Travelers to the Balkans will find the interesting town of Kotor in Montenegro, which is a combination of an ancient old town with nice coastlines and adventurous hiking trails. There are many things you can do within this small town, so you can spend several days here chilling and exploring the sights below.
1. Enter the old town from the Sea Gate
The old town of Kotor, Stari Grad, is very neat and surrounded by fortified walls. Enter the town from the Sea Gate – the main entrance where you can find the tourist office – and get a city map to start the journey. The gate directly faces the bay, and from there you can get a stunning view of the Upper Town Walls and the Austro-Hungarian Fortresses. Within a few seconds, you will notice the eye-catching stone bell tower of Chapel of Our Lady of Salvation. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lying on one of the most important squares of Kotor.
2. Walk through the city walls
If you are not yet ready for the massive fortresses, start your day by strolling through the lower walls surrounding the town. It is free to go through the walls and you can get a decent view of the bay with mountains behind.
3. Climb up the Upper Town Walls - San Giovanni Fort
Another popular attraction in Kotor is the Upper Town Walls that looks almost like a mini Great Wall of Montenegro. Vertical cliffs and ancient walls appear impressive, intimidating and eye-catching for all visitors the moment they enter the old town. Hike through the 1350 steps of the walls to reach the 1200 ft (365.7 m) top where you will find the stunning Church of Our Lady of Health and the San Giovanni Fort. Get up early and visit the walls before 8 AM to enjoy free entrance and less touristy crowds. It is definitely a must-do for all visitors to Kotor. The regular entrance fee is 3 EUR (3.4 USD).
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4. Hike Krstac Mountain
If you are more adventurous, spend the afternoon hiking the Krstac through little waterfalls. You will enjoy getting away from a busy life for awhile and photograph splendid panoramic views of the town from above. The whole hiking trip takes about 4 hours in total for a roundtrip walk. The path can be steep and rocky in some parts so make sure you wear comfortable shoes for the journey. Consult your hotel’s or hostel’s receptionist for a map and directions.
5. Visit the Triphon cathedral and see massive artworks
Do not forget to stop by a local church or cathedral in the old town, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon. You would also be impressed by several massive artworks on the walls of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Saint Michael Church, housing massive paintings, and a large collection of rocks and minerals. A couple of other religious buildings to check are St. Luke’s Church and the Church of Our Lady of Health. Most of them can be visited for free, except for the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon where you have to pay 2.5 EUR (2.82 USD) to enter.
6. Sleep within the old walls at Old Town Hostel Kotor
A cool experience you should try in Kotor is to spend the night within the old walls of the Old Town Hostel. The hostel has unique interior design with antique furniture, lively atmosphere and ideal location near good bars and restaurants in town. The hostel offers decent and affordable dinner with free breakfast included and good deals for touring around the country. After a night spent here you will also get a 10% discount off other hostels in the Balkans Backpacker Hostel Network in 10 countries within the region.
7. Visit nearby towns
There are many other nice seaside towns in Montenegro to go for a day trip from Kotor heading south along the coastline to cities such as Bar, Ulcinj, Budva and Sveti Stefan. You can take an organized tour by the Old Town Hostel Kotor or get around on your own. The bus schedule can be checked at the local ticket office or via online at BusTicket4. Montenegro is not a very big country so it should take no longer than 3 hours to travel along the coastline from one city to another on bus. Sveti Stefan is about 20 minutes away by bus from Budva so you can visit these two places on the same day trip.
Other things to do around Kotor
Kotor also offers several interesting museums such as the Maritimum Museum and the Cat Museum. Water sports lovers may enjoy rafting on the sea or relaxing on a boat trip.
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