Kotor, historically known as Cattaro, is a coastal town in Montenegro, located in a secluded part of the Bay of Kotor. The old Mediterranean port is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period and is situated on one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea.
Often mistaken for a fjord, the bay is actually a submerged river canyon. Kotor’s impressive landscape is formed by the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen. The town has seen a significant increase in tourists since the early 2000s, attracted by the natural environment of the Bay of Kotor and the well-preserved old town.
Kotor is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor, reflecting its rich history and stunning architecture.
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Attractions and Things to do in Kotor
1. Cathedral of Saint Tryphon
The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1166. It’s one of the most recognizable symbols of Kotor and a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. The cathedral has been damaged and rebuilt several times, preserving its historical significance.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the chance to explore the cathedral’s museum, which houses a collection of art and artifacts.
2. Venetian Fortifications of Kotor
Kotor’s Venetian fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a testament to the city’s rich history under Venetian rule. These walls stretch for 4.5 km above the city, offering breathtaking views of the bay.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and carry water, as the climb to the top can be steep and strenuous.
3. Castle of San Giovanni
The Castle of San Giovanni is perched high above Kotor, offering panoramic views of the city and the Bay of Kotor. The hike to the castle is a popular activity, and the ruins provide a glimpse into the city’s medieval past.
Travel Tip: Start the hike early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
4. Aquarium Boka
Aquarium Boka is a must-visit for marine enthusiasts. It showcases the diverse marine life of the Adriatic Sea, providing an educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Travel Tip: Check the feeding times for a chance to see the fish in action.
5. Sveti Đorđe and Gospa od Škrpijela Islets
These two picturesque islets off the coast of Perast are popular tourist destinations. Sveti Đorđe is home to a monastery, while Gospa od Škrpijela hosts a charming church.
Travel Tip: Take a boat tour to explore both islets and learn about their legends and history.
6. Cats of Kotor
Kotor is famous for its large population of cats, which have become a symbol of the city. You’ll find cat stores, a cat museum, and even a Cats’ Square (Trg od mačaka).
Travel Tip: If you’re a cat lover, consider supporting local charities like Kotor Kitties that work to help the cats of Kotor.
7. Kotor’s Old Town
The well-preserved medieval old town of Kotor is a double UNESCO World Heritage Site and a maze of narrow streets, squares, and beautiful architecture. It’s a perfect place to wander, shop, and dine.
Travel Tip: Explore the old town on foot and take your time to discover hidden gems and local boutiques.
Unique Activities in Kotor
There are currently no activities. New activities will be planned for the 2024 season.
Day Trips from Kotor
Discover the picturesque beaches and vibrant nightlife of Budva, a historic town renowned for its medieval walls and atmospheric old town. Wander the narrow streets, marvel at Venetian architecture, and relax by the Adriatic Sea.
Travel Tip: Avoid visiting during peak afternoon hours in summer, as it can get crowded; early morning or late afternoon offers a more relaxed experience.
2. Ostrog Monastery
Venture to the Ostrog Monastery, dramatically set against an almost vertical background, and experience the spiritual serenity and incredible views from one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Balkans. Many visitors are moved by the tranquil ambience and the faith of the pilgrims.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes for the uphill walk, and remember to dress modestly as it’s a place of worship.
3. Lovćen National Park
Journey into the rugged landscapes of Lovćen National Park, home to the mausoleum of the famous Montenegrin poet and ruler, Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. The panoramic views from the top encompass both the mountainous terrain of Montenegro and the shimmering Adriatic Sea.
Travel Tip: The road to the park has many switchbacks, so if you’re driving, make sure you’re confident with mountain driving and always check weather conditions before heading out.
Where to stay in Kotor
Kotor, a coastal town in Montenegro, is renowned for its stunning bay views, historic architecture, and vibrant culture. The city offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly hotels. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with family, Kotor’s hotels provide a blend of comfort, style, and unique experiences. Here’s a closer look at six notable hotels in the city:
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay Resort (★★★★★)
- Description: Features a spa and wellness center, and a private beach area. Rooms and suites have views of Kotor Bay.
- Price: €220 per night
- Rating: 9.2 (Superb)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
HUMA Kotor Bay Hotel and Villas (★★★★★)
- Description: Set on the seafront with a private beach area, this hotel offers modernly styled rooms with free WiFi and an outdoor pool.
- Price: €240 per night
- Rating: 8.4 (Very Good)
3. Budget Hotel
Hotel Rendez Vous (★★★)
- Description: Located in the UNESCO protected Old Town of Kotor, this hotel is surrounded by historic churches and offers a restaurant with a terrace.
- Price: €47 per night
- Rating: 7.4 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
Hotel Splendido (★★★★)
- Description: Situated in Prcanj on the Bay of Kotor, this hotel benefits from an outdoor swimming pool with a large terrace and free Wi-Fi in public areas.
- Price: €75 per night
- Rating: 8.5 (Very Good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Boutique Hotel Hippocampus (★★★★)
- Description: Located within the UNESCO-protected Old Town of Kotor, this boutique hotel offers elegantly furnished rooms and a roof terrace overlooking San Giovanni Walls.
- Price: €225 per night
- Rating: 9.2 (Superb)
6. Hotel for Solo Travelers
Hotel Libertas (★★★★)
- Description: Offering a private beach area and an outdoor pool, this hotel is set in an authentic stone house dating back to the 18th century.
- Price: €177 per night
- Rating: 9.5 (Exceptional)
Did you know? Facts about Kotor
- Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period and is located on the Bay of Kotor, one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea.
- The old Mediterranean port of Kotor has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, recognized for its natural beauty and historical significance.
- Kotor’s fortified city was also included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list as part of Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries.
- Since the early 2000s, Kotor has seen an increase in tourists, many attracted to the natural environment of the Bay of Kotor and the old town’s preserved architecture.
- The town has been fortified since the early Middle Ages, with Emperor Justinian building a fortress above Ascrivium in 535.
- Kotor has one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and is a double UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The city was part of the Venetian Albania province of the Venetian Republic from 1420 to 1797, giving it typical Venetian architecture.
- Kotor hosts several summer events, such as the Summer Carnival or Bokeljska Noć, and is known for the Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children.
- Kotor has a large population of cats that have become a symbol of the city, with cat stores, a cat museum, and even a Cats’ Square (Trg od mačaka).
- In 2019, Kotor welcomed over 250,000 tourists, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montenegro.
FAQ about Kotor
What Makes Kotor a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Kotor is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved medieval architecture and its location in the secluded part of the Bay of Kotor. The old Mediterranean port is surrounded by Venetian fortifications, contributing to its unique charm.
What Are the Must-Visit Attractions in Kotor’s Old Town?
Kotor’s Old Town is home to the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, ancient walls stretching for 4.5 km, and the Venetian Fortifications of Kotor. The nearby islets of Sveti Đorđe and Gospa od Škrpijela are also popular tourist destinations.
How Has Kotor’s History Shaped Its Culture and Architecture?
Kotor’s history, including periods under Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Austro-Hungarian rule, has influenced its architecture and culture. The Venetian period, in particular, has given the city its typical Venetian architecture.
What Are the Popular Events and Festivals in Kotor?
Kotor hosts several summer events like the Summer Carnival and Bokeljska Noć. The Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children is one of the most significant festivals of its kind in Southeast Europe.
How Can Tourists Explore the Natural Environment of the Bay of Kotor?
Visitors to Kotor are attracted to the natural environment of the Bay of Kotor. The bay, one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea, offers opportunities for exploring the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs and the impressive landscape surrounding the city.
What Is the Significance of Cats in Kotor’s Culture?
Kotor has a large population of cats that have become a symbol of the city. There are cat stores, a cat museum, and even a Cats’ Square (Trg od mačaka) in the city. The charity Kotor Kitties works to help the cats of Kotor.
How Can Travelers Reach Kotor, and What Are the Nearby Airports?
Kotor is connected to the Adriatic Highway, and the nearest airports are Tivat Airport (5 km away) and Podgorica Airport (65 km away). Regular flights to major European destinations are available.
What Are the Accommodation Options and Tourist Facilities in Kotor?
Kotor offers a range of accommodation options for tourists, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. The city’s well-preserved medieval architecture and natural beauty have made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montenegro, welcoming over 250,000 tourists in 2019.