If you get a miraculous opportunity to land in Montenegro, then make the most of your time to explore, explore, and explore the Bay of Kotor and everything surrounding it…!!
Being a coastal region, the Bay of Kotor offers gorgeous views of mountains, bluey waters, and the picturesque old Kotor town huddled in the extreme South.
Not forgetting to mention that this beautiful bay is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a highly toured spot in the Balkans.
However, you must not get mistaken in thinking that the bay is a fjord. It is not!
Instead, it’s called a ria by geomorphologists.
So, dock your senses in the Bay of Kotor as we unfold what lies ahead to equip you for your upcoming trip…!!
1. Highlights of the Montenegro Bay of Kotor
Also simply called Boka, the Bay of Kotor is an exemplary travel destination in southwestern Montenegro in the heart of the Adriatic Sea.
From towering mountains, and crystal clear waters to the rocky coastline dotted with waterside towns, this bay is simply a spectacular postcard-perfect landscape.
Nevertheless, its beauty is amplified by the enclosure of the Lovćen Mountains in the east and the Orjen Mountains in the west.
Montenegro, the country where the bay is located, is pretty small, with a population of just over 600,000 people.
It is snuggled between Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Herzegovina and Kosovo.
However, initially, it was a part of Yugoslavia before it was cut out in the 1990s.
If you are an adventure seeker, there are uncountable things to do in the Montenegro Bay of Kotor, like swimming, sailing, hiking, kayaking, and boating.
Also, there are many places to see within the quaint old towns that cramp the area, like the Orthodox, Venetian-Gothic flair, and Catholic churches, restaurants, boutiques, and countless friendly cats.
Additionally, Kotor Bay reflects a rich culture and heritage due to the numerous empires that have ruled the place.
This is because, earlier, it used to be an important trade route for the Romans, Illyrians, Byzantines, and Venetians, who left a mark on this region as they left its shores.
Ultimately, you are sure to have sheer joy to wander into every twist and turn and get lost in the pure bliss of the bay.
Here’s the Bay of Kotor Montenegro map to get a closer look!
2. Sailing the Bay of Kotor Backward in Time
The Kotor Bay history dates back many centuries when the Romans had first inhabited the place.
During their reign, the Kotor city was called Acruvium, and it was around 168 BC that it was first mentioned.
The Romans and the Illyrians built the city walls, and the ‘finishing touches’ were given by the Venetians.
Later, in 535 BC, Justinian I, who was the emperor, built a fort atop the city.
Unfortunately, in 800 BC, the Saracens invaded the city, and they built the Cathedral of St. Trifun in 809 BC.
After the death of St. Trifun, his remains landed on Kotor from Constantinople.
Later, the rich history of Kotor began to flourish under the reign of Zeta in Serbia.
This was when the city became a prominent trade route under the State of Nemanjici.
But his reign didn’t last long as it was later taken over by Bosnian, French, Austrian, Hungarian, and Venetian rulers.
Finally, between 1391 and 1420, Kotor became an independent city-republic.
There were constant attacks from the Ottomans in between, and the city sought refuge from the Republic of Venice.
Also, it was in this period that Kotor fell into the mighty Venetian Republic’s reign between 1420 and 1797.
Simultaneously, you can call this period the golden age of Kotor!
Because there were numerous construction works undertaken around this time, including the building of magnificent palaces and ships.
Also, maritime affairs, crafts, and commerce flourished during the Venetian Rule that lasted for 300 years.
But you must congratulate their rule as the good fortification system shielded the city from any Ottoman attacks!
The city can be accessed through any of the three gates; the most famous is the Sea Gate, located in the old town’s front.
You can get into this gate to directly access the old town.
The Gurdic door and the North door (Tabacina) are the names of the other two gates.
Interesting Fact: Did you know? The Kotor city had its own established navy in 809, one of the oldest in the world!
Also, it was in the same year that the Boka navy was created, and these were responsible for keeping the keys of the Kotor city.
Interestingly, since the day of its founding, the Boka Navy has had a military, a memorial, and a humanitarian purpose operating under a single motto of faith and honor…!!
2.1 The Kotor Catastrophe
A catastrophic earthquake hit this beautiful landscape on 15 April 1979, destroying a significant part of the old town.
Luckily, the Kotorans rebuilt the destroyed buildings with the same stones.
Since, then, each republic of former Yugoslavia contributed a share of funds to help reconstruct the Kotor town.
This is an unforgettable gratitude that Kotor remembers, and hence, has made the entrance to the city walls free for local tourists.
These include the visitors from the countries of former Yugoslavia.
Also, the place has been registered under UNESCO protection since 1979, making additional construction illegal.
This is a measure undertaken to retain the beauty of the city forever.
3. Tips to Explore the Kotor Bay Along the Adriatic Coast
The city has a 5-kilometer-long wall, and you have to climb 1,350 steps that take you 280m above sea level.
Once you reach the summit, you can see the San Giovanni fortress and a breathtaking view of the Kotor city and the entire bay.
Also, you can get to the 7 Kotor squares, which are a meeting point for the Kotor citizens to sell fruits, vegetables, and even weapons.
There are two Orthodox, six Catholic churches, a cathedral, and a Franciscan monastery, within the walls of Kotor town.
Others include noble palaces, an old pharmacy from the 13th century, a cinema, an old clock on the main square (a symbol of all medieval cities), a school, a college, and even the narrowest street called “Let me pass.”
It also houses delicious cuisine, Bokelj Nights, and the 500-year-old carnival under masks.
4. How to Reach the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro?
With so much to explore in this teeny bay, now it’s time to begin your journey. So, here are some modes curated just for you to have a safe and comfortable trip ahead!
4.1 Via Air
There are no direct flights to Montenegro. You need to land first at the nearby Tivat Airport.
From there, you must take a rental car or taxi or a bus from there to the Bay of Kotor. But the journey is not too long from this airport as it is just 8km away and depending on the traffic it can take you up to 15 minutes.
In case you wish to go around the Bay, it can take up to 40 minutes.
Bus stations are available within a few minutes walk from the Old Town of Kotor and from Tivat.
4.2 Via Car
You can begin your road trip likely from the north (Dubrovnik, Croatia) to the south through Herceg Novi.
From Dubrovnik, the drive lasts for around less than 3 hours.
Also, you can ferry your car across the water for a few euros without paying an extra fee.
For pedestrians, the ferry is free of cost.
It can take just 10 minutes to reach there by ferry from one end to another.
Otherwise, you can drive from Podgorica or Albania in the south. Now, this drive will take you through the cost.
You can also cut inland to reach Kotor directly or via Tivat.
Driving from Podgorica takes less than 2 hours.
4.3 Via Bus
Sarajevo, Mostar, Trebinje in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Tirana, Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia, Belgrade in Serbia, and Shkoder in Albania offer buses to Kotor.
If you are taking a trip from Dubrovnik on a bus, I bet you are sure to have an amazingly special treat for your eyes looking at the coast…!!
Try choosing Flixbus buses as they are quite comfortable and clean. However, you need to book your tickets online in advance.
Also, don’t forget your passport, as you might require it for the checks at border control!
4.4 Via Ferry
There are no direct ferries to the Bay of Kotor.
If you are from Itlay, there are ferries to reach Bar, a coastal city. From there, you can reach Kotor.
Trains don’t operate to Kotor!
5. Which is the Best Season to Tour the Bay of Kotor?
As always, summer is THE BEST time to visit the Bay of Kotor when everything is up and lively.
But you also need to tour with a bunch of tourists.
This is also the time you can roam around the bay on a cruise ship, and here also, it remains crowded when a ship docks.
Subsequently, in the shoulder months surrounding summer, you get a totally different experience.
Visiting the Bay of Kotor is great between May and September; however, you can’t expect a lot of places to open around this time…
Subsequently, from October through April, no tourist entertainment happens in the Bay. So, if you want ultimate silence and relaxation, book your trip around this time.
However, many places in the Kotor Old Town will remain open to fill your wanderlust and your tummies…!!
You’d have to cook your own meal as you stay somewhere further away from this place.
6. What to do in the Montenegro Bay of Kotor?
Jump to know all the good stuff you can indulge in the Bay of Kotor from now onwards…!!
- Wander through the Kotor old town.
- Take a 1350-step climb over the city walls to capture some stunning panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor from St John Fortress (San Giovanni).
- Watch the St Tryphan’s Cathedral frescoes.
- Visit the Maritime Museum to learn the Bay’s history.
- Feline fans! Do visit the quirky Kotor Cats Museum.
- Swim or sunbathe in the north of the old town on Kotor’s pebbly beach.
- Shop below the city walls for local produce at the daily farmers’ market on the seafront.
- Visit the Old Winery Wine Bar to taste Montenegrin wine.
- Take a boat tour.
- Take a scooter on rent and drive the periphery of the Bay of Kotor.
- Enjoy the gorgeous beaches.
- Visit Our Lady of the Rocks at the Perast.
- Visit Lake Skadar National Park.
7. The Montenegro Bay of Kotor Hotels
7.1 Kotor Budget Stays
7.2 Kotor Mid-Range Stays
7.3 Kotor Luxury Stays
8. Sailing Away from the Bay of Kotor
Visiting the Bay of Kotor is a must in Montenegro to fill your eyes and soul with some spectacular views.
Also, ensure to explore the submarine hideouts deeper as you travel.
Doing all this will give you a feel of one of the cool kids who has discovered a tree house…!!
So, happy journeys ahead until we meet in another article in a different place…
And do sail across our website for more exciting articles to keep you educated and empowered!