Montenegro was a country that completely blew me away and I'm so excited to share this post on 20 amazing things to do in Kotor with you. It's a place that had been on my bucket list for many years but always slipped my mind when booking trips. But when searching for holidays in Croatia, Italy and across Europe this summer, it was a place that kept popping back up with some amazing value deals compared to other European destinations.
Montenegro is such an unsung hero for European destinations, it's a place where it still feels like you can get off the beaten track slightly. I didn't know a single other person who had been to this beautiful country despite it lying just across the border from Croatia and just across the bay from Italy. Think of Dubrovnik and most Italian seaside cities but imagine them without the crowds and crazy inflated prices during the summer months.
About Kotor, Montenegro
Nestled in the mountains at the edge of the stunning Bay of Kotor. This secluded and incredibly well-preserved medieval town is also a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. A popular spot for cruise ships to stop and easily one of the most popular tourist magnets in the country. During the days it can become a real hotspot for passing tourism. But for those who are actually staying in or near Stari Grad, the Old Town of Kotor. The early mornings and evenings once the cruise ships head on their way are truly magical.
Just a few hours across the border from nearby Dubrovnik, Croatia, it makes the perfect day-trip. But if you can, I really recommend staying in Kotor for at least a few days. There are so many things to do in Kotor, plus it is just a stunning fairy-tale town to experience. It's also a great base for many amazing day trips to other nearby spots. Such as the beautiful village of Perast or even the Ostrag Monastery, which is considered an unmissable sight when visiting this beautiful Balkan nation. Keep reading for the best things to do in Kotor. Plus top recommendations for places to stay, eat and day trips from this amazing town.
14 Amazing Things To Do In Kotor, Montenegro
Hike to Kotor fortress
The hike to Saint John’s Fortress, or Castle of San Giovanni, was one of our favourite things to do in Kotor. The views are absolutely incredible and if you go early, you might be lucky enough to have the whole place to yourself. We woke around sunrise to start the climb and it was the best time to go. The light is best early in the morning for taking photos, and trust me, you'll want to go early to avoid the heat of the day. We saw lots of crowds from cruise ships heading up mid to late morning and it didn't look much fun at 30+ degrees in July.
There's a charge of €8 between 8am and 8pm from May to October which is payable at in the northeast corner of the Old City near the Church of St. Mary Collegiate/Rd. But TOP TIP: the walls are actually open 24/7 so just go earlier (or later) to avoid the charge and enjoy the fortress peacefully before the crowds arrive. Take lots of water and wear comfy shoes (the hike can be slippery in places so wear trainers!). It takes around 45 mins to climb up and around 30 to go back down - it depends on how fit you are. It took us less, but we stopped a lot of times to take photos and enjoy the views.
Enjoy a walking tour of Kotor Old Town with food & wine
Stari Grad: Kotor Old Town is jam-packed full of fascinating history that spans hundreds of years. The best way to learn more about this incredible place is to explore with a local as they guide you on a walking tour of Kotor Old Town traversing centuries of rich history before sampling local foods and wines. Walk the streets of Kotor for an hour before sitting in a local restaurant to enjoy a local wine and food tasting at a restaurant in Kotor Old Town and chat with your guide. Sample famous local smoked ham, cheese and traditional Montenegrin wine as you delve into the past of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites before you. Or, if you're travelling on a tighter budget, why not try this 90 minute walking tour which focuses on Kotor's turbulent past and architecture.
Make friends with hundreds of cats in Kotor Old Town
If you're a cat lover, Kotor is the place for you! There are hundreds of cats roaming the streets and they have become a symbol of good luck for the town. The cats were introduced to the town to help tackle the mice, rats and snakes but these days the cats spend more time snoozing in the sunshine and gorging themselves on food left out by the locals than catching vermin. They're super cute and friendly so be sure to say hi and give them a stroke. You can also support the local cats with a visit to the Cats Museum where your entry fee goes towards buying food for the local cats. There was also the cutest little kitten rolling around in there when we visited. If you're looking for things to do in Kotor when it rains, the Cats Museum is the perfect rainy day activity.
Take a boat trip across the Bay of Kotor
There are sooo many amazing boat trips to enjoy when visiting Kotor, Montenegro. It's a stunning location to explore by boat as the ocean meets the mountains in the Bay of Kotor. Prepare for spectacular views, romantic evening cruises, epic days exploring caves, swimming and secret beaches. Make sure you do your research before you visit as there are lots of sellers along the waterfront who will try and persuade you into a boat trip. You want to make sure you're getting the best value for your money.
Here are some of the best boat trips on offer for when you visit Kotor:
- Boka Bay Day Cruise
- Kotor: Boka Bay Evening Dinner Cruise
- Boka Bay, Our Lady of the Rocks and Blue Cave Tour
- Bay of Kotor Speedboat Tour with Lunch and Wine
- Kotor Boat Tour: Our Lady of the Rocks, Mamula and Blue Cave
- Blue Cave Adventure and Beach Transfer
- Panorama and Semi-Submarine Underwater Experience
Walk the Old Town's walls and bastions
The crumbling walls of Kotor Old Town hold centuries of history in their midst and while you can't walk the entirety of the walls as visitors can in Croatia. It's worth exploring the sections you can to enjoy a different perspective on the old town. This is one of the best free things to do in Kotor. Kampana Tower is one of the remaining bastions on the edge of the Old Town and it's spectacular with stunning waterways at the base. Head to the Old Town and look for Gurdić Bastion, Korner Bastion, Valier Bastion, Kampana Tower and Citadel, and Bembo Bastion. Be careful when exploring as there are some unsteady sections with sudden drops and steep steps. I really recommend viewing the city walls at night – it is a magical sight!
Enjoy a wine tasting
Montenegro is a hidden gem when it comes to wine and if you love to try the local grapes when travelling, you won't be disappointed. Vranac, a dry red wine, is recognised as one of the best wines in the whole of Europe and we absolutely loved it. Plantaže Vineyard is the best Montenegro wine region and you'll find that Montenegrin wine country is located in the Coastal Region and Skadar Lake. If you don't have the time to visit the top 10 vineyards in Montenegro, don't worry! There are lots of restaurants in Kotor Old Town which offer wine tastings such as Old Winery Wine Bar and Ladovina Kitchen and Wine Bar.
Watch the sunset from the most romantic rooftop bar in Kotor
Fancy a romantic date night? Head to the Hippocampus Boutique Hotel nestled in the heart of Stari Grad: Kotor Old Town and take the lift to their beautiful roof terrace. You can watch the sunset across a sea of terracotta rooftops and hear the church bells ring as you enjoy a glass of wine with the one you love.
Visit Kotor Beach
While it might not be the most beautiful sandy beach you have ever seen, it will be among the most scene views you've had from a sun lounger before! Keep walking past the Old Town and follow the waterfront to find the little beach. Not only is it great for swimming and jumping into the crystal clear waters, but the beach is overlooked by beautiful mountains. Watch the cruise ships move through the bay and enjoy the peace away from the busy old town during peak times while you top up your tan.
Get active in the Bay of Kotor
There's only one way to explore the Bay of Kotor and watch the light changing across the mountains and sparkling on the bright blue, crystal clear waters. Get out on the water and see the magic of Kotor for yourself! Why not try a 2 hour Stand Up Paddle Board tour and explore the fishing villages, beaches and towns that border the bay. Or if you prefer a comfortable seat, why not escape the crowds and enjoy a 2.5 hour guided Kayak Tour of the Bay of Kotor? It's the perfect sea adventure for Kotor.
Dine at the best restaurants in Kotor
After spending a week dining out in Kotor, Montenegro, I'm convinced I've found the best restaurants in Kotor. Dining out was one of my favourite things to do in Kotor. I've done the leg-work and research so that you guys don't have to! Instead, check out my article on the 10 Best Restaurants in Kotor, Montenegro before you visit. I've listed the yummiest spots for local fare, fresh seafood, the best pasta in Kotor and of course, the best gelato in Kotor Old Town. I've even found the best spots for vegetarians and vegans to eat out!
Take an off-road tour of Kotor Bay and Fortresses
I loved looking for unique things to do in Kotor and unusual ways to explore. Off-roading is a great way to try something a little bit different. If boat tours aren't your thing and you'd prefer to dive into history and spectacular scenery, why not try jeep tour of Kotor? Explore the town's ancient fortresses overlooking the Bay of Kotor, visit a museum to learn more about the history of this young Balkan state and finish up with a picnic of traditional foods.
Drink your morning coffee in the shadow of the Cathedral
If you’re a coffee lover like myself, you can’t visit Kotor without stopping at Mon Bistro Cafétéria for one. It is without doubt the best coffee in Kotor, Montenegro. This tiny cafe sits in the shadow of the Old Town cathedral with a few seats inside, but you’ll want to sit outside to admire this beautiful building and watch the world go by. Such a simple thing but getting great coffee in the beautiful old town is one of my favourite things to do in Kotor.
Visit Kotor Bazaar and Farmers' Market
The perfect places to pick up fresh local delicacies, trinkets and souvenirs when visiting Kotor. Find the Farmer's Market just outside the city walls and go there early in the mornings for the best quality produce. Buy cheeses, fish, cured meets, olives and figs. Plus local fruit wines in all flavours and rakija (distilled fruit liquor) – we loved the pomegranate and sour cherry flavours. Exit the Old City from the Sea Gate, turn left, and walk 100 meters around a corner of the wall to find the market. Kotor Bazaar is nestled in the city walls between Saint Claire Church and Saint Nicholas Church, it's worth a quick browse of the trinkets for gifts to take home.
Visit Kotor's many churches, historical sites and museums
History buffs will love a wander around the beautiful old buildings taking in the architecture and exploring the churches. Visit the Maritime Museum to find out about the area's rich seafaring history, or take a look inside the Church of Saint Nicholas, you could even check out a 17th century monastery, Monastery of Saint Francis.
Where to stay in Kotor
There are so many amazing places to stay in Kotor, you'll be spoilt for choice no matter what your budget! If you're planning to visit Kotor, Montenegro, start by thinking about the type of accommodation you prefer. We stayed in this beautiful Apartments Dončić across the Bay and a 10 minute walk from Kotor Old Town. This apartment complex had its own infinity swimming pool overlooking Boka Bay and the mountains. We also saved €300 using my Genius Discount on Booking.com so be sure to take advantage of the deals available.
Best hostels in Kotor
If you're looking for a hostel in Kotor, check out these for great budget options with plenty of organised activities and ways to meet fellow travellers and backpackers:
Best apartments in Kotor Old Town
If you prefer a place to yourself, why not rent an apartment for your stay in the heart of the Old Town? Check out these options:
- Apartments Hun is 500m from the beach and just a few steps from Kotor Clock Tower.
- Katareo Apartments provide top-rated air conditioned apartments with city views right by the Clock Tower.
- Set within the UNESCO-protected Old Town Kotor, Royal House offers stunning stone wall accommodation with a patio and a kitchen.
Best hotels in Kotor Bay & Old Town
There are some beautiful hotels that you can book for your next holiday in Montenegro:
- Stay in the heart of UNESCO site, Kotor Old Town, at the Boutique Hotel Hippocampus (and don't forget to visit the rooftop bar!)
- Offering a private beach area, an outdoor pool and rooms with sea views, Hotel Libertas in Prčanj is set in an authentic stone house dating back to the 18th century.
- Stay in luxury apartments overlooking the ocean with a private beach area and walking distance to Kotor Old Town with Vila Maestral Kotor.
Best day trips to take from Kotor
Visiting this charming medieval town feels like stepping back in time as you explore the winding streets. While there is so much history in these streets and so much to explore and amazing things to do in Kotor. Don't forget all the amazing day trips that are right on your doorstep! If you're staying for a few days, or even a week, there's lots to cram in. So make the most of your trip and explore as much as you can of the beautiful places surrounding this magical part of the Balkans. Here's 5 day trips you won't want to miss while visiting the area:
Perast Old Town and Our Lady of the Rocks
Embark on a cruise tour and experience the rich biological diversity of Kotor. Visit Boka Bay, and see ancient Romanesque churches and other countless historical monuments. Visit the church and museum of Our Lady of the Rocks at the Bay of Kotor. Take in the panoramic views while enjoying a boat trip to Perast Old Town and Our Lady of the Rocks.
Durmitor, Tara & Ostrog Monastery Day Trip
Meet the beautiful coastline of Kotor Bay, before ascending to the high elevations of Durmitor Mountain. Admire the deepest canyon in Europe, Tara canyon and hike around Black lake before visiting Ostrog Monastery. Book the Durmitor, Tara & Ostrog Monastery Day Trip now.
Virpazar, Budvam Cetinje, and Skadar Lake Tour
Visit the old town of Budva, enjoy the beauties of Skadar Lake and Virpazar. On the way back, visit Cetinje and enjoy the view of the Bay of Kotor from over 3900 feet above sea level. Book the Virpazar, Budvam Cetinje, and Skadar Lake Tour now.
Lovćen National Park, Budva Old Town & Cetinje Tour
See the epic Mount Lovćen in Lovćen National Park, visit the mausoleum of Njegoš at its peak. Take in the spectacular views across the Bay of Kotor. Explore the historical highlight Cetinje, charming Budva, overlooking the Adriatic Sea on this guided Lovćen National Park, Budva Old Town & Cetinje Tour.
Go white-water rafting on Tara River
Get the adrenaline pumping with the most exciting experience in Montenegro - white-water rafting on Tara River, part of Durmitor National Park. Tara canyon is the deepest canyon in Europe, and one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro.