Kotor is located in the Bay of Kotor. It is the best, well-preserved Medieval city in Montenegro, and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. Kotor lies at the foot of the 1 749 m high limestone mountain range, Lovćen. As one of the northernmost cities on the Adriatic coast, it has retained the form of a Medieval town typical of the 12th–14th centuries. The city includes massive 4.5 km long city walls, in some places as high as 20 m and 15 m wide.
The biggest credit for building the city fortifications goes to the Venetians, who ruled Kotor for almost four centuries. The city even managed to survive a siege for several months. You can climb the walls high above the bay and to the terraces of the original medieval castle of St John (Tvrdjava sv. Ivan). The occasionally challenging climb will take 30–40 minutes, but is well worth it! Along the way you will be treated to enchanting views. An entrance fee of EUR 3 per person is paid to get up onto the walls. The steps leading to the fortress are reached by a curving lane leading east from the Grbonja Palace. Three gates have been preserved in the fortification system, the oldest being the south gate (Vrata od Gurdića) dating back to 9th century (or earlier), the well-preserved main sea gate (Morska vrata), and the north gate.
The town of Kotor
The city was an important maritime centre of trade. The maritime tradition dates back to the 9th century, when the oldest association of sailors on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea was established here (The Brotherhood of the Seafarers of Boka Kotorská). This institution brought together the majority of sailors, built its own arsenal (shipbuilding and repair), had a large merchant shipping and military fleet, supported sailors and the families of those who had perished at sea, provided defence of the city and and ship security as well as health inspections for boats. Outside the navy, it supported the population and other trades, such as goldsmithing. A famous painting school was also established here.
The Old Town is built in a triangular layout. Along the narrow streets and in the squares of the medieval centre, you will discover many historical buildings. The town’s biggest attractions are the extensive Arms Square, the renaissance clock tower (Gradski Toranj), Liberation Square (Trg Oslobodenja) where the Pima Palace stands, the Cathedral of St Tryphon (the most famous monument in the city, housing the martyr’s remains), the Drago family palace, Gurdić's Bastion, the Bizanti Palace (14th century) and the Beskuca Palace (19th century). The churches include, St Francis Church, St Paul's Church (built in the 13th century and used as an armoury in between wars, as well as a women’s prison), St Nicholas' Church and St Luke's Church. The famous Naval Museum is also definitely worth an hour or two of your time—you can study maritime artefacts from the 15th–18th centuries, ship models, old maps and plans, parts of ships, weapons and the portraits of important sailors.
Swimming—on the Kotor Riviera you will not find the sandy beaches common to other areas of the Montenegrin coast. There are mainly pontoons, piers, pebble beaches, and artificial concrete areas. Swimming is possible at Morinj Beach (about 1 km long, sandy-pebble beach), Risan Beach (between Risan and the village of Strp ), and Bajova Kula Beach (a popular beach, 60 m long). In high season, the sea here may be polluted. Much nicer swimming can then be found around Budva instead.
This is a year-round customs port, where the port manager and customs offices can be found on the waterfront; the police are located in the city. The harbour offers mooring spaces with connections to water and electricity. The most pleasant and tranquil anchorage is near the mouth of the river, next to the harbour office. It is necessary to cast off with your bow against the current (when the current is strong, it is not possible to park here). You can also land by the main waterfront or at anchor (depth 7 m) at the end of the bay. The harbour is well sheltered. The price for a berth is approximately EUR 50 for a 46 m boat. It is also possible to anchor at the small Muo Marina. It is located on the west coast of the Gulf of Kotor, just about 1 NM from Kotor. Water and electricity are available here, too. There is a regular bus service to Kotor. Beware! The water in the harbour is potable but not of the best quality.
Kotor is a beautifully placed town at the foot of the 1 749 m high Lovčen. The ancient town enclosed between the walls is truly beautiful. The fortress towering 200 m over the harbour is also worth visiting. Take slightly better shoes, the hike up to the fort is not all that easy. At the pier, mooring lines and electricity are available. Kotor is a customs port, where you can also get customs clearance. I recommend doing your first point of entry clearance after arriving in Montenegro at Kotor and exit at Zelenice.