Kotor Old Town is UNESCO World Heritage protected as part of the Natural and Cultural Region of Kotor. Protected by its well preserved 10-meter-thick medieval walls, the Old Town of Kotor is where you’ll see the medieval architecture, monuments, churches, cathedrals, and palaces.
There are so many things to do in Kotor Bay and the Old Town that you can easily spend a couple of days here. Some things to see include:
St Tryphon’s Cathedral
St Tryphon’s Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in Kotor, and even if you aren’t religious, the age and the grandeur of the cathedral is worth admiring. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century, and even today it still acts as the seat of the Catholic Bishopric in the Bay of Kotor area.
The cathedral is named for Kotor’s patron saint, Tryphon, who is said to have protected the town in times of conflict. The current building is even built on the same site as an even older church, showing just how far back Kotor’s long history stretches.
Walk The Streets Of The Old Town
Kotor is famed for its narrow, cobbled streets, grand squares and well-preserved fortifications. The walls of the old town date back to the days of Venetian rule which began in the 15th century, while some buildings and churches within the gates are even older than this. It’s a charming, historic place just to stroll through and marvel at.
Have a cold beer in the main piazza or sample the unique blend of Montenegrin and Mediterranean cuisine at one of the of the many quaint restaurants and cafes within the walls, then quietly sit back and watch life go by on the ancient streets of Kotor.
Exploring Old Town is one of our favorite kid-friendly things to do in Montenegro.
Walk The Bastions And Explore The Kampana Tower
The walls, bastions, gates, and towers of Kotor can be walked and explored along much of their length. The defensives are some of the best preserved in the Mediterranean, and the most impressive to see is the squat, round Kampana Tower that guards the entrance to the city from the bay, where the walls almost meet the water.
Even today, the many tourists and cruise ship travelers that visit the city will first enter the old town under the watchful guard of the Kampana Tower. At night the tower and the walls are marvelously lit up too, offering a unique view of these age-old structures.
Hike To The Top Of The Fortress Of San Giovanni
Towering over the old town of Kotor is the unmissable Fortress of San Giovanni. The fortress is part of the extensive fortifications that surround the town, and the slowly crumbling ruins are a real landmark of Kotor.
The only problem is that this historic fortress is perched high up on a steep mountainside, and that means that to reach the top involves tackling the sharp inclines and never-ending zigzags of the Kotor Ladder, a series of stone steps that zigzag their way up to the ramparts of the fortress. There are over 1300 steps, although by the end of the hike you’ll be too tired to be able to verify that count.
Reaching the top though is worth step of pain needed to get there. The ruins themselves are impressive enough, but the views out over the Bay of Kotor and the old town arrayed below are spectacular.
See The Bizarre Cats Museum
Within the walls of Kotor, you will notice that the town has a friendly, furry, feline population. Cats run wild in Kotor, and you will see them on every street corner and a top every bastion and tower.
These animals are an integral part of the town’s history and culture, so much so that there’s even a museum of cats located down one of the cobbled streets.
The strange, bizarre yet intriguing Cats Museum has a diverse array of feline memorabilia, art, and artifacts and gives visitors an idea of the close relationship the town has always held with cats through the centuries.
If you’re not visiting Montenegro, you can still go on a day trip to Kotor from Croatia, for example. Driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor is a hugely popular day trip among people staying in Croatia’s most famous coastal city. Dubrovnik to Kotor by car is a journey that doesn’t take longer than about two hours. That is if you don’t often stop to enjoy the spectacular Bay of Kotor views on the way.
From Budva, it’s even shorter. You’ll get to Kotor from Budva in less than a half hour. From the capital of Podgorica, it’s about an hour and a half by car. This all just to say that as spectacularly rugged Kotor Bay may be, it’s exceptionally accessible from all directions. Driving in Montenegro is a piece of cake.