One of the most impressive structures to see in the Old Town of Kotor are its city walls. It is almost unbelievable that they are still proudly standing there, bearing in mind all the earthquakes that have affected this area in the past; 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 San Giovanni fortress that stands at 260 meters above the sea level. What makes our walls fascinating is not only their age and length but the very 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 their homes from the many invaders that passed 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 of you who are not really into going all the way up to the top, there is the church of Santa Maria Della Salute halfway up (about 600 steps one way) where you can stop, take breathtaking photographs and still enjoy the walls and the beauty of the Old Town beneath you!
Another reminder of the amazing cultural achievements of 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, so the Cathedral was not left out of it. It was damaged few times, especially with the one in 1667, when both bell towers collapsed. The most recent, in 1979, also caused some damage, but the cathedral, as well as the Old Town of Kotor, was completely restored and is standing proudly for all visitors who will certainly admire it exterior beauty and it is open for those who are willing to peek inside this extraordinary monument.
The culture of Kotor and the lifestyle of its citizens can be wonderfully explained through the story behind Saint Luka’s church. Among the other Romanesque monuments of our town, this charming church deserves a special place. Being constructed in 1195, it is one of the few of such age that is still standing, and it is in use even today. Locals believe that the church has miraculous trait, since it has remained standing despite many obstacles, disastrous earthquakes and wars.
Although it did suffer some damage, the church looks now almost the same as it did more than 820 years ago! What puts Saint Luka’s church in the 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, we could say that 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. Beside rich collection of items this Museum possesses, once you enter the palace, you will have a feeling that you have just travelled through time, stepping in quite another dimension.
This palace of history keeps not only models of ships, instruments for navigation, portraits of great local captains, but also beautiful furniture, artworks, weapons decorated in silver, gold, and mother of pearl, and all of this will help you understand the unbreakable connection between our town and the sea!
Since forever mussels have been popular 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 springs of freshwater 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 simply adore is cooking them in so-called “buzara” sauce. This is a simple traditional recipe, and basically, all we do is cook the mussels with some olive oil, garlic, parsley, fresh tomatoes and a little bit of white wine.
In the end, we add some lemon and this delicious specialty is ready! Besides the fabulous taste, the reason why we recommend them in the “buzara” sauce lays in the fact that they must be fresh for this kind of preparation, so you don’t need to worry, it will certainly sweep you of your feet! All you need to do is find the restaurant that you like, choose some good local white wine and of course, learn how to pronounce the word “buzara”!
Something that should definitely be on your list while you are visiting Kotor and Montenegro is our famous red wine “Vranac”! It is made from a variety of grapes that originated in this region so the tradition of making this wine is centuries old! There are many small family producers, but there is also a state-owned company called “Plantaže”, with one of the largest one-piece vineyards in Europe. This vineyard supplies Montenegro with this traditional type of red wine.
Furthermore, this wine has won many medals and awards around the world so, of course, it is exported worldwide! If there is one product that every Montenegrin would, with the greatest pride, offer to each guest it would be, with no doubt, red wine Vranac!
Beside great food, combined with 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 cake are the most famous ones and after tasting them, you will certainly develop a sweet tooth! Krempita is a number one cake for local citizens. Although it sounds quite simple when we describe the ingredients, the flavor is indescribable, we promise you that! It is made of a few layers of thin pastry, a lot of white cream and with lots of love! The creamy, yet puffy taste, which mostly gets combined with strawberries, is very popular in this entire region but in Kotor, we have our own way of preparing it.
Beside Krempita, Moscow cake is the second favorite delicacy of this pastry shop. Almonds, pineapple, cherries, delicious white cream between thin pastry is what makes this Moscow Cake desirable, but you will get the real impression only when you taste it yourself! Enjoying it while sipping a cup of coffee on the vivacious main square goes can, without doubt, be compared to a croissant and coffee on any square in Paris itself! That is why we, after every walking tour of Kotor, recommend our guests to spare some time and get a movie like moment in our town.
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 15th – 18th 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 was dominating this area and when great local captains were sailing the World. The marvelous stone palaces and beautiful churches that were built for the village are a testimony 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 beauty of Saint George Island with its Benedictine monastery and cypress trees was an inspiration for many poets and painters that visited this place. While it is a natural Island, the other one – Our Lady of the Rocks – is a man-made. 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. That is just one part of the story, the other part is the story of the votive gifts that people were leaving for Our Lady of the Rocks after their prayers were heard! The doors of the church are still open, not only for those who arrive to offer one more gift, but for everyone willing to learn and admire this outstanding place!
The beauty and the charm of the Bay of Kotor can be described in so many ways; each and every person will have their own impression of this captivating area. Some would be fascinated by its position, as this bay is often described as the southernmost European fjord or the only Mediterranean fjord, some would be delighted to see where steep mountains beautifully meet the sea. No matter what first catches your eye in the Bay of Kotor, it surely represents something different from all other gulfs and bays that you can find in this part of the world.
Its shape and stunning landscapes, well preserved medieval villages and towns, the pristine water of the Adriatic Sea, which resembles a mirror on sunny days, 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 the Mother Nature herself is by taking a boat tour. So, if you are visiting Kotor and you are thinking of how to spend the 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 sound just about right! We are sure you would enjoy it and this kind of romantic getaway will be carved in your memory forever.
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 really lucky, 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 breath-taking view of the entire bay, there is Lovćen Mountain, which territory makes one of five National Parks of Montenegro!
It is hard to believe that so close to the sea you can enjoy the wilderness and feel as if you were somewhere in the Alps! Not only that it represents a shelter for the park’s wildlife, but it was also the place where Montenegrins struggled, for five hundred years, to survive and to save their culture and tradition from all the conquerors that passed through the Balkans.
Visiting Cetinje, our Old Royal Capital, you will see the monuments and buildings that still standing proud and remind visitors that Montenegrins, God knows how, succeeded in all of this and furthermore, that the story of the Kingdom of Montenegro was heard and well known all over the world. What also made Montenegro famous, among its neighbors and further, is the delicious smoked ham and cheese from Njegusi village! We could say that touring through this part of our country, you will truly learn about every aspect of the outstanding Montenegrin history, culture and way of living!
Charming Kotor is visited by many tourists, especially those that are 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 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 are still standing, surrounding narrow streets and small squares with beautiful historical buildings, while the 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 astonishing 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 in the middle of the 20th century was converted into a unique luxurious hotel! The charm of the old fishermen’s houses, which are transformed into elegant villas, has attracted celebrities from all over the world in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s!
Claudia Schiffer, Elisabeth Taylor, Richard Burton are just some of the fabulous people who decided to spent 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!