After travelling in Croatia for a week, we drove from Dubrovnik to Kotor Bay in Montenegro. Our initial plan was to spend 10 days in Croatia but after talking to a friend and doing some research on the internet we changed our plans to spend at least 2 days in the Bay of Kotor. The pictures looked incredible and we couldn't wait to visit this incredible fjord-like Bay surrounded by incredibly beautiful mountains and picturesque perfect historical towns.
It is not possible to see everything in Montenegro in 2 days but if you are visiting Croatia and have a couple of days you should consider visiting the incredible Kotor Bay. In 2 days you can easily cover all the must-see places in the Bay and if you have more time you can go beyond Kotor Bay.
Considering, you will drive either from Dubrovnik, Croatia or Mostar, Bosnia like we drove from Dubrovnik to Montenegro and after spending 2 days in Montenegro drove to Mostar rather than going back to Dubrovnik. You can plan your 2 days in Montenegro by visiting these places
The historical town of Herceg Novi is the first major town in Kotor Bay near the Croatian border. From Dubrovnik, the drive along the coastal road takes a little over one hour. The border crossing is usually not very busy and it took us less than 30 minutes at the Croatian and Montenegro border control.
Herceg Novi is a small compact and the first major town on the Bay.
The town has a few worth visiting historical places especially the historical Sea Fortress offers great views of the Kotor Bay. The entrance to the Fortress costs only 2€ and its worth climbing up the narrow and steep stairs.
The historic old town also known as the city of steps has narrow cobblestones streets with lots of stairs and the main square has clock tower and some beautiful cafes relatively cheap compared to Dubrovnik. The clock tower can be climbed by paying a small entrance fee.
The old train track along the shore is converted into a long and beautiful promenade with many restaurants and cafes. There is also a small public beach near the Sea Fortress. The larger part of the beach is occupied by the paid deckchairs, available to rent. Water at the beach is very clean and perfect for snorkelling.
We spent almost half a day walking around the old town and Promenade. After lunch at a cafe on the promenade, we continued driving further to Perast.
Perast, a UNESCO World Heritage site is the smallest and one of the most beautiful towns in Montenegro on Kotor Bay. From Herceg Novi, it is less than an hour drive. The drive itself is breathtaking offering stunning vistas of the Bay.
The town itself is so small that only one small road passes through it and the tourists are not allowed to drive through the village. There are two small paid parking lots on either side of the town and some locals will charge you between 5 to 10€ to park and the town is only a short walk from the parking.
The historical buildings in the town are visible from a distance. The main plaza has some nice cafes, bars and restaurants with beautiful terraces to sit outside. The best view of the village and the island of Our Lady of the Rocks are from the old catholic monastery which is a steep short walk from the main street.
The touring boats to our Lady of the Rocks leave from Perast and cost around 20€ for the return trip (3 to 5€ per person). The private tour might be a cheaper option for a family with kids. There are numerous locals who will approach you to take you to the church on the island and back for 20€.
Our Lady of the Rocks is a Catholic church built on an artificial island on July 22, 1452. The legends say that two fishermen brothers saw a light on a small ridge and as the approached, they saw an icon of the Mother of God and took it to the church. The icon disappeared the same night, and the following day it was found again, unscathed, on the ridge from where it was taken. The locals decided to build a church thereby dumping rocks in the sea at the ridge. This tradition still continues and every year on July 22, the locals celebrate the day of St. Mary Magdalene and the beginning of the construction of the church.
A visit to the church takes 30 minutes and to go inside of the church, you must take a guided tour which costs only 1€.
Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in a fjord-like bay of Kotor near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovcen. The town itself is a very small but main tourist attraction in Kotor bay. The cruise ships start to come around 9 am and brings thousands of visitors at the same time. We stayed in a beautiful apartment booked on Airbnb near the old town for less than 50$, so we could start early and avoid the crowds.
It would be best to park your car near the old town in one of the parking lots, there are a couple of paid parking lots. Follow the below Google map for their exact location.
The old town is wrapped in a medieval city wall and if you enter through the sea gate the first thing that will catch your eye is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon also known as Kotor Cathedral. There is a small fee to enter the church and a nice museum displays some interesting religious artefacts.
The old town has a number of historic buildings, winding streets and a square. It's also home to the Maritime Museum, which explores the local sea fishing history. Kotor is also famous for the unusual amount of cats wandering in the streets which are considered as a symbol of the city.
The ancient city wall around the old town which stretch 4.5 km is still in great condition and open for the tourists to walk on the wall.
Ladder of Kotor hike is probably one of the must-do things in Kotor. There are two paths, one starts from inside the old town behind the Cathedral which costs 8€ and another path which is a free and probably better way to hike is just from outside the old town near the city walls. See the above Google maps for exact location. It starts from near Apartments Anna marked on google map. The path goes zig-zag all the way up to San Giovanni Castle and Kotor Fortress offers perfect views over the old town and Adriatic see.
The hike takes less than an hour to reach the Fortress and the best time to do this hike would be in the afternoon one hour before sunset. On the way down you can take the stairs which end in the old town. I was afraid that someone might ask me for the entrance ticket as we took the free path to go up but no one asked us to show the tickets.
Two days are just enough to visit all of the above places I covered in this blog but it will be difficult to go further than Kotor. With one more day you can visit Lovcen National Park, Budva, Sveti Stefan and Lake Skadar. All of these places are close to each other.