1. Stroll around the Old Town
We were in Kotor for less than 24 hours and I really tried to see and do as much as we can! Also, this was my first time ever seeing this amazing city! First things first – The old town of Kotor. The best-preserved medieval urban environment is typical of towns built in the 12th and 14th centuries. Honestly, it reminded me a lot of Split in Croatia, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and similar cities and towns all over the Adriatic coast. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage put Kotor in the UNESCO list of “World Natural and Cultural Heritage.” You can stroll throughout the city just like we did and be amazed at almost every corner with many churches, palaces, and rich treasury! Kotor traditions make this area unique and definitely worth a visit! Plus, the whole of Montenegro is incredibly affordable!
And why you shouldn’t miss Kotor? You can see by clicking the link below – an amazing drone video from the Kotor city and its impressive-looking bay!
2. Book a boat ride in Kotor bay
The Bay of Kotor, also known as Boka is a terrific bay in the Adriatic sea, 28 kilometers long. Its beauty is known since a long time ago! In fact, people have inhabited this bay since antiquity. Thus, you can see many well-preserved medieval towns. Not only Kotor town but alsoTivat, Perast, Prčanj, and Herceg Novi. You can see all of those and many more historical and scenic sights from the sea. So the best thing to do in Montenegro is to book a boat ride in Kotor bay.
The sailing company we choose allowed us to bring our dog on a 3-hour-boat excursion! I thought that’s an insane idea. We even had stormy weather and huge wind but our dog was the calmest of all of us! The boat ride usually costs 30 euros per person. And guess what? Our dog came with us free of charge! We even managed to negotiate about the price and we lowered it to 50 euros all together – insanely affordable comparing to a similar trip in Croatia where the price was triple!
So I highly recommend booking a day-boat trip because it is a great value for money – you will experience a few caves, Tito’s submarine tunnel – again similar to one on Vis island, Mamula island, Our Lady of the Rocks islet + a whole lotta impressive views from the seaside. You can skip all the activities but a boat ride in Kotor Montenegro is a must! By the way, the prices are definitely higher from the 1st of July – we were on the 30th of June.
3. Visit the two Perast islets
The cutest spots we have been to while our boat ride! Island of Saint George is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro – the other islet is Gospa od Škrpjela. Unlike Gospa od Škrpjela, what we are looking at in the photo is a natural island. The island contains Saint George Benedictine monastery from the 12th century and the old graveyard for the old nobility from Perast and further from the whole Bay of Kotor. Unfortunately – or luckily – the tourists are not allowed to access it. But you can come to this islet from where I took this photo – Gospa od Škrpjela with a boat tour. I recommend the smaller boats with a max of 10 people – and admire the views on this small and preserved little islet!
On the Gospa od Škrpjela you will have a short time for sightseeing, you can enter the church, admire the views or explore the small museum. There is a small fee for the museum and the entrance to the church is free of charge!
4. See Mamula island & the submarine tunnel
5. Swim and snorkel inside the Blue Cave
The Blue Cave is one of Montenegro’s most popular attractions and the largest of many sea caves on Lustica Peninsula. The name Blue Cave comes from the way the light hits the sandy bottom. Then, it reflects up through the water which makes the whole cave look blue. Beware that if the weather is cloudy, don’t book a trip here because the sun plays an important role in the overall impression! However, the weather can be sunny then change while you are on your way and that’s exactly what happened to us! The ceiling is about 9m high so there’s plenty of room for boats to come in.
Unfortunately, it gets crazily crowded in the afternoon – go earlier. Same as in the Croatian Blue Cave, you can explore the cave for only 10-15 minutes. The only difference – it is bigger and here you can actually swim! Our skipper was a super kind Montenegrin guy and our group was smaller – 9 people + our dog. Fortunately, he took us to a better, close-by place with fewer people where could swim as well! A trip to a Blue Cave is definitely worth a visit as one of the 10 best things to do in Kotor Montenegro.
6. Explore the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon
There are many churches in Kotor some of which are more than 1000 years old! What Kotor is most famous for is the old town St Tryphon Cathedral, or just Kotor Cathedral. Here it is below.
The cathedral of St. Tryphon was built in the Romanic style, with the elements of Byzantium architecture. Unfortunately, the cathedral survived several earthquakes, so its appearance also changed! Yet, it still looks imposing! European Union and organization Europa Nostra, gave in the year 2002 to the cathedral a diploma for the great reconstruction and great seismic security measures of the oldest Romanic cathedral on the Adriatic coast. If you have time, go inside and admire its interior.
7. Hike to Kotor fortress
St John’s Fortress was built to protect the citizens of Kotor town from the invaders. The construction started in the 9th century and it lasted for the next 6 centuries.
St John’s Fortress or Sveti Ivan/San Giovanni Fortress as locals call it – is located on top of the Kotor Old Town. You will have to climb 280 meters above sea level to reach it. When you are climbing up you’ll witness a captivating view of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor. Beware that there are 1350 steps going up so make sure to have comfortable walking shoes and enough water. On the way up to the fortress, you’ll run into the church of Our Lady of Remedy which dates back to 1518. Hiking up there is definitely one of the 10 best things to do in Kotor Montenegro but not from 11 am to at least 4 pm due to strong sun.
8. Explore the bastions and old city walls
The 4.5 km long and imposing Kotor city walls surround the old town of Kotor. They are 4.5 km long, from the sea level up to 250m high to the fortress of San Giovanni – St John. There is no fee to walk on the lower part of the city walls but you have to pay once you reach the city walls all the way up – if you intended to go up there. If you are coming in May to September Kotor City Walls will be open between 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Here is a pro tip: visit the Kotor City Walls before 8 am or after 8 pm and then the fee will be free of charge! Nevertheless, I wouldn’t recommend visiting the city walls in the dark as it can be dangerous to walk. Between 8 am and 8 pm you will pay 3 Euros per person.
9. Buy something local from farmer’s market
Farmers’ markets are jam for anyone who loves tasting local products! Near the walls of the Kotor Old Town, find an amazing local market for some fresh food and specialties. The market is open every day, but I recommend you to go on the weekends when farmers from nearby villages bring their products too! It cannot be better than that!