Travel to Kotor's hideouts text in pink over image of Perast town as seen from the waters of Boka Bay

Travel to Kotor Bay: breathtaking views and tranquil hideouts

After visiting Budva, one of Montenegro’s most popular cities, we continued to travel to Kotor Bay. We made our way to Lovcen National Park, to Njegos Mausoleum, where, besides an amazing construction, we found some amazing views over Kotor Bay.

view over Kotor Bay watersand surrounding mountains full of trees, from the Lovcen National Park

Travel to Kotor Bay and stop in Lovcen National Park

The National Park is located on the rocky side of the Dinara Alps and it takes its name from Mount Lovcen. The mountain rises quite steeply from the edge of the Adriatic Basin, closing the bays of Boka Kotorska.

Mount Lovcen is a symbol of Montenegro, and it’s considered sacred ground. The anthem of Montenegro says Lovcen is our Holy Altar.

As you cross the Lovcen National Park, you will discover stunning sights over the surrounding mountains, but also over Kotor Bay.

Njegoš Mausoleum on Mount Lovćen

In the Lovcen National Park, you can visit the tomb of the poet, philosopher, prince-bishop and statesman Petar II Petrovic Njegoš. Born in Njeguši, a village at the base of Mount Lovcen, he was the one who turned it into a symbol of national identity. After his death, Njegoš was buried in a mausoleum on the top of Mount Lovcen.

stop in lovcen national park for njegos mausoleum text over collage with images from njegos mausoleum: stairs leading to mausoleum, a statue of Njegos, the view from the top

Njegos Mausoleum is the highest in Europe. After climbing the 461 stairs which take the guests from the parking lot to the Mausoleum and the summit of Mount Lovcen, one finds themselves at 1,749 m above sea level.

A path at the rear side of the building leads to a vantage point over Kotor Bay. It is said that the view from here made George Bernard Shaw exclaim in amazement: Am I in paradise or on the moon?!

Kotor Old Town

You just can’t travel to Kotor Bay and not stop to see Kotor’s Old Town!

We entered the town of Kotor through the gate of the Gurdic Bastion and made our way on the narrow, charming, cobblestone streets to St. Luke’s Church and Svetog Tripuna Cathedral. After visiting, we had lunch in the square just outside the latter, at Pizzeria Sara.

St. Luke's Church with a wall to take photos with and Svetog Tripuna Cathedral, in Kotor Old Town, Montenegro

I know, the rule of thumb is to never eat next to the tourist attractions, but it was very hot outside, we had walked a lot and we just wanted to sit down, rest, eat and drink something cold. The food was ok, and we had a nice view of Kotor’s Cathedral while we enjoyed our lunch

the charming streets of Kotor Old Town text over collage with images of details from the streets of Kotor: a stand like a boat, a water fountain, an ironing press next to a ceramic frog, flags between buildings

Pressed by time, we couldn’t afford to delay the climb to Kotor’s castle anymore. So… at 3 pm, when the stones were burning from the heat, we started going up the stairs.

3.155 steps to the Castle Of San Giovanni

It was a long way to reach the top, but I think it seemed very tiring mostly because of the heat. Otherwise, the steps are built to be quite comfortable during the climb and most of them are in good shape.

About halfway up, you can stop and the Roman-Catholic Church of Our Lady of Remedy.

stairs to the Castle of San Giovanni, Kotor's Fortress, and the Church of Our Lady of Remedy

The views of the Old Town and Kotor Bay are stunning, but you don’t really need to go all the way up to be amazed. I went to the top because I was curious about what was on the other side and was utterly disappointed: yellowish grass, some rocks and… lots of goats. And that was it.

panorama from San Giovnni Castle over the waters with boats in Kotor Bay, Kotor Old Town, and the surrounding mountains

I strongly suggest you get some water with you from town before you start climbing the stairs. You will be able to buy water along the way because there are a lot of locals selling it, but the closer you get to the top of the stair, the steeper the price you have to pay. In my opinion, it’s a waste of money, as you can simply refill your own bottle from one of Kotor’s many fountains for free before this hike.

Quirky stuff to see when you travel to Kotor Bay

Despite multiple Google searches, I was unable to find the reasons behind two of the most photographed exhibits of Kotor: the tree with eyes, staring at you as you enter the city through the Gurdic Bastion, and the red-haired doll fishing off the walls of the Old Town.

 Tree with eyes and Red-haired doll fishing in Kotor Old Town, Montenegro

If you happen to know anything, please, please drop me a line!

Perast, Montenegro, as seen from Boka Bay, with a motor boat in the foreground

A night in small, tranquil Perast

After visiting the Old Town of Kotor, we found ourselves in the evening looking for accommodation in Perast. It was lucky we found two rooms because the town is more or less just a street, with buildings on one side and Kotor Bay on the other.

After checking in, we had a small bite to eat and then I joined Ana and Tim on their terrace, to have a drink and chat a bit before getting a good night’s sleep.

Next day, after breakfast, but before checking out, all three of us went for a swim. We just crossed the street and jumped into the water!

While in Perast, don’t skip a  boat ride to visit St. George (Sveti Juraj /Sveti Đorđi) and Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjel), the churches built on one of the small islands one can gaze at from Perast.

Perast paints a very different picture during the day. From a tranquil town, it transforms into a wasps’ nest as it gets overcrowded by tourists travelling by bus, in large numbers. That is why we were quite quick to depart to Croatia.

Have you been to Kotor Bay yet?

Do you think the view from the Castle of San Giovanni was worth the climb?

What did you like best?

Quick guide on Montenegro’s seaside – Part 2 of 2

Go back to Part 1 and get on the Budva boat ride.

What to see when you travel to Kotor Bay

Got some other suggestions? Let’s get in touch!

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Travel to Kotor Bay on a tour

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Travel to Kotor Bay and go visit Njegos Mausoleum in Lovcen National Park, the highest mausoleum in Europe. Then, explore Kotor Old Town and climb the 3,155 steps to San Giovanni Castle. In the evening, relax in tranquil Perast, while admiring the view of the two churches built on the small nearby islands. #Kotor #KotorBay #OldTown #Castle #Perast #Mausoleum #Lovcen #NationalPark #travel #TravelBunny

14 thoughts on “Travel to Kotor Bay: breathtaking views and tranquil hideouts

  1. lacartevintage says:

    Wow! I’ve never been to Montenegro but it seems like a beautiful country. The only countries of the Balkans I’ve visited are Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia and I loved them. Hope in the future I can visit Albania, Romania, and Montenegro. Your photos made me more eager 🙂

  2. Malini says:

    Wow. I’ve never been to Montenegro but it’s on the list. Love all these photos and especially the San Giovanni castle and the surrounding views. So gorgeous. Can’t wait to visit!

  3. Medha Verma says:

    Oh my, this post has made me sad! I was supposed to visit Montenegro this fall and I had almost planned my itinerary, including Kotor in it too of course but just as I was going to book my tickets, the prices shot up and I could not! Kotor is so stunning and I was really looking forward to visiting Roman-Catholic Church of Our Lady of Remedy and enjoy those spectacular views. Such a pity, I have been reminded of what I missed. I will make it there next year for sure.

  4. Suman Doogar says:

    I never heard of this place before but now I have added it to my bucket list. Reading about all these new places gives me travel goals. Thank you for sharing.

    And you actually counted the stairs? ?

  5. Tony says:

    The Montenegro coast is really lovely. I stayed for a few days in Ulcinj and a few days in Budva. Unfortunately, although I read about Kotor and how it was probably the nicest place in MN, I didn’t get the chance to visit it.

    The contrast between the towns on the coast and the towns inland is huge. For example, I loved Ulcinj…. but the capital city Podgorica….. well…. let’s just say, it was a no from me. Did you visit Podgorica?

  6. Followingtherivera says:

    I love Kotor Bay, and still can remember the blues of the water shining in the sun. 461 steps is a long way to climb at the mausoleum! I’ll be sure to take your advice and bring some water with me. Montenegro and Kotor is stunning; would love to return one day.

  7. Suma says:

    I haven’t been to Kotor , but reading your post I would love to explore this little town. The tree with the eyes looks weird, but I’m sure there is an interesting story behind it. Thanks for the share.

  8. Juliette S says:

    I get the feeling I need to have very strong thighs in order to climb all these steps to these amazing places! 461 stairs – sounds like a huge effort but definitely worth it for the view! What a gorgeous place to visit (and strengthen the glutes ha ha!)

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