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. It’s as if you’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. With a map in hand, you can locate the North Gate. From that point, you can start walking on the walls. This is 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. Look for the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, one of the oldest churches in Europe (12th century).
If you’re interested in ships, check out the maritime museum that is located in the middle of the city.
It’s worth the effort to trek up to the Fortress of St. John. Appropriate shoes are highly recommended for this steep terrain. You will also encounter stone stairs. The vertical ascent is approximately 1200 meters and includes well over 1000 stairs.
Those who make it to the top love the view. It would be a shame, if you didn’t bring a camera.
The Old Town has shops and restaurants on narrow streets. 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
It is highly recommended to take a cruise ship to Kotor. Sometimes cruise itineraries 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 don’t forget good hiking shoes. Water is a necessity, especially in the summer months.
THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 28, 2015. IT IS BEING REPOSTED ON THIS SITE BECAUSE THE EXAMINER SITE SHUT DOWN IN JULY, 2016. SOME PARTS OF THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND THE ORIGINAL SLIDE SHOW HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Dubrovnik—a walkable coastal town
Madeira—a year round destination
Castelo de S. Jorge: historical Lisbon castle with stunning views
Teide National Park—a lunar like adventure
Sandra Bornstein is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. It is available on Amazon.
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.
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