Places to Visit in Kotor
This content was last updated on 24.01.2024 22:20
Montenegro's Most Popular City: Kotor City Guide
Kotor is an essential part of any journey to Montenegro, and there are plenty of reasons for that.
Despite its small and bustling nature, the city is full of surprises at every corner: cobblestone streets offering breathtaking views winding beneath historic stone buildings, cafes along streets leading to the fortress, and charming locals (cats). Kotor has everything you need for those considering a visit to Montenegro.
Whether it's your first time traveling to Kotor or your hundredth, I'm sure there will always be something new to discover.
Let's explore this city, which we often refer to as the "closest thing to being on the Game of Thrones set," with the travel guide we've prepared for Kotor.
Kotor, Montenegro Travel Guide
There might be those wondering why they should visit Kotor.
Why Kotor is an excellent choice:
- To savor the historical flavors of Montenegro
- To serve as the hub for your day trips
- A city filled with culture, cuisine, and adventure
Undoubtedly, Kotor is the most famous city in Montenegro (don't tell Budva) and is a must-visit destination on your Montenegro journey. Kotor is a city that will offer you a captivating experience. You can consider including Kotor as part of your day trip during a cruise or even plan to spend your entire vacation in Kotor.
With its museums, cafes, churches, mysterious alleyways, and charming corners ready for exploration, Kotor provides a deep dive into Montenegrin culture. Additionally, it is in an excellent location if you wish to travel to other regions of the country. Interesting cities like Herceg Novi, Cetinje, and Ulcinj are just a one or two-hour drive away.
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How Many Days Are Needed to Explore Kotor?
This really depends on how you plan to travel to Montenegro. If Kotor is just a stop on your route, I recommend at least 2 or 3 days. During this time, you can take a city tour, visit museums, and climb to Kotor Castle.
If you have a tight schedule, you can even explore Kotor in just one day!
However, if you don't want to venture into the inland areas and want to adjust the time you plan to spend in the Bay of Kotor, you can stay in Kotor for the entire week and take multiple day trips.
Kotor is conveniently located with its central position; to the west, you'll find Herceg Novi and Perast, and to the east, Budva, Lovcen National Park, and Cetinje. Each of these places is within an hour's drive."
Transportation in Kotor
Kotor is a small city in Montenegro compared to other popular cities, making it easily navigable. In fact, you can walk from one end of the city to the other within 15 minutes.
The beauty of Kotor lies in getting lost in its small streets, squares, and charming alleys, and all you need to do that is your legs and an adventurous spirit.
However, if you need a taxi, there are plenty of them near the Camilija Shopping Center on the north edge of the city. They can be particularly convenient, especially when you want to take a day trip to the nearby town called Perast.
Places to Visit in Kotor
1. Piazza of the Arms
Entering the Old Town from the walls of Kotor, the first place you come across is Piazza of the Arms. In the square, there is a municipal building, a hotel that used to serve as a theater, and a clock tower dating back to the 17th century. Surrounding the square, there are also cafes where you can relax.
2. Clock Tower
The clock tower you will see in the "Piazza of the Arms" was constructed in 1602. However, by the year 1667, it was still not fully completed, and during an earthquake that year, it suffered damage, causing it to lean to the side. Despite attempts to correct it over time, another earthquake caused it to return to its inclined position.
In front of the clock tower, there is a triangular-shaped Column of Shame. This spot served as a point where criminals were brought and publicly humiliated during the medieval period in Kotor, a town that did not have a prison.
3. Old Town
Beyond the places to visit, the Old Town streets surrounded by Kotor's city walls resemble a film set. The most beautiful way to explore the old town is to wander randomly through its narrow streets. It is one of the best-preserved old town centers in the Mediterranean.
At every corner, you can feel the medieval atmosphere, with squares lined with houses featuring green shutters and plenty of stairs, charming cafes, and occasional small boutiques. However, in our opinion, the farther away from the tourist spots you go, the more beautiful it becomes.
4. St. Tryphon Cathedral
St. Tryphon Cathedral, one of the two Roman Catholic churches in Kotor, was built in 809 AD in honor of the city's patron saint, St. Tryphon. Also known as Saint Trifon, he lived in Anatolia for a period, and after his death there, the Venetians attempted to transport the saint's bones to their own land.
Unable to reach Venice due to storms, they ended up staying in Kotor and built this cathedral to house the saint's remains, which they couldn't part with. The cathedral was in use for an extended period; however, after suffering significant damage in the great earthquake of 1667, its exterior completely collapsed and was rebuilt.
During the renovation phase, Baroque bell towers were added to the cathedral. Today, it stands as one of the most valuable architectures in Kotor and serves as the center of the Kotor Catholic Bishopric. Inside the cathedral, you can find precious wall paintings, stone decorations, and reliefs made of gold and silver. The entrance fee to visit the museum and the cathedral is €2.5 per person.
5. Sveti Luka Church
The Sveti Luka Church, the only structure in Kotor that remained undamaged during the earthquake of 1979, is situated in the famous square of the old town known as Piazza Greca.
This building, incorporating details of both Byzantine and Romanesque styles, was initially constructed as a Catholic church in 1195. However, it later served both the Catholic and Orthodox denominations.
Even though it was eventually gifted to the Orthodox community, Sveti Luka Church is highly significant for Christians as it hosts altars for both denominations.
6. St. Nikola Church
Montenegro's multicultural identity has endowed it with numerous religious architectural gems. This place is another Orthodox church built for the Serbs living in Kotor. Previously, there was another Orthodox church at the location of St. Nikola Church in Kotor.
After the previous church was destroyed in a fire, St. Nikola was built in its place in 1902, and the construction of the church was completed in 1909.
7. Maritime Museum
Considering its location, it's not hard to imagine how significant maritime history is in the history of Montenegro and Kotor. This museum, narrating the history of Kotor and maritime affairs, features a collection consisting of photographs, uniforms, paintings, weapons, and ship models.
While the main theme revolves around maritime history, it's worth mentioning that ethnographic elements related to Kotor and Montenegrin culture are also displayed. The reliefs depicting historical moments of Kotor are noteworthy in the museum. The entrance fee is €4.
8. Kotor City Walls
Although often overlooked by those who don't ascend to the fortress, the city walls surrounding the old town are actually quite important in terms of places to visit. One of the significant factors leading to its UNESCO protection, the length of these city walls is 4.5 km, and they consist of various gates that you will encounter while strolling through the old town.
While it may not be possible to walk the entire length of the walls, it's worth mentioning that the walls themselves offer a great trekking route in this area. You can experience walking on different heights and slopes as you ascend to San Giovanni Fortress. The views are also quite impressive along the way.
9. San Giovanni Fortress
For a view reminiscent of Bob Ross paintings in Kotor, the place you must climb the city walls for is San Giovanni Fortress. We believe it's the most beautiful activity to do in Kotor. To reach the fortress, follow the path passing through the old town and climb 1350 steps. As you'll take frequent photo breaks at certain points, you'll have a chance to rest along the way.
Completing the tour takes approximately 3 hours. The best time is definitely in the morning; as it gets quite hot in the afternoon. Since the church is open from 08:00 to 20:00, it's best to set out around 07:30.
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