Kotor, a fortified town in Montenegro provides an astounding 360° view of entering the gulf as well as exiting. This my friends is one port you want to be top-deck and ready to take it all in. First mentioned in 168 BC during the Roman era, the small town was fortified during the Middle Ages. The exact time of founding is unknown.
Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval old towns on the Adriatic Sea and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As your ship enters the gulf, you become surrounded by towering mountains in a “fjord” of sorts. Unlike the fjords of Norway that were formed by glaciers, the Gulf of Kotor was formed by tectonic activity- the mountains rising up from the water.
Kotor is the administrative center of the municipality of Kotor which includes the towns of Risan and Perast – generally, it has a population of about 22,600. Perast happened to be the first stop on our excursion from the ship.
As we made our way off the ship to the tendered boat, a 5-minute ride to the dock, we then made our way to the bus that took us to Perast. Perast is a sleepy village on the Bay of Kotor about 20 to 30 minutes away. While there, we walked the streets, enjoyed some coffee, and were amazed at the number of cats. After the free time, we all boarded a boat that took us over to the island Gospa od Škrpjela; a man-made island where Our Lady of the Rocks stood with its bright blue dome shining in the mid-morning sun.
Our Lady of the Rocks
After touring the church, we boarded the bus again and made our way back to Kotor where we walked the streets of Old Town – throngs of other tourists from multiple ships joined us. Here in this town, you can visit the cathedral, and marvel at the medieval stone buildings. You’ll have lots of opportunities to buy souvenirs and again, be amazed by the numerous cats aimlessly roaming the streets. The cats have become so ubiquitous, that they’ve become a very prominent symbol of the town. It’s believed that Kotor was a busy trading post. With the ships that came to Kotor, also came cats from around the world. Many were left behind and now there’s quite the population.
If one wants, there are also steps that rise up the mountain behind Kotor that lead to a stunning view of the bay. But you should know this about three miles and hundreds of steps. Being the middle of August, this was not for me.
Kotor is a spectacular destination and port stops. Stunning scenery, interesting history, welcoming people. While it would be easy to not take an excursion and just visit Kotor, all in our party enjoyed the trip to Perast and we all felt the tour was worth the time.