Kotor (map) is situated in the secluded Boka Kotorska bay, on Montenegro’s northern coast. It has developed around Stari Grad (map), the city’s old town and best known landmark.
Four centuries of Venetian domination have given the city the typical Venetian architecture, that contributes to make Kotor a UNESCO world heritage site.
There are no cars allowed in the Stari Grad, nor are there standard road names in the Stari Grad. Although all buildings are numbered, it is best to use landmarks for directions. The most obvious landmark is the clock tower (map), just inside the main gate, in the main square.
Kotor is small, so everything is within walking distance. Enter the old town via any of the three gates, then explore the maze of narrow lanes between the stone houses.
There are no sandy beaches in Kotor, and water is not of premium quality for swimming. Consider driving to the beautiful Jaz (map) or Trsteno (map) beaches on the *Budva Riviera, some 20 km from Kotor.
St Tryphon’s Cathedral (map). First built in the 11th century, reconstructed after earthquakes. Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Chapel holds the remains of St. Tryphon, the patron saint of Kotor. St Nicolas Church (map) – the biggest Orthodox church in the Old Town.
Climbing up the 1350 steps along switchback paths will be rewarded by a view of Kotor and the bay from Castle of San Giovanni (St John’s Fortress, map). Highest point of fortification trail. Ruins of a castle at the top of the trail running along the fortifications of the town. Offers panoramic views of the walled town with the Bay of Kotor in the background.
Church of Our Lady of Remedy (map). Halfway from town fortification trailhead to the top. Church on the slopes of the mountain overlooking Kotor. Built in the 16th century by plague survivors to honor the Holy Mother. Accessed by climbing the trail up the fortifications from the old town.
Many of the homes in the Stari Grad have been turned into for-rent apartments. For groups of two or more, these are often the most affordable options. Their quality (and prices) range from luxurious to modest. Most can be reserved online, although wire-transfer down payments are expected. Most are either owned or managed by English-speaking expats foreign visitors.