Nestled between dark brooding mountains and the glistening waters of its namesake bay, Kotor has more than enough natural charm to make your heart skip a beat. Once an outpost of the Venetian Republic, the sweeping views are balanced out nicely with the city’s graceful Old Town. Behind its imposing city walls lies a labyrinth of cobblestone streets that hold everything from lavish palaces and churches to quaint squares dotted with quirky shops and open-air cafes. In true Adriatic fashion, it’s this patchwork of old and new that makes Kotor such as fascinating travel destination. Between its spellbinding scenery and sophisticated medieval charm, the UNESCO-protected Kotor is the undisputed jewel in Montenegro’s crown.
Where to Stay
Located in Dobrota, a charming suburb just north of the Old Town, the magnificent Forza Terra Boutique Hotel & Spa is gently tucked away within Montenegro’s Balkan beauty. Inspired by icons in the world of fashion and design, the family-owned hotel consists of 12 exclusive rooms and suites that incorporate contemporary design touches like lush textiles and bright accents. For the cherry on top, the bayside rooms have expansive balconies that allow you to really soak in the otherworldly beauty of the Bay of Kotor.
If an outdoor pool is what you’re after, you’ll find a beautiful plunge pool on the first-floor terrace, whereas an in-house spa features a sauna, Turkish bath and mosaic-tiled whirlpool bath. Elsewhere, you can sample the area’s wines at the Forza Terra Winery, which holds dozens of premium wines that will please all your senses.
Be sure to take a look through the Luxury Hotel Guide to Kotor for a complete breakdown of the top stays in the city.
Where to Eat
Gazing out onto the gleaming yacht-filled waters of the bay, Restaurant Galion is the prime choice for those craving lavish seafood with sublime coastal views. Floor-to-ceiling windows gift waterfront views and natural light to the beautiful dining space, whereas you can also sit on the breezy terrace for unobstructed views of the mountains, waters and Old Town. While fresh fish from the bay is the chef’s firm focus, you can also take your pick of tender steaks and Italian-inspired pasta dishes that mix centuries-old recipes with bold innovation. Take your pick of some of the finest regional wines to top off an unforgettable meal.
Take a peek through our Restaurant Guide to Kotor for an expanded list of fine dining establishments.
What to Do
Dating back more than a millennium, Kotor remains guarded by a well-preserved set of city walls that has helped fend off would-be invaders for centuries. Heading all the way up to St. John’s Hill and forming a protective loop, the fortification comprises 1,350 steps and extends to 260m above sea level, where you’ll be rewarded with tremendous views of the fjord and medieval buildings below. If you’re staying in Kotor, the nearby Budva Riviera and glamorous Porto Montenegro both offer something different for travelers.
Although small, the Old Town of Kotor is an open-air museum that showcases the long-lasting influence of the Greeks, Romans, Illyrians, Venetians and Austrians. Once home to workshops organized around brotherhoods and guilds, it’s one of the most well-preserved Old Towns in the Mediterranean, seemingly made for aimlessly strolling with palaces, cathedrals and churches hiding around every corner. In between the landmarks, you can enjoy one of Europe’s most intimate and romantic atmospheres with alfresco cafes, family-run restaurants and local artisan shops filling the narrow corridors.
After enjoying the charms of Kotor, there’s no better way to wind down than at the Shanti Spa. The wellness center is the perfect spot for introspection, as the facility is an oasis of calm that soothes the body, mind and spirit. More than ten traditional massages, facials and body treatments mean you will leave feeling rejuvenated from the inside-out. The spa is located in the historic town of Dobrota, which just a 10-minute drive from Kotor, and offers mesmerizing views of the Bay and its own tranquil atmosphere.
What to Pack
There’s no doubt that any trip around the Adriatic requires swimwear. Whether lounging by the pool or heading toward the sea, this Dolce & Gabbana Logo-Embroidered Bikini lends a chic minimalist bandeau shape that’s meant to maximize comfort. It’s crafted from a breathable stretch fabric to keep you feeling lightweight at all times, whereas the archival logo is a subtle touch of style. These Staud Ellie Ruched Sandals are ideal for walking through the Old Town and even any day trips to nearby hotspots. The sandals strike a nice balance between all-day comfort and on-trend style with its ruched round-toe detail.
For the men, we’re looking towards these Gucci Havana Square-Frame Sunglasses. This simple yet stylish pair is ideal for enjoying life under the Adriatic sun and remain versatile enough to pair with just about any outfit. This IWC Schaffhausen Blue Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph is a great wristwear option for the duration of your trip. Embodying a maritime heritage, the time-honored timepiece features a classic look with a number of modern tweaks. It’s water-resistant up to six bars and has an impressive 68-hour power reserve.