Kotor is the perfect base from which to explore the country of Montenegro and the wider Balkan region. Spending at least two or three days in Kotor gives you enough time to soak up the stunning scenery – Boka Bay and its surrounding mountains – and immerse yourself in the architectural and historic treasures of the Old Town. Of course, the more days you have at your disposal the better because this destination is suited for slow travel.
Imagine getting lost down a maze of medieval cobblestone streets, whiling afternoons away at a cafe in a charming square, and sightseeing around marvelous churches and palaces. Boarding a boat and heading out onto the water to discover the swimming spots, Blue Cave, islets, ports and fishing villages fills your days up even more. Then come nightfall, Kotor is buzzing with bars and live music to take your vacation to the next level.
That being said, two or three days in Kotor can pass you by if you don’t make a plan. That is why we suggest contacting 360 Monte who can help you experience this slice of Montenegrin paradise in the best way possible. They are based in Kotor and offer fantastic day trips that are ideal for a 48 or 72 hour stay. Below we outline their Kotor tours, as well as provide an overview of how to spend your time so you don’t miss anything special.
How to Spend Two or Three Days in Kotor
Day 1: Explore the Old Town by Foot
Before we dive into this guide on how to spend two or three days in Kotor, it’s important to book your accommodation. This town is home to 13,000 people and hence there are a limited number of accommodation providers. Staying in the Old Town is a unique opportunity, however rooms tend to get snapped up quickly. For this reason, you might want to search for spots along the Bay of Kotor to enjoy more availability and lovely sea views.
Once your hotel has been reserved, the next step is to start fleshing out an itinerary. You don’t want it to be too rigid, since part of the joy of traveling are those spontaneous moments you stumble upon by staying flexible and open. On your first morning, walk around the Kotor Old Town and look for a nice cafe or bakery for some breakfast. From a typical local bakery you can buy delicious pita pastries – both the sweet and savory kind.
As you enter the Old Town through one of its gates (River Gate, South Gate or Sea Gate), it’s not uncommon to see cats roaming the streets. These friendly felines have been part of Kotor’s history for years and add character to the vibe. Don’t be afraid to pat them down the alleys or when hanging out at a restaurant. Two of the top icons in the Old Town that you should see first are the Main Square (Trg od Oruzja) and Clock Tower.
From there, follow your nose in whichever direction you please and who knows what incredible site you will come across. Because Stari Grad is small, it’s impossible to get lost in the literal sense. You are never too far away from an attraction which will immediately give you your bearings. The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon is one such attraction that you need to check out at least once. It’s regarded as Kotor’s most impressive building.
After exploring for two to three hours, you would have worked off that pita pastry and be due for a decent sit-down lunch. The options are endless for this meal but do some prior research on blogs or Tripadvisor to select only the best. You don’t want one meal to go to waste if you only have two or three days in Kotor. Give yourself enough time for your dish to digest properly and then embark on one of the highlights of Kotor: the Fortress.
Kotor Fortress (San Giovanni) is perched above the town and the views on offer are nothing short of spectacular. Yet, it does require a bit of walking – over 1,300 steps to be exact. While sunset is a gorgeous time to soak up the vistas, it may be preferable to go in the afternoon when there are less tourists competing for space. Just make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and your camera gear to snap up some remarkable photos.
This activity will take a good few hours, so afterwards you might want to head back to your hotel for a shower (you will be sweaty from the walk to the Fortress) and to relax a bit. Dress up nice for the evening as you search for a place to have dinner. The most alluring restaurants are to be found in the small squares and lanes of the Old Town – many have outdoor seating and the menus revolve around seafood as the city is close to the sea.
The dining experience is enhanced when you find a gelato stall and a wine bar to cap off the night. If you are still feeling peckish, order a cheese platter to pair with your wine. For beer lovers, there are several bars which pour Montenegro’s main brew: Niksicko. Both these alcohols will go down a treat after a day that involved a lot of sightseeing and walking uphill. Get your eight hours of sleep because the next day is full of adventure.
Day 2: Kotor Cruise with 360 Monte
The Kotor Cruise with 360 Monte is an eight hour affair – from 9am to 5pm – so you need to block out a full day for it. Although the Old Town is full of charm, the highlight of Kotor is definitely the cruise. The trip with 360 Monte starts with a welcome champagne and sailing along the bay. Within 30 minutes, guests pass by the town of Perast and two other islands called Our Lady of the Rocks (visited on the way back) and St. George.
At 9:50am it’s time for a swim in the crystal-clear waters near Bijela. This cools you down nicely as the temperature only increases throughout the day. As you continue sailing towards the mouth of the bay, in the distance you can spot Tivat and Herceg Novi. At 10:40am you cruise around the former prison island of Mamula. You can’t enter due to restrictions, but passing by is still worthwhile as the guide onboard tells stories of its history.
11am brings about the high point of the tour: the Blue Cave. The extraordinary light that penetrates through creates a visual spectacle. Gear for snorkeling is provided (lifejackets included) and you can swim from the boat to the cave to get a closer look. Bring your waterproof GoPro to take unique images with your friends. The next stop is the Yugoslavian tunnels where the former Yugoslovian navy kept torpedoes and submarines.
Lunch is served at Porto Montenegro where you disembark and enjoy free time. This town is bursting with luxury. Leaving Porto Montenegro at 3:30pm, there will be just enough time to check out the island named Our Lady of the Rocks on the journey back. The history of this islet dates back to 1452 when local seamen found an icon of Mary on the rocks. It took hundreds of years to build the isle and church which you can see today.
Located right by Our Lady of the Rocks is another island (natural, not man-made). It’s called St. George and it boasts a church that was built in the 9th century. Entrance is not permitted since there are still monks living there. The Kotor Cruise with 360 Monte finishes with a glorious sunset out on the water and the chance to cruise past more beautiful old villages: Donji Stoliv, Prcanj and Muo. All in all, it’s a cruise that the whole family can enjoy.
Day 3: More Sightseeing Back in Kotor
If you have three days in Kotor as opposed to two, you will be able to do some extra sightseeing. This allows you to uncover the top hidden gems dotted around town. A suggested plan for your third day could involve the following: breakfast in the Old Town, visiting other churches like the Church of St. Nicholas, seeing more of the Old City walls and bastions, and shopping at the Farmers Market (open from 7am to 1pm), before lunch.
Again, lunch is best served in the Old Town. Then you might be interested in the Cats Museum or Maritime Museum, beach hopping or kayaking on the bay before dinner. Travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing things to do in Kotor. The first two days mentioned above are absolute must-dos, but a third day gives you more time to discover a different side to this famous Montenegrin city that you never knew existed.