Kotor, Montenegro – when we say gorgeous…!
That’s really the color of the water.
Kotor is a place you don’t want to miss if you ever have the opportunity to see it. It has incredible natural beauty, combined with an Old World architecture and friendly residents. Kotor and the bay seemed to us to be a largely undiscovered jewel, well worth seeking out.
The town is located at the farthest reach of Kotor Bay, sometimes referred to as Europe's southernmost fjord (though it isn’t technically one). Fortunately or unfortunately, we temporarily forgot about that when we went to bed the night before, so we didn’t get up as soon as we would have, meaning that we got some extra sleep but missed much of the cruise through the “fjord.” At least we got to see it on the way out at the end of the day.
Along the “fjord,” mountains and cliffs come almost to the water’s edge, leaving just enough space for a road and some houses, or maybe a small village here and there. However, the scenery was no less spectacular in Kotor itself than on the ride to reach it. Kotor marries these incredible geographical features with a charming medieval, walled city.
We were able to see it with a bit of sun first thing in the morning, but it quickly turned cloudy, with intermittent light rain, which nevertheless failed to dampen our spirits in this gorgeous setting.
Pulling back on the previous shot, this puts the town into context. Perhaps you can make out a zigzag wall ascending the mountain. Climbing that wall is a popular tourist activity.
First we set out for the nearby village of Perast, catching the local Blue Line bus for the 25-minute trip there (€1 each). This gave us the opportunity to ride with the locals and interact with them a bit. They were very helpful with any questions we had.
Though a place of considerable beauty, Perast doesn't receive as many tourists as Kotor. There we had the feeling that we were really witnessing what life is like in Montenegro. It doesn’t take long to see the village, especially if not taking boats out to its two small islands. I would have preferred a little more time for Perast itself, but we limited ourselves to less than an hour so we could catch the next bus for the return to Kotor, which has much more area to cover.
Back in Kotor, one of us set out to ascend the 1350 steps up the city walls to St. John’s Fortress, which sits at a 1200-foot elevation. It affords a panoramic view of the Bay of Kotor.