Have you heard about the beautiful country Montenegro? Have you visited it? Have you admired tall dark mountains, thick green forests, blue clear water and the ancient city Kotor? If not keep reading this article after which you will add Kotor to your bucket list.
You can stay anywhere you want in Montenegro; all the cities have something to offer, but you absolutely must visit Kotor and spend there at least one full day. So here we go, I made you a plan for a perfect day trip to Kotor that you won’t forget.
If you are staying in Kotor overnight, good for you. But if you are planning to have a day trip to Kotor from somewhere else (in our case it was Budva) it is better to arrive early. For example, we left Budva at 9 AM and arrived to Kotor (by taxi) at around 9:30 AM which was the perfect time. The old town wasn’t full of cruise people yet and everything was already open.
Take a good look around before going inside the city walls, the whole place looks very impressive, especially the long protective wall that goes up the mountain. This wall is the second largest after the Great Wall of China.
To get inside the old town you can go through one of three gates. Kotor is an old city that survived more than a few wars, earthquakes and fires, but despite all of that it continues to look incredible.
The first thing that everyone notices is that the tiles inside the city walls are super slippery and look like they were polished. No wonders there, although Montenegro is very young country (2006), Kotor is a very old city that was founded sometime in the 5th century BC. So, these tiles were polished by Greeks, Romans, Italians, Bulgarians, Serbs and of course, Montenegrins.
The second thing everyone notices is that the city reminds you a lot of Venice, especially the main square with a clock tower. That’s right, Kotor was under Venetian rule for more than 400 years and Italy had a big influence on this region, including the architecture.
Knowing all these facts let’s start our perfect day with a good coffee and a pastry (≈$4) to have some energy. Take a walk through the thin streets and get lost in the beginning, don’t follow the map, just enjoy yourself. On your way you probably will stumble by the Kotor Cathedral, have a look inside if it’s open, although the façade is more impressive.
If you are lucky you will get to the thinnest street in the world. It is called “Ulica – Pusti me proc” which means “street – let me pass”. Although I would say that this street is the narrowest and the shortest street in the world.
You need just two hours to see Kotor’s old town and then what to do next? Of course, after a nice walk let’s get a refreshment, especially because at noon tourists from cruises are coming in big groups and the city becomes really crowded. Get yourself in a cozy café under the large umbrellas, order a glass of something cold and a plate of something tasty.
After a tasty but not too filling lunch let’s keep going and start with our second part of the day – Trip to the Blue Lagoon (Blue Cave).
How to get to Blue Cave: by a small speed boat.
Where to buy tickets: online or across Kotor’s old town (at the harbour) there are people with signs “Blue Cave Boat Tours” that offer tours for the same day. That is actually what we did, we went to one of stands, asked the price and the time, and booked a tour at 3 PM. The boats leave every three hours (at 9AM, 12PM, 3PM).
You also can rent a private boat for just your group, but it will of course cost more.
How much does the boat tour cost: It can be anywhere from $20 to $35 and depends on the season along with your abilities to negotiate (we paid $25 per person)
How long does the boat tour last: they say 3 hours, but our tour was more than 3,5 hours. Perhaps because it was the last boat tour for the day.
How many people in the boat: we had 7 people, including us four. Depending on the season you go, there can be more tourists.
The speed boat tour to the Blue lagoon is a must do thing in Kotor. The boat takes you to amazing locations that are not reachable in any other way.
First stop is island “Gospa od Skrpjela”. It is a man-made island that has a beautiful legend of why it was created. People say that this island used to be a reef and many, many years ago two brothers were sailing past this reef and found a picture (icon) of Saint Maria, who had cured one of the brothers. After that locals decided to make an island and a church on that location. Nowadays, the church is open for tourists, but you need to pay to get inside.
The other island that you will pass but not stop at is Saint George island. Unlike the previous island, Saint George is a natural small island that has a 12th century monastery of Saint George Benedictine on it. The island also contains an old graveyard for the old nobility from the whole bay of Kotor.
The next small island that you will see but not stop at as well is Mamula island with Fortin de Lastavica on it. It is an isolated and uninhabited island. The fort was built in 1853 by an Austro-Hungarian general and meant to protect the area around. During World War II, Italy turned this fort to a concentration camp. This camp was known for its cruelty and tortures. There are some talks that this fort will be changed into a luxury hotel, although I wouldn’t hope for a lot of visitors. The fort looks impressive but when you look at it you can feel that there is something deeply wrong with this place. But maybe it is because I knew the story of this place before I saw it.
And finally, after an hour and a half on the speed boat you will reach the Blue cave. The entrance looks so tiny, I don’t know how the boat was able to fit in there. The cave inside is huge and can fit more than two boats, although we got lucky and the second boat that was there left as soon as we came. This is a great experience that I will never forget, even thinking about this makes me want to buy tickets to Montenegro right away and visit this cave again. The water in the cave has a deep blue colour and it looks like there are thousands of torches on the bottom. It has something to do with the sun that reflects under a certain angle.
You can and should swim in the cave. Just enjoy yourself, jump from the boat, and swim around. You’ll see how other people’s bodies turn blue in this water and that the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the cave. We spent around 30 minutes there (remember I talked about a 3.5 hour trip… that is probably because we spent that extra half an hour inside the cave swimming). The water is cool but not to cold and it is comfortable to swim for a while.
On the way back we stopped at small city called Perast for a quick walk and look around and then the speed boat took us back to Kotor.
At 7 PM Kotor old town is empty of cruise people and those that are left are just locals and a few tourists who are staying overnight. It’s the perfect time to get dinner in one of the most romantic cities of Montenegro. We chose a cute restaurant with Italian cuisine and enjoyed a quite evening in the company of good wine and amazing risotto.
Coffee and pastry – $4
Lunch and drink -$15
Blue lagoon boat tour -$25
Dinner – $15
Taxi Budva – Kotor $20 (each way).