Norway? No, Kotor!


With its Norwegian looking fjords, the net of narrow roads in the old town and an abandoned hotel, Kotor is our top pick for Montenegro so make sure you don’t miss out of the country’s most precious gem!

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Why should I go to Kotor?

An inland golf, this UNESCO World Heritage Site will not only charm you through its panoramic beauty but also through its rich and long history. Kotor has an extremely well preserved old city but what makes it so special are the fascinating mountains surrounding the gulf and the ancient walls going high up the slope. Make sure you climb the walls on the off-the-beaten track trail (see more details in the photo at the end of this post) and get ready for spectacular views while doing so. The best time to do it is at sunset, just in time to see the sun shining over the bay – in this way you’ll also see Kotor at night, which is certainly worth it!

How do I get there?

Kotor is 95km from Dubrovnik and there are regular buses between the two locations. Allow for some time at the border crossing between Croatia and Montenegro though. From Budva to Kotor there are only 23km and buses are quite frequent. You can also try to hitch hike but make sure you find a good spot, preferably at the entrance to the Jazz Beach in Budva.

Where do I sleep overnight?

There are plenty of options in Kotor. If you are two or more, don’t go to a hostel in the old city – you will end up paying the same or more than if you rented a private room/flat from one of the locals or through airbnb. There are normally people waiting at the bus station trying to lure you into their homes – choose a nice old lady, negotiate the price and enjoy your stay. Alternatively you can simply walk through town and ask at the many guesthouses there – we did that and were redirected to a local lady renting out her house.

Where do I eat & drink?

If you want to go for the cheaper options, there are very reasonably priced supermarkets in town: one is close to the bus station on the road to the centre, another one is in Kamelija shopping centre, walking distance from the old town – they also have some food places upstairs. Alternatively, go to Fortuna Food, a small bar/terrace/restaurant – they serve tasty cavapcici.

What we liked/what we didn’t like

(+) the old town of Kotor and the ancient walls – they are well preserved and you can still find some not-so-toursity/commercial hidden places

(+) the hike up the walls and down – gives you spectacular views over the bay

(+) the abandoned Hotel Fjord and the boardwalk there, it’s a quite off-the-beaten track place and the hotel is great – you can easily make your way in and reach one of its top terraces/balconies. Just make sure you’re moving around carefully and you don’t enter in a fight with the rroma people squatting some of its rooms

(-) prices can be pretty high in the touristy season but that’s no surprise. The old town is nice but generally packed and expensive so keep in mind Kotor has so much more to offer!

Where do I go next?

Make your way down to Dubrovnik, your typical Game of Thrones Westeros. Buses run straight from Kotor to Dubrovnik but if you want to save some money take a bus to Herceg Novi and then hitch hike your way to Dubrovnik. Regular buses also serve Budva. You can also explore Montenegro’s scenic Durmitor National Park, a World Heritage Site. The Park is 170km and it will take you a little over 3h to get to Zabljak, in the heart of Durmitor . You can check timetables here. Last but not least, check Budva and Sveti Stevan (we covered it in this post), some mere 23km from Kotor.

Old City of Kotor seen from the walls
Kotor @night
Kotor's Mountains as seen from the off-the-beaten track
Kotor’s Mountains as seen from the off-the-beaten track
For a better experience, take the off-the-beaten track trail uphill to Kotor's ancient walls (and in this way you won't have to pay the entrance fee applied for the tourist trail) and then make your way down on the tourist trail (it's easy, just follow the crowd). Climb up just before the sunset and have a bit of patience to see Kotor Bay by night from above - you won't regret it!
For a better experience, take the off-the-beaten track trail uphill to Kotor’s ancient walls (and in this way you won’t have to pay the entrance fee applied for the tourist trail) and then make your way down on the tourist trail (it’s easy, just follow the crowd). Climb up just before the sunset and have a bit of patience to see Kotor Bay by night from above – you won’t regret it!
Norway? No, Kotor!
Norway? No, Kotor!
An abandoned church on the off-the-beaten track trail to the ancient walls. If you're lucky enough you might be attacked by some goats
An abandoned church on the off-the-beaten track trail to the ancient walls. If you’re lucky enough you might be attacked by some goats
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Off the beaten path trail
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The Old City of Kotor seen from the ancient walls
Off the beaten track to the ancient walls
Kotor Bay from the shore opposite to the Old Town
Kotor's extensive ancient walls
Kotor’s extensive ancient walls at night
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