Things to do in Kotor
The Ultimate Guide of Things To Do In Kotor 2023
Top Attractions, Food to Eat & Places to Visit in Kotor
15 Things to do in Kotor
We put together this ultimate guide of ‘What to do in Kotor’ that can be useful during your visit. There are so many beautiful places to explore while in this area. Therefore, we’ve decided to choose the most important and exciting ones you could visit inside and outside the city of Kotor. But we also couldn’t let this list pass without the delicious food you most certainly can’t miss while in Montenegro!
5 Attractions in Kotor Old Town you have to visit
City Walls Of Kotor
One of the most impressive structures worth visiting in the Old Town of Kotor are the city walls. It is almost unbelievable that they are still proudly standing there, bearing in mind all the past earthquakes that have affected this area; so we like to say that they are a great reminder of the town’s long history and the amazing achievements of its citizens. Their construction began more than 1200 years ago, in the 9th century, and they were successively modified and improved until the 19th century! Their total length is approximately 4.5 kilometers, and their highest point is the castle of San Giovanni, which stands 260 meters above sea level.
What makes our walls fascinating is the place where they were built. We can only imagine how, back in the past, locals were hauling rock by rock to make the structure that would protect their lives and homes from the many invaders passing through the Balkan Peninsula. You will get the best impression of the city walls if you climb them! Yes, climb – not walk, because from the town up to the top, there are 1,350 steps, and it takes approximately 1.5 hours to get to the top and back.
Even though it sounds like a lot of steps, believe us, the view you get from there is worth all the sweat! For those who are not really into going all the way up, there is a church of Santa Maria Della Salute halfway up (about 600 steps one way) where you can stop, take breathtaking photographs, and enjoy incredible views of the bay and Old Town beneath you!
Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon
Another reminder of the amazing cultural achievements of the people of Kotor is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon which was constructed in 1166. Its elegant Romanesque architecture, high baroque bell towers, and all the amazing artworks that have been carefully preserved inside put the Cathedral of St. Tryphon among the most charming medieval churches on the entire eastern Adriatic coastline. No, it is not yet another church; it is a monument that reflects everything that makes Kotor and Montenegro tempting and interesting for every traveler out there!
It all began even earlier than that, in the year 809, when relics of Saint Tryphon arrived in Kotor. On the site of today’s Cathedral, there was a much smaller church where the relics were stored. As the economy of Kotor flourished, locals wanted to create something more impressive for their patron saint, so the construction began!
Beautiful white limestone was shaped into blocks, piece by piece. Every single one of them found its place, and they were wonderfully put together into something that even today leaves everyone in awe! It was not simply a religious object, standing vastly in the heart of the Old Town of Kotor. It also showed every sailor that came to Kotor that this town may be small in size, but with the achievements of its people, it was as great as any bigger town in Europe! Unfortunately, this area is prone to earthquakes, and the Cathedral was not left out. It was damaged a few times, especially in 1667 when both bell towers collapsed. The most recent, in 1979, also caused some damage. Still, the cathedral and the Old Town of Kotor are completely restored and open for all visitors to admire their beauty.
Saint Luka’s Church
The culture of Kotor and the lifestyle of its citizens can be wonderfully explained through the story behind Saint Luka’s church. This charming Orthodox church deserves a special place among the other Romanesque monuments of our town. Being constructed in 1195, it is one of the few of such age still standing, and it is in use even today. Locals believe the church has a miraculous trait since it has remained standing despite many obstacles, disastrous earthquakes, and wars. Although it did suffer some damage, the church now looks almost the same as it did more than 820 years ago! What puts Saint Luka’s church in a special place in the hearts of the locals is the fact that for two centuries, it had two altars where both Roman Catholics and Christian Orthodox believers could pray together. This is just one of many examples that portray the harmony in living, the togetherness, not only between believers but all the people of Montenegro, with all their differences.
The town of Kotor is not a place with a lot of museums. However, the entire town itself is a museum, bearing in mind how well-preserved its architecture, culture, and tradition are. But, if you are interested in learning more about Kotor’s history and discovering items and objects that will help you feel the atmosphere this town had through the past, visiting the Maritime Museum is the right option for you! It is situated in the beautiful 18th-century palace of the Grgurina family, and the building itself represents an attraction. Besides the rich collection of items this Museum possesses, once you enter the palace, you will have a feeling that you have just traveled through time, stepping into quite another dimension.
This palace of history keeps models of ships, navigation instruments, portraits of great local captains, and beautiful furniture, artworks, and weapons. There is an unbreakable connection between our town and the sea gate!
Kotor Open Market
As in many towns worldwide, the Kotor open market is the perfect place to feel the local vibe, experience the local charm and taste some delicious local products. That is why, besides visiting the Old Town, we think it’s very important to stop by Kotor’s green market and get the whole experience of our lovely town. It is open every day from early morning until 3 PM. However, Saturday is the main market day, when farmers from around Montenegro come and offer their products. The market is vibrant, and you can hear locals and vendors cheerfully chatting. The atmosphere is so lively, almost festive, while every citizen of Kotor rushes to get the best pieces of food and greet their neighbors or friends they haven’t seen in a while. A market is where locals would go daily for their fresh groceries and not only to buy them and go home but stay and exchange a few words about the town’s latest happenings. Relax, smile, and walk through this lively part of the town and the one thing we can guarantee – you won’t be hungry when you leave this place!
What to eat in Kotor?
Food is a very important feature everyone considers when traveling, particularly when visiting a new country and exploring its delicious cuisine for the first time. The saying that love goes through the stomach is most certainly true, and you fall in love even more with the place you are visiting when you taste something that will satisfy your senses! Montenegrin cuisine offers delicious Mediterranean dishes and fresh seafood that will leave you speechless!
5 Traditional food to try in Kotor
Mussels In Buzara Sauce
For many years, mussels have been consumed on the coast of Montenegro, and they are one of the most desirable local specialties. Thanks to the clear seawater of the Bay of Kotor, small bays sheltered from the storms, and a few freshwater springs nearby, make this one of the few suitable places in the area where they can be farmed.
Of course, there are many ways to prepare them, but what locals adore is cooking them in so-called “buzara” sauce. Buzara is a simple traditional recipe where olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomatoes, and wine are all the ingredients. It will undoubtedly sweep you off your feet!
All you need to do is find the restaurant you like, choose some good local white wine and learn to pronounce “buzara”!
Grilled Fresh Fish
Besides the mussels, another delicious seafood you should definitely taste while in Kotor is fresh fish on the grill! The hypnotizing scent of the sea, which is always present, makes it easy for anyone to pick this dish from the menu, especially when you have fresh fish caught daily from the Adriatic Sea paired with the most famous Mediterranean ingredients such as lemon, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. First, we grill the fresh fish, and after it’s done, if you like it that way, we pour over it a “marinade” sauce made of the ingredients mentioned above. As a side dish, locals adore eating boiled mangel leaves and potatoes. There are different sorts of fish that we grill, but for sure, the most popular are Brancin (Adriatic sea bass), Orada (gilt-head bream), Rombun (snapper), Zubatac (dentex), etc. However, if you are not a fish lover, you won’t go wrong if you opt for octopus, calamari, or shrimps – they are all fresh from the waters of the pristine Adriatic Sea.
Smoked Ham & Cheese
Even though fish is delicious and popular, especially in the coastal area, we could say that Montenegrins are real meat lovers! If you happened to be a guest in any local home, the first thing they would put on the table would be a glass of homemade brandy and a plate of local smoked ham and cheese (“pršut i sir”). In Kotor, we are fortunate to be very close to the mountain village Njeguši where the most famous local smoked ham is produced! The tradition of making it goes back for hundreds of years, as for the rest of the Mediterranean, but in this village, they developed their own way of doing it! They do not put any additives in the meat; they follow the good old recipe and the process of salting, smoking, and drying. The main or secret ingredient, as they like to say, is the microclimate or geographical position that provides perfect conditions for producing this Montenegrin specialty. The cheese that goes well with the ham is dry cow cheese. A few olives on the top and, if you don’t drink too much red wine with it, you will remember these Montenegrin flavors for a long time!
Red Wine Vranac
Something that should definitely be on your list while you are visiting Kotor and Montenegro is our famous red wine called Vranac. It is made from various grapes that originated in this region, so the wine-making tradition is centuries old! There are many small family producers, but there is also a state-owned company called “Plantaže,” one of Europe’s most extensive one-piece vineyards. This vineyard supplies Montenegro with this traditional type of red wine.
This wine has won many medals and awards and is exported worldwide! Without a doubt, the one product that every Montenegrin would proudly offer to their guests is the red wine Vranac!
Krempita & Moscow Cake
Besides great food and delicious Montenegrin wine, we could say that Kotor is well known in the region for one great pastry shop called “Forza.” It is located in the main square of Kotor, and it offers many different delights. But Krempita and Moscow’s cakes are the most famous ones; after tasting them, you will certainly develop a sweet tooth!
Krempita is the number one cake for local citizens. Although it sounds quite simple when we describe the ingredients, the flavor is indescribable. It’s made of a few layers of thin pastry, white cream, and lots of love! The creamy yet puffy taste, which mostly gets combined with strawberries, is very popular in this entire region, but we have our own way of preparing it in Kotor.
Apart from Krempita, Moscow cake is the second favorite delicacy of this pastry shop. Almonds, pineapple, cherries, and delicious white cream between thin pastries make this Moscow Cake desirable, but you will get the real impression only when you taste it yourself! Enjoy it while sipping coffee on the vibrant main square, and capture a movie-like moment in our town.
Places to visit nearby Kotor
While you are in Kotor, don’t limit yourself! You might as well explore your surroundings. Montenegro is a small country, which makes excursions to many different places in a short time possible and fun! We promise you, the more you experience our beautiful Montenegro, the more you will fall in love with it!
Top 5 places to visit nearby Kotor
Perast & Our Lady Of The Rocks
Whether you are spending a few days in Kotor or you are coming by cruise ship just for a day, searching for the perfect Kotor shore excursion – Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks are the places that are certainly a must-see! Only 20 minutes drive from the Port of Kotor, this charming, baroque village, where almost every building dates back to the period of the 15th – 17th century, stands proud and almost magically invites every visitor of the Kotor Bay to stop by and enjoy its beauty.
As if frozen in time, Perast still evokes the times when the Republic of Venice dominated this area, and great local captains were sailing the World. The marvelous stone palaces and beautiful churches built for the village testify to their fame and success. Besides the architecture and interesting life stories about its sailors, what make Perast so special are the two small Islands in front of it.
The first one is the beautiful Saint George Island, with its Benedictine monastery and cypress trees, which inspired many poets and painters to visit this place.
The second one is the Lady of the Rocks artificial island. For centuries, locals were throwing rocks in the water and sinking old ships to build the base for an amazing church that still stands there.
Boat Cruise In The Bay Of Kotor
The Bay of Kotor is a stunning place people describe in many ways. Some are amazed that it’s the only Mediterranean or the southernmost European fjord. Others are enchanted by the way the mountains and sea come together. No matter what grabs your attention, the Bay of Kotor is unlike any other bay or gulf in the region.
Its shape and stunning views, well-preserved medieval villages and towns, the pristine water of the Adriatic Sea, which resembles a mirror on sunny days, and the presence of two different climates, one on mountain tops and the other near the water, are the reason why UNESCO decided to include the Bay of Kotor as a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the world, which makes us very proud!
The best way to experience and admire this work of Mother Nature herself is by taking a boat trip to the bay. So, if you decide to stay in Kotor and you are thinking of how to spend a couple of hours at ease, getting away from the busy roads and crowds, enjoying a glass of wine, and learning everything about this special and amazing part of the Montenegro coastline, a boat tour of the bay is the option that sounds just about right! We are sure you will enjoy it, and this romantic getaway will be carved into your memory forever.
Mountain Lovćen & Cetinje
Even though the coastline is the most visited part of our country, Montenegro has so much more to offer! Although being a small country, we feel fortunate because, on its territory, Montenegro has both beautiful beaches, coastal towns enriched with the closeness of the sea, but also grand mountains with extraordinary greenery, beautiful lakes, and rivers, without which your impression of Montenegro wouldn’t be complete. Only 45 minutes away from Kotor, taking the old serpentine road that offers a breathtaking view of the entire bay, there is Lovćen Mountain, which makes one of the five National Parks of Montenegro!
It is hard to believe that so close to the sea, you can enjoy the wilderness and feel like you are somewhere in the Alps! Not only does it represent a shelter for the park’s wildlife, but it was also the place where Montenegrins struggled for five hundred years to survive and save their culture and tradition from all the conquerors that passed through the Balkans.
When you visit Cetinje, our Old Royal Capital, you’ll see monuments and buildings that remind us of Montenegro’s impressive history. Despite the odds, Montenegrins achieved great things, and the story of the Kingdom of Montenegro became known all over the world. One thing that made Montenegro famous is the delicious smoked ham and cheese from Njegusi village. When you tour this part of our country, you’ll get a glimpse into Montenegrin’s history, culture, and way of life.
Luštica & Countryside
While in Kotor, exploring the surrounding countryside is an exciting activity. There are many villages in its surroundings, but the village of Tići on the Luštica peninsula is one of a few where tradition and local lifestyle are still well preserved!
Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, this area is perfect for olive oil production, which used to be a common practice in almost every household. Unfortunately, nowadays, this tradition is almost forgotten. Fortunately, a few families still decided to stay here and preserve it! Among these families, the Moric family became famous for producing the first organic-certified olive oil in Montenegro that won many prizes for our best olive oil! They have opened their home for visitors, and we highly recommend spending time with these amazing and creative people, listening to their life stories while sitting next to a few hundred years old olive mills and tasting different home-prepared delicacies! This is an excellent way to spend a few hours outside the charming but sometimes busy Kotor.
Budva & St. Stefan
Charming Kotor is visited by many tourists, especially those stopping by just for a day, while their cruise ships elegantly rest in the Bay of Kotor, but the most popular place in Montenegro most certainly is Budva and its lovely Riviera! One of the main reasons why this place steals away hearts is the many pebbles and sandy beaches featured in this part of our country. If we add to this extremely clear water of the Adriatic Sea and the pleasant temperatures from May to October, we guarantee you are already hooked and would like to explore this area! However, these are not the only things that this town offers!
Budva is also one of the oldest settlements in this area, as shown by traces dating back to the 5th century B.C. Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, French, and Austrians are just some of the cultures that left their mark on Budva. We could say that Budva truly reflects the history of the entire Balkans.
Its walls still stand, surrounding narrow streets and small squares with beautiful buildings. At the same time, modern life has gently found its way in and has installed its contemporariness within ages-old history. Being so popular, Budva is a place with many shops, cafés, restaurants, and fantastic nightlife! Besides The Old Town, only a 15-minute drive from Budva, you will find the famous Saint Stefan Island. It is a 15th-century village constructed on a small rocky island that was converted into a unique luxurious hotel in the middle of the 20th century! The charm of the old fishermen’s houses, which are transformed into elegant villas, has attracted celebrities worldwide in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s!
Claudia Schiffer, Elisabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton are some of the fabulous people who decided to spend their holidays in this famous Montenegrin hotel. Today, it is part of the world-famous Aman Resort, and it still hosts guests from all over the world. Even if you are not planning to stay here, you might as well want to have lunch on the Island, but also the photo taken from the viewpoint above will do the work and it will be a very nice memory of this picturesque part of our lovely coastline!
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Want to experience more of Montenegro?
Take a look at our best-value tours and day trips from Kotor!
Highlights of Montenegro Tour
If you have more than a couple of hours to spare while visiting Montenegro, we have the perfect full-day tour for you! This tour will give you a complete impression of Montenegro because it includes both the coast and mountains! After enjoying outstanding views of the Bay of Kotor while taking the old serpentine road, we will visit the village Njegusi and try some of the local delicacies. Learn all about Montenegrin’s history in Cetinje and explore the narrow streets of the coastal towns of Budva and Kotor!
Kotor Blue Cave Tour
Experience the magic of Montenegro's coast on our incredible boat tour! We'll take you to the stunning Our Lady of the Rock Island and the world-famous Blue Cave, where you can swim and soak up the sun on beautiful beaches. As you slide through the crystal-clear waters, our knowledgeable tour guide will uncover the fascinating history of the region, including a visit to wartime tunnels that are sure to captivate your curiosity. Don't miss out on this unforgettable adventure and a chance to discover the hidden gems of this Adriatic pearl!