What to do in Kotor: the most picturesque city in Montenegro

view of Bay of Kotor with boats in marina & 🗻 backdrop & a sign: 'what to do in Kotor' by Alonga
view of Bay of Kotor with boats in marina & 🗻 backdrop & a sign: 'what to do in Kotor' by Alonga

Explore Kotor, Montenegro with my guide! It's filled with fun activities for day trips, longer stays, and water adventures. You'll find insider tips, visuals, and detailed information that will help you make your experience in Kotor unforgettable.

Let me help you plan a perfect itinerary!

Alonga travel the author in Dubrovnik smiling happily about being there
Alonga travel the author in Dubrovnik smiling happily about being there

Hello, I am Tatiana—historical architecture addict fascinated with beautiful old buildings and discovering best places in Europe to go. Check out my travel tips on Alonga Travel and reviews of the best European destinations and city breaks. They are the result of my slow travelling explorations. Let's connect on social media!

Overview of Kotor.

Kotor, an incredibly picturesque town in Montenegro, is fast becoming the new hot travel destination in Europe, and for a good reason(s):

  • Its charming Venetian-era old town

  • Kotor Bay (Boka Kotorska) and water activities

  • Kotor's Marina with impressive yachts

  • City walls and Kotor Fortress hike

Kotor town is one of the big reasons why people visit Montenegro.

Despite its small size, Kotor offers a great number of fun things to do and see during any season. 

Because most people visit Kotor on a cruise, or arrive for a day-trip, they won't be able to experience all those things. So, in this post, I organized the top things to do in Kotor into 3 categories to fit everyone's itinerary. 

First, let's cover what to see in Kotor, Montenegro in one day. This itinerary is also great if you came to Kotor for a short but exciting city break. 

What to do in Kotor, Montenegro
What to do in Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor visit on a cruise

Where is Kotor? Kotor town in Montenegro, is located at the end of Kotor Bay, called Boka Katorska. And because Kotor Bay is a bay of the Adriatic Sea, this enables cruise ships to enter Kotor Bay and dock in the Kotor town marina.

BTW, cruise ships are so huge! Look at this one!:)

According to many cruisers Kotor, Montenegro is the best place to have an in-port day! That is because both Kotor and the Bay of Kotor have a great number of fun things to offer!

Day-trip to Kotor

You didn't arrive on a cruise ship, but instead came by car or on a bus for a day-trip? Your options for things to do in Kotor are the same as for day trippers. Let's take a look at all popular options. 

Cruise ship Viking Sky docked in the Kotor bay for a day trip to explore Kotor
Cruise ship Viking Sky docked in the Kotor bay for a day trip to explore Kotor

What to see in kotor montenegro in one day

Kotor, Montenegro has many interesting things to do and see, and one day is not enough for that. But maybe you have arrived on a cruise ship for a daytime visit, or you are on a day-trip. Or, maybe you are having a short city break.

Let's figure out what you can see and do to get the most out of your visit to Kotor.

Pink with a round arch Sea Gates to enter fortified medieval walls to explore  Old town Kotor
Pink with a round arch Sea Gates to enter fortified medieval walls to explore  Old town Kotor

Explore Old town Kotor

The most popular thing to do in Kotor is to explore the Old Town of Kotor. As one of the best-preserved medieval towns, Old Town of Kotor Montenegro was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is filled with historical buildings and cute architecture.

You you can enter the old walls covered space through one of the few entrances. You can enter through this 'Sea Gate'. It's the one by the road.

You can either wonder about the Old town of Kotor with no purpose, or you can take a more organized approach by joining a guided tour. Let's see what you can explore without a tour first.

Explore the maze of narrow cobblestone alleys in Old Town Kotor

Kotor Old town is a special place because it was built over many centuries, from the Medieval times to the 18th century. This means that the buildings and streets are from different times and in different conditions. Some buildings are very well kept, while others are not as much. You will see a mix of different styles, all beautiful in their own way.

You can see a modern, cozy restaurant lined up next to a medieval building without windows, and it looks perfectly natural!

Some parts of the Old Town are older than the rest, and they are really fun parts of the town!

old mediaeval house in Kotor old town with broken windows
old mediaeval house in Kotor old town with broken windows
A winding street in Old town Kotor with mediaeval houses & cobblestone pavement
A winding street in Old town Kotor with mediaeval houses & cobblestone pavement
Visit Espluga de Francoli - a hidden gem in CataloniaVisit Espluga de Francoli - a hidden gem in Catalonia

If you like Medieval houses you should visit L'Espluga de Francoli in Spain as well. 

Or, choose from my other destinations in Europe featured on my blog.

Beautiful old small square with outdoor restaurant tables in Old town Kotor
Beautiful old small square with outdoor restaurant tables in Old town Kotor

I loved mindlessly wondering through the maze of old alleys, periodically finding cozy squares like this. These modern restaurants surrounded by old buildings are definitely adding to the cool atmosphere. Kotor is such a cool destination for city breaks!

Enjoy beautiful pink cobblestone pavement

The cobblestones you will walk on are so old, uneven and beautiful! So, don't forget to look down! 

All the beauty around will make you wonder about Kotor's history.

Kotor's history in a few words

Kotor has a long and fascinating history.  It was once the seat of Illyrian Queen Teuta and became a Roman port town after the Roman Empire conquered the Illyrian queen.

Learning the major events of its history is important to understand the Kotor's town fortifications, churches, old building and Venetian architecture.

It's too lengthy to explain the entire history in this post (and impossible in a few words!), so check out my post on Kotor's history and history of Montenegro

Or, you can continue with your walk. You will  pass many churches. You would want to visit them!

Admire beautiful pink cobblestone pavement The cobblestones you will walk on are uneven and beautiful! So, don't forget to lo
Admire beautiful pink cobblestone pavement The cobblestones you will walk on are uneven and beautiful! So, don't forget to lo

Visit unique churches of the Old town of Kotor

There are many unique churches in old town Kotor, both Catholic and Orthodox. You should visit them all! Below are the four better known churches.

Cathedral of Saint Tryphon

Saint Tryphon's Cathedral, also called Kotor Cathedral. Built in 1166 by Byzantine monks, it is one of the oldest and most recognizable landmarks in Kotor, Montenegro. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Tryphon, the patron saint of the city.

It features a mix of Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. There is a €4 entrance fee to visit inside.

Saint Tryphon's Cathedral against a ⛰ backdrop & a busy square in front of it is one of the must-see
Saint Tryphon's Cathedral against a ⛰ backdrop & a busy square in front of it is one of the must-see

Frescoes in St. Nicola' church

St. Nicola Church is a Serbian Orthodox church. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, and is an active place of worship for the Serbian Orthodox community in Kotor.

The frescoes in the church are one of the major draw to visitors. The cupola ceiling is pretty spectacular as well. But there is more to this church than just frescoes. 

Altar with frescoes in St. Nicola's Church in Old town Kotor
Altar with frescoes in St. Nicola's Church in Old town Kotor

check out Saint Luke's church from the back!

St. Luke's church, a Baroque-style building near the city walls, has a unique history, which starts in the 12th century.

This church has some original walls at the back; don't miss the pretty round tower there!

Uniquely looking small old Saint Luke's Church on a bright square with white cliffs as a backdrop
Uniquely looking small old Saint Luke's Church on a bright square with white cliffs as a backdrop
Round old tower with quatrefoils at the back of Saint Luke's church in Old Town Kotor
Round old tower with quatrefoils at the back of Saint Luke's church in Old Town Kotor

The first picture is Saint Luke's Church from the front, It's located on a cozy square and it a very unique historic and archeological building.

Our Lady of Health Church

Our Lady of Health Church was built in 1484, so it's one of Kotor's oldest churches and contains a collection of religious artifacts from as far back as the 9th century.

This church is located high up, and you will see it only if you choose to go up to the castle.

Each church in Kotor has its own unique charm, architecture and history and is worth visiting.

a steep  ⛰ & Our Lady of Health Church seemingly hanging on the cliff in Kotor
a steep  ⛰ & Our Lady of Health Church seemingly hanging on the cliff in Kotor

The Old town of Kotor truly is a special place and you would want to stay longer!

Even if you only visit the old town of Kotor, you already have an answer to the question you had on your mind before you came: 'Is Kotor worth visiting?'

Is Kotor worth visiting?

Yes, Kotor is absolutely worth visiting, even if you only have time for the old town of Kotor part! But don't stop exploring yet, as there are plenty of interesting shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore, food to taste and boat tours to take!

Shop for Souvenirs at Old Town Markets

While walking on narrow streets of Kotor's old town, you will find many souvenir markets. There you'll find unique items like locally made arts, crafts, and traditional Montenegrin clothing. It's the perfect place to find something special to bring home with you as a memento.

A door with souvenirs hanging on it on a narrow cobblestone street in Old town Kotor
A door with souvenirs hanging on it on a narrow cobblestone street in Old town Kotor

You will also find many Souvenir Cats shops! You will also find a cat (or 5), sitting by the shop, waiting to be fed. They're quite spoiled and very friendly in Kotor.

You know what will make them ever friendlier? Read my next insider's tip!;)

Bring some cat treats

If you are a cat lover - you are in for a very special treat in Kotor! :) Let's just say you will have plenty of chances to give away your  cat treats! 

I had cats treats with me at all times and a made many furry friends. 

But for now, you should get hungry by all the outdoor activities! Time to eat some delicious meal (cats will approve!.. as long as you share some food with them!) 😉

Souvenir Cats shop with a sign: 'hand made' & a pic of cat, with a real cat next to the sign
Souvenir Cats shop with a sign: 'hand made' & a pic of cat, with a real cat next to the sign
A black cat emerges from under a wooden sign: 'Cats shop. Hand made'
A black cat emerges from under a wooden sign: 'Cats shop. Hand made'

Cats in this hand made Cats shop look very REALISTIC;)

Enjoy local dishes in picturesque and cozy restaurants

You won't have to search for a restaurant in Kotor. Restaurants are everywhere and their cute setups are a huge part of the town's charm. Even if you are not hungry, you would still want to sit at some picturesque outdoor table, enjoying a cup of coffee or a sample of some local wine.

Or you can sample the local food—with a rich Mediterranean cuisine and plenty of fresh seafood, Kotor offers an exciting mix of delicious flavors.

Try some traditional dishes such as Njeguški pršut (smoked ham) or savory cheese pies.

Visit seafood restaurants, for example - Konoba Trpeza, local cafes Karampana Caffe bar and many others. I don't know what you will like most-the food itself, or the setting: both are wonderful!  

So, now that you got the fresh energy from all the food, there is still have more activities to take part in!

A cozy square in Old town Kotor with outdoor restaurant seating & people eating
A cozy square in Old town Kotor with outdoor restaurant seating & people eating

Walk the city walls

One of the most iconic experiences you can have in Kotor, Montenegro, is walking on the city walls. It's fun and it gives you a chance to see old houses you wouldn't see otherwise. 

The impressive structures we see today in Kotor were constructed by during the 9th century in the Medieval AgesTheir purpose was to safeguard the city from external aggressors. Subsequently, several additions were made to these buildings over time.

The walls are almost 5 km long.

City wall in Old town Kotor with fortifications seen hanging on a steep 🗻 with a castle on the top
City wall in Old town Kotor with fortifications seen hanging on a steep 🗻 with a castle on the top

Insider tip. It is important to understand is that there are 2 parts to the city wall walks: the lower city walls walk, and the upper city wall walk. This is rarely explained anywhere else.

The lower city wall walk.

The lower city wall walk is an easy, enjoyable and free part. It will take you about 20-30 minutes to finish this walk, and you will see plenty of beautiful sights along the walk. This is a must-do activity.

The upper city walk.

The upper city walk is a rather steep hike described below.

Choose between hiking or a relaxing.

Now, depending on how much time is left on your day trip, you might need to make a choice; either to take time to hike up the cliff, following the upper city walls to St. John's Castle, or take a relaxing 2-4 hours boat trip.

If you choose to hike to St. John's Castle

If you choose to hike to St. John's castle, read the tip below. 

a walkway on top of Kotor city walls with a stunning view of Kotor bay & old houses with ⛰ backdrop on the other side
a walkway on top of Kotor city walls with a stunning view of Kotor bay & old houses with ⛰ backdrop on the other side

Practical tip. The hike up the city walls to the St. John's Castle is a moderate to strenuous trail that takes about 1-2 hours depending on how fast you go. You need to take time for the breaks, so it's closer to 2 hours. That's to answer the question: how long does it take to walk Kotor Wall?

It is possible to do it on a day trip, but it might be better to return to Kotor for another longer trip to explore this hike. If you want to explore the old town and also go boating in Kotor Bay, there will be no time for a hike.

But if you still want to go hiking, you can climb the walls through a staircase on the northern side of the old town.

The entrance to the wall is next to the upper historic gate.

Take a boat tour of Kotor Bay.

There are two boat tours available in Kotor Bay (more during the summer), allowing you to take in the spectacular views of the bay and its islands. You can either book online or right there. 

You can find people booking the tours by the waterfront pedestrian walkway. Book and hour or so in advance.

Boat tours during the off-season:

  1.  2 hours tour to our Lady Rocks, one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro. and to Perast.

  2.  3-4 hours tour to the Blue Cave + the Lady of the Rocks and Perast.

Since we're planning a one day trip right now, I recommend the 2-hour trip. You can find the 3-4 hours tour description under the multi days itinerary to Kotor section below. 

2 boats on Kotor bay in front of a tall ⛰ & a sign: 'excursion' on one boat
2 boats on Kotor bay in front of a tall ⛰ & a sign: 'excursion' on one boat

Boat tour to Our Lady of the Rocks church island and Perast town.

This is a fun boat tour. I highly recommend taking it! This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Kotor.

The island could be seen from afar because of the church's lovely white with blue cupola buildings.

Insider tip. The cost of the tour used to be €15, but it's €20 now. It is still worth it! The tour is listed as 1.5 hours, but in reality, it took 2 hours when I went on that tour. Keep this in mind, planning your day.

A blue cupola of The Lady of The Rocks sitting on an island is seen from a tour boat in Kotor
A blue cupola of The Lady of The Rocks sitting on an island is seen from a tour boat in Kotor

Leisure time on the Bay of Kotor

Go to the Kotor waterfront for some relaxing time.

Sit on the beach

The beach is pebble. There will be no sand getting everywhere, so it's quite pleasant to sit and enjoy the water.

Clear water of Kotor Bay with stones covered by wees seen at the bottom & 2 boats floating
Clear water of Kotor Bay with stones covered by wees seen at the bottom & 2 boats floating

Walk along Kotor promenade

Kotor Promenade doesn't start at Kotor old town. You need to go further toward Dobrota to get there. Once there, it goes for a while. Walking there is very pleasant and you will see the views of the Kotor Bay all the way. 

Eat at an outdoor restaurant by the beach

There is a long line of restaurants to choose from located right on the waterfront.

Is it about time to go back to your cruise or the bus stop to head home? You can squeeze in one more adventure on the way.

Shopping at Kotor Outdoor Markets

Depending on the season, it might be open. You can get snacks, fruits and more souvenirs there. It's right outside the city walls, you don't need to enter the old town again.

I am sure you enjoyed your day in Kotor tremendously and you will bring home lasting memories and a desire to visit for longer!

Now, for those of you who could plan a longer visit, let's see what other things to do in Kotor you might enjoy!

Palm trees around the waterfront walk & people strolling
Palm trees around the waterfront walk & people strolling

So, we have just finished talking about all the fun things to do on a day trip to Kotor in the section above.

Now, since you could stay in Kotor for a few days longer, you will have more time to do more top-rated things in Kotor.

If you are looking for something lower key, there are plenty of opportunities to relax. Or, if you want to mix it up, and have some adventure, there is a long list to choose from as well. Go to my section for adventure seekers in Kotor of this post.

Below are the best low-key activities in Kotor on a multi-day longer stays. 

What to do on longer stays in Kotor

Visit Perast Town

Perast is a historic town in Montenegro, known for its Baroque architecture, located in the Bay of Kotor. Look at this beautiful view of Perast, taken from my boat tour.  It looks unbelievably pretty, isn't it?

Even though you may have already taken a two-hour boat ride to Our Lady of the Rocks, I suggest revisiting and spending more time in Perast. The short 30-minute visit during the tour didn't allow enough time to fully explore the town.

I wanted to spend more time exploring the town when I was on my boat trip. I decided I will return to explore more of Perast's architecture and eat at a waterfront restaurant, one looked particulary picturesque.

I also wanted to explore the second island off Perast  that was not included in the first boat tour (see the next item on my list).

So, my advice is - visit Perast again. This time, consider taking a bus ride to Perast to have an authentic taste of the local life.

red roofs of Perast town near Kotor & steep ⛰ as a backdrop as seen from my boat
red roofs of Perast town near Kotor & steep ⛰ as a backdrop as seen from my boat
View from my boat tour of 2 small islands in Kotor Bay: with a blue cupola & with a stone church
View from my boat tour of 2 small islands in Kotor Bay: with a blue cupola & with a stone church

take a Boat trip to The Monastery of Saint George Perast from Perast town

Monastery of Saint George Perast (built in 1630), is on an island just off the coast of Perast town, next to Our Lady of the Rocks.

You can rent a boat (with a driver) from Perast town ($8) for a short ride. This is about the only way to get to that island.

A sign by the bay with boats saying: 'Blue cave tour'
A sign by the bay with boats saying: 'Blue cave tour'

Boat trip to the Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto is a very cool spot on the Lustica Peninsula where the beautiful turquoise light shines through an underwater cave entrance.

You can jump from your boat to swim for 15 minutes.

The boat trip to Blue Cave is the 4-hour boat trip.

The price is 40 euro from Kotor and includes the visit to the Blue Lagoon.

Clock tower in Kotor on Old Town Square is a center of outdoor restaurants & evening activities.
Clock tower in Kotor on Old Town Square is a center of outdoor restaurants & evening activities.

Visit Kotor Old Town Square after dark

Kotor's old town square is a lively spot is packed with restaurants, bars, and cafes. It's the perfect place to spend your evening and do some people watching.  Get a delicious meal or a drink at one of the many dining spots and enjoy  the cozy atmosphere.

Visit Maritimum Museum  

You can learn more about Kotor's maritime history at this small but mighty museum, located within the thick old town walls. You will find displays of maritime artifacts and exhibits on local seafaring traditions, including beautiful furniture, artwork, clothing, jewelry, models, and weapons.

Visit Municipal Museum

Visit the Municipal Museum to admire its rich collection of artwork and artifacts spanning the Middle Ages to modern times. You will find sculptures and paintings, furniture and icons there.

Visit Risan Archaeological Site

To learn more of Montenegro's rich history, visit the archaeological site of Risan, located just outside Kotor. This is a part of the museum dedicated to Montenegrin culture and history. 

The site is home to the remnants of Villa Urbana, the house of a noble family from the 2nd century A.D. The villa’s foundations survived the centuries remarkably well and have been painstakingly reconstructed.

The mosaics show various scenes from Roman life and you'll be surprised to learn  about the advanced plumbing and heating systems, existing back then. 

Visit the Kotor Art Museum

When you are back in Kotor, you can visit Kotor art museum. It's home to a wide range of artwork spanning several centuries.

Go to Mamula Island

Visit Mamula Island for a day of sun, swimming and relaxation. This tiny island is home to crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the bay from its beachfront.

Or, for an exotic city break, stay at the luxurious Mamula Island Hotel, a reconstructed 19th-century fort, where you can enjoy pampering and exceptional care.

Restaurants not to be overlooked:

  1. Konoba Scala Santa

  2. BBQ Tanjga

  3. Luna Rossa

Sample more of the Local Cuisine. You can enjoy a variety of traditional dishes like hearty stews and grilled meats to fresh seafood and delicious pastries. 

So many fun things to do, right? Even if you were aiming for a relaxing holiday, all these listed above activities will keep you pretty busy and very excited!

If you're still looking for more activities after all the above, there are plenty of other adventurous options to choose from!

cozy looking red outdoor tables of a restaurant on a narrow cobblestone street of Kotor
cozy looking red outdoor tables of a restaurant on a narrow cobblestone street of Kotor

Adventure, hiking and water activities

In Kotor, there are exciting outdoor activities for adventure seekers.

Try hiking Mount Lovcen or exploring the upper city walls. Take a boat ride around the bay and enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water activities during the summer months. Don't forget to check out the recommended day-trips and multi-day activities mentioned above in this blog.

Top adventure and sport activities in Kotor

Below are 9 popular adventure and sport activities in Kotor.

To read more about Kotor water sports, visit my page about the Bay of Kotor and water sport activities on the bay

  1. Visit Kotor marina ( see the picture above)

  2. Visit the Monastery of Our Lady of Remedy (built in 1571). It's located on the cliff above Old town Kotor and is a fascinating sight.

3. Walk up along the City Walls to Kotor Fortress. Kotor has well-preserved city walls that stretch 4.5 kilometers long and offer spectacular views of churches, towers, gates, and the area below. If you have already explored the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, you were halfway to reaching Kotor Fortress and St. John's Castle.

4. Take a Hike Up the Ladder of Kotor. A popular activity is to hike up the 'Ladder of Kotor' - a steep path that winds up the mountain for 2 kilometers with spectacular views along the way. If you go all the way, you will end up in the Kotor fortress again. This a strenuous hike on a loose gravel, keep this in mind and don't hike on a rainy day – the gravel will be even more slippery!

5. Visit Lovcen National Park. Drive on a winding mountain road to reach Lovcen National Park. Enjoy breathtaking views, and visit the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš (the famous Montenegrin poet). The road leading to there is not for the people who are afraid of heights. The road is narrow and very steep. But the views will be unforgettable!

6. Stop by at Kotor Horizont Bar. Let's just say it's called Horizont bar not for noting. You will be clinking your wine glasses high above the Kotorska Bay and Kotor, almost floating at the horizon. It's a miracle that the bars functions and the bartender serves you, considering how it's hanging on a cliff! But it's something you will remember for a long time! Especially if you go there for the sunset. Besides, almost no-one knows about this bar, so you will have a very rare photo opportunity!

7. Sea kayaking in the Bay. One of the best ways to explore Kotor and its surroundings is by sea kayaking around the Bay of Kotor. From the deck of a sea kayak, you can get an up-close and personal experience with some of Kotor's most beautiful scenery and wildlife. Sea kayaking allows you to explore hidden coves, spot wild dolphins, and take in stunning views of the bay. You can either rent your kayak, or go on a private guided kayaking tour, suitable for the beginners. 

8. Stand up paddle boarding. Take a stand-up-puddle boarding tour, with a pick up from Kotor or Tivat. You will be taken to Solila Beach, a 15-minutes trip from your starting point for3.5 hours of stand-up paddle boarding with Viator tour.

9. White river rafting. Go on a full-day rafting supervised adventure on the Tara River with Viator. If you think 1 day is not enough, you can take a 2-days Tara Canyon rafting tour. It's even cheaper, than the price for the 1-day tour! 

Well, since I don't know what activity could be even more adventurous than the white river rafting, I will wrap up my list for adventurous activities in Kotor.

In short, Kotor is a great destination for adventure seekers. It will keep you happy and actively enjoying yourself with its many fun activities. It's just waiting for you to show up!:

Kotor Fortress can be seen on the top of this white cliff in Old town Kotor
Kotor Fortress can be seen on the top of this white cliff in Old town Kotor

You can see Kotor Fortress on the top of this white cliff. 

Nearby adventures

If you decide to explore things outside Kotor, there are plenty of places to go and things to do.

Top things to do nearby:

  • Take a Trip to Skadar Lake—Located just a short drive away, Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkans and home to many species of birds, fish and other wildlife. Enjoy a boat trip around the lake or take a hike through the surrounding mountains.

  • Tour Stari Bar—Located just 25 kilometers away, Stari Bar is an ancient fortified city with a rich history. Explore the old ruins and wander through the cobblestone streets as you learn about Montenegro's past.

  • Take a Trip to Budva – Enjoy spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea and explore Montenegro's most popular tourist destination, Budva. Wander through the old town (tiny), soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere and enjoy some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the country. Ideally, stay in Budva for a few days.

  • Take a trip to Dubrovnik. It's about 3-4 hours' ride away and it's hard to have a bad time in Dubrovnik.

Go here to find out about other destinations in Montenegro on Alonga Travel