Kotor is an enchanting destination offering a plethora of unique experiences that will leave you utterly captivated. Regardless of the duration of your stay, Kotor promises to steal your heart with its rich cultural heritage, magnificent churches, and vibrant festivals that grace both summer and winter. Dive into the history of Kotor through a walking tour, embark on mesmerizing boat trips, and explore its charming churches. Here are 12 distinctive things to do in Kotor for an unforgettable 2023 vacation:
1. Kotor Boat Tours: Explore Coastal Wonders
Experience the magic of Kotor through boat tours, one of the most popular activities in the region. Cruise to revered sites like Our Lady of the Rocks and the Blue Cave, where vibrant waters and stunning landscapes await. Visit local mussel and oyster farms or simply bask in the sun on pristine beaches. With a range of boat tours available, there’s something for every traveler’s taste.
2. Kotor Walking Tour: Unveil the Old Town’s Secrets
Embark on a Kotor walking tour to uncover the hidden treasures of the Old Town. Led by knowledgeable local guides, these tours guide you through narrow cobblestone streets, medieval walls, and picturesque squares. Dive into Kotor’s history, culture, and architecture as you visit landmarks like St. Tryphon Cathedral, the Maritime Museum, and the Clock Tower. Delight in captivating stories and legends about Kotor’s past, making the tour both educational and entertaining.
3. Visit Kotor’s Historic Churches: A Glimpse into the Past
Kotor boasts a rich ecclesiastical heritage with around 50 churches dating back to the 12th century. Explore notable ones like Saint Nicholas (Sveti Nikola), known for its 22nd-century Serbian Orthodox architecture, and Saint Luke’s (Sveti Luka), a 12th-century church that caters to both Orthodox and Catholic worshippers. Don’t miss Saint Mary’s, resting on the site of a 6th-century church, and the ancient St Anne’s Church, dating back to the 7th or 8th century. St. Michael’s Church houses Kotor’s Lapidarium, showcasing pieces from the 1st century.
4. Kotor Maritime Museum: Dive into Naval History
Delve into Kotor’s maritime past at the Kotor Maritime Museum, housed in the historic 18th-century Grgurina Palace. Explore an extensive collection of maritime artifacts, ship models, navigational instruments, maps, and documents, offering a comprehensive glimpse into Kotor’s naval heritage. Discover the town’s seafaring traditions and strategic significance during the Venetian and Austro-Hungarian eras.
5. Kotor Fortress Walls Hike: A Scenic Adventure
Embark on an adventure by hiking the Kotor Fortress Walls. These ancient stone walls, originally built by the Illyrians in the 2nd century BC and later completed by the Venetians in the 15th century, enclose Kotor. The hike to San Giovanni Castle atop the walls offers breathtaking panoramic views of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor. Brace yourself for a challenging ascent with 1,355 steps, but the rewarding vistas are well worth the effort.
6. Visit an Oyster Farm: Taste the Bay of Kotor
Indulge in a unique culinary experience by visiting an oyster farm in Montenegro. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Bay of Kotor, these tours immerse you in the world of oyster farming and the Bay of Kotor cuisine. Savor oysters, mussels, cheese, prosciutto, and wine by the sea, all while enjoying a scenic speed boat ride and a refreshing swim.
7. The Ladder of Kotor: A Scenic Hike
For those with more time and a love for hiking, the Ladder of Kotor is a longer but less strenuous hike up Mount Sveti Ivan, also known as San Giovanni and Mount St. John. This old military path is a series of picturesque switchbacks that offer stunning views of Kotor, the Bay of Kotor, and Mount Vrmac. Breathe in the fresh mountain air scented with wild thyme as you explore this beautiful landscape.
8. Kotor Cable Car: Panoramic Views
Prepare for breathtaking vistas as Kotor’s cable car takes you to the summit of Mount Saint John. The scenic ride offers unparalleled views of the Bay of Kotor and its surroundings. Explore the observation deck at the top and capture stunning photos of the picturesque landscape. This cable car journey is both convenient and unforgettable.
9. The Blue Cave: A Natural Wonder
Embark on a boat trip to the Blue Cave, a must-see natural wonder near Kotor. Accessible only by boat, this cave mesmerizes with its vibrant blue hues and stunning rock formations. Swim and snorkel in crystal-clear waters, exploring the cave’s underwater wonders. Discover more about Kotor’s history with visits to Our Lady of the Rocks and the intriguing Yugoslav-era submarine tunnels.
10. Kotor Boka Aquarium
The Kotor Aquarium is a hidden marine paradise, it provides an intimate and educational experience. The aquarium showcases the exceptional biodiversity of the Bay of Kotor, offering a close encounter with the vibrant marine life. Visitors can admire colorful fish, graceful seahorses, and mesmerizing jellyfish in beautifully maintained tanks.
It’s a captivating destination for marine enthusiasts, families, and nature lovers. The aquarium’s mission is to instill appreciation for the bay’s unique ecosystem and inspire awareness of marine conservation. A visit to the Kotor Aquarium is a journey into the underwater wonders of Montenegro.
11. Kotor’s Lively Farmers Market
Nestled just outside the historic city walls, Kotor’s farmers market is a dynamic hub brimming with local tastes and hues. Here, you’ll unearth an array of farm-fresh delights, fruits, vegetables, and herbs cultivated with skill and devotion by nearby farmers, indispensable olive oil, artisanal cheeses, and other time-honored classics.
Indulge in seasonal delights, engage in friendly chitchat with the vendors, and become immersed in the lively local customs. Kotor’s farmers market beckons food enthusiasts, offering a charming chance to savor the region’s rich agricultural heritage and flavors, all while supporting the livelihoods of local farmers.
12. Bokeljska Noć: Colourful Summer Festival
Experience the vibrant culture of Kotor Bay at Bokeljska Noć, a traditional summer festival filled with concerts, performances, parades, fireworks, and festivities. Witness the charming boat decorating competition, where locals adorn small boats in a colorful procession along the seafront. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere on the third Saturday in August when the entire Bay of Kotor descends on Kotor.