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The historic city of Kotor, Montenegro is tucked into the southern end of the Bay of Kotor under towering, majestic mountain peaks. With an intriguing history and astounding nature, visitors to the city will find many things to do in Kotor, Montenegro.
What To Do in Kotor, Montenegro
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 city 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 city.
From learning about the city’s history to soaking in the sunshine to hiking on the hillside and more – we have compiled a list of our top six Kotor, Montenegro things to do to help tourists experience the best of the city and region.
6 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 old town. The seemingly chaotic street plan was created quite purposefully; it was intended to confuse intruders who came to plunder the town.
While wandering through alleys and into odd-shaped squares, take note of the old stone buildings and churches – many of which have small plaques providing dates of construction and original use. The tourist office outside Sea Gate (the pink, main gate) provides free maps to help you find your way to top Kotor sights.
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 Ramparts to the Hilltop St. John’s Fortress
A trip to Kotor wouldn’t be complete without hiking the ramparts to the hilltop 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!
San Giovanni Castle (St. John’s Fortress), 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 nothing more than a shell, but it is accessible by a foot path (and 1,355 steps!). From the fortress, take in the stunning views and vibrant colors of the Bay of Kotor and the old town rooftops. For more details, read our blog post: Hiking in Kotor, Montenegro.
Pro Tip: More advanced hikers (and viewpoint seekers) should check out this hiking tour to Kotor from Krstac Pass.
#3 Walk Along the Water 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 public 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 cafe with a coffee and watch the local fishermen in their boats.
We also recommend exploring the shoreline along the south end of the bay to the far side of the marina (and beyond) for a look back toward the city and hillside walls.
Pro Tip: The city of Kotor is particularly beautiful from across the bay at sunset and at night when the city lights reflect off the Bay of Kotor.
#4 Explore the Historic Churches
Exploring 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. Although only a small fraction of the 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.
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. Find more details in our blog post: 10 Churches to Visit in Kotor, Montenegro.
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 Go 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. 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 off-shore are two islands, one of which features an intriguing legend and a church; it can be visited via a short boat ride.
South of Kotor on the Adriatic Sea is the walled city of Budva. Much bigger – and touristy – than Kotor, Budva is often referred to as the Riviera on the Adriatic Sea. In addition to the historic center and shoreline paths, Budva is known for its sandy beaches, boutique shops and upscale restaurants.
#6 Attend a Local Festival
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 main gate and flags and banners are strung outside 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.
Top Tip: Go to the Kotor Tourist Office for a Kotor event calendar to find out if any events are planned during your visit to Kotor.
Use this link to Google Maps for an online version of our Kotor, Montenegro Map. Pro Tip: Double-click on the map to zoom in to Kotor, Montenegro.
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!
Kotor bay tours are an excellent way to explore the region! Hop aboard a boat for a full day adventure – which includes swimming in a cave, visiting the island church in Perast and enjoying the stunning landscapes. Reserve your seat!
Kotor Shore Excursions
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, too! Book it now!
There are ample opportunities for Kotor, Montenegro shopping! Visitors can peruse the goods at the local Kotor Market just outside of the Sea Gate; although it is where locals buy their produce, it is also one of the Kotor tourist attractions.
The boutique shops and art galleries within the Old Town walls are top places to visit in Kotor for souvenirs. The Kamelija Shopping Center Mall just north of the walled city is a nice escape on hot days.
Kotor Old Town Restaurants
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 Old Town. The outdoor seats are atmospheric…and the food is delicious!
Pro Tip: Visitors who want to combine history and cuisine can join a highly-rated Kotor Walking Tour with Food Tastings. Get the details!
Visitors interested in learning more about the culture and history of the city can visit one of the museums in Kotor. Top Kotor museums are the Cats Museum and Maritime Museum.
More Kotor Tips for Your Trip
Now that we have shared our top recommendations for things to do in Kotor, we have a few more tips for your Kotor trip!
Where To Stay in Kotor
We think Old Town Kotor, Montenegro is the best place to stay in the city. Visitors have a choice of Old Town hotels and Kotor Airbnb apartments.
During our visit to Kotor, we stayed in an awesome Airbnb Apartment. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space.
However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Kotor hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip: Historic Boutique Hotel Cattaro, Hotel Hippocampus and Astoria Hotel.
Budget travelers can search for Kotor Hostels.
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 JetSetting Fools, after all!) and when we do need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.
To get around Kotor we used our own two feet or public buses. 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 it allows for greater discovery. Another option is to use the Hop On Hop Off Kotor Bus – book your tickets here!
What To Pack for Your Kotor Trip
As you prepare for your trip to Kotor, make sure you pack the essentials! You can find all of our packing tips on our Packing List blog page.
Kotor is a walkable city…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I like wearing Columbia shoes or slip on Skechers – and Reef flip flops are great for walking to the beach. Kris prefers to wear Merrell shoes when walking around cities.
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 for beginners (as it comes with a complete bundle of accessories!).
Visitors who plan on exploring more of Montenegro will want to be sure to have a good guidebook prior to arriving.
We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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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