I’m not sure where to start with Kotor – which is probably why it’s taken so long for me to write this post!
Montenegro was the main reason I went on this trip. Photos of Kotor have captured my attention for a few years, and I was determined to get there before tourism blew up on the scale of Croatia, particularly given its proximity to Dubrovnik. Originally, I had planned to spend at least two or three days there, so when I booked the Travel Talk tour, I was worried that we wouldn’t be given enough time in the city.
I had one thing on my list: walk up the city walls to one of the best panoramic viewpoints I’ve ever seen in my life. As long as we had time to do that, I’d be happy.
And we did – just. It wasn’t ideal, and I would have been happier with at least another hour or two there to soak up the atmosphere of the old town, but the city itself is tiny (the old town is much smaller than Dubrovnik’s) and we enjoyed a walking tour of most of the streets before we had time to ourselves.
So while it was the perfect introduction to the town, I would love to go back and explore more, especially as I saw virtually nothing outside of the old town.
We hadn’t even arrived in Kotor before I was struck by Montenegro’s beauty, though. In fact, our first view from above Kotor Bay was absolutely stunning too.
“Why do you pose with your back to the camera?” someone asked me on the bus, having clearly never been on Instagram.
“Because,” I said, gesturing towards the other photo where I did in fact pose face on, as if no explanation was needed.
I suppose I look alright, actually. But at the time, I thought it would be safer to get an epic pose from the back in case I looked like an idiot like I often do!
We continued our journey down into the bay, the views over the water ever prettier as we trundled along.
And then we arrived in Kotor, and it felt like we were about to enter a fairytale.
Our walking tour was short, being that the old town is tiny.
But having only ever seen photos of the water, the beach (which I also didn’t have time to see!) and the views above the town, I had no idea what to expect from the architecture and atmosphere in the town itself, so I was amazed to find that it was incredibly pretty.
Of course, the mountains helped even more. It was like a smaller, quieter Dubrovnik with far more epic scenery. I loved it instantly.
I wish I had more time to photograph the town, but I was on a mission to see the place from higher up. Thankfully, a couple from the tour were also keen to get up to the viewpoint too, so they joined me on my quest.
I had read about the free way to get up the city walls, but as we were short on time, after a quick look for a detour, we found ourselves on the path to the official entrance. We quickly resigned ourselves to paying – after all, I don’t mind the proceeds going to preserving this place, and it was nowhere near as expensive as walking the walls in Dubrovnik (Kotor is 8€, which has increased from 3€ so a pretty steep hike… for a steep hike!!).
It took around 10 minutes to reach the first landmark, the Church Of Our Lady Of Remedy, with its already stunning view over the bay.
At this point, it felt like we were already half way up – let me assure you that you are not!
I think it took us around 45 minutes to reach the top of the 1,300 steps (not all of it is steps – I found it easier to switch to the cobbled path alongside them sometimes), but that was with a lot of stops for photos.
And for good measure, here’s one of me front on. Just to prove that, you know, it does happen.
It’s easy to forget that there are plenty of other views on the climb up – the views of the mountains right next to us were resplendent with textures and almost looked like paintings!
It’s a tough hike in the Mediterranean heat, especially on a day like this where there was no respite from the sun and it was our hottest day on the tour so far. But as a hike, it’s pretty easy, and it took us about an hour and a half including all the stopping and ooh-ing and ahh-ing.
On the way down, we passed several of our tour running up there after lunch; something I feel like they may have regretted!!
That said, we had forgone our own lunch for it, so we found ourselves pretty hungry and ducked into a café for a helping of chips to tide us over. Again, I found myself wanting longer in the town so that I could enjoy the local cuisine rather than a quick plate of chips.
It was the first time on the tour that I’d really felt rushed, and of course it was in the one place that was virtually at the top of my bucket list.
We stayed that night in nearby Budva, but the walking tour we were supposed to have there didn’t happen, and we spent the rest of the evening on the beach before heading out for dinner. In fairness, some relaxation on a beach was exactly what we all needed, even if I would rather have spent the time in Kotor.
We also made a quick pit stop overlooking Sveti Stefan, the exclusive resort island that I was keen to see. It would be nice to stay there one day, but I’ll probably have to resign myself to the fact that will never happen!
So, hand on heart, I will be back. I want to experience more of Montenegro, including its national parks, mountains and more of Kotor Bay.
But this was a great introduction to the country, and has only made me excited for next time!
Like this post? Pin it to read later!