Top Things to do in Kotor, Montenegro

Many people haven’t heard of the small Eastern-European country of Montenegro, nor its medieval city of Kotor. In their defense, it just recently gained its independence in 2006! Despite being new to the scene, I have a feeling it’s about to be on the radar of travelers worldwide. Its natural beauty, kind people, and affordability are going to start drawing more and more visitors each year.

On a two-week trip through the Balkans with my best friend, we decided to take a bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor.  We immediately fell in love with the surrounding mountains, ocean, old medieval structures, and most importantly- how affordable everything was compared to the rest of Europe!

If you have 2 days to spend in this medieval fortified city, here are my top things to do in Kotor, Montenegro:

DAY 1: The Bay, Saint John’s Fortress, & Ancient Churches

After you arrive, eat by the sparkling Bay of Kotor (simply known as “Boka”). Soak in the views of this canyon inlet of the Adriatic Sea, surrounded by incredibly scenic mountain views. There are plenty of waterfront restaurant options, but I really liked Konoba Akustik. The narrow and secluded Boka almost resembles a fjord, and is made even more beautiful by the surrounding limestone cliffs and Venetian-era fortresses. This activity alone might be THE top thing to do in Kotor.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, Boka Kotorska
The Bay of Kotor as seen from St. John Fortress
Next, experience some local culture by trying a shot of rakija! Not because you like it – just for cultural purposes 😉 . It is Montenegro’s official drink after all!
Post rakija shot, explore the UNESCO world-heritage site of Kotor’s walled city center. The small town, enclosed in a triangular shaped fortress, is seriously fabulous. Its original 13th-14th century buildings, coupled with original churches and frescoes, make it immediately intriguing. I loved it at first sight!top things to do kotor, montenegro
Kotor City, Montenegro
See the triangle shape?
Once inside the walls, visit the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, built in 1166 AD. Not only is it old beyond comprehension, but it has original frescoes on the wall from the 14th century! I’ve visited my fair share of European cathedrals, but the undiscovered and original state of the churches in Kotor make it seem like you have traveled back in time. Maybe it’s because they haven’t been restored to the level I’m used to seeing, but whatever it is, it adds to their appeal.
Saint Tryphon Cathedral, Kotor, Montenegro
A 14th century fresco on the wall, you know- the usual
Now, gather up all your strength and energy, and put on some good climbing shoes! It’s time to climb the steep staircases of the Venetian era Saint John Fortress. The Fortress is part of the historic “Fortifications of Kotor“, and is equal parts challenging hike and historical point of interest. At approximately 1,355 steps up, it isn’t for everyone. However, the views make it worth your effort. Pro tip: Bring your own water!  We ran out halfway up the hike, and the only vendors were selling beer.  Once you’ve taken your amazing photos of the bay and city below, find a nice spot to relax and watch the sunset.
Saint John Fortress, Kotor, Montenegro
Finally, after you make your way back down the hill, enjoy some dinner in the city center. Don’t forget your gelato after. That is a crucial step! Top things to do Kotor, Montenegro. 

Lodging: Montenegro Hostel 4U – Great location, comfortable beds, and a fun staff and atmosphere!

DAY 2: Basking in the Bay, Our Lady of the Rocks, & Cats

Today, it’s time to relax! Rent some beach chairs, and lay by the bay. We chose the area called “Kotor Beach” right across the street from our hostel, and it was perfect. Be warned though, the beaches in Kotor are rocky. Be sure to have water shoes with you. When you get in the water, it is refreshing and calm! It might be a bit chilly, but if the sun is out it’s not too bad. As you float in the water, you can people watch and see all the massive cruise ships rolling in. They hint to what the city might be like in future years, however unfortunately.
Once you’re nice and tan, stroll down to the waterfront cruise port. Bring your haggling skills, and get ready to make a bargain! Once you’ve successfully convinced a boat owner to concede to your evil plot, head out on the water to Our Lady of the Rocks. This is a very tiny, yet scenic, artificial island. It is centuries old, and full of its own legends. What’s the highlight of the tiny island? Its equally tiny church. Getting there is a quick trip, but gets you out on the water enjoying the gorgeous scenery. |Click here for an organized tour to this location|
Our Lady of the Rocks, Kotor, Montenegro
Once back on land, enjoy some cocktails at one of the many trendy lounges in the center. After a few drinks, the concept of some shopping in the old town will be extra appealing! Also enjoy the fact that the town is locally thought of as “The City of Cats” by visiting one of several cat-related shops. If you’re a certified cat lady like me, buy some cat food baggies and walk around feeding the strays!

Lodging: Montenegro Hostel 4U – Great location, comfortable beds, and a fun staff and atmosphere!

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As always, all reviews and opinions are my own. However, affiliate links are included and I may receive a small commission should you choose to book any of the hotels or tours listed above.


  • Reply Ian August 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Great post on Kotor, It looks like you had a great time. I will be there in September, looking forward to it.

    • Reply Michelle W. August 13, 2017 at 12:08 am

      You are going to love it! Let me know if you have any more questions! 🙂

  • Reply Laura @ Sometime Traveller September 3, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Wow, that looks stunning! I’d love to visit Montenegro, the mountain scenery looks breathtaking.

    • Reply Michelle W. September 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      It was seriously so amazing- and insanely affordable when compared to the rest of Europe! I’d highly recommend 🙂

  • Reply Lara Dunning September 3, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    I love small towns, so visiting Kotor is perfect for me, and the itinerary suggestions are ones I would want to experience too. And, I agree, gelato is a must!

    • Reply Michelle W. September 10, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Haha gelato is always a staple of any travel I do in Europe 🙂 – It was definitely a small town vibe too. I love any place where I can walk everywhere!

  • Reply Angela @ Dang Travelers September 4, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Oh Kotor! We stopped there on a cruise for one day and I absolutely fell in love and decided we had to make it back there some day! We hiked up the mountain and visited Perast. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories, happy you enjoyed yourself

    • Reply Michelle W. September 5, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      That’s awesome! 3 days was definitely not enough. I want to go back but do a road trip and see all the lesser explored areas too!

  • Reply Brianna September 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I just had someone telling me that Montenegro was the most beautiful place they’ve visited. From your photos, I can tell that it certainly is beautiful!

    • Reply Michelle W. September 10, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      I can totally understand why they’d say that! It was a place I’d basically never heard of, and it was so pleasantly surprising!

  • Reply Skye September 5, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I’m so glad you loved Montenegro too. It’s one of our favourite finds and appears to be getting a lot of attention right now. We actually stuck to the smaller towns other than Kotor so it’s great to see what you found there. Such a beautiful country.

  • Reply Tracy September 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    It’s a small country but I see it has everything! The view, the city, the beach, just beautiful! I especially love your photo of the Bay 🙂

  • Reply Nic September 6, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Absolutely loved kotor. It’s so full of history and also amazing beautiful scenery. Great how close it is to places like Dubrovnik too.

  • Reply Kerri September 7, 2017 at 12:49 am

    When we were in Croatia we read a lot (and heard a lot) about Montenegro, Serbia etc and decided then that we would return. It certainly seems to be getting some visibility at the moment. I think it will have a way to go but hopefully by the time I get there it will be as you experienced and still very authentic.

  • Reply Nina September 7, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Montenegro is high on my list! It’s so beautiful. I love your comment about trying rakija for “cultural purposes” hahah! I can relate, that’s the only way I’ll try new food/ drinks.

    • Reply Michelle W. September 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Hahah yes I’m glad you noticed that comment! I wasn’t planning on having any, but our hostel guy basically forced us to have it- at 10am on a Tuesday- haha

  • Reply Natasha September 7, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I think you’re right about a growth in tourism, I certainly want to visit now! What a beautiful city.

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