The city of Kotor is nestled in a secluded part of the Gulf of Kotor in Montenegro. History exists in every nook of this UNESCO-listed city, its fortified walls having protected it from numerous attacks over the centuries. As you explore Kotor, it is hard not to imagine the warriors and noblemen that once trod the limestone streets and alleys of this ancient settlement. Fascinating museums and guided tours will take you back in time and connect you to a city that is centuries young. The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon and the Maritime Museum are all essential parts of any visit to Kotor, as you start to absorb what life must have been like in this once isolated pocket of Europe.
The city walls define Kotor. Built mainly between the 9th and 14th century, the walls and ramparts provided crucial defense against attacks from the Ottoman Empire – a day exploring the perimeter is a day of rich historic intrigue. Those willing to head a little further must visit the Church of Our Lady of Remedy – thought to be Kotor’s oldest building, this tranquil chapel can only be reached on foot and is on the same path as the equally impressive St John Fortress. At 280 metres above sea level, the 2-3 hour round trip to St John Fortress offers stunning views of Kotor’s red-tiled roofs, which contrast spectacularly with the azure blue of the bay beyond. Also known as Castle of San Giovanni, the fortress should be visited early in the day to escape the heat, maps are available from the tourist office.
Kotor lies at the base of Lovćen, a mountain that rises to 1,749 metres and is home to a beautiful national park covering 62.2 sq-km. A hikers’ paradise, the landscape comprises lofty peaks, framed by the deep blue sky and Adriatic Sea. Experienced guides are on hand in Kotor to help you get more out of the national park and to learn about the flora and fauna native to these beautiful slopes.
When it is time to rest, Kotor is full of charming and luxurious accommodation. From guesthouses and boutique hotels, to modern apartments, a warm welcome is waiting for you. The food across the city ranges from traditional to international. The locals are proud of their culinary traditions and encourage you to explore the many delicious fish, meat and vegetarian dishes on offer. Settle in for a lunch of home-baked bread, local cheese, olives and wine, and plan your next excursion as you watch the bay of Kotor glisten in the afternoon sun – it is what life here is all about.