The best approach to Kotor, Montenegro is via the sea. If you travel by ship, you can pass through the narrow inlet on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea as the mist is touching the morning sky. One feels like they’re entering a different world. Even amateurs can capture spectacular photos of one of the top 25 magnificent fjords in the world.
Once into the protected and secluded harbor, visitors will see the Venetian’s influence on the city’s architecture. Like other coastal cities that were frequently subject to attack, Kotor has an abundance of fortifications. An outer perimeter wall wraps around the city for almost 4.5 kilometers. The city sits between the sea, guarded by the wall, and the hill of St. John.
The natural elements haven’t destroyed these reminders of medieval fortification. The walls were constructed between the 9th and 19th centuries. Three gates permit entrance into the city. It’s wise to have a map in advance. This will allow you to locate the North Gate where you can start walking on the walls and the beginning of the path that leads to the Fortress of St John (Behind the St. Maria of the River Church). The map delineates three different hikes of varying difficulty.
Near the main gate is a clock tower, a necessity for cities built during this era. Old churches also dot the internal landscape of the city. The mid twelfth century, Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, one of the oldest churches in Europe, can be found here.
A maritime museum is located in the middle of the city.
Trekking up to the Fortress of St. John is worth the effort. Appropriate shoes are needed on this steep terrain that also includes stone stairs. The vertical ascent is approximately 1200 meters and includes well over 1000 stairs. Those who make it to the top are thrilled with the view. It would be a shame, if you didn’t bring a camera.
The Old Town offers a wide selection of shops and restaurants that should meet the needs of most visitors. Additional vendors can be found a short distance outside the north gate.
If Time Allows
Consider visiting Perast in Boka Bay, Risan, a city in the Bay of Kotor, Skadar lake National Park, Sveti Sefan near Budva, and Durmitor National Park
Before You Go
Consider taking a cruise ship to Kotor. Sometimes itineraries also include a stop in Dubrovnik, another UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site. If the ship’s captain has good timing, you’ll always remember the mystical experience. Decide whether you can handle the steep trek to the fortress and remember to wear appropriate shoes. Don’t forget to bring along water, especially in the summer months.
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