Are you looking for the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro?
Kotor tourist attractions include beautiful architecture, fascinating museums, pretty beaches, and breathtaking hikes!
I have visited Kotor and was absolutely smitten with it! My visit was so extraordinary that I want to share my own experiences and suggestions with you.
This fortified city sits on an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and is surrounded by limestone mountains.
It has one of the best-preserved and most beautiful medieval Old Towns in Europe with historical Venetian touches everywhere you look.
It is also has earned double UNESCO World Heritage Site designations.
I arrived in Kotor via a cruise ship as it is a popular port on many Mediterranean cruises. Old Town Kotor is located within walking distance of the port. You will be able to easily explore on your own.
If you are flying to Europe, read How To Avoid Getting Sick On A Plane for tips on remaining healthy.
Now, let’s take a look at what to do in Kotor, Montenegro!
Things To Do in Kotor: 15 Best Options for First-Time Visitors
Begin At The Old Town Clock Tower
The clock tower in Kotor is the city’s most recognized landmark. It is a great place to begin your list of top things to do in Kotor.
The Kotor Clock Tower is located opposite the main gate leading into the Old Town.
From here I suggest you consider taking a walking tour of the medieval Old Town. You can wander on your own or take a tour with a local guide.
Because Kotor was settled during ancient Roman times, interesting Venetian historical sites are all around.
Book Here: Kotor: Old Town 1-Hour Private Walking Tour
Stroll Along The Piazza of Arms For Food And Shopping
One of the main pedestrian-only streets in Kotor, the Piazza of Arms affords many authentic restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Cafes will tempt you to stop in for refreshments, and shopkeepers will entice you to purchase souvenirs.
As you go about your day in Kotor, keep in mind that some of the most interesting and authentic shops and restaurants are within the inner streets of Old Town Kotor.
Their affordable prices and the value of the meals make Montenegro one of the most affordable countries in Europe!
Do not be afraid to walk the labyrinth of alleys and lanes. At every turn, shops and stores offer high-end items and local, authentic wares for your consideration.
Walk The City Wall For Epic Views
From anywhere in Old Town Kotor, just look up and you will see the ancient city walls.
Originally built to protect the city, the walls remain one of the most important parts of Kotor’s landscape today.
It is possible to take a cab to the top of Kotor to walk the 3-mile City Wall.
When I visited, I chose to walk around Kotor. It was 95* F, and I hiked halfway up the hill but decided not to continue.
Not only was it too hot, but I also was not wearing the proper shoes to hike to the top.
Please do not be like me! Get to the City Wall and drink in the epic views! They are unforgettable!
Visit Old Town Kotor’s Churches
One of the best ways to see great architectural designs in Old Town Kotor is to visit some of its churches.
One of the most visited examples of Old World Mediterranean architecture is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, named after the protector and patron of Kotor.
Originally built in the 12th century, this Catholic cathedral suffered damage during several earthquakes.
While it is being slowly renovated and returned to its former Romanesque architecture, it is not fully restored. It is a fine example of both Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Another of the interesting things to do in Kotor is to visit the 800-year-old Basilica of St. Luke.
It has a very interesting history about how it came to have two high altars: one Catholic and one Orthodox.
There are many other interesting churches in Kotor Old Town. These include St. Ana, St. Michael, Our Lady of Health, and Our Lady of Angels.
Visit The Maritime Museum
The long-running Maritime Museum in Old Town Kotor houses nautical treasures that tell the history of the seas.
For just a few euros, head inside to admire the old Grgurina Palace’s architecture and be amazed by the galleries.
Exhibits, model ships, and historical nautical paintings are on display detailing the long and interesting history of Kotor Bay.
Opened to the public in 1900, this museum has been a must-see in Montenegro ever since!
Marvel At Kotor’s History Through Its Palaces
All located within Kotor’s walled Old Town are four palaces of varying styles of architecture.
Grgurina Palace boasts the opulent Baroque style and dates back to the eighteenth century. It is here that you will find the Maritime Museum.
Drago Palace is a Gothic-style structure decorated with dragons! It dates back to the fifteenth century.
When visiting the Pima Palace you will see influences of both the Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. This palace is from the sixteenth century.
Bizanti Palace dates back to the seventeenth century.
All of the palaces are beautiful and some of the best things to see in Kotor!
Have A Leisurely Meal In A Charming Cafe Or Restaurant
Regional dishes and drinks using locally grown ingredients are popular in Kotor.
Freshly caught seafood and seasonal produce are served and differ depending on the time of year you visit.
Perhaps you will try locally pressed olive oil. Several establishments have rooftop cafes, bars, and restaurants overlooking the harbor and the city walls.
There is something simply romantic and charming about having a meal or an afternoon coffee outside in a European cafe.
Cruise Kotor Bay
By now, even if you did not arrive in Kotor via a cruise ship, you are aware of the magnificent port with panoramic views of the Kotor Bay, Montenegro.
Leaving Old Town Kotor through the Western Gate, cross the busy Jadranski Put, and meander along the crystal clear turquoise waters. The traffic can be very heavy so cross the busy street very carefully.
Since boat tours are some of the most popular activities in Kotor, make sure to book in advance!
You will have a wonderful time taking in the landscape from the water. Many tours offer breaks for snorkeling too.
One of the coolest places to visit in Montenegro is the Blue Cave. You will be amazed by the vivid blue water as you swim in the unique cave.
See Our Lady Of The Rocks Church In Kotor Bay
On a man-made island in the Bay of Kotor, you will see Gospa od Skrpjela, which translates to Our Lady of the Rocks Church.
This beautiful, Baroque church contains 68 extraordinary paintings from a famous local artist from the seventeenth century.
Italian artists’ works are also displayed, including one fifteenth-century masterpiece called Our Lady of the Rocks.
One tradition has it that, after a shipwreck, fishermen found a sea rock with the Holy Mother of God and the Infant Child on it.
In thanks for their safety, they promised to build a church on the little island. And so the church was constructed in 1630.
Seamen would throw stones/rocks as they passed by to keep the island, a practice that still occurs to this day.
Another legend has it that seafarers, even today, toss a stone as they pass by the island asking for a safe journey. Either way, the church is certainly worth seeing.
You do not want to miss out on one of the top things to do in Montenegro!
Visit the Shopping Centre Kamelija
Located just outside of the walls of Old Town Kotor you will find the Shopping Centre Kamelija. You may need a swimsuit or a pair of walking shoes. Or you may simply want to check out a European mall.
I popped into this mall and was pleasantly surprised by how modern, bright, and clean it was.
It is easily walkable. Once you leave Old Town Kotor through the Western Gate, turn right, heading north for a few blocks.
Admire the marina and the beautiful clear waters of the Adriatic Sea while walking.
You will find a great view of the fortified wall along your walk, worth stopping to snap a picture of.
The mall will be on your right-hand side just about a block from the city wall.
Swim In The Adriatic Sea
One of the top goals on my trip to the Mediterranean was to swim in the sea as much as possible. I did not miss out in Kotor!
Kotor Beach is easy to find. When you leave Shopping Centre Kamelija, walk north along the water for a few minutes and there it is!
Mediterranean beaches are generally pebbly, and so is this one.
If you plan to visit the luxurious Mediterranean beaches, I would suggest having a pair of beach shoes like these quick-dry aqua socks to protect your feet.
I did not, and I really suffered. Not only did those pebbles hurt my feet, but they were also really hot!
Have fun wading or swimming in the water. Buy an ice cream and rent a lounge chair to soak up the sun!
Visit the Kotor Cats Museum
Kotor is known for its hundreds of stray cats that wander the streets. It is the perfect destination for cat lovers!
Make sure to visit the Kotor Cats Museum which is open from May through October.
The museum displays a ton of cat-related artwork and vintage items. You’ll see paintings, drawings, children’s books, vintage photographs, and more.
There are also plenty of kitties to pet, too! This is one of the unique things to do in Kotor!
Hike to the Kotor Fortress
If you have the time and stamina, a hike to the Kotor Fortress is a great addition to your Kotor trip.
The ruins of the Castle of San Giovanni are fun to explore and provide jaw-dropping views of Kotor, the bay, and the mountains.
The moderate hike is about 1.3 miles roundtrip with 1355 stairs and over 70 switchbacks. The trek is tiring but 100% worth it if you want to take amazing photos!
You should plan on about two to three hours to reach the top. Keep in mind that there is a small fee to access the hike.
If you want to skip the fee, you can hike the Ladder of Kotor for free which can access the fortress from a different direction. This route is about 2.7 miles roundtrip and also features many switchbacks.
Shop at the Kotor Farmers’ Market
Located just outside of the Sea Gate near the Port of Kotor, this farmers’ market is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
It is open all year every day of the week but come on the weekend for the biggest selection of fresh produce.
You can purchase a variety of fruit, vegetables, honey, cheese, meat, fish, flowers, treats, and souvenirs.
If you are only here for a day while on a cruise, this is a great place to soak up a local ambience and pick up some fruit to eat as you explore the city.
Alternatively, if you stay at a vacation rental with a kitchen, you can grab some fresh ingredients to cook meals. This is a great way to save money while traveling!
Take a Day Trip to Perast
If you are in Kotor for more than a day or two and want to visit another town on the Bay of Kotor, I suggest heading to Perast.
This pretty town is located about twenty minutes from Kotor, and there is a bus service that runs between them.
Perast is tiny and perfect for an idyllic stroll. You are bound to take a ton of pictures especially along the waterfront.
Check out the historic buildings and watch boats go by as you enjoy lunch right on water.
Where to Stay in Kotor
There are plenty of great places to stay in Kotor from hotels to apartments. Whether you are looking for luxury or somewhere affordable, there is a choice to fit your needs.
These Bay of Kotor hotels will provide a comfy place to unwind after a day walking the Old Town.
Packing Tips For Your Trip To Kotor
Here are some tips on How To Pack Lightly that I hope will help when it comes time to pack!
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use.
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel.
And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse.
Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. The Bobble replaceable carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever and wherever you fill the Bobble.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant, and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop. It comes in a range of colors to choose from and it is inexpensive as well.
These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable.
Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
And let us not forget the beach shoes for Kotor’s pebbly beaches. These quick-dry slip-on aqua shoes are a great selection. They come in a ton of bright colors for men, women, and children.
I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals. I have several pairs of these exact Vionic sandals in several colors that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel.
They are very comfortable. I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip-flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you.
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Quick Tips For Your Visit to Kotor
Before you leave home, contact your credit card company and check if your credit card does or does not have foreign transaction fees.
If it does, inquire about the possibility of applying for one that does not carry foreign transaction fees. This is a small fee charged you whenever you use your card out of your home country.
Also, remember to notify your bank of the dates you will be out of the country.
When you visit an ATM in Kotor, check to be sure it is on the same network as your bank, so you are not charged a transaction fee every time you withdraw cash.
Withdrawing larger amounts of money will help you limit bank transition fees. Montenegro’s form of currency is the euro.
Purchase advanced tickets to attractions whenever possible.
Admission tickets purchased online are usually offered at a discount, and you will save a lot of time waiting in lines to buy tickets at the individual attractions.
Your things to do in Kotor list will flow more effortlessly when you have your plan and can pace yourself and not have to worry about the availability of tickets at each location you wish to visit.
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I hope you have learned what to do in Montenegro!