It has been rated as one of Lonely Planet’s top destinations to visit in 2016, and this tiny town of Kotor delivers big on things to see and do. Although many who visit here, do so for just one day, we encourage you to take your time exploring the town as you never know what’s around the next corner. From palaces to cathedrals to incredible restaurants, Kotor offers a unique and unforgettable adventure. Make sure not to miss out on these 6 things to see and do in this town.
1. Hike to the top of the Fortress
If you only visit for a short time and have time for just one thing, hiking to the top of the Fortress should be on the top of your list. Start from inside the Old Town and look for the signs that lead to the trail. The very top of the fortress sits 280m above sea level. Make sure, we repeat, make sure you have your camera with you on this hike as the views of Kotor and the bay of Boka Kotorska will blow you away.
The climb is said to have more than 1,000 stairs and you will more than likely be sharing the route with others, but the view from the top is well worth it. Kotor Bay will stretch out before you, in all its glory, framed by fjords and church steeples. Take a snack up with you, sit atop ancient ruins and relish at the moment, that you can never possibly begin to capture on camera.
2. Visit the Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum is situated in the baroque palace Grgurin and preserves the fame of Boka and Boka nay, a must visit for anyone interested in anything maritime related. Kotor’s proud history as a naval power is celebrated in this three-story museum which features a collection of photographs, paintings, uniforms, antique furniture, decorated weapons and models of ships.
There is a free audio guide that will help explain the collection for visitors. Opened to the public in 1900, this museum has seen its fair share of wars, earthquakes, and restoration. See it at its best today.
3. Visit the Sveti Tripun Cathedral
In the very center of the Old Town sits one of the oldest cathedrals in the territory of Europe and a must visit when in Kotor. The cathedral was built in 1166, in the place where are the beginning of the IX century there had been a smaller church dedicated to the same saint. Earthquakes have caused this cathedral to be renovated over the years and today it stands as a beautiful church, restored to look as much as it did when it was first built.
Visitors who go inside will be privy to fabulous decoration, including a stone ornament above the main altar that tells the story of Sveti Tripun’s life. In the cathedral also lies the relics of Sveti Tripun in the coffin made of silver. Throughout the cathedral, there are various gothic sculptures, marble altars, and a silver golden rake. Step back in time and wander through this gorgeous cathedral.
4. Spend a night at Palazzo Radormiri Hotel
This historic hotel is the perfect place to spend your nights while you explore the town of Kotor and surrounding areas. What was once a noble ship owner’s family house has been turned into a beautiful hotel. In 1979 a devastating earthquake destroyed all but the walls of this residence and with the help of an architect the family restored the ruin and rebuilt the villa to create an intimate boutique hotel.
Things to enjoy while staying here include the balcony on the main façade, said to be one of the most beautiful in the area, the seafront garden, relaxing courtyards and swimming pool. Rooms are beautifully decorated, service is impeccable and the amenities are plentiful. Do yourself a favor and make sure to spend at least one night here.
5. Take the Hop-on/Hop-off Tour
Kotor has an awesome open top hop-on/hop-off tour bus. It doesn’t drive through the walled city but it does drive all the way down the road to the next largest town of Perast. This is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about the history and take in the incredible landscape. Make sure you get off at Risan and explore the small excavation site which charges a meager admission price to pay for the work they are doing.
Discover the remains of a Roman house that dates back to the 2 nd century A.D, with a guide that leads you through it. Perast is the last stop on the tour bus and make sure you stop and get off to walk around this pedestrian only town. Is here where you will find Baroque palaces, a slew of beautiful churches, Orthodox structures and a total of nine defensive towers!
6. Visit Our Lady of the Rocks
Hop on a boat and ride out to the man-made island Our Lady of the Rocks. How this man-made island came to be is interesting. According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen who were said to keep an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea in 1452. After each successful voyage they took, they laid a rock in the Bay and eventually over time the islet began to emerge from the sea.
The first known church was built in 1452 and taken over the Roman Catholics who in 1632 built the church that now stands presently on this islet. The interior of the church is simply spectacular and is not to be missed. Lavishly decorated with works by Tripo Kokolja, 68 painting in total, as well as from other Italian artists. Adjoining the church is a charming museum and it well worth the meager admission price. Go with a local guide to get the real authentic experience.