There are so many amazing things to do in Kotor, Montenegro. Kotor is a city full of beauty, history, and excitement and a visit here will leave you in awe of the magic of Montenegro. As the most popular and famous city in Montenegro, Kotor is a place everyone should visit at least once. I have spent various summers in Montenegro and find myself always pulled back to visit Kotor again and again.
Most people visit Kotor on a day trip from a nearby city, or via cruise ships touring the Adriatic. However, there are enough things to do in Kotor that you can easily stay for a few nights. Especially if you plan on going on a day trip or two to some of the stunning cities and attractions nearby.
If you are heading to Kotor be sure to use this to guide your travels. There is so much beauty and excitement to be discovered in and around Kotor and you don’t want to miss out on any of it.
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Top 10 things to do in Kotor
Explore the Old Town
The Old Town in Kotor is nothing short of amazing. This area is full of light stone buildings, huge walls, old churches, and cobblestone paths. A visit here feels like you’ve transported to medieval times or onto the set of a Game of Thrones episode. In fact, the old town in Kotor looks very similar to the old town in Dubrovnik, which is the actual set for Game of Thrones! However, Kotor’s old town is much less busy and much more enjoyable to explore.
This is the perfect place to wander around and lose yourself in the beauty of Kotor. There are so many charming little alleyways fulls of local shops and restaurants for you to enjoy. The secret side streets with the less popular shops are the best place to pick up an authentic souvenir from your travels.
If you want to fully discover the streets of Kotor you should consider joining one of the many walking tours. This is a great way to get a detailed history and tour of everything you need to see.
Hike the Kotor Fortress
Hiking the Kotor Fortress to the Castle of San Giovanni is the number one thing to do in Kotor and is also one of the reasons it’s a must-visit on a Balkans road trip. The whole hike offers panoramic, breathtaking views of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor. This is easily my favorite thing to do in Kotor and something I urge everyone to try! Although the hike can be difficult at times, you can go as slow or as fast as you’d like, and it is 100% worth it.
From the base of the hike to the top it takes around 40 minutes and the entire route is scenic and stunning. However, the terrain is made up of stone steps and loose stones which are very slippery. Here are some tips for hiking the Kotor Fortress:
- Be sure to wear shoes with a grip and be careful where you are stepping.
- Pack water and snacks. The hike is quite tiring and you will surely need something to drink during the hike.
- If you forget water there are people selling it along the way, so ensure you have some cash on you.
- The hike costs 8€.
- Start the hike as early as possible, and try to before 10 AM. After 10 AM the sun passes the mountains and it is extremely hot and exhausting.
Embark on a Bay of Kotor Boat Cruise
Kotor itself is beautiful but taking a day to do a Bay of Kotor boat cruise is a must. A day on the water is the perfect way to see more of Montenegro and fully experience the stunning Bay of Kotor. Most boat tours take around 8 hours and will bring you to various cities in Kotor for a shortstop and visit. If you are in a time crunch and don’t have time to go on individual day trips but want to see more of the country this is the ideal option.
There are a ton of different boat tour options ranging from family-friendly ones, booze cruises, and more! Plus, they all go to different places and attractions. This is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Kotor. Any of these tours below are a great option.
Visit the Cat Museum
Cats play a significant role in Kotor’s history which is why there is a museum dedicated to them. This museum might not be for everyone but offers an interesting experience, to say the least, especially if you are a cat lover. The entrance fee is only 1€ and the money is used for the upkeep of the cats that roam the streets of Kotor.
Read More: Best Balkan Holiday Destinations
Explore St. Tryphon’s Cathedral
There are a handful of beautiful churches in Kotor but one of the main ones you must add to your itinerary is St. Tryphon’s Cathedral. This church is located right in the stunning old town and the way it towers over the other buildings means you can’t miss it. The church dates back to 1166 and is a very historic building to admire both from the outside and from the inside.
There are only two Roman Catholic churches in Montenegro and this is one of them. It is recognized for its two bell towers that sit at different heights. They were destroyed in an earthquake in 1979 and they ran out of money while repairing them to finish the second one! It costs 2€ to enter the church and with this you also gain access to the Sacral Art Museum. This is one of the top things to do in Kotor for history lovers.
View Saint Luka’s Church
The Church of Saint Luke is the most famous church in Kotor’s old town. It one of the city’s oldest churches which dates back to 1195. The church is located in Piazza Greca and if the doors are open visitors are allowed to enter.
Take a trip to Our Lady of the Rocks
One of the best trips to take from Kotor is to Our Lady of the Rocks. This is one of the top attractions in the area that is reachable by boat. There are a ton of boat tour companies that will bring you on the short 15-minute boat ride to the island for you to explore. The island is home to a church that visitors are open to explore.
What’s interesting about Our Lady of The Rocks is that it is an artificial island that was man-made many years ago. The people did this by sinking ships and throwing rocks into the water. A visit here is one of the top things to do in Kotor for an interesting history lesson.
Read More: Top 10 Places to Visit in Montenegro
Visit the Blue Cave
The Blue Cave is a stunning hidden gem located along the coast of Montenegro. This beautiful cave is full of stunningly, vivid blue waters that looks like its been dyed blue. You can only visit the Blue Cave by boat and once you squeeze inside the tiny cave opening you are welcome to jump in the clear waters to enjoy!
There are tours available that can either bring you around the Bay of Kotor and to the Caves and other variations. Although this is nothing one of the things to do in Kotor right in the city, it is well worth the adventure. Below are some options.
Day trips from Kotor
Depending on the amount of time you have in Kotor you can go on a day trip or two. There are so many stunning cities and towns near Kotor that are perfect to visit and spend a day in. A day trip is one of the most popular things to do in Kotor. Below are the top options.
Perast is located very close to Kotor and is the ideal day trip if you don’t have much time. This quaint coastal town is the perfect getaway from the busy streets of Kotor and is only 20 minutes away. It is a great place to enjoy a more peaceful village vibe full of local restaurants, cafes, and swimming spots. Be warned, Perast is becoming a more and more popular travel destination as the years go by.
Herceg Novi is my personal favorite city in Montenegro and a great day trip from Kotor. A trip here takes around 45 minutes by bus or car and the whole drive is beautiful. The whole route takes you along the stunning Bay of Kotor and shows you the beauty of the sea and towering mountains.
Upon arrival, you will find Herceg Novi to be the perfect place to relax and enjoy a beach day or a day of exploring. The whole city is located along the coastline and there are a ton of lovely beaches to choose from. The beaches aren’t sandy but full of sunbeds and the perfect place to lay out on. Plus, the water is a beautiful blue and very clear.
In addition to swimming, Herceg Novi is great for exploring the old town and admire the stunning fortresses.
Budva is another coastal city that sits along the Adriatic Sea. It is considered one of the best places to visit in Montenegro and is the perfect place for a day trip from Kotor. The city has a stunning beach, a beautiful old town, and is a place that is full of life. You can get here by car or by bus and the journey takes around 35 minutes.
Tivat is a very different town in Montenegro that is well worth a visit. The modern architecture in Tivat offers a stark contrast from the rest of Montenegro and is considered the Monaco of Montenegro. As a place full of luxury hotels, high-end shops, and a huge marina housing mega yachts it is an interesting place all should see. a drive here takes around 30 minutes.
Tip: Book a sun-bed at Porto Montenegro for an amazing and luxurious beach club experience.
The journey from Kotor to Ostrog Monastery takes around 2 hours, making it the longest day trip option. However, a visit here is well worth it. The drive takes you around the mountains of Montenegro and shows you some stunning viewpoints. The Monastery itself is built vertically into the jagged mountainside and is an architectural wonder.
This is an Orthodox Serbian Monastery and an important, sacred place for people of the faith. If you visit here make sure you are respectful by wearing modest clothing and putting your phone and camera away when inside. The best way to view this stunning place is by taking a tour!
Visit the Maritime Museum
Kotor’s location along the sea has resulted in a long maritime history that is preserved in the Maritime Museum. This is a small yet fascinating museum worth a quick visit. There are model ships that back from the 1300’s and beyond, and various swords and other weapons from each period. A visit to the Maritime Museum will teach you about a significant part of Kotor’s history, making it one of the best things to do in Kotor.
Where to stay in Kotor
When deciding on where to stay in Kotor you should consider a few factors. Firstly, if you are concerned about prices try to stay on the outskirts of the city to avoid the higher prices that make up the old town. Secondly, for the ultimate Kotor experience, you should consider staying somewhere with a view over the Bay of Kotor. The splurge is worth it for the relaxing and stunning views and to have easier access to all the things to do in Kotor. Here are some beautiful options in Kotor and nearby towns.
When to visit Kotor
The best time to visit Kotor is in the shoulder months of April – May, and September – October. Due to the recent surge of tourism in Montenegro, the summer months are quite full of people which means getting around takes significantly longer, attractions are more full, and prices are higher.
The shoulder months still offer beautiful weather but with half the crowds. with this you can enjoy all the things to do in Kotor in a more authentic fashion.
Montenegro Travel Tips
- The language spoken in Montenegro is Serbian
- The currency is Euros
- The religion practiced is Orthodox Serbian
- People are very hospitable and more than willing to help if need be
- Public transportation is very cheap but can be unreliable
- Taxies are a cheap and quick way to get around
- Vegetarian / vegan food can be difficult to find, but not impossible!
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There are so many fun and exciting things to do in Kotor the hard part is deciding which to pick and which to skip. If you have a long time to spend in Montenegro be sure to explore some of the neighboring cities and towns, you will be blown away by their beauty. And if you are spending only a day or two in Kotor be sure to hit the highlights of the city for a trip you will never forget.
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Mei and Kerstin says
Montenegro is so high on our bucket list! We have wanted to visit for so many years, so we hope we’ll get to go there next year. It’s so cool that there’s a cat museum in Kotor! Even if the entrance fee were more than 1€, we would go there and stay for a whole day! haha… We have two cats at home, and wonder if they’ll get jealous if they knew we spend time with other cats… hmm.. Anyway, thanks for this post, it’s good to know that we should stay somewhere with a view over the Bay of Kotor.
Jeff Albom says
I have never been to Montenegro. The photos of Kotor are stunning. I am a fan of old stone buildings and churches and the waterfront looks impressive. A bay cruise sounds like a good idea.
Linda (LD Holland) says
We had one day in Kotor and always planned to return. I now know there are even more reasons to go back. We spent most of our town wandering on the lower levels. But next time won’t pass on climbing high for those views. The cruise in and out was spectacular so a boat tour is a great suggestion. We would definitely want to do a tour to the Blue Cave (or rent a boat). But I am sneezing just thinking about visiting a cat museum!
I’m agree with you. After reading your post and seeing all the pictures, I don’t think a day trip is enough. There’s no way I can spend a half hour wandering around the old town. It’s full with history and the architects are intriguing. Then the hike to the Fortress. I can spend half an hour easily at the top. I think you are really a tourist if you only make a day trip here. Haha..
You always find such interesting places in Europe, Sam! The cat museum immediately piqued my interest on top of all these gorgeous waterfront views. Also, I love how small and compact it is. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to leave a small town feeling like you really got to explore every side street, shop, and restaurant.