A small city among the mountains with red rooftops and an old citywall build by the Venetians. That’s the image of the UNESCO listed town of Kotor in Montenegro.
Kotor is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic. It was part of the Roman Province Dalmatia like most of Croatia. And there are many similarities architecture wise.
There are not too many sights, but it’s still very interesting for a cultural traveller.
THE OLD WALL
Like Budva, there’s an old town with an old town wall and fortifications from the Venetians, who ruled Kotor for more than 350 years. The entire bulwark is 5 km long, 20, high, and about 10 m wide. You can climb the wall 1200 steps up to the fortress and the entire trip takes an hour. But unfortunately, we didn’t have time and our son refused, so we only took a few hundred meters up and then down by another entrance. It’s 8 Euro and kids are free. It’s pretty steep and hot if the weather is good, so bring water. And good shoes. I don’t know how many stupid tourists are trying to climb sights in heels.
When you get inside, you’ll see the old clock from 1602 and a weird pyramid. It was used as a good old shaming pole as a punishment for crimes.
PALACES AND CHURCHES
There some old churches like the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon. From whichever door that you go into the town, the road will bring you to this cathedral from the XII century, which is dedicated to the protector of the town – Sveti Tripun. There’s also a few palaces, and more churches, but unfortunately we didn’t have time, since my husband wanted to be back at 4 pm for World Cup in soccer. But the easy access from the sea and at the same time, the easily defended location is the reason Kotor became an important city in the first place. Read more on the history on Visit Montenegro.
In 1979 there was a huge earthquake, which destroyed a big part of the old town. This is when UNESCO stepped in and helped with the reconstruction. Unfortunately, Kotor is now building in a way, that doesn’t correspond with the old architecture and are therefore in danger of losing its status.
WHERE TO EAT
We took the advice of lonely planet and went for the Restaurant Galion – a sea food restaurant. They have a lovely terrace, but the weather was clouded and windy, so we sat inside, but with huge glass windows overlooking the bay. There were not many people. I had a risotto with shrimps and safran – not the best in the world, but definitely good. Food for 3 people & Montenegrin wine for 60 Euro.
You can eat a cevapi cheaper, but I’m quite picky with seafood, and seafood is must-eat on the Adriatic coast (unless you’re vegetarian). We also found a wine bar and eatery just outside the center (because we had parked way off) called Ladovina. Looked really cozy and not expensive, and there were a lot of people, so we should probably just have gone there. There are of course many places in the old town, but in my experience don’t go unless you know a specific good place.
HOW TO GET THERE
There’s only 22 km between Kotor and Budva, but it took us 2 hours to get there. And it’s 22 km on a Tuesday at 11.30! I guess, it’s because there seem to be only one road leading to and from Kotor, so all the daytrippers block traffic. Or maybe we were just unlucky – it took us 45 min back. If there’s a lot of traffic, park all the way up before the bus station. Then you can just walk pass the still standing traffic to and from town.
You can of course also sail to Kotor by the bay. It’s probably way less stressful than driving. Boats from Budva will take or there’s plenty of boat to be rented privately – also for longer trips. Otherwise the buses are suppose to be very good, and we saw many clearly signed busstops and ticketsellers.
If you’re interested in World Heritage, find more inspiration in Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Europe!