Kotor is a magical town!!
The Old Town of Kotor is thousands of years old with its history and looks preserved despite all the wars, earthquakes, fires, and diseases it survived.
It’s a very small town-only a few thousand inhabitants.
But it’s location allowed it to be not only the most beautiful, but also very, very important in the past.
In Kotor, the history is so rich that you have to get a private guide to tell you about it. Otherwise, you will miss out on the whole world that existed here previously : famous sailors, skilled merchants, important diplomats, scholars and travelers.
Their lives revolved around the sea.
But it was also a town full of culture- mostly adopted from Venetians.
Here are the things you should not miss in Kotor:
Explore the Old Town
If you arrived on a cruise ship, you will not be able to miss the old town, since it is located just across the street from the Kotor Port.
There are three entrances to the town: North Gate, South Gate and West Gate (also called the Main Gate). In front of the main gate is an information desk where you can get all the information you need. You can also get a free map of the old town. Take it, you will need it. For a first-time visitor, the old town seems like a giant labyrinth.
But don’t worry, it is just too small for anyone to get lost.
Don’t be afraid to explore all the small allies in the town. There are also beautiful squares with interesting old names (Milk Square, Salad Square, Flour Square) where you can enjoy a drink or a meal.
However, if you want to buy souvenirs, stay away from the shops on the big squares. You can find much better deals in the less populated areas of the Old Town.
St. Tryphon Cathedral is the oldest and the most famous building in the town. It is a Roman Catholic basilica. The entrance fee is 2.50 euros. Don’t miss the treasury, located upstairs, with many relics and valuable items.
Visit the Kotor Maritime Museum if you want to learn more about the famous maritime history of this amazing place.
2. Climb the St. John’s Fortress
This is something that you should not miss. That is, if you are in a really good physical shape.
The Fortress of St. John is actually the top part of the Kotor city walls, build in the 9th century by the Byzantine Empire. They go up the St. John hill and down, around the old town. In the past they were used for defense and lookout, now all the forts are empty ruins.
The best thing about climbing the fortress is, of course, the view! It is something that cannot be fully captured on a picture, You just feel like you are on the top of the world.
Climbing 1395 steps has that effect on people.
Tip: do not do it during July and August. The days are just too hot, and nights are not safe to climb (you might fall).
I am too lazy, so here is a picture of the Fortress from underneath.
The church is about 1/3 up the walls and it is called Our Lady of Health (17th century).
It takes about 15 minutes of climbing to the church, and about 45 minutes to the top.
There are two entrances to the St. John’s Fortress. The main one is by the North Gate, and it looks like this
and there is another one on the Salad Square (toward the South Gate)
The entrance fee i 3 euros.
3. Visit the opposite side of the Bay
(Muo, Prcanj, Stoliv)
No, Google maps is not wrong- this is the main street in Kotor! In some areas it looks like a bike trail so be careful if you have a large vehicle.
During the summer season things can get pretty crazy on this road.
Too many people arrive without knowing what to expect, and too many get stuck, causing really long and painful traffic jams.
The locals are used to driving here, of course, and they are not afraid of falling into the sea. But sometimes they don’t have the patience for a virgin driver who is too scared to move to the far right side of the road so that cars can pass him/her by.
So, I’m not suggesting that you drive on this road unless you feel very confident about it.Same goes for riding bikes.
You can always take a taxi (a couple of euros), a bus (70 cents/person) or just take a walk.
To get to the other area of the bay, areas called Muo, Prcanj and Stoliv, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour if you decide to walk.
Plus, you can stop anywhere you want and take a dip, or just enjoy a nice view. Here is what you can see:
4. Go swimming
You can swim anywhere in the Bay. The water is clean, since fresh water is always coming down the slopes and mixing with the salty sea water of the Bay.
The swimming season is from early June until late September. (Well, Scandinavians and Russians don’t really look at the calendar).
However, because of the cool mountain springs in the Bay, sometimes it so happens that the open sea (outside of the bay) is warmer in the early season. The springs dry out by August, and the Bay becomes almost too warm.
Anyway, it is something that the locals take full advantage of, and you should too, even if you are here for a day. It is much better for you than swimming in the pool (no worries, there are no sharks here).
If you are in the Old Town area and you don’t have too much time to explore the Bay, go to the city beach.
It is located about 5 minutes walking distance from the Port.
Wishing you a pleasant stay!! Enjoy!
Next stop: Perast