours). There is a restaurant here where you can refuel for the trip back.
  • Visit the Austro-Hungarian Fortresses — There are many stunning old fortresses lying abandoned in the hills and mountains within a few kms of the Boka kotorska. Each one is worth visiting and makes a wonderful hike.

Tours & Activities


Eat

There is a wide choice of places to eat in Kotor. In old town you can find almost anything – from classy restaurants offering fresh seafood and national cuisine to fast food offering pizzas, barbecue, etc. There is a large produce market outside the city walls. Hamburgers there cost €1. There are also a few restaurants offering fresh, authentic food outside the city walls that cost less than those in the tourist center (see Restoran FK Boljel and Restoran Erak below).

  • Bastion Restaurant — (Near St. Mary’s church, at the harbor), 322116. Busy lunchtime venue. Great fish. A bit more expensive than most restaurants, but definitely worth it. You might need a reservation if you want to sit outside on the deck. €6 to €30
  • Cesarica — (close to Hotel Marija in the Old Town). Serves excellent and cheap Dalmatian food. Try the cuttlefish risotto, it’s amazing! main dishes from €5 to €15.
  • La Pasteria — (directly opposite St Tryphons Cathedral). You’ll find great sandwiches and fine pizzas with original prosciutto from the nearby village of Njeguši. Probably the best Italian food in Kotor!
  • Rendez Vous — (In the old town). Friendly waiters, great pizza and free wifi. They don’t mind if you use the terrace as an internet cafe, as long as you order something.
  • Forza — (near the clock tower). The most popular pastry shop in Kotor.
  • Pronto Pizza — (In Old Town; around the corner from Montenegro Hostel). The pizza here is sold by the slice and are usually fresh and hot. There are a lot of fast-food Pizza places available around Old Town that don’t look nearly as fresh. Usually only one topping available: ham and mushroom combos. 2 EUR.
  • Forza Mare — Dobrota. Sea side restaurant and hotel,very popular in area out of town in Kotor.
  • Babilon — Dobrota, affordable prices,on perfect location.This is must visit restaurant with first class sea food menu.

Drink

Again, old town is the hotspot for relaxed drinking espresso in the shade of the medieval walls. There are many cafes in the old town, but still it’s hard to find a place to sit in the sunny day. Espresso will cost from €1.00. Coke and other soft drinks and juices will cost from €1.00 up to €2.00.

You should also try out famous Montenegrin wines, “Vranac”, “Pro Corde”, “Krstac”, “Cabernet”, “Chardonnay” and “Nikšićko” beer. Montenegrin brandy, called “rakija” is good choice to “warm up” before going out in the evening, especially grape brandy “Montenegrin loza”, “Prvijenac” or “Kruna”.

Nightlife

A night out in Kotor usually begins in some of the many open bars within the walls of old town. As they are not allowed to play music after 1:00AM – the action then moves to some of the night clubs. The best club, without a doubt, is Maximus, located in the old town. Some clubs require an entrance fee, but if they do it is minimal. Another popular club choice, especially among young locals, is Secondo Porto. Most play loud club style and at the moment populair western music. But in some occasions or places the play the typical national Balkan music. This is for some a really interesting cultural experience, but for others not quit their taste.

Stay safe

Montenegro is generally a safe country, and this region is no exception to that. Still, be aware of beggars and pickpockets especially in the old town.

Contact/Wifi

Wifi is available in the town center. Most restaurants and terraces in old town have free wifi, you will get the password on request if you order something.

Get out

  • Budva — the Montenegrin touristic metropolis on the Adriatic Sea is located some 20km south of the Boka Kotorska.
  • Cetinje — the historical capital of Montenegro is located just under Mt Lovćen, the mountain overlooking the Boka Kotorska.
  • Dubrovnik — the hub of Croatian tourism can be reached from Herceg Novi in less than 40 minutes north of the Boka Kotorska.
  • Lovcen national park — Mount Lovćen rises from the borders of the Adriatic basin closing the long ang twisting bays of Boka Kotorska and making the hinterland to the coastal town of Kotor. The mountain has two imposing peaks, Štirovnik (1,749 meter) and Jezerski vrh (1,657 meter). The mountain slopes are rocky, with numerous fissures, pits and deep depressions giving its scenery a specific look. Standing on the border between two completely different natural wholes, the sea and the mainland, Lovćen is under the influence of both climates.
  • Risan — visit the site of Roman ruins and some fairly well-preserved mosaic floors that had been in a Roman house during 2nd century A.D.
  • Herceg Novi — take a walk on the 6 km-long 5 Danica’s esplanade to meet with the rich and diverse history of the town.
  • Perast — a well preserved village, built entirely in barroque style, a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site. From Perast there is a boat ride to the man-made islet of Gospa od Škrpjela. Upon returning home safely, seamen dropped rocks and old boats filled with rocks in this place and gradually created the islet as the foundation for the church.
  • Njegos Mausoleum — The mausoleum of Petar Petrovic Njegos built of limestone and granite can be found on top of Mount Lovćen. It was Njegos’s last wish, the greatest ruler of the Montenegrins who was a bishop and a poet at the same time to be buried there.
  • Prcanj — small family-friendly place with great view of the Boka Kotorska.
  • Tivat — a small town, quickly emerging into a major touristic, business and transport center. Located in the vicinity of the Tivat International Airport, in summer 2014 it became home of a luxury yacht marina called Porto Montenegro.
  • Mamula — Guarding the entrance to the bay, is this prison island built by Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula in mid 19th century. During the World War II, the fort was used as a prison by the Italians.
  • The island of Gospa od Skrpjela — The Island Gospa od Skrpjela is one of two gorgeous islands in Kotor Bay, which are situated in the bay across from Perast (in the Kotor municipality). The other island, which also should be visited, is the Island Sveti Djordje. That island is also called “the island of the dead captains”, because according to a legend one French soldier, by shooting from cannon towards Perast, hit a house of his beloved girl and killed her. That legend was a motive for the master piece “The Island of the Dead” by the Switzerland painter Beklin. The Island Gospa od Skrpjela is an artificial island, made by seaman from Perast and Kotor, who on their big sail boats brought in large boulders. According to stories, fisherman from Perast, after a shipwreck near the island, found an icon of the Holy Mother of God with the Christ on a sea rock, so they vowed to build a church on the island. They built the church in 1630. As the island had to be maintained, seaman continued to bring in stones, so that tradition is alive even today. It is called Fasinada from Perast (July 22).
  • Plava Spilja — A blue grotto in the bay. It is 5.7 nautical miles away from Herceg Novi. During the summer season, you can take private boats from Herceg Novi to Plava Spilja.
  • Mount Orjen — Mount Orjen at 1,894 meters is the highest mountain on the Adriatic coastline and dominates the entrance to the Boka Kotorska and it’s surrounding.

Location



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