The Balkan beauty of an Adriatic paradise akin to Venice and then some
For many, the Bay Of Kotor doesn’t immediately invoke the same waterfront panoramas like similar destinations such as Lake Como or Capri, but that’s simply because not many travelers know about it. Nestled upon the Adriatic coast of southwestern Montenegro, this hidden gem of the Balkans is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.
A popular way to get to the bay is to fly into Tivat, a town that lies right on the Bay Of Kotor. That being said, due to the lack of flights in and out of Tivat, those flights can be hard to catch and are generally more expensive. Most travelers fly into the south Croatian town of Dubrovnik and then take the 3-hour bus ride down to Kotor. Depending on the time of year, this route can be popular with travelers touring the Adriatic coast, so we recommend buying tickets in advance.
One of the most stress-free (and luxurious) ways to see the area, though, is on a Seabourn cruise (click here to see a number of Seabourn Odyssey cruise options, from the 7-day Adriatic & Greek Glories to the unforgettable 21-day Enchanting Isles & Adriatic Gems. No matter which you choose, once you’re in the bay, you’ll likely spend your first few hours gawking at the picturesque mountains lining the pristine waters below before eagerly wondering what else this paradise has to offer.
Ask anyone who’s been to the Bay Of Kotor and they’ll say Perast should be at or near the top of your list of can’t-miss locations in the area. This small coastal village holds more history than most modern-day libraries. A quick stroll through the town and you’ll be instantly noticing the prominent lack of just about anything modern in sight. This dedication to antiquity is partly why Perast has been distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with the awe-inspiring 16 Baroque palaces and 17 Catholic churches in the small village alone, Perast features gorgeous architectural feats on the islets lying just off the coast like St. George Island and Gospa od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks).
The Old Town of Kotor is the most popular part of the bay. If you’re not spending time gently winding down the thin pedestrian-filled arteries and alleyways, you’ll surely be eating at a side-street cafe or shopping inside a popular boutique shop. This part of the bay might be more crowded than some others, but there’s plenty of history to justify the extra bustle. Visit ancient palaces, cathedrals, museums, fortresses and more. Hotel Cattaro was once a guard tower built by Napoleon. Palazzo Drusko is a 600-year-old stone house (formerly owned by Montenegrin nobility) that lies less than 500 feet away from St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, one of Old Town’s most popular sights.
Nowadays with so many Euro-travelers seeking out popular nightlife, several more picturesque locales are left for the more relaxed traveler to enjoy. One such place is Herceg Novi. This beachside town lies right off the Adriatic Sea at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor. While Herceg Novi has plenty to offer within the city limits, its kayaking benefits are what make it especially compelling for anyone traveling to the west side of Montenegro.
Related Seabourn itineraries and amenities below
Just within arm’s reach of the Bay Of Kotor is the Adriatic town of Budva. While not technically in the bay, this town provides more than enough incentive for any type of traveler to make the 45-minute bus ride. While Budva has plenty of beaches and nightlife, one of the best things to do in this Meditarreanan getaway is to immerse yourself in the wilderness by skipping the beach crowds and boating to Sveti Nikola Island. With only deer and other wildlife permanently calling it home, there’s not much going on here — except the opportunity for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
A long weekend is all you need to behold an eclectic cross-section of this vibrant city’s offerings.
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