A complete and up-to-date travel guide featuring the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro!
Hidden at the end of Europe’s southernmost fjord from the Adriatic Sea lies the idyllic city of Kotor, Montenegro’s most famous travel destination.
The Bay of Kotor has long been a hotspot for cruise ships and day trippers from nearby Dubrovnik. But, I’m here to convince you that there are numerous fun things to do in Kotor that you should visit for a few days at least!
- Quicklist: Here are the Best Kotor Tours & Experiences
- 25 Best Things to do in Kotor
- 1. Hike the Ladder of Kotor
- 2. Explore San Giovanni Fortress
- 3. Take a Boat Trip to the Montenegro Blue Cave
- 4. Visit Our Lady of the Rocks
- 5. Kayak or SUP in Kotor Bay
- 6. Kotor Beach
- 7. Sea Gate to Kotor Old City
- 8. Hike to Fort Vrmac
- 9. Wander Through Kotor Old Town (Stari Grad)
- 10. Kotor Bazaar
- 11. Kotor Bay Cruise (Boka Kotorska)
- 12. Visit Lovcen National Park
- 13. Kotor Semi Sub
- 14. Drive the Serpentine Road Behind Kotor
- 15. Photograph the Bell Towers & Kotor Churches
- 16. Go White Water Rafting in Tara Canyon
- 17. Day Trip to Budva
- 18. Kotor Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Tryphon)
- 19. The Kotor Farmer’s Market
- 20. Visit Perast from Kotor
- 21. Go Museum Hopping in Kotor
- 22. The Kotor Bay Submarine Tunnels
- 23. See the Old City Walls at Night
- 24. Stop By Tivat
- 25. Walk Around the Bay to Muo
- Where to Stay in Kotor
- What is the Best Way to get to Kotor?
- Read These Montenegro Travel FAQs Before You Visit Kotor
- More Balkans Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
Quicklist: Here are the Best Kotor Tours & Experiences
- Epic Montenegro Day Trip from Dubrovnik - visit the top attractions including the old city and bay of Kotor on an easy and cost-effective day trip.
- Kotor Blue Cave Tour - Visit the one and only Blue Cave, as well as the other famous Boka Kotorska highlights including Our Lady of the Rocks, Mamula, and the WWII submarine tunnels.
- Lovcen National Park Day Trip - a 12-hour tour featuring spectacular viewpoints and iconic Montenegrin vistas including Lovcen National Park, Cetinje, the Crnojevic River, and Sveti Stefan.
- Durmitor, Tara & Ostrog Day Trip - an epic day trip to Durmitor Mountain. Visit the deepest canyon in Europe and hike around the iconic black lake.
25 Best Things to do in Kotor
1. Hike the Ladder of Kotor
The Ladder of Kotor is a famous hiking trail behind Kotor Old Town and San Giovanni Fortress. Its many winding switchbacks lead up to a mountain viewpoint overlooking the Bay of Kotor at approximately 940 meters above sea level.
This hike is one of the best attractions for adventurers chasing incredible views. From the top, you can see the cruise ship-lined bay, Old Town, Vrmac rang–, and even all the way out to the Adriatic Sea!
2. Explore San Giovanni Fortress
If there's one thing to do in Kotor, it's taking a walk up the rugged fortified walls of San Giovanni Fortress, also known simply as Kotor Fortress.
This is a set of historical fortifications protecting the medieval town via a series of walls, ramparts, towers, citadels, bastions, and forts leading all the way up the mountain range to the Castle of San Giovanni.
Travelers can access the fortifications near the North Gate to the Old City. Entrance costs 8 euros per person, which is quite fair being the main attraction in Kotor and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Take a Boat Trip to the Montenegro Blue Cave
The Blue Cave also called the Blue Grotto, or Plava Spilja in Montenegro is an amazing sea cave that is one of the most popular attractions on the coast near Kotor. It gets its name from the beautiful blue glow of the water, which reflects inside the cave walls, creating a spectacular scene.
The cave is accessible via a short boat trip from Kotor, which also usually stops at other popular attractions in the bay such as the Submarine Tunnel and Lady of the Rocks.
In the summer months, the Blue cave is also a great place to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic!
4. Visit Our Lady of the Rocks
Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela) is one of two small islands just off the coast of nearby Perast in the Bay of Kotor. This is a very picturesque artificial island housing a beautiful blue-domed Roman Catholic church and museum.
Travelers can get to Our Lady of the Rocks island and the adjacent Islet of the Dead (Sveti Đorđe) on the popular Kotor Bay Boat Trip, or by taking the 5-euro ferry from the dock at Perast town.
5. Kayak or SUP in Kotor Bay
Whether you're fresh off the cruise ships or still at home planning a visit to Kotor, one of the best ways to explore the beautiful Boka Bay is to rent a Kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
Rentals are available near the Old Town harbor. However, for roughly the same price, travelers can also book a 2.5-hour kayak tour which includes a guided route to some of the nearby fishing villages and off-the-beaten-path beaches.
6. Kotor Beach
Being a sea inlet, Kotor isn't exactly known for its sandy beaches like nearby Budva. However, Kotor does have one stretch of soft white sand called "Sunshine Beach". You'll find this just a short walk north of Kotor's Old Town.
On warm summer days, one of the absolute best things to do in Kotor is head down to the beach and take a swim in the refreshing, deep waters of the bay. Additionally, there are many sun umbrellas and sun chairs here available to rent cheaply, around €15 for the whole day.
7. Sea Gate to Kotor Old City
The main gate to the Kotor Old City is the Sea Gate, a historic entrance dating back to 1555 and built by the then-ruling Venetians.
For a long time, this gate served as a symbol of the Venetian Republic, with a winged lion of St. Mark's once carved above the gate. Today, this gate now displays the Yugoslavian coat of arms.
The Sea Gate is located directly in front of the port. Therefore, it's a common meeting point for many of the walking tours through the narrow streets of the old town.
8. Hike to Fort Vrmac
Looking for things to do in Kotor that go beyond the typical attractions? While many tourists will hike the old city walls and even the Ladder of Kotor on the east side of the bay, hardly anyone explores the opposing Vrmac side.
The Fort Vrmac hike starts just a short walk from the Old Town and leads up the Vrmac ridge to an abandoned Austro-Hungarian fort. The fort itself is free to explore, although a bit creepy. Additionally, views of Kotor Bay and the medieval cities below are incredible, and an opportunity to get a unique perspective that most people will miss.
9. Wander Through Kotor Old Town (Stari Grad)
Many of the attractions in Kotor are found within the fortified walls of the Old Town, otherwise called Stari Grad.
This is the main tourist area in the city and holds many historical monuments, churches, cathedrals, palaces, museums, and unique, medieval buildings. Most of the best restaurants in Kotor are also within the walls, some offering live music in the evenings.
The best way to learn about the Old Town of Kotor is by joining the famous Old Town Walking Tour. This tour runs daily and includes detailed information from an experienced local guide.
10. Kotor Bazaar
Located within the walls of Old Town Kotor is a unique Bazaar within the long-abandoned Dominican monastery. This small street stall mostly sells items for tourists and is much like a gift shop.
However, due to the interesting surroundings, photographers will want to visit the Bazaar as there are plenty of great photo opportunities.
11. Kotor Bay Cruise (Boka Kotorska)
Looking for the best way to see all of the beautiful places in Kotor Bay? Check out this highly-rated Kotor Sightseeing Bay Cruise, stopping by many of the attractions further up the bay, including:
- Our Lady of the Rocks
- Mamula Island
- Blue Grotto
This boat trip allows travelers to see all of the beautiful islands and stone churches dotting the unique villages in Boka Bay.
12. Visit Lovcen National Park
The most popular place to visit in the park is the Lovcen Summit. This towering peak rises 1749 meters from the Adriatic basin. The result is stunning views of the surrounding area and pretty much the whole country!
13. Kotor Semi Sub
Families looking for things to do in Kotor with kids will want to check out the famous Kotor Semi Sub trip. This fun red semi-submersible boat is one of the most iconic attractions in the bay, offering a unique and unusual tour.
The lower decks of the sub have clear windows, allowing you to see through to the bottom of the fjord!
14. Drive the Serpentine Road Behind Kotor
The Serpentine Road, also known as the 25 bends, is 8.3 kilometer stretch of road twisting up the mountain range in hairpin turns above Kotor.
While slightly nail-biting in some sections, this road is one of the most unique in the country. It's fun to drive, but it's even more fun to photograph with the drone!
How to Get Around in Montenegro
Rent a car! Montenegro is very safe for motorists, & you can drive across the entire country in less than 3 hours! Best of all, rental cars are very cheap (starting at €30) & easy to book by comparing rates across dealerships in Kotor and Budva using DiscoverCars.
15. Photograph the Bell Towers & Kotor Churches
History buffs visiting Kotor will love all of the great stone churches and stone architecture scattered throughout the narrow streets of the small city.
If you're up for a bit of sightseeing in Kotor, head down to the Old City and check out these beautiful buildings.
- Cathedral of Saint Tryphon - commonly referred to as Kotor's most impressive building. This is one of two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro (number 18 below)
- Church of Our Lady of Remedy - an iconic 16th-century church perched atop the hilly slopes above the fortified city
- Kotor Clock Tower - a historic 1602 grey-stone clock tower near the main entrance.
- Church of Saint Nicholas - Serbian orthodox church in Saint Luke's Square
They make for excellent photography subjects as well!
16. Go White Water Rafting in Tara Canyon
One of the most adventurous day trips you can take from Kotor is the epic Tara River White Water Rafting excursion.
At 1333 meters, the Tara River is Europe's deepest river canyon, and the second deepest in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA. As you might expect, this UNESCO-protected river system is the perfect place for whitewater rafting!
The tour runs for 12 hours and includes all transport from Kotor, making it yet another reason to extend your visit to Kotor!
17. Day Trip to Budva
Struggling to plan your itinerary to both Kotor and Budva? The good news is that Montenegro is a very small country. This means you can easily visit Budva on a short day trip from Kotor.
We did this by renting a car and driving to Budva, which takes just 30 minutes!
Budva is well-known for its sandy beaches and beautiful coastline, making it the ideal place to visit during the warm summer months.
18. Kotor Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Tryphon)
Perhaps the most beautiful building in Kotor, the Kotor Cathedral, or Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, is an impressive double-towered ornate cathedral first consecrated as far back as 1166.
Entrance to this must-see attraction costs just 3 euros! However, I think the best scenes of this icon are from the fortress walls.
19. The Kotor Farmer's Market
Passing the old walls near the cruise ship terminal, you'll undoubtedly see the traditional farmer's stalls set up each morning.
Here you can support locals by stocking up on some delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. You'll also find some interesting things like homemade pickles and sauerkraut.
20. Visit Perast from Kotor
Perast is a small town just a few kilometers northwest of Kotor. This idyllic village is full of history and charm, and definitely worth visiting either by road or a quick boat trip.
In Perast, there is a great museum, a picturesque sandy beach called Pirate, and some traditional restaurants serving amazing prosciutto, wine, and cheese.
If you plan on visiting Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks, then I recommend booking this speed boat trip for €20, which combines both from Kotor in 2.5 hours.
21. Go Museum Hopping in Kotor
Fans of history and culture looking for interesting things to do in Kotor will definitely want to check out one or two of the popular museums in the heart of the Old Town.
Some of the best museums in Kotor include:
- Kotor Cats Museum - the most unique museum in Cattaro, dedicated to the history and Montenegrin love of cats
- Maritime Museum - located on the Square of the Boka fleet, the Maritime Museum is a long-running exhibition of the country's nautical history
- Lapidarium - located on square Kina, a church transformed into an exhibition showcasing a rich collection of stone objects
22. The Kotor Bay Submarine Tunnels
Travelers who've spent a bit of time exploring the coastal regions of former Yugoslavia might have stumbled upon these unique submarine tunnels.
The Yugoslav Army carved these huge tunnels into the face of cliffs in attempts to conceal submarines from spy planes. Today, travelers can freely explore these historical tunnels, which you'll find in the Bay of Kotor near the village of Rose.
Travel tip: Many of the boat trips running to the Blue Cave will stop by the Submarine Tunnels!
23. See the Old City Walls at Night
Looking for something unique to do in Kotor? Grab your camera and head down to the waterfront at night time. Looking up at the impressive forts, you'll see the epic San Giovanni Fortress lit up in a beautiful fashion.
For the best view, I recommend walking over to the other side of the bay, or even over to Muo to see it in all its glory.
24. Stop By Tivat
Tivat is another coastal town located over the Vrmac range from Kotor. This quiet beach town is an idyllic destination known for its great seaside restaurants and beach bars.
To get here from Kotor, rent a bicycle, drive, or take the bus past Muo and around the headland. If you're looking for another beach area to visit from Kotor, I recommend checking out Herceg Novi as well.
This little beach town is closer to the bay's mouth into the Adriatic Sea and has some great beaches for swimming.
25. Walk Around the Bay to Muo
During my last visit to Kotor, I lived in the small village of Muo, a quieter residential area with some of the best restaurants in Kotor.
There are a few apartments and nice hotels on this side, but the vibe is much more relaxed with a local charm. Even if you're staying near the Old City or Dobrota and looking for things to do in Kotor in the late afternoon, take a stroll around the bay to Muo!
Where to Stay in Kotor
The best places to stay in Kotor are the Old Town, Muo (west side of the bay), or Dobrota (east side of the bay). Below is a quick roundup of the top-rated picks and recommendations for every budget.
- Blue Premium Spa Resort -An Amazing adults-only luxury spa resort overlooking Boca Kotorska.
- Apartmani Art Karampana - A beautiful apartment in the Old Town district. Rated 9.7 out of 10 with hundreds of reviews.
- Centrum Hostel - With hundreds of reviews, this is still the best-rated hostel for its location and vibe in Kotor Old Town.
What is the Best Way to get to Kotor?
The closest airport to Kotor is Tivat Airport, just a short 15-minute drive away from the Old Town. This airport has several connections to countries in the Balkans and other hubs in Europe.
While flying is the easiest way to get here, travelers staying in nearby Dubrovnik can get here by taking a bus, arriving in just over two hours.
Alternatively, travelers short on time can also visit Kotor on an organized day trip from Dubrovnik, which is a very popular option.
Read These Montenegro Travel FAQs Before You Visit Kotor
This will depend on what you want to see in Kotor. If you prefer to stick to the main attractions like climbing the fortress, taking a boat trip on the bay, and wandering around the Old Town, then it's possible to see all of this on a day trip from Croatia like the one suggested above.
Kotor is one of the best places to visit in the Balkans and definitely worth visiting if you are interested in history, culture, viewpoints, and hiking.
Kotor is a year-round holiday destination. However, the best time to visit is during the warm summer months, when the weather is calm and pleasant and the sea is great for swimming.
There are so many more epic things to do and see in Kotor and the surrounding area that I'd suggest spending at least 3-4 days here.
Travelers short on time should make sure they climb the wall of San Giovanni Fortress, walk around the Old Town, and take a boat trip or kayaking tour around the bay.
Being a Balkan state, you can expect to pay half of what you would for accommodation, transport, or food when compared to other European nations. As a result, Montenegro is one of the most affordable places to travel in Europe!
More Balkans Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
I hope this detailed travel guide featuring the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro has inspired you to explore the highlights and lesser-known hidden gems of this epic European destination.
Before you head out, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides to Montenegro & the Balkans.