Kotor is situated on bay in northern Montenegro close to the Croatian border. It reminded me of a mini Dubrovnik. The Old Town was smaller, the walls were shorter, and instead of water as far as the eye can see, there are mountains towering above the city. It’s a small place, but get outside the city and discover miles of hiking trails, breathtaking sights, and friendly locals. I went during the low season, so I missed out on some of the awesome nature-related things Kotor is known for, but I still found plenty to do in this small city.
Here’s what to do in Montenegro
Hike up to the old fort
This is about a 20 minute hike both ways, but it’s pretty much straight uphill and very steep. At the top, the views are incredible and the fort itself is still quite intact with plenty of cubbyholes to explore. There is also a really friendly cat who lives in the fort. If you sit down I guarantee she will pop up out of nowhere to sit in your lap.
About halfway up the fort, the path deviates to a long path full of switchbacks that leads up to the very top of the mountain. Follow this path for a while and if you’re lucky you’ll come across a nice old man giving out cheese to hikers. Apparently he is kind of a legend among every traveller who passes through Kotor.
Find some furry friends
You can’t go far in Kotor without spotting a cat roaming the street. These cats are happy, well-fed, and almost always looking for pets. During the high season, there is a cat museum to teach you more about the tradition of Kotor cats. It’s closed in the low season, however there is still no shortage of cats to enjoy. The best way to enjoy the cats is with a coffee in hand at one of the many cafe’s.
Explore Old Town
The Old Town is small and you can see it all within about an hour, but it’s worth just taking some time to wander. You can easily get yourself lost in the labyrinth like buildings, but the size of the city means you’re never really that lost. Walk straight ahead for a little and you’ll find your bearings again.
It’s not as big or famous as the one in Venice, but cities across Croatia and Montenegro also have Carnival celebrations. People dress up in elaborate costumes and dance the night away. Compared to other small Carnival celebrations, Kotor’s is probably still particularly small, however the people were incredible. I stumbled upon the live music stage and people dancing in the street and stood to the side, as I have no rhythm. A kind woman pulled me in, made sure I knew all the steps, and always made sure I had a partner. Even as people tripped over feet and stumbled along with the movements, everyone was smiling and laughing. In small Carnival celebrations, you don’t get lost in the crowd, you become a part of the crowd.