You may have started hearing the name of Kotor recently. Kotor, which truly deserves its reputation, gives off an Italian touch right in the heart of the Balkans. This extraordinary city, opening up to the Adriatic Sea, shines like a pearl amidst lush green landscapes, glistening waters, and majestic mountains. With its impressive history and stunning natural beauty, both the Bay of Kotor and Kotor have earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
🛎️ Reminder: To explore the world with your digital tour guide, don’t forget to download Piri Guide! 😊
Where is Kotor?
Kotor is a city in Montenegro, located on the European continent, within the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), one of the most indented and rugged parts of the Adriatic Sea. The city has a population of approximately 13,510. And it serves as the administrative center of the Kotor Municipality.
Brief History of Kotor
And with a city so magnificent, it has attracted many admirers. The city was initially founded by the Romans in 168 BC. From Bulgarians to Ottomans, various groups fought to conquer this city throughout history. After numerous struggles, it eventually fell into the hands of the Venetians. The Italian influences in the city stem from this period. Thanks to this multi-layered cultural heritage, it has become one of the most vibrant cities in Europe.
How to Go to Kotor?
Unfortunately, Kotor does not have its own airport. However, you can reach the region from several nearby cities. The easiest way is to fly to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. From there, you can reach Kotor in about 1.5 to 2 hours by taxi, private car, or bus. Additionally, you can also fly to Tirana, the capital of Albania, or to Dubrovnik in Croatia, and then make your way to the city.
It’s worth noting that encountering traffic along the way is quite common if you’re travelling during a popular season. Especially during the summer, traffic can be challenging between 3-5 p.m. on weekdays. This is because these hours are when Montenegrins finish work and head to the sea with their families.
When to Go to Kotor?
Let’s start with a little heads-up. The summer season (June-July-August) is one of the liveliest periods in Kotor. Especially since it’s a popular stop for cruise ships, the city tends to get quite crowded. Consequently, traffic can also be heavy. Therefore, the most sensible times to visit are before and after the peak summer months. If you also want to enjoy the sea, May, September, and October are ideal times when the weather is great, the sea is inviting, and the crowds are tolerable. Since Kotor has a Mediterranean climate, these months are the most beautiful seasonally as well.
Places to Visit in Kotor
We’ve made a list of must-visit places in Kotor. Yet, we should remind you that you can find more on the Piri Guide mobile app. Piri Guide detects your location, offers you the best travel routes, and starts telling you the hidden stories of wherever you are. All you have to do is to get your headphones or earbuds and follow the path at your own pace. Then, don’t set out for your trip before downloading the digital travel guide! 😊
San Giovanni Fortress is at the top of the Kotor Old Town walls. The construction of this imposing structure and its fortress walls took place between the 9th and 19th centuries. Everyone from the Byzantines to the Venetians had a hand in shaping this building. In ancient times, the fortress spotted incoming invaders. Nowadays, travellers who visit the fortress seek a postcard-worthy view of Kotor.
💌 To reach the fortress, you’ll need to climb 1300 steps. We understand that it might sound a bit challenging. However, the steps aren’t too steep. The ascent to the fortress takes around 50 minutes. If you feel that this might not be for you, there’s a church that you’ll encounter halfway up the stairs. Our Lady of Remedy Church is easier to reach and offers one of the most special views of the city. This church also happens to be the oldest building in Montenegro.
The star of the square is Kotor’s emblematic Clock Tower, also known as Torre Dell’orologio. This tower features elements of both Baroque and Gothic architecture. On the front side of the building, there is a coat of arms belonging to a Montenegrin prince’s family from the time the tower was constructed. On the ground floor, you’ll find a clockmaker’s shop that is said to have been there since the 17th century.
When you visit, you’ll notice that the tower is a bit crooked. This is because it has experienced two earthquakes in its long history, both of which have caused it to tilt.
The Maritime Museum is one of the most intriguing places in Kotor. The building housing the museum is a modest Baroque-style palace that belonged to the Grgurina family. The museum features various exhibitions that narrate the history of the bay and Montenegro, providing insights into Kotor’s past.
Inside the museum, you can find a variety of items, ranging from ancient weapons used by the people of Kotor to defend their town against numerous pirates to scale models of numerous ships. The most interesting aspect is how the museum juxtaposes Montenegro’s culture with its relationship to the sea, telling these stories side by side.
Yes, you heard it right! There’s a charming Cat Museum in Kotor. 😻
As soon as you set foot in Kotor, you’ll notice an extraordinary cat population. Almost every street corner features a feline friend basking in the sun or trying to win the affection of passing tourists. Cats hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Kotor. All businesses in Kotor Old Town take special care of these cats.
The museum mostly presents a collection of pictures and souvenirs related to cats. The sweet part is that they use a very modest entrance fee for the care of these cats.
Don’t be fooled by the term “bazaar”. At the market, you’ll find everything from fruits and vegetables to olives, dried figs, and local wines, showcasing the flavours of the region. If you’re wondering what to do with the fruits and veggies you buy from the market during your vacation, don’t worry. They also sell freshly cut fruits, ready to eat. Especially, the dried nuts and a variety of cheeses are the ones you must try.
The market is set up beneath a section of the Old Town walls. It’s open from 7 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon. The best time to visit is in the morning. The liveliest day is Saturday when vendors come from surrounding towns as well.