Undoubtedly, Montenegro is a country that deserves to be added to the itinerary of every self-respecting traveler. And yet, it is surprising how such a tiny Balkan country could win enormous popularity among sophisticated tourists worldwide. To our opinion, the secret lies in its unique nature representing a perfect combination of turquoise Adriatic sea and majestic mountains as well as ancient small cities located along the entire coast and managed to preserve the authentic atmosphere of the distant past. The old town of Kotor is one of them, so your cruise trip across the Mediterranean coast would not be complete without visiting this hidden gem of the Balkans.
Kotor represents one of the most famous coastal cities of Montenegro located on the Bay of Kotor (often called Boka Bay), in the northern part of the country's coast. This fortified city with its rich medieval history and architecture was rightfully included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It would not be an overstatement to say that this miraculous city is one of the most beautiful locations in Europe and the most desirable place for tourists. The town of Kotor is surrounded by the impressive high mountains attracting travelers from all over the world. It is true that once you visit this small charming city, you inevitably return there again and again to feel its unique atmosphere of antiquity, its unexplainable magic, and the ancient breath which can not be found anywhere else in the world!
So, it is the right time to explore the magnificent city of Kotor!
Kotor cruise port represents a pier and the dock that is located about 300 feet far from the old city surrounded by the old medieval wall. Smaller ships can be docked right near the pier whereas larger cruise ships anchor farther because of the lack of space on the dock, so tourists are offered to use the so-called tender boats to reach the city of Kotor. As a rule, it takes from 5 up to 20 minutes to get to the pier of Kotor depending on how far your cruise ship is located.
The first and foremost you can do in Kotor is, of course, to immerse yourself in the history of this beautiful old town and get acquainted with its treasures, such as medieval cathedrals, and Venetian houses, and of course, walk along the wall surrounding the town. Therefore entering the main Venetian gates of the old town of Kotor you seem like you are stepping back in time.
The old city of Kotor is filled with ancient myths and legends. Besides, walking along the narrow and authentic lanes of the town you will be almost always accompanied by its famous small residents and guardians, the Kotor cats who have been rightfully considered one of the most remarkable landmarks of the old town of Kotor. All the cats living in Kotor are fed and taken care of by the city dwellers. This tradition goes back to the medieval time when cats helped dwellers to prevent the town from rats and mice.
Let us review the main city attractions that are worth visiting.
St. John’s Fortress is the first sightseeing that you can notice approaching Kotor. You have to overcome about 1500 steps uphill to reach it. While ascending you have an opportunity to enjoy an amazing view of the old town of Kotor as if in the palm of your hand with its tile orange roofs, cathedrals, churches, old mansions, and, of course, the picturesque Bay of Kotor. A truly fascinating view! And yet, it is not that easy to overcome the whole route so take into account your physical abilities and if possible observe this city landmark early in the morning until it is too hot.
It dates back to the 19th century and is located in a magnificent baroque palace. It is very easy to find it because it is in the very heart of the old town of Kotor and can be recognized by two cannons at its main entrance. You can find there a rich collection of naval artifacts including various ship models, paintings, and old furniture.
This 12-century-old cathedral represents the best-preserved Kotor landmark. It was built in honor of St. Tryphon, the city protector, and is considered one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in Europe. You can easily find this masterpiece of architecture in the very heart of the old town of Kotor.
This medieval orthodox church is located on the Piazza Greca famous for its well-preserved architecture of Byzantine time. As a result of the strong earthquake of 1979 when almost all of the old town was destroyed only this small church has not suffered severely.
If you have already discovered the old town of Kotor which is not that large and you have more time left you can visit a beautiful scenic seamen village Perast and its wonderful tiny artificial island called Our Lady of the Rocks created by seamen from Kotor and Perast who brought the stones using their boats. The tradition of bringing the rocks to retain the island’s appearance is still alive.
So, if you have some time left after seeing numerous prominent sites of the old town of Kotor you have a marvelous opportunity to get a tan and relax a little bit by visiting the public beach that is located not more than 10 minutes walk to the left from the exit of the port of Kotor (if you stay with your back to the cruise ship).
The old city of Kotor gives you a great opportunity to shop and to dine. There are numerous souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes for every taste. Outside the old town, you can find shopping malls, supermarkets, and eateries too. Moreover, there is also an open market located right from the entrance to the old city where you can buy fruits, vegetables, and tasty local finest delicacies, such as homemade cheese, olive oil, wine, and Montenegrin pršut (smoked ham).
Visiting Kotor cruise port you will certainly take pleasure from this amazing trip having found out a lot about the old town of Kotor, its history, traditions and plunged into the attractive atmosphere of the real medieval city which is very hard to leave.