Kotor is another of Montenegro’s gorgeous seaside villages that offers terrific beaches, historical Old Town charm, and medieval walls housing art galleries, cafes, and great restaurants. Renting a car in Kotor allows travelers to not only easily take advantage of the sights and cultural offerings in the town itself, but also to embark on some short drives and experience the other Montenegrin towns and secluded natural places that are close by. Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and most of the important landmarks are located close together inside the Old Town. Parking is a problem in many of Montenegro’s towns, but those who stay in hotels should never have any problems. Most of the coastal towns have very small populations, so during the summer months, when hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on the coast, parking becomes extremely scarce.

St. John Fortress is an imposing structure, and rightly so, as it protected the city from pirate attacks and others bent on pillaging for centuries. This citadel’s towers, gates, and palaces are the landmark of the town, and are the most striking feature of the city. Be sure to climb the Contarini Tower and the Our Lady of Health Church for the best views of Old Town. Kotor Castle provides stunning views of the bay.

St. Tryphon Cathedral may not be the first church built in Kotor, but it is the finest still standing. The church was built in 809 AD, and was replaced by the one that stands today in 1124. The church contains many examples of Byzantine architecture and art, and much of the history of this region and town are tied up with the stories of this church.

Day Trips

Renting a car makes the many day trips easily available, and with one’s own car, touring the surrounding region and discovering the other villages and beautiful natural places nearby can be done leisurely. Part of Montenegro’s charm is the proximity of its major tourist sites, most of which can be reached in an hour or less. Here are some of the best day trips available from Kotor:

  • Church of Our Lady of the Rock: Located in the small fishing village of Perast, this gorgeous church was built on an island just off the coast. In 1452, fishermen in small boats dropped rocks into the ocean here where a small church already existed on a smaller island. This ritual has been carried out every year, and the island has grown in size, along with the church. Tourists can get to the island by paying 1 Euro for the ferry, or by hiring a private boat for 5 Euros. The drive from Kotor should take less than half an hour. Just take E/65/E80 North to get there.
  • Cetinje Monastery: Built in 1701 after the old Monastery was destroyed by Turk raiders a few years earlier, this monastery holds the hand of John the Baptist which baptized Jesus. The hand has been moved several times due to invaders, communists, and others, but currently lies on display at the monastery. The church itself is ornately decorated and contains many examples of orthodox art. The drive from Kotor should be roughly an hour.
  • Royal Court in Cetinje: The Royal palace for Montenegro’s royalty from 1871, the palace is a treasure trove of art, artifacts, and photos of the past royalty. Located very near the Monastery in Cetinje.