8 October 2019

Kotor Old Town, Montenegro



My Balkan trip started in Crna Gora; sitting on the Adriatic Sea with Mediterranean energy, it is often called Europe's most southernmost fjord.

I was super excited to start my journey in the land of mountains. Half of it is covered in thick forest, hence the name: Monte (mountain), negro (black).

Kotor is protected from the east by 20m hight fortification walls  ‘bulwarks’, from the west by the sea, from the North by the river Škurda and from the south by the underwater spring Gurdić. Wedged between mountains and a moody corner of the bay, beautiful Kotor was the perfect first stop of my Balkan trip.



According to Lonely Planet, Budva’s got the beaches, and nearby Dubrovnik’s got the bling, but for romance, ambiance, and history, this Old Town outflanks them all. So I had high hopes for Kotor, literally.
Climbing to the Castle of San Giovanni is probably the top thing to do in Kotor, promising the chance to get off-the-beaten-path and dramatic vistas: rugged, wild and utterly breathtaking. 

I set off at sunrise to avoid the crowds and heat, without a soul in sight.
Except for this one.
The higher you go, the more spectacular the views get but first, you need to face the 1,500-step staircase. 

Our Lady of Health Church, built in 1221 is located halfway up St. John’s Hill.
Living life on the edge.
Within an area shaped like a triangle, the famous Old Town of Kotor, a labyrinth of streets created by Roman urban architecture. 
Tip: If you are visiting in summer, definitely go at sunrise before the sun rises higher in the sky.  And go before 8 am and you won’t be charged to enter. You are welcome.

The focal point of the town is the Clock Tower at the main gate, dating back to the 16th century. From here,  four streets lead into the Old Kotor, which is a medieval maze of narrow alleyways, churches, charming squares, museums and wonderful cafes, a place where the past coexists with the present. Walking through this UNESCO-protected town, you can find an overview of Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Even ordinary residential houses carry traces of past eras with baroque windows, walls decorated with arches, lions, and dragons.
Cathedral of St. Tryphon,  is one of two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro. Upstairs is a Sacral Art Museum, filled with ornaments, paintings, and a wooden crucifix dating from 1288. Behind the grill in the chapel are assorted body parts of saints, including St Tryphon himself. 
Pima Palace located on the Flour Square catches your eye as soon as you enter the square with its green Venetian windows.
Every building tells a story.  
The best thing to do is to get blissfully lost and wander around narrow streets (with an ice cream in your hand) - my favorite thing to do when visiting a new place. 
I stayed in a little apartment right on Pjaca od Salate (Salad Square), the largest square in town, from where streets lead into the urban maze of the old town. Here, you’ll find two local restaurants, a coffee shop, a couple of souvenir shops and a mini-market.  Live music plays here all day into night, creating a magical atmosphere while enjoying your alfresco lunch. Or dinner. 
I can recommend the seafood restaurant Scala Santa. Despite being a vegetarian, I had a very delicious bowl of pasta.
Cats are everywhere in Kotor, and I mean EVERYWHERE. There is even a cat museum!

I visited in August and it was jammed with people. Thankfully, the cruise ships sail away later in the afternoon and the Old Town gets somewhat spacious again.
Sitting at the lapping shore of Boka Kotorska, enjoying a glass of vino and taking it all in, I would never forget this amazing place.
Last Montenegro evening and nature's farewell kiss for the night. The Bay of Kotor was more magical than I ever could have imagined.
With so many incredible places to visit in Montenegro, I have to pay this gem of a country another visit soon.

Next: Cruising around the Bay of Kotor.




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2 comments

  1. Anonymous9.10.19

    Kotor is so beautiful! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly is, you should visit :)

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