Kotor

The second of the four gulf destinations in the Bay of Kotor is Kotor itself. In recent years, the city has seen a steady increase in tourists, many of them coming by cruise ship. Kotor is defined by its ancient city walls, which were constructed first in the 9th century and eventually completed in the 18th century. While it is worthwhile to see and even climb up the city walls during the day, by night they transform into a glowing display that gives the entire town a stunning aura of light.

You’ll be delighted to start your time in the city by strolling along the winding lanes of Kotor’s Stari Grad (Old Town), which are actually paved with marble mined from the local area. Entirely enclosed by ancient walls, the town is accessed by four gates: The Main Gate, along the Bay, the North Gate, the South Gate, and a smaller New Gate.

As you wander, make sure you keep a map on hand, because the city is known for its maze-like street grid that even locals get lost on. Around every corner is a new attraction and a building dating back hundreds of years, making it like a treasure hunt for history enthusiasts. There are no cars allowed in the Stari Grad.

Stari Grad

Stari Grad

Just some of the Stari Grad’s most notable attractions include the 13th century Cathedral of Sveti Tripun, the 13th century Church of Sveti Luka, the 12th century Church of Sveta Marija and the 19th century Napoleon’s Theater. You’ll also want to leave time to explore St Tryphon’s Cathedral, which was built in the 12th century but also boasts newer baroque bell towers. The interior of the cathedral is grand and Romanesque, and visitors can take a tour of the structure to admire religious icons and art.

If you’re interested in the history of Kotor and its nautical roots, then be sure to see the Maritime Museum. Housed in a palace from the 18th century, the museum boasts an extensive collection of artifacts as well as the earliest remaining photographs showing Kotor and its development over time.

Kotor at night

Kotor at night

Looming above Kotor is Mount Sveti Ivan, one of the lower peaks of the Lovcen massif. If you feel energetic enough you can make a 1200-meter (4000-foot) ascent via 1350 steps up the fortifications. From St John’s fortress you will be rewarded by a magnificent view of Kotor and the bay.