Kotor is located at the foot of Mount Lovćen in Montenegro and overlooks the Bay of Kotor, a series of deep basins reflected in the Adriatic Sea.
This ancient fortress reminded me vaguely of my hometown, Ferrara, because of its imposing walls that surround the old city on the entire perimeter even if, I must admit, inside the walls you can admire a truly unique architecture.
A mixture of sensations between suggestive Venetian alleys overlooked by the nature of the surrounding fjords reminiscent of Norway, all wrapped in a context rich in history that recalls the beautiful Italy!
The old town
The ancient part of the city of Kotor is located within the walls and it is certainly the most fascinating area. It is no coincidence that it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The main entrance is marked by a small arch dating back to the Venetian domination that directly overlooks the sea (or rather, the huge cruises that spoil the beautiful surrounding landscape).
Kotor old town entrance
This point is always very crowded because of the many tourists who disembark from the ships.
Making your way through them you cross the threshold and you find yourself in Square of the Arms, the main square.
It is marked by the characteristic Clock Tower and the numerous cafes/restaurants (like everywhere else in the town).
This is where the fun begins: in my opinion Kotor is one of those cities to savor wandering, in the true sense of the word.
Its intimate alleys resemble a labyrinth and it will not be easy to find your way around, that's the beauty of it! So take your watch off your wrist and start wandering around this lovely town in the most authentic way: walking aimlessly and timelessly.
Among historical buildings, stalls and the picturesque walls there is so much to enjoy.
The pretty alleys of the old town
One of the entrances to the walls
Absolutely not to be missed is a visit to Mount Lovćen.
Going up the mountain starting directly from the old town is an experience not to be missed.
Mount Lovćen behind the old town
The entrance is (alas) for a fee but you'll just have to wake up at dawn to get in for free.
The turnstiles open at 7am but if you show up there at least 45 minutes/an hour in advance you'll find everything open and there will be no cameras to watch over you so I strongly recommend you to anticipate your visit!
Not only will it be free, you'll also get a spectacular view when you get to the top and you'll find a few souls out there who had the same idea as you.
A unique experience then!
The staircase is long and steep (about 400 steps) but the view from the top is sensational! Also, what makes it special, are the ruins that every here and there you can encounter along the way.
View of the Bay of Kotor at dawn
Visiting the mountain at dawn is truly magical: the atmosphere is special thanks to the absolute quietness that you will hardly find in Kotor if not during the early morning hours, also the few people around at those hours will make you feel the owner of the city and it will be fantastic!
The “new” town
The city outside the walls presents itself with the classic breeze and maritime atmosphere typical of cities located near the sea.
Here, in my opinion, there is nothing too interesting to visit so my advice is always to wander aimlessly and get away from the tourist center in order to taste the true essence of the Montenegrin city.
Pretty flowerbed characteristic of the “new” town
There will be dozens and dozens of tour operators offering boat trips to the point of exhaustion. I don't think it's worth it: first of all this kind of activity strongly penalizes the beauty of Kotor because of the incredible coming and going of boats every three or four minutes, moreover, I have always believed that the best way to enjoy a place is on foot and Kotor is no exception.
Take your time and stroll through the pretty alleys of Kotor and, especially outside the walls, stop to appreciate the uniqueness of the city from a different perspective.
Suggestive view of the fjord at dawn
In recent years Kotor is becoming more and more popular even though it has not yet been overwhelmed by tourists (at least not in the low season months, in August it was a disaster).
It's definitely worth a visit before the overtourism gets here too.
The city is still very impressive and is a real pearl of the Balkans.
When I visited Kotor I came from Podgorica and, after the visit to the latter, I must admit that my expectations were really low but I had to absolutely change my mind in the blink of an eye and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this magical citadel.
It is without a doubt, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Glimpse from the old city walls
Its wooden bridges that connect the old city to the "new" one, the intimate Venetian-influenced alleys, the nature that surrounds it.... This mixture of cultures and landscapes make it a truly magical and unique place.
Oh I forgot! Kotor is also known as the “city of cats” and it won't take you long to understand why. I can't explain why, probably the inhabitants of Kotor love cats? The fact is that they are everywhere and are super affectionate.
Whether you're a lover or not, stop by and give them a few cuddles, they're adorable!
Well definitely the authenticity of the city.
Kotor is truly one of a kind. It's a mixture of cultures and it surprised me from every point of view.
Suggestive for sure but also intimate and pretty.
Lovers of the city can savor it by visiting the "newer" part while lovers of history can enjoy it by visiting the inside of the walls. As for those who want to be in close contact with nature, well, I said it, the city is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. There really is something for everyone!
Definitely, as mentioned earlier, the huge cruise ships that come and go along with the many insistent tour operators offering boat trips.
Cruises take away space from the beauty of the surrounding landscape and invade the town with tourists.
Moreover, the inlet on which Kotor overlooks is not very wide so the ships are the protagonists. Unfortunately this is a very negative aspect on which, alas, nothing can be done.
– Enjoy the evening atmosphere: at night Kotor comes alive more than ever. Its many clubs give off the best and there is something for all tastes. If you want to have fun, the evenings in Kotor will satisfy you! The general atmosphere is festive and intimate at the same time.
– Visit it at dawn: the early hours of the morning are definitely the best for savoring the true essence of the city in total freedom and peace.
Walking among the pleasant sound of the waves together with the typical sea breeze has personally left me with a deep sense of peace.
Not to mention the privilege of having the entire city at your disposal!
– Take at least three days: I visited it in just a day and a half for reasons of time and money and I was forced to visit everything in a hurry; don't make my mistake.
It is not a big city and three days are enough in my opinion to visit it at its best.