Bay of Kotor Travel Guide

There’s something special about Montenegro’s fjord-like Bay of Kotor, which offers serious wow factor without a huge price tag.

The Bay of Kotor is a popular port for cruise ships but it’s also a great destination for a weekend break. With Tivat Airport just a 15-minute drive away, you can go from plane to bay in next to no time; enjoying Kotor’s charming old town and picturesque villages like Perast all to yourselves once the ships have sailed.

Perast, Bay of Kotor
Islands in the Bay of Kotor

We visited Montenegro as a family in April 2023 and were completely charmed by the experience. If you’re planning a trip to Kotor, here’s everything you need to know for a fairly cheap but chic weekend in one of Europe’s most underrated destinations.

Disclosure: Our trip was self funded. This post contains some affiliate links.

2-day itinerary for exploring the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

View of Kotor from the city walls

Day 1 – Kotor & Perast

We begun our weekend by exploring the biscuit-coloured cobbled streets of Kotor Old Town and climbing the ancient Kotor City Walls to soak up the views.

There are several entrances to the city walls but we found the easiest place to start is at the staircase found to the left of the Moritz Eis gelato store on Pjaca Od Salate. (There are 2 Moritz Eis stores in Kotor so make sure you’re at the right one!)

Most people hike up to St John Fortress, a 2.5 km return hike, but as we had a toddler in tow we only went as far as the Church of Our Lady Remedy, which is about 1/3 of the way up.

The views of Kotor’s red roofs and the magnificent mountain-backed bay were sensational even from here though.

Update: In March 2024 I returned to Kotor on a cruise ship (it was one of the most incredible sail ins I’ve ever seen) and decided to tackle the hike to St John Fortress seeing as I was childfree. It took me between 90 mins and 2 hours to hike there and back, but I did stop for lots of pictures along the way! There are stairs all the way to the top so it’s not a treacherous climb and the views from the top were jaw-dropping. I was surprised at how much disrepair the fortress was in, especially as we had to pay 15 euros to hike up to it. (Card payment is accepted.) It’s also worth noting there are no toilets or facilities along this hike, although there was a lady with a cool box selling cold drinks at the top.

View of Kotor from St John Fortress
View of Kotor from St John Fortress

After the hike we headed to Konoba Scala Santa for a traditional lunch in one of Kotor’s cat-filled squares.

Kotor has so many cats they’ve become a symbol of the town and there’s even a quirky little Cat Museum in a former Orthodox monastery that raises funds to feed them.

Konoba Scala Santa is right next door to Moritz Eis, the best place to grab gelato in Montenegro, so naturally we headed there for dessert afterwards.

From Kotor’s waterfront it’s easy to join a boat tour departing every 2 hours or drive 15 minutes around the bay to the picture-book fishing village of Perast.

Perast is known its 2 island churches found just off shore but it also happens to be one of the most picturesque places in Montenegro.

As we had hired a car for the weekend we drove to Perast and hopped in a taxi boat (arranged by the man running the car park) to explore Our Lady Of The Rocks at our own speed.

Afterwards we stopped at a waterfront cafe for a taste of Perast Cake, a crumbling almond cake with a story that dates back to the 17th century.

A great place further around the bay for drinks, dinner and sun bathing (depending on the time of year you visit) is Bocasa Beach & Restaurant.

We drove from Perast to Bocasa for beautiful views of the Bay of Kotor alongside delicious wood-fired pizzas. We had a great meal and could easily imagine how cool it would be to spend a whole day here in summer.

More great options for waterfront dining on the Bay of Kotor are:

Verige 65 (offer taxi boat transfers from Kotor)

Mudra Art Cuisine (seasonal fine dining venue at Huma Hotel)

Konoba Vila Marija (relaxed local taverna in Prcanj)

Day 2 – Budva & Porto Montenegro

Przno Beach near Budva, Montenegro

We found car hire really reasonable in Montenegro and were glad to have a car for our whole trip in order to explore a little further afield.

On our second day, we drove approx. 40 minutes from Kotor to check out the viewpoint of Sveti Stefan, a unique luxury island resort that is one of the most photographed parts of the Montenegrin coast. It’s not currently open to the public so after the viewpoint we headed down to pretty little Przno Beach for a walk instead.

Przno Beach Montenegro

One of the more popular beach resorts in Montenegro is Budva, which has an intriguing maze-like old town jutting out into the ocean. We enjoyed wandering the old streets and stopping for coffee and people watching at Casper Bar & Coffee Roastery.

Budva Montenegro

But the best way to appreciate Budva’s unique landscape is from Vista Vidikovac, a cool restaurant with a jaw-dropping view. (Reservations recommended.)

After a delightful lunch of pasta and local beer at Vista Vidikovac we drove back to Kotor and enjoyed some time relaxing on the private jetty of our incredible Airbnb. (More on that later.)

For dinner we booked a local taxi and headed to uber chic marina, Porto Montenegro. I didn’t know what to expect of this place but I certainly didn’t imagine we’d find anywhere as fancy as this in Montenegro based on our experiences up until this point.

We dined at Forza which had incredible sunset views and a boujee atmosphere but the service was a little lacking considering the prices. Afterwards we went for dessert at the Regent Hotel which more than made up for it!

Where to stay on the Bay of Kotor

Our weekend in Montenegro was made all the more special by staying in a stone house by the sea in Muo. Offering incredible views of the Bay of Kotor from all 3 floors, Kucica Muo is the best place to stay in Kotor if you want to feel like a local.

Just a 5-minute drive from Kotor Old Town, this family-friendly Airbnb is a 3-storey, 2-bedroom stone house with waterfront views from the living room balcony, ground floor kitchen and private jetty.

It’s a really well-equipped home with the host going above and beyond to make you feel welcomed. We arrived to a huge basket of fruit, local beer, wine and cheese, plus handy little extras like beach towels in case we wanted to go for a swim. (Spoiler: we didn’t as the water was way too cold in April!)

The house comes with private parking and there are a handful of family-run restaurants, bakeries & mini markets a short distance away in Prcanj and Muo.

Read more about our favourite Airbnbs in Europe

More great places we shortlisted to stay in Kotor are:

18th century stone villa – close to where we stayed with equally stunning views

Porta Del Mare – modern apartments with captivating bay views through floor to ceiling windows

Bonintro Lux Apartment – spacious apartment with sea view balcony

Boutique Hotel Casa del Mare – small boutique hotel with pool and spa

Palazzo Sbutega – boutique hotel in historic stone building with small stylish pool

Hotel Splendido – grand hotel with large pool and private beach

How to get to Kotor

We flew from London Gatwick to Tivat with Easyjet. Find cheap flights on Expedia.

We hired a car through Discover Cars and it cost approx 19 euros per day.

Top tips for visiting Montenegro

  • Visitors to Montenegro need to pay a small tourist tax equivalent to approx. 1 euro per person per night (it varies by town) within 24 hours of their arrival. Hotels will likely add it to your bill but if you’re staying in a private apartment or Airbnb you’ll need to register yourself at a tourist office and pay the fee in cash. Bring your passports with you as they need to see these too. 
  • ATMs in Kotor have really high transaction fees (I’m talking 5 Euro fees to take out 20 Euros!) so I recommend exchanging currency before you arrive in Montenegro. Some restaurants and all car parks are cash only.
  • We found it pretty easy to drive between Tivat, Kotor, Perast & Budva. We booked taxis for nights out via WhatsApp using a company our Airbnb recommended. Have small change handy for car parks – we paid approx 80 cents for half a day in Kotor & Budva. 
  • Contact Taxi Boat 65 for private boat tours of Kotor Bay. They also provide taxi boat transfers from your accommodation to waterfront restaurants like Verige65 & Bocasa Beach. 

Read next:

Our best ever Airbnb stays

Travel guide for Split, Croatia

Puglia travel guide

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

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