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Kotor, Montenegro is a gorgeous, historic city tucked into the southern end of the Bay of Kotor under majestic mountain peaks. With an intriguing history, great dining options and astounding nature, visitors will find plenty Things To Do in Kotor, Montenegro!
What To Do in Kotor, Montenegro
In Kotor, walking through the gates of the thick defensive walls that extend to the hill-topping fortress feels a bit like walking back in time. The origination of the seaside community can be traced to Ancient Roman times, but throughout the centuries, the land was conquered by various rulers – each leaving their distinct mark on the Old Town of Kotor.
From learning about the fascinating history to soaking in the sunshine to hiking above town – we have compiled a list of our top Kotor, Montenegro things to do to help tourists experience the best of the city and region.
Save, Pin or Bookmark this Kotor travel blog post so that you can access it to plan your trip to Montenegro!
9 Best Things To Do in Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is one of the top Montenegro places to visit! Follow in our footsteps and discover the absolute best things to do in Kotor.
#1 Wander the Maze of Old Town Kotor Streets
The Old Town is a Kotor must-see! When visiting Kotor, it’s essential to wander the maze of narrow, cobblestone lanes that weave through the UNESCO World Heritage Site old town. The seemingly chaotic street plan was created quite purposefully; it was intended to confuse intruders who came to plunder the town.
Not to be missed is the main square, called the Square of the Arms, and the clock tower, both of which are just inside the main Sea Gate, that faces the water. That said, roaming is highly encouraged.
While wandering through alleys and into odd-shaped squares, take note of the old stone buildings and the numerous Kotor churches – many of which have small plaques providing dates of construction and original use.
To help you find your way to top Kotor sights in the Old Town, pick up a free Kotor map at the tourist office just outside the Sea Gate.
Pro Tip: Want a guided introduction to Kotor, Montenegro sightseeing? Join the top-rated Kotor Walking Tour – like this one! The 1.5-hour tour is guided by a local who will share personal insights and interesting facts as they lead visitors to the top Kotor attractions.
#2 Hike the Kotor Ramparts to St. John’s Fortress
A trip to Kotor wouldn’t be complete without hiking the ramparts to the hilltop San Giovanni fortress. The hillside viewpoint is one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro – and hiking up to it needs to be on your Kotor to-do list!
History of Kotor City Walls and San Giovanni Fortress
The historic Kotor city walls, bastions and gates were built to fortify the city in the 17th century, when Kotor was under Venetian rule. The Kotor walls, which are 2.8 miles (4.5km) in length and 20 meters thick in some sections, were added to previous fortifications that date to the Byzantines.
San Giovanni Castle, which has played a big part in Kotor history, sits high above the town overlooking the city – as it has since the 6th century. Today, the fort is an open shell for exploring.
Visitors can trek up the walls to San Giovanni, climb the bastions and walk through all three of the Kotor gates: River Gate, South Gate and Sea Gate.
Hiking the Walls of Kotor
Hiking the walls is a top Kotor activity. Rather than walking on top of the walls (like in Dubrovnik), hikers take the cliff-side trail – and 1,355 steps – to the fortress.
Trekkers who make it to the top are rewarded with stunning views and vibrant colors of the Bay of Kotor and the old town rooftops.
There is a fee to hike up to the fortress – and a few sights to see along the way, as well. For all the details you need to know about the Kotor Fortress, use our blog post: Hiking in Kotor, Montenegro.
More Hikes in Kotor, Montenegro
While the Hike up to San Giovanni Fortress is a must in Kotor, there are two other hikes that active travelers may want to tackle – like the Ladder of Kotor or the hike to Ft Vrmac.
Ladder of Kotor
The Ladder of Kotor is a series of inclining switchbacks just outside the city walls on the north side of Kotor. The trail climbs up the hillside to a house, where they sell local cheese, brandy and cold beers. From the house, the trail heads south to a quaint church and a passage through the city walls.
Alternatively, eager trekkers can continue hiking up the hill all the way to Cetinje.
Fort Vrmac Hike
The hike to Fort Vrmac – an old Austro-Hungarian fortress – is on the south end of the Bay of Kotor, just a short walk from the Kotor Old Town. The fort, which sits at an elevation of 2,575 feet, was built in the late 1800s and is now abandoned – but the hike up offers incredible views of Kotor, the mountains and bay.
Pro Tip: Hikers seeking viewpoints without the uphill climb should check out this hiking tour to Kotor from Krstac Pass. The downhill climb features amazing vistas along the entire route.
#3 Walk along Boka Bay to a Kotor Beach
Leave the walled city and explore the shoreline of the Bay of Kotor, which is dotted with small stretches of pebbly beaches. Walking north from the Port of Kotor along the wide, pedestrian promenade, visitors will pass waterfront cafes and restaurants – and eventually come to the public beach in Kotor.
The Best Kotor Beach
The public beach, simply called Kotor Beach, is one of the best beaches in Kotor for its proximity to the Old Town and accessibility to restaurants. Visitors not up for the beach can rest on a bench or at a café with a coffee and watch the local fishermen in their boats.
Pro Tip: We also recommend exploring the shoreline along the south end of the bay to the far side of the marina (and beyond). While there are not beaches on the shore, the vantage point offers a fantastic view of Kotor and the hillside walls.
#4 Discover the Historic Kotor Churches
Discovering the many churches is one of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro. It helps visitors to gain a better understanding of the history of the city and its people.
We are highlighting just a few of the must-see Kotor places to visit, but visitors can find more details in our blog post: 10 Churches to Visit in Kotor, Montenegro.
St. Tryphon’s Cathedral
Although only a small fraction of the Kotor, Montenegro population is Catholic, the St. Tryphon Catholic Cathedral remains a strong symbol of the city. It was built in 1166 and houses the relics of St. Tryphon, Kotor’s patron saint and protector.
Visitors can go inside for a small fee. The ticket includes the small museum, which displays artwork and ancient artifacts.
St. Nicholas Church
Another must-see church located in the old city center is St. Nicholas. Built in 1909, the Orthodox church is beautifully decorated with an ornate iconostasis and exudes a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
It is free to go inside St. Nicholas – and visitors who want to light a candle can buy one from the small shop.
St. Luke Church
Just across the square from St. Nicholas is St. Luke Church – one of the most interesting Kotor sights.
St. Luke is one of the oldest churches in the city. Although small, today the ancient church features two chapels: one Catholic and the other Orthodox. It is a symbol of the peaceful co-existence of the city’s two religions.
St. Claire’s Church
Somewhat of a hidden gem, St. Claire’s Church is one of our favorites. The baroque interior features sumptuous marble carvings, including columns, saints and cherubs.
Visitors should also be sure to look up when inside the church to see the decorative wooden ceiling.
Pro Tip: Two other churches we highly recommend visiting are the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, built on the hillside within the ramparts in 1518, and St. George’s, a small stone church built in the 11th century on the back side of St. John’s Hill.
#5 Set Off on Day Trips from Kotor
Although there are many things to do in Kotor, Montenegro, seeing some of the surrounding area is worth a quick trip – even if for only a couple of hours. We are featuring our recommendations for the best Kotor day trips!
Perast and Lady of the Rocks
North of the city on the Bay of Kotor is picturesque Perast. The small fishing village consists of a cluster of dwellings stacked on the hillside and marked by a soaring church bell tower. Just offshore are two islands, one of which (Lady of the Rocks) features an intriguing legend and a church; it can be visited via a short boat ride.
Kotor visitors can plan their own DIY trip, using the tips in our blog post: How to Plan A Day Trip to Perast.
Perast Boat Tour from Kotor, Montenegro
While it is fairly simple to plan a trip to Perast on your own with the public bus, joining a boat tour is a fun and unique experience. Get the details and reserve your space in advance for a trip to Perast by boat.
Blue Cave Tour Kotor Cruise
The Blue Cave Boat Tour is one of the best Kotor bay tours – as it is an excellent way to explore the top sights on Boka Bay while enjoying the stunning landscapes.
In fact, the most popular Kotor boat tour combines Blue Cave and Lady of the Rocks – plus other exciting stops and sights – for a full day adventure. Reserve your seat!
Located on the northern coast at the west end of the Bay Kotor, Herceg Novi is a fantastic destination. Featuring great beaches, wonderful restaurants and a true Montenegrin soul, Herceg Novi might even entice you to stay longer than a day. Read about all the Best Things To Do in Herceg Novi!
South of Kotor on the Adriatic Sea is the walled city of Budva. Much more developed than Kotor, Budva is often referred to as the Montenegrin Miami. In addition to the historic center and shoreline paths, Budva is known for its nightlife, resorts and upscale restaurants.
Kotor Shore Excursions for Cruise Ships
Cruise passengers need to make the most of their time in Kotor – and a private tour with a local guide is the perfect option for Kotor sightseeing. The guide not only shows guests the top things to see in Kotor, but takes participants to Perast, as well. Book it now!
Great Montenegro Tour
Travelers more interested in seeing the incredible sights of Montenegro in the interior of the country can join the Great Montenegro Tour.
On this long, full-day adventure, participants see an astounding number of intriguing destinations. Departing from Kotor, the tour visits Njegusi Village (famous for their prosciutto), Lovcen National Park to see the Njegos Mausoleum, the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje, then travel by boat down the Crnojevic River. Next you get a glimpse of the impressive Skadar Lake, see the stunning Sveti Stefan and pass through Budva on the way back to Kotor.
Book this Full-Day Tour from Kotor In advance to reserve your space!
Tara River Canyon Tours
Two popular Kotor day tours take visitors to the Tara River Canyon. One tour goes over it, the other goes through it.
North Montenegro Tour
The North Montenegro Tour visits some of the most astounding sights in the country – including Durmitor National Park, the Tara Bridge and the famed Ostrog Monastery. Find out more!
Tara River Whitewater Rafting
Thrill-seeking travelers who want to spend a day paddling through 20 rapids on the Tara River should consider joining the highly rated rafting tour. Get the details!
More Kotor Tours
We think the above are the best tours in Kotor. However, tourists who want to explore more of the region can choose from a variety of excursions. We recommend using Viator to find Kotor day tours for your trip!
#6 Drink and Eat at the Best Kotor Restaurants
Montenegrin cuisine is hearty and delicious – and getting a taste of the local flavor is must in Kotor! The Kotor gastronomy has been heavily influenced by previous ruling nations, resulting in a fabulous blend of different styles.
Once you have checked off your list of Kotor things to see, get a taste of the local cuisine at one of the restaurants in the Kotor, Montenegro.
Kotor Old Town Restaurants
There are a plethora of restaurants in Kotor, Montenegro Old Town. Many of the top establishments feature atmospheric outdoor seating and delicious food. We are highlighting a few top picks of the best places to eat in Old Town Kotor.
Located on a small square, Restaurant Przun excels at creating a variety of local dishes. Whether you opt for meat, fish or pasta, we recommend starting with the Montenegro Plate!
Konoba Scala Santa
One of the oldest restaurants in Kotor (serving meals since 1931), Scala Santa is situated in an absolutely charming square – with indoor décor just as enchanting. Known for their seafood dishes, try the fish soup, black risotto and octopus.
More Kotor Restaurants
While dining in the Old Town of Kotor provides a certain level of ambiance, there are delicious restaurants outside of the city walls, too.
Without a doubt, BBQ Tanjga is the best place in Kotor to get grilled meat (which is what they call BBQ). Better yet, the portions are huge, the staff is friendly and the prices are affordable.
If you are eating at the restaurant (we recommend the garden seats out back), then order the Mixed Meat Platter so you can try a little bit of everything (and try local craft beer, as well). For a sandwich to-go, order the massive cevapi sandwich. Oh-so-delicious!
Café del Mare
With a Kotor waterfront location, Café del Mare is a top choice for fresh grilled seafood. Try the whole grilled fish…paired with a phenomenal view of the bay and mountains.
Pro Tip: Visitors who want to combine history and cuisine can join a highly-rated Kotor Walking Tour with Food Tastings. Get the details!
Local Libations: Best Beer and Wine Bars in Kotor
Visitors can get a taste of local libations at one of the many Kotor bars and cafes.
The most common beer is Niksicko (or just Nik, for short), which is produced by the Trebjesa Brewery in the town of Niksic. On a hot day, having an ice-cold Nik beer at one of the outdoor cafes is a top thing to do in Kotor.
Travelers with a more discerning palate, however, will want to get a taste of Montenegrin craft beer, hand crafted cocktails or regional wine offerings.
The Nitrox Pub
Nitrox Pub is an exceptional Kotor bar featuring a long list of regional craft beers and superb cocktails. Try one of the craft beers from Fabrika, a Montenegro craft brewery from nearby Risan or a House Special cocktail. Grab a seat on the small patio, if you can!
Old Winery Wine Bar
The inviting patio at Old Winery Kotor easily lures visitors in, but it’s the extensive wine list that gets people to stay! If you are new to Montenegrin wine, that we recommend starting with a wine tasting accompanied with a meat and cheese platter.
#7 Check Out the Best Kotor Museums
Visitors interested in learning more about the culture and history of the city can visit one of the museums in Kotor. The two top Kotor museums are the Cats Museum and Maritime Museum.
Cats Museum Kotor
Kotor is a cat city…as in, cats roam the streets. The Cats Museum in Kotor Old Town is dedicated to the feline – and collects donations to feed the Kotor cats that live in the various settlements.
Although small and quirky, the three-room Cat Museum has an array of cat displays – from stamps to photographs to paintings and coins. A useful guide is offered in several languages to help visitors understand the significance of the exhibits. Admission is just 1 euro!
Dedicated to the city’s seafaring past, the Kotor Maritime Museum is an interesting place to see and to learn about the history of Kotor.
Exhibits feature model ships and historic artifacts. Admission is affordable – and guests can use an audio guide to better understand the displays.
#8 Enjoy Kotor at Night
The Old Town of Kotor, Montenegro is beautiful by day, but simply stunning at night. We recommend enjoying an evening stroll through the city – and getting a view from afar, as well.
While there are many places to take in a gorgeous sunset in Kotor, our favorite spot is directly across the town on the opposite side of the Port of Kotor.
The city of Kotor is particularly magnificent later in the day – right before sunset – when the afternoon light accentuates the colorful details. Linger long after dusk and you will see the city and walls illuminated – and if the conditions are right – the lights reflecting off the water of the Bay of Kotor.
Kotor Evening Stroll
Strolling through the Kotor Old Town after dark is one of the best times to see the city. With fewer tourists and glowing streetlamps, the Old Town lanes are atmospheric in the evening. Plus, in the summer, the temperatures are a lot more comfortable!
#9 Spend Time Shopping in Kotor
Whether looking for fun souvenirs or locally made products, there are ample opportunities for Kotor, Montenegro shopping. From the market to specialty shops, there is something for everyone.
Kotor Old Town Market
Visitors can peruse the goods at the local Kotor Market just outside of the Sea Gate. Although the market is where locals buy their produce, it is also one of the Kotor tourist attractions…and a great place to pick up local meats, cheeses and oils.
Tucked into the Kotor city walls between St. Nicholas and St. Claire is the cute Bazaar of Kotor. Although small, some of the items are handmade…and the setting is full of charm.
Shops and Galleries
The boutique shops and art galleries within the Old Town walls are top places to visit in Kotor for souvenirs. Of all the shops, the fun Cats of Kotor Shop is a favorite for many visitors.
Kotor Shopping Mall
The Kamelija Shopping Center Mall hosts fashion shops, a grocery store and a food court. Located just north of the walled city, the Kotor mall is a good place to pick up necessities…and just a nice escape on hot days.
Kotor Montenegro Map
Our Kotor map is marked with the top attractions in Kotor town. Use this link to Google Maps for an online version of our Map of Kotor, Montenegro Things To Do.
More Kotor Things To Do
We have highlighted our top recommendations for Kotor, Montenegro points of interest – but if you still need more tips of what to do in Kotor, we have a few more suggestions!
Families traveling to Kotor, Montenegro with kids might want to make time in their travel itinerary to visit the Bay of Kotor Aquarium. Located on the shoreline north of Kotor, the small aquarium is a fun and educational place to learn about sea life.
One of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro is to attend a local event. Throughout the year, Kotor hosts several events that attract locals and visitors alike. Celebrations and festivals in Kotor are highlighted by parades, music, dancing and food. We have been fortunate enough to attend the St. Tryphon’s Day Festival and Winter Karneval.
St. Tryphon Festival
St. Tryphon’s Day is a day to honor Kotor’s patron saint, protector and the cathedral’s namesake. The event is highlighted by music from the Boka Navy Brass Band, accompanied by dancers donning traditional attire, and fireworks set off from the church balcony and firecrackers set off inside the bell towers.
The celebration is capped by a special 2-hour St. Tryphon’s Day mass, followed by a procession of St. Tryphon’s relics through the Old Town Kotor lanes.
Kotor Winter Karneval
Similar to the many traditional Carnival celebrations around the world, the festivities in Kotor last for several weeks in February and include masked balls and parades. A list of the events is posted at the Sea Gate and flags and banners are strung outside all the gates and across the main square.
One of the best Kotor Winter Karneval events is the local feast. Locals prepare traditional cuisine for the event – including pastas, rice casseroles, bite-size appetizers, homemade breads and desserts. Bottles of liquor are passed around and local bands play for the crowds, who are invited to join in to sing along to time-honored songs.
More Festivals in Kotor
During the summer, there are many festivals in Kotor.
The Kotor Summer Festival is held in July and features classical music played in the city’s churches.
In August, the International Summer Festival in Kotor is a lively affair, with street parties and celebrations in town squares.
Top Tip: Go to the Tourist Office for a Kotor event calendar to find out if any are planned during your visit to Kotor.
Travel Tips For Your Trip to Kotor, Montenegro
Now that we have shared our top recommendations for things to do in Kotor, we have a few more travel tips for your Kotor trip!
Planning a Trip to Kotor, Montenegro
Whether you have one day in Kotor or are staying for a week, our list of things to do can help you plan your trip – but we know there is so much more than planning your day-by-day itinerary.
For travelers coming from abroad, use our helpful Guide to Planning a Europe Vacation for insightful advice and tips for planning your trip.
As you research and make reservations, you will need to stay organized. Use our Printable Travel Planner to stay on top of the details of your Kotor trip!
When To Go to Kotor, Montenegro
Choosing when to go to Kotor is a big decision – as there are pros and cons to nearly every season.
Summer (High Season)
Summertime is when Kotor is the busiest, which can be both good and bad. The benefits of traveling to Kotor in Summer is that everything is open, tours are running and the weather is perfect for long days on the water. The downside is that the city gets very crowded, prices go up and daytime exploring (or hiking) can be miserably hot.
The most congested days are when cruise ships are in port – so if you are making a day trip to Kotor from another nearby destination (like Herceg Novi or Dubrovnik), consider looking at the Kotor cruise ship schedule in advance.
Spring and Autumn (Shoulder Season)
Travelers who don’t like the heat and crowds should consider a trip in the shoulder season. Temperatures are typically cooler than the summer months – making sightseeing and trekking much more enjoyable…but it’s usually still warm enough for boating and the relaxing at the beach.
Winter (Low Season)
Our first trip to Kotor was in the winter – and we loved it! The town was practically vacant of tourists, so we got to get a glimpse of local life. Plus, the prices for accommodations and tours were rock bottom. However, many restaurants and attractions were closed.
How To Get to Kotor
Kotor can be reached by plane, cruise, bus or car.
Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSettingFools, after all!) and when we do need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner. Use our tips for Finding the Best Airfare.
Flying to Kotor
The closest Montenegro airports to Kotor are the Tivat Airport and Podgorica Airport. Visitors to Kotor can also fly into the nearby airport in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
To get from the airport to the city, visitors can book a private transfer or take a bus.
Buses to Kotor
Tourists using buses to travel around the region will find several Kotor bus routes. The bus station in Kotor is south of the city, just a short 10-minute walk from the Old Town (but it looks like you’ve walked back in time!).
Getting Around Kotor
The best way to get around Kotor Old Town is on your own two feet – but public buses can be used to get to nearby destinations (like Perast, Tivat, Budva and Risan).
Another option is to use the convenient Hop On Hop Off Kotor Bus – book your tickets here!
We aren’t keen on driving abroad, but renting a car can often save time and money (especially when traveling with more than two people) – and a car rental allows for greater discovery. Before starting your search, use our Best Tips for Car Rentals.
Where To Stay in Kotor
We think Old Town Kotor, Montenegro is the best place to stay (but you will hear a lot of church bells!). Visitors have a choice of Old Town hotels and Kotor Airbnb apartments.
The hotels in Kotor fit a range of budgets. We are featuring a few of the highly rated hotel properties in the Old Town. Before you start your search – we recommend using Booking.com – read our tips on Finding the Best Hotels. Budget travelers can also search for Kotor Hostels.
Historic Boutique Hotel Cattaro
Ideally situated in the heart of the Old Town, Hotel Cattaro is housed in an 18th century building – and is impeccably designed to retain character, while offering modern conveniences. Check rates and availability for your stay!
The boutique Hotel Hippocampus is a luxury hotel featuring air-conditioned rooms (some with balconies!), in the middle of the Old Town. The elegant hotel gets rave reviews for their breakfast, too. Check rates!
The beautifully decorated boutique Astoria Hotel is stylish, functional and filled with history. Guests can book a room with view, too! Check availability!
Kotor Airbnb and Vacation Rentals
In addition to hotels, there are many holiday apartments for rent in the city.
During our visit to Kotor, we stayed in an awesome Airbnb Apartment. We enjoyed having a kitchen (especially during our off-season visit when few restaurants were open) and liked having the extra space.
What To Pack For Your Kotor Trip
You can also download a Free Printable Packing List for your trip!
Kotor is a walkable city…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable travel shoes for your trip. I like wearing versatile sneakers – and flip flops are great for walking to the beach. Kris prefers to wear Merrell shoes when walking around cities.
Travel Camera for Kotor Photography
Montenegro is incredibly photogenic – and we are certain you will be snapping tons of photos during your trip. However, rather than using your phone camera, we recommend upgrading to an actual camera that will take quality photos. We use a DSLR Canon Rebel, which is perfect budget camera for beginners (as it comes with a complete bundle of accessories!).
Kotor Guidebook & Day Pack
Visitors who plan on exploring more of Montenegro will want to be sure to have a good guidebook prior to arriving. Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you will also want a great day bag to organize all of your essential everyday travel items.
Montenegro Travel Insurance
If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Montenegro, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.
Don’t forget to pack your printable Travel Planner so that you keep your vacation to Kotor organized!
We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Kotor, Montenegro? Is there anything you would add to our list of what to do in Kotor? Don’t keep it a secret, tell us in the comments!
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