The small coastal town Kotor in Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. It was also one of my favourite destinations during my 2-months backpacking trip through Europe, where I also visited cities like Athens or Budapest. Kotor has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and is a UNESCO world heritage site. That alone should be reason enough to pack your suitcase and visit the place. However, there are lots of other reasons to explore Kotor and Montenegro.
One of the most compelling reasons for visiting Kotor is this view – I’ll let it speak for itself.
However, there are many more reasons why I recommend everyone to visit Kotor. It is also a great place for students or budget travelers. While Eastern European cities are not as popular as some Western cities like Paris, London, or Vienna, they proved to me to be as great as their Western counterparts. They are even better if you’re on a tight budget. Compared to most Western countries, Montenegro is a very affordable country and is, therefore, perfect for every student on a budget.
WHEN SHOULD I VISIT?
Kotor can be a bit touristy in the summer but it still has its unique flair. In recent years, Kotor has seen a steady increase in tourists – for a reason. I heard that many of them are coming by cruise ship but I didn’t experience that myself. I went to Kotor around May and, yes, there were tourists but it wasn’t overcrowded at all. It’s most likely more crowded during peak season. So I’d definitely recommend you to visit during April/May/June. The weather was also perfect during that time – not too hot and not too cold. It was warm enough to spend a day on the beach but also a well enough temperature to include a bit of sightseeing in your daily plan.
HOW TO GET THERE
The easiest way to get to Kotor is to take a flight to the Podgorica Airport (that’s the capital) and from there take a bus. Montenegro isn’t a big country so it doesn’t take too long to get from A to B.
A tip for those wanting to go to Kotor from Albania: if possible, organise a private car which takes you from Albania (probably Tirana) to Kotor. It is hella complicated to take the public transportations over the border. I had to do it that way and it took me 10 hours (the route is Tirana – Skoder – Kotor). However, it was worth the time!
TOP THINGS TO DO IN KOTOR
First of all, take a stroll through the Old Town itself. As already mentioned, the old town of Kotor is a UNESCO world heritage site. In the old town, you’ll not only find lovely restaurants but also numerous sights, such as the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon or the ancient walls itself. You also shouldn’t miss the market in front of Kotor’s main city gate – they sell the best strawberries you’ll ever taste!
The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications which are always overlooking the city. It is possible to climb up for a small fee, where you’ll have a stunning view over the bay. Built along the city walls there is a mixture of ramparts, gates, and churches built along them and they’re still quite well-preserved. If you don’t think the fortifications are that impressive by daytime – because they blend in with the greyish-green colour of the mountains behind – you just have to wait till sunset. At night, the fortifications are all lit up!
Another thing I recommend everyone doing is to rent a bicycle for a day. The area surrounding Kotor is a picturesque Mediterranean landscape and you should take the opportunity to day-trip around the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) with the bicycle. It’s a great way to spot some hidden beaches and catch a glimpse of the other towns around the area.
If you decide to do this tour, please be aware that you have to bicycle on the road for some part of the route. People who are not used to Montenegran truck drivers may feel a bit intimidated. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend the whole Bay of Kotor-tour for a trip with children but a half-day trip in the next town is definitely doable! My friend and I rented the bike from our hostel but there are several bike rental companies in Kotor. If you’re doing the whole tour, you have to cross the sea at one point and use a ferry. If I remember correctly, the fee was around 2-3 Euro.
What about beaches? Seeing all this turquoise water has to have some effect on you. Wanna dive right in? Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to find the perfect beach in Kotor and this was one of the minus points of the town. There is a small beach in a ten minutes walking distance to the Old Town – but that’s not one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to. If you want a nicer place you have to get a bit further away from the Old Town. This is possible by public transport, or you can do the cycling tour instead.
If you ever have the chance to visit Kotor try to see more of the whole country. I really, really wanted to do a bus tour through Montenegro (which is, by the way, not a big country) but it got cancelled because there weren’t enough people. Don’t miss the change.
Convinced about visiting Kotor soon? Or have you been already? Share your thoughts down below!
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