Kotor is the most famous city not only of the Bay of Kotor, but also of all of Montenegro. It is an extremely touristic place, located at the foot of the Lovćen massif. What makes Kotor stand out from other Mediterranean cities is the perfectly preserved medieval buildings with defensive walls that stretch all over the hill up to the ruins of the fortress of St. John.
However, the city itself has many more attractions to offer, just cross one of the three historic gates surrounding the old town. Kotor is an extremely attractive place for tourists, where in one day it goes to visit all the most important of its monuments and look at all interesting places.
So let’s start exploring Kotor with our tourist guide!
Visiting Kotor step by step – Kotor travel guide
The old town is not large, because it covers an area of only about a square kilometer. And more importantly, actually most of the most interesting monuments are within this range. So to explore Kotor only a long walk is needed.
On the other hand, the old town is completely excluded from road traffic, so you can’t drive here anyway, so if you want to see most of the monuments in Kotor, just book a few hours – or a weekend. It is also worth stopping for a moment and sitting at a table in one of the nearby premises to feel the atmosphere of this city.
Especially in the evening, when most tourists will leave this place.
Tourist attractions of Kotor
The biggest tourist attraction of Kotor is the old town, hidden behind the defensive walls. The narrow streets meandering among Venetian style buildings are extremely picturesque against the backdrop of a mountain massif. The palaces of former Venetian aristocrats, old churches and medieval architecture make the city unique. For this reason, one of the major attractions of Kotor is simply a walk through the old town.
After all, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for a reason.
Another big attraction is a walk along the city walls, all the way to the Lonely Hill with the ruins of the fortress of St. John. At its top is also the best viewpoint for the whole of Kotor and the nearby bay.
A path in the form of stone stairs leads to a 260-meter hill.
In summer, overcoming them can be a challenge. About halfway to the top, there is the old, historic church of Our Lady of Healing the Sick from 1518. In high season, ascent to the hill is charged at 8 euro per person. In turn, the defensive walls themselves in Kotor stretch for about four and a half kilometers.
Monuments in Kotor
Kotor has many monuments within its walls, which during all these years have gained the interest of a large number of tourists.
Saint Tryphon Cathedral
One of the most important monuments of Kotor is the cathedral of St. Tryphon – patron of this city. Its creation dates back to 1166. Built on a three-nave temple, with two rectangular bell towers, it is an example of Romanesque style in architecture.
Inside the cathedral you can admire the remains of Byzantine frescoes, the altar from 1362 and the baptismal font from the 9th century. The treasury holds not only various paintings, but also gold products and other valuable items related to religious rites. Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral is one of two Roman Catholic temples of this kind, which were built throughout Montenegro.
What is the price of the ticket?
Entry is paid (2.5 euro) and it is worth remembering that masses are still celebrated here.
Saint Luke’s Church
This is one of the most interesting religious buildings in Kotor, because it served both Catholic and orthodox faithful – sometimes even simultaneously! It is also the only church that was not seriously damaged during the 1979 earthquake.
Inside you can admire the remains of frescoes (from the 12th and 13th centuries), iconostasis (from the 18th century) and the floor made of the tombstones of the local residents.
Saint Nicholas Church
This quite characteristic church stands out from other religious buildings in Kotor. Two neo-Byzantine towers lead to a large size temple. At one time, the Dominican Order had its headquarters here. The original version of the church burned down in 1896. The current form was completed rebuilding in 1906.
Inside, it is worth paying attention to the unique beauty of the iconostasis.
Other churches in Kotor
In addition to the sacred buildings mentioned above, there are many other temples in Kotor that are worth visiting. One of them is definitely the church of Saint Clare, in which you can admire the Baroque altar carved out of marble. Some of the temples are very small and it is difficult to see them among the buildings.
An example here is definitely the church of Saint Michael, built in the place of a former monastery, or the church of Saint Anna built at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. In both, you can admire the partially preserved frescoes. An interesting object is the collegiate church of blessed Hosanna from Kotor. It was the figure of Katarzyna Kosic, to whom Jesus appeared. She deserved posthumous beatification and recognition among the inhabitants of Kotor with her life and deeds.
The Clock Tower is undoubtedly also a symbol of the Old Town of Kotor. Built by the Venetians in the 17th century, it received the clock only in Napoleonic times. During the 1979 earthquake, the whole building tilted heavily. Next to the tower there is also a pillory, with an inconspicuous pyramid shape.
Sightseeing in Kotor
When exploring Kotor, we usually start our tour from the Square of Arms, which leads to the main entrance to the old town. Its name comes from the former Venetian weapons arsenal. Currently, you can admire here the outstanding examples of Venetian construction, including the palaces of former superiors of Kotor.
Residence of the Venetian governor. It covers almost the entire western length of Square of Arms. At one time it served as barracks for the army and even for detention for prisoners. This palace was reconstructed after the earthquake and now its brightest point is the long (50m) balcony.
The Drago Palace is also worth visiting, initially built in the Renaissance style, then Gothic decorations were added to it. This is another residence of the wealthy Venetian, which later served, among others, as a school for nurses. The name of this palace is closely related to the coat of arms of the family who lived here. It is placed on the building several times and has the form of a dragon.
Beskuciów and Bizantich Palace
The first of them now houses a hotel. Beskuciów Palace dates from 1776, and above its entrance we can see a family crest located here, which is a lion. Near it is another residence of Venetian patricians – the Bizanti Palace. It is a three-storey building with a Renaissance courtyard, whose age is estimated at the seventeenth century.
Grgurin Palace – Maritime Museum
Interestingly, the Maritime Museum of Montenegro has its headquarters in one of the Venetian palaces. Grgurin’s Palace dates from the 17th century and on its facade you can see the decorations of the skull, snake or rats, which may have been associated with the medical activities of the family living here.
Currently, the museum located here can admire the history of sea expeditions throughout history, covering the entire region. Models of Kotor ships were placed here, as well as old navigation devices and maps. You can also see reconstructed living rooms of the families inhabiting ancient Kotor, because the entire interior of this palace is decorated and equipped with furniture from the old days.
What is the price of the ticket to the museum?
The entrance to the museum is paid and the ticket costs 4 euro.
The Cat Museum in Kotor
This is an interesting museum object, entirely dedicated to cats. In Kotor, you can come across these furry creatures at every step, and maybe that’s why a small museum was created, where you can see various items related to them. And so we can see postcards, paintings, labels, stamps or even everyday items decorated with a cat theme. For lovers of these animals it is a must-visit, and the ticket costs here only 1 euro.
Interesting places in Kotor
Interesting objects in Kotor are three entrance gates to the old town. Apparently there were even more of them once.
It’s the main gate through which most tourists enter the old town, straight into the Square of Arms. It is located next to the Bay of Kotor, from the marina side. The Renaissance style was given to it in the 15th century. Two cannons stand in front of the Sea Gate, and the date of the release of Kotor from fascist occupation is engraved above it (November 21, 1944).
There is also a tourist information point next to the gate where you will be provided with a free city map.
This, in turn, is the oldest gate leading to the old town. The date of its creation is estimated at the ninth century. The South Gate is also called Vrat-od-Gurdicia. Interestingly, you can find a giant doll with legs down towards the moat.
It was built just after the first siege of Kotor by the Turks in 1540. The city defended itself against the invasion of the Ottoman fleet, under the command of Hayreddin Barbarossa. However, immediately after this event, a gate built in the Renaissance style was erected here.
It is also worth, while on a trip to Kotor, to go on a short cruise around the bay to see the city from the water side as well. Many organizers of such trips advertise on the nearby promenade. The city beach is rather small and uninteresting here. But the nightlife in Kotor is on the same level as everywhere else on the Adriatic.
Opinions on attractions and monuments in Kotor
What are your favorite monuments in Kotor? What interesting places and monuments do you visit most often? Let me know what your opinions about Kotor are in the comments.
Current tourist map of Kotor
Check on the map and locate all the most popular and most visited tourist attractions in Kotor:
Post scriptum: You can find more about attractions, monuments, churches and museums in Kotor on the official website of this city, to which we also invite you.