The Best Sights in Kotor
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | November 2nd, 2018
Located along the west coast of Montenegro, Kotor is a charming historic town surrounded by majestic mountains and a bay so beautiful it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. What was once a quiet city is now growing into one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Europe. If you're planning a trip to the scenic Balkan Peninsula be sure to visit this Montenegrin gem, and don't miss these top seven sights.
Old Town Kotor
Old Town will capture your heart the second you arrive. Get blissfully lost in the winding streets, and see centuries-old buildings, picture-perfect squares, exquisite palaces and one spectacular fortress. While strolling around Old Town, take notice of the variety of architectural styles. Gothic, Renaissance, Roman, Venetian, and Baroque- styles date back to the 15th century and create a unique atmosphere like you've never seen before.
St. John Fortress
Also known as Castle of San Giovanni, St. John is a breathtaking hilltop fortress that offers the most amazing views in all of Kotor. After climbing over 1300 serpentine steps, visitors will be rewarded with mesmerizing aerial views over the bay and town below. The beginning of the hike is a little difficult to find because of the lack of signs, so I recommend asking friendly locals for directions once you arrive to Old Town. They will happily point you in the right direction. The climb will take around two hours round-trip and the entrance fee is €8 / per person between 8am and 8pm.
Tip: Technically the fortress is open 24 hours a day, so if you arrive before 8am or after 8pm, entrance is free!
Located in Old Town is an 18th-century palace that houses an impressive collection of model ships, paintings, furniture, and age-old sailing documents. Numerous exhibits cover three floors of the palace and give an in-depth look at Kotor's impactful nautical history. The museum is definitely one of the most popular sights to see, and is an easy stop during any Old Town walking tour. Check the official website for hours of operation and current prices.
This quaint town is nestled in the Bay of Kotor and is a must-see when visiting the area. Cobbled streets, seaside restaurants, small shops, and a handful of adorable hotels make up this sleepy community. There isn't much to do in Perast other than relax, so take advantage of it. Stroll the lovely town, do some shopping, and dine at one of the local restaurants while taking in the gorgeous surroundings.
Sveti Dorde Island & Our Lady of the Rocks
Off the coast of Perast are the beautiful Sveti Dorde and Our Lady of the Rocks. These two islands are only reached by boat so I suggest taking a tour from either Port Kotor or Perast. No one is allowed on Sveti Dorde but boats get close enough for visitors to see the whole island and take photos. Our Lady of the Rocks can be explored by foot and the island consists of a museum, church, and gift shop. There are numerous tour companies so I suggest using TripAdvisor to find one that best suits your needs.
This picturesque island village is located about 45 minutes outside of Kotor and is only available to guests of the 5-star Aman Resort. However, the beach and ocean surrounding Sveti Stefan is open to the public. Tourists flock to this charming area to stroll the pebbled beach, swim in the turquoise waters, and gaze at this perfectly formed islet. If you really want to step foot on Sveti Stefan but can't splurge on the €800 / per night price tag the fancy resort charges, then I suggest making reservations at one of their restaurants. Just remember, the island closes down from early October until late April every year.
Tip: Parking down by the beach is €2 / per hour. Be sure to arrive early! The lot fills up quickly during the busy Summer months of June - September.
Lovcen National Park
The final must-see place is about 90 minutes outside of Kotor, but definitely worth the trip! Lovcen National Park is an awe-inspiring nature-haven where locals and tourist go to relish the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, camping, and picnicking are just some of the activities visitors enjoy. Not only is Lovcen a beautiful sight to see but it also has tons of great history. For example, in 1276, Montenegro got its name because of the way Mount Lovcen looked covered in dense forest. If you're planning a visit to Kotor, I highly suggest putting aside some time to make the trip up to Lovcen. By car or bus, the trip will take about 90 minutes each way. If you're feeling adventurous, there is a hike from Kotor to the summit of Lovcen that takes around 5-7 hours each way. Admission to the park is €3 / per person ages 7+ and admission for children under 7 is free!