Located on the coast of Montenegro in the Bay of Kotor, Kotor is perhaps one of the cutest small towns I’ve ever seen. Visiting Kotor was like waking up each day in a far-off, mystical land. One where fortified walls protected the city, moats kept those who wished to invade out, and cats roamed the streets freely. It’s a fascinating city to visit and perhaps the crown jewel of the entire country of Montenegro.
In this travel guide, you can expect to find information about getting to/from Kotor, things to do in and around the city, the best restaurants to eat at, and more.
A Guide to Visiting Kotor, Montenegro
Things to See and Do in Kotor
VISIT OLD TOWN KOTOR
The highlight of visiting Kotor is strolling through Old Town Kotor. The old town is one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and is a double UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you walk along the cobbled, narrow alleyways you’ll be greeted with boutique shops, historic churches, ice cream shops, and tons of outdoor dining.
Old Town Kotor is quite small and can be seen in just a few short hours.
WALK THE LOWER FORTIFIED WALLS
Walking the lower fortified walls at sunset was one of my favorite things that I did in Kotor. I suggest starting near the “Drinking Water Fountain” where you’ll see stairs nearby. Walk up the stairs and follow the walls until you come to the end.
HIKE THE KOTOR FORTRESS TRAIL TO THE CASTLE OF SAN GIOVANNI
One of the most popular things to do in Kotor (and for good reason) is to hike the Kotor Fortress Trail to the Castle of San Giovanni. This is is pretty grueling and will take you at least 30-minutes to reach the castle. I highly recommend starting early in the morning or at sunset to avoid the heat.
The trail is open from 8 am-8 pm and costs 8 Euro to enter. However, if you go early in the morning or late at night you can access the trail for free. If you do choose to go during hours, if you walk outside the walls (use the exit next to “Drinking Water Fountain” and go right, you can get the Castle of San Giovanni for free. You can then go down the regular way as they don’t request your ticket when you exit.
Make sure to pack water as there isn’t anywhere to purchase up top.
STEP INSIDE THE CHURCHES
While you’re in Old Town Kotor, make sure to visit the old churches that still stand today. The most popular ones are St Tryphon Cathedral, St Nicholas Church, Church of Saint Luke, and The Lady of Health Church.
VISIT THE MUSEUMS
Another thing to do in Old Town Kotor is to visit the museums. If you like cats you may want to visit the Kotor Cats Museum to see why this town is a haven for cats; if you want to learn about the nautical history of Kotor then make sure to check out the Maritime Museum.
Restaurants and Bars in Kotor
Kotor has some of the best seafood I’ve eaten, and the bar scene is quite lively for such a small place. I spent five days in Kotor eating and drinking my way through town. The restaurants and bars listed below were some of my very favorites!
This is the restaurant to go to if you’re looking for meat! It’s incredibly affordable and the servings sizes are huge. It’s located just outside of the fortified walls so it has more of a local feeling to it. It’s a pretty no-fuss place where you order at the counter and serve yourself drinks from the fridge.
Cesarica is a great seafood restaurant in the old town. It’s located within a narrow alleyway so you get a bit of a secluded and even romantic feeling while you’re there. I highly recommend trying the stuffed calamari, a popular dish in Montenegro.
Another great seafood restaurant in the old town is Restaurant Przun. If you only have time to eat at one seafood restaurant – this was my favorite. The food is flavored perfectly and the outdoor seating is in a big open square, but not a touristy one.
RESTO BAR TARACA
Resto Bar Tarca is located just outside the fortified walls but sits on the water with views of the old town. It’s a good option if you’re looking for something a bit healthier or if you’re looking for a good atmosphere to hang out in and work.
THE NITROX PUB AND EATERY
The Nitrox is a newer restaurant in the old town. It serves “American” food – burgers, fries, etc but I mostly like it for the atmosphere and beer. The interior is beautifully decorated and the few outdoor tables add to the overall vibe of the place.
Club Invalida is a popular spot amongst both locals and tourists alike. You can get cheap drinks here (wine costs 2 Euro) and at night they often have live music. Tables usually fill up quickly but you can still order a drink and stand around.
Logistics of Visiting Kotor
Where to Stay in Kotor
I recommend staying within the old town when you visit Kotor. I stayed in this Airbnb and highly recommend it.
How Long Should You Visit Kotor/When is a Good Time to Visit?
To see Kotor you really only need a few hours. However, I highly recommend spending at least one night within the fortified walls to get a true feel for the city. Kotor sees tons of tourists each day, but mornings and nights are a bit of a reprieve from the crowds.
In my opinion, the best time to visit Kotor is in the shoulder season. These months are May and September, where the weather is still warm enough to swim, but there are much fewer crowds. I would avoid visiting at peak tourist season which is June, July, and August.
How to Get to/from Kotor
If you rent a car, Kotor is easily accessible from anywhere in Montenegro. If you don’t plan to rent a car, then you can reach Kotor by bus (or taxi) from neighboring countries, other cities in Montenegro, or from the Podgorica or Tivat airports.
If you’re coming from further away, you’ll be dropped off (or picked up) at the main bus station in town called the “Kotor Main Bus Station”. From there it’s only a 10-minute walk to/from the old town.
If you’re coming from somewhere close (like Perast) and taking a local bus then you’ll be dropped off at one of the bus stops outside of the fortified walls.
Visiting Kotor was a real treat. I hope that if you find yourself traveling in the Balkans you make it a priority to visit Montenegro and see Kotor.
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