Looking for the absolute best things to do in Kotor? Then this city guide is for you!
Nestled between steep granite cliffs and a glistening expanse of water sits Kotor, the real gem of Montenegro and far and away the best town to visit in the country.
With such a picturesque location, Kotor is unsurprisingly a popular stop for cruise ships sailing the Adriatic and day-trippers popping over from Dubrovnik.
But, if you’re visiting this region, don’t even think about just passing through.
With the intrigue of the winding old town laneways, the beauty of the turquoise bay and the incredible Lovćen National Park right on Kotor’s doorstep, there is plenty to keep you busy in and around the town for days.
Planning your visit? These are the best things to do in Kotor!
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Kotor’s old town is a curious place.
Walking the main stone paths feels like many other historic towns in Europe, but peel off into the tiny laneways up the crumbling staircases and you’ll uncover a whole other side of Kotor.
Open courtyards with wrinkled babas hanging out their perfectly arranged washing to drip dry overhead. Colourful shutters and corridors leading to nowhere. Stray kittens, for which the town is somewhat famous and even has a museum named after, stare at you longingly begging for a scratch behind the ears.
There is so much to love in this town and so much to discover in its hidden laneways, so, buy yourself an ice cream and let your feet guide you – it’s easily one of the best things to do in Kotor.
To discover more about the UNESCO-listed city and it’s architecture, you can also join a guided walking tour.
Just 12 km from Kotor, Perast is a short bus ride away and well worth a visit of its own.
Explore the tiny town with its jigsaw of terracotta roofs, get another ice cream (because, why not?), watch the artists painting the picturesque streets from the shade of the stone archway and climb the vertigo-inducing bell tower for just €1.
The main attraction in Perast, however, is visiting the tiny island offshore, Our Lady of the Rocks.
The going rate for boat trips is €5 although this is somewhat negotiable. If you walk along the waterfront there is no shortage of people offering the 2-minute boat trip out to the island.
Get there early before the cruise ships come in to dock, depositing their passengers by the boatload and ruining the view for everyone else.
Buses from Kotor to Perast leave regularly from the main bus station in Kotor, check the timetable on the platform. To return, just flag down a bus on the main road on the eastern side of town.
After all the old town exploring and ice cream eating, get your blood boiling by climbing the crumbling fortress walls behind Kotor.
Walk up past the Lady of Remedy church all the way to the crimson flag waving at the top. The views alone make this the best thing to do in Kotor.
Head up for sunset for a perfect sun-kissed panorama of the bay, and make use of the ‘cooler’ temperatures. Don’t forget your water.
The entrance fee has now increased to €8.
Montenegro has many incredible drives and this serpentine road above the Bay of Kotor is definitely one of them, leading to one of our favourite places in the country – Lovćen National Park.
If you’re renting a car for any length of time, this is absolutely a must-do in Montenegro.
For whatever reason Google Maps is hell bent on not suggesting this route, even if you are already driving on it, but if you look on the map, the white zig zag track is obvious. From Kotor head towards Trojica (don’t go through the tunnel) and turn left onto the P1 road.
As the narrow track winds higher the views get better and better. The lower section is pretty tight and you will more than likely need to reverse at some stage to let oncoming cars squeeze past, but as you get higher the road widens slightly with a few stopping areas and spectacular views over the bay.
Don’t stop there though, the views are only going to get better. Continue on up to the Mausoleum atop Lovćen for definitely one of the best spots in the country. If you do nothing else during your time in Kotor, don’t miss the view from up here.
With peaks rolling endlessly into the distance and the sparkling Adriatic on the horizon, it is quite simply spectacular, especially at sunset (or until the guards ask you, not so politely, to leave).
If you have a little more time, Lovćen is also a great place to go hiking.
Though the area is best explored on your own, if you’re not renting a car organised tours run from Kotor to Lovćen National Park as part of a longer day trip. Check out tour options from Kotor here.
The Ladder of Kotor follows the old military trail from the Krstac Pass and descends on a zig zag down the face of the mountain all the way to the old town of Kotor. The views over the sparkling bay and steep cliffs are stunning.
Guided tours run from Kotor or you can take a taxi to the starting point and follow the well marked trail. The walk takes 3 to 4 hours.
Move over jamón ibérico, Njeguška pršuta (or some word beginning with ‘n’ that we can’t pronounce) has come to town.
We deliberated a lot whether a cured meat could really close out this list, but you know what? It’s that good!
The village of Njeguši is really a smattering of about a dozen houses in the countryside at the base of Lovćen National Park. Blink and you’ll miss it. But they make bloody good ham and cheese and, for this reason alone, you should consider swinging by.
We drove through in the late afternoon wondering whether we were in fact in the right place.
It seemed deserted apart from a few unattended market stalls and a bored waiter sitting in his empty restaurant. As we peered at one of the stalls a little closer, an old baba came running up to us with a toothy grin and a white pressed apron. “You try. You try,” she said enthusiastically.
And try we did.
She gave us tasters of her delicious ham and cheese, spoonfuls of honey, homemade jams and preserved nuts and, had we not been careful, a few too many samples of her homemade rakija -a potent fruit brandy.
We walked away with a large packet of the delicious ham and half a wheel of cheese for just €7. We highly recommend you do the same. These are items only produced in this tiny village in the mountains making it a rather special thing to do in Kotor.
Njeguši village can be reached as part of a package tour from Kotor. If visiting with your own wheels it can be added as a detour on the way to or from Lovćen.
We stayed at Marina View Apartments which are located just outside the old town walls and are a 5-minute walk from Kotor’s main bus station. Rooms are lovely and spacious with big windows looking out over the marina.
The outdoor kitchen is well equipped with a charming canopy of grape vines. Not a place to party but an excellent choice of accommodation in Kotor. Prices vary between seasons.
Or check for other available hostels here.
Kotor’s main bus station is a short walk from the old town and has excellent connections to most of the country.
Many travellers choose to use Kotor as a base for day trips to the Adriatic beaches with buses running regularly to Budva, Tivat, Herceg Novi (via Perast) and Bar, as well as smaller coastal towns in between.
If you’re heading north to reach one of Montenegro’s excellent hiking areas, there are frequent buses to Podgorica and a daily service to Kolašin for access to Mrtvica Canyon and Biogradska Gora National Park, and Žabljak for visits to Durmitor National Park.
International services run to all neighbouring countries.