Arriving in Kotor is like stepping into a fairytale book, hidden in the heart of southern Europe. If you only have a short amount of time in Montenegro like we did, Kotor is the most stunning and best-preserved town in the country – aka the one city you simply can not miss when travelling in Montenegro.
We recently went on a little road trip through the Balkans with our family and had the most incredible time, with one of our stops being Kotor. We spent 48 hours exploring this underrated city and I am so excited to share with you everything you need to see & do during a visit here!
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Things To Do In Kotor
Explore Kotor Old Town
The Old Town of Kotor was built between the 12th and 14th centuries and is one of the most beautiful UNESCO sites we have visited. With narrow, romantic streets and hidden cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the alleyways – old town can not be missed.
Hike to St. John’s Fortress
If you are looking for a spot that will give you the most stunning views of Kotor, you will find them from St John’s Fortress. Just a warning though, this is a steep, 1350-step climb – but the views from the top of the fortress are so worth it.
If you are up for the challenge it should take you around 45 minutes to an hour one way. We recommend doing this one early so you don’t use a lot of your day hiking, and still have time to see more of the sites.
Price: 3 Euro (entrance is manned at 8am; if you arrive before then, you can enter for free!)
Take a boat ride to Lady of the Rocks
Only 15 minutes from Kotor is an island with two churches – one being a monastery, the other a Catholic church known as Our Lady of the Rocks. While taking a stroll along the bay we noticed a lot of little speed boats which will take you to Lady of the Rocks.
It is said that back in 1452, when two sailors, returning to Perast from a difficult voyage, saw an icon of the Madonna and Child resting on the rock in the sea. They saw this as a miracle guiding them home. The sailors dropped stones around the spot, then slowly created an island and built a small chapel. It has now become a tradition for sailors to drop stones in the water around the chapel before a voyage.
The best way to see Our Lady of the Rocks is by taking a boat from Kotor, and it is the most beautiful journey to get there!
Price: 15 Euro (for the cost of the boat)
Visit the Cat Museum of Kotor
When we first entered old town, we were greeted to atleast 5 friendly cats. Cats have always been a huge part of Kotor, so much so that they have a Cat Museum of Kotor as a tribute to their love of felines.
The museum is filled with collections of cat-related memorabilia, ephemera & vintage artwork.
Price: 1 Euro
Visit Kotor’s many churches
The Old Town of Kotor has a number of beautiful churches, some free to enter and others just a few euros.
If you are looking for a view than head to Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral. The upper floor has a wonderful collection of local dresses, weapons and artefacts and the upstairs balcony gives you a great view of the town square below.
Two other churches worth checking out are Saint Nicholas’ Church and Saint Luke’s Church.
Where To Stay
During our time in Kotor we stayed at the most beautiful Airbnb with our family. We had stunning views over the bay and it was super affordable. For five of us, we paid around $20 each a night – for a 3 bedroom apartment, equipped with a kitchen, lounge area and huge balcony! The friendly couple who owned the apartment also roast their own coffee and would bring us up some as we looked out at the view each morning.
Located inside Kotor Old Town, Hostel Cent has a stunning terrace and views of the mountains. It has free wifi, all rooms are air-conditioned and guests have access to a shared kitchen and shared bathroom.
These apartments are located on a private beach, with both wifi and parking free of charge. All units include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower. Some units feature a terrace with sea views and outdoor furniture.
Located in the main square of the UNESCO-protected old town of Kotor, Hotel Varder offers elegant furnished rooms with a delicious buffet breakfast included located on the terrace.
The hotel also has a small gym area, a sauna and a Turkish bath.
Where To Eat
This was our favourite restaurant we ate at during our time in Kotor. It is located on a quiet, narrow street serving the most delicious seafood dishes. We highly recommend trying their shrimp-stuffed squid.
Address: 375, Stari Grad, Kotor 85330, Montenegro
If you are looking for the perfect lunch spot, we recommend checking out Bocalibre. It is located in a courtyard in the middle of of old town serving a range of foods. We recommend going for one of their delicious pizzas or a fresh salad if you are visiting on a hot day.
Address: Old town, Kotor Municipality 85330, Montenegro
This is the place to eat if you are looking for affordable, tasty food. Tanjga specialises in grilled meats and their serving sizes are so big that you could easily leave here feeling full and only spend 10€ for two!
Address: Suranj Bb, Kotor 85330, Montenegro
Tips for Driving in The Balkans
Driving in the Balkans is certainly … an experience. We absolutely loved our road trip and think that driving is the best way to explore the Balkans, but there are just a few things you need to know before you go.
The Green Card Insurance:When you hire your car (we hired it out of Croatia) you will also need to pay for a Green Card. This cost us around €25, and we had to show this to leave and enter any countries we visited in the Balkans.
Driving here is not for the faint-hearted: The roads are extremely tight, you will be driving along the edge of cliffs, potholes seem to appear out of nowhere and we saw numerous car accidents throughout our journey. Thankfully we got through it without even a scratch, but we thought we may warn you that it is a beautiful drive, but not the easiest of road trips.