Port of Kotor, Montenegro: The Complete Guide

Discover all you need to know about the port of Kotor, Montenegro, including how to get to the town, the best things to do and more frequently asked questions.

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Bay of Kotor Fortress DepositThe port of Kotor and Kotor old town. Image: Deposit Photos

Cruising into Kotor, Montenegro is a fantastic way to see the Bay of Kotor. Kotor lies at the very heart of the Bay of Kotor, one of the world’s most beautiful bays. It takes around an hour to sail from the entrance to the bay to Kotor and this is one of the highlights of visiting Kotor on a cruise.

The scenery as you sail through the bay is stunning. You’ll see sheer mountains rising up on either side of the bay, island churches and seaside hamlets of traditional stone houses lining the shore.

Once you get to Kotor port, Montenegro, there’s a wide range of things to see and do there. Explore the old town’s ancient alleys, take a fun boat trip, challenge yourself on a hike to get spectacular views or head inland to experience Montenegro’s history and culture.

In this article you’ll find out all about the port of Kotor, how far it is from Kotor (not far!) and the best things to do while you’re there.

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How Far is the Port of Kotor from Kotor town?

The most common questions visitors on cruise ships to Kotor ask are:

‘Can cruise ships dock in Kotor?’

and

‘How far is the cruise port from Kotor?’

Yes, cruise ships can, and do, dock in Kotor. In fact, the port of Kotor can accommodate ships as large as 334m (1,095ft).

Occasionally, there are three or, rarely, four cruise ships in Kotor and in those cases, two ships anchor offshore in the Bay of Kotor.

One of the best things about having a cruise stop in Kotor is how close the port of Kotor is to the city centre. The cruise port in Kotor is just 200m (650ft) from Kotor old town, which is the city centre and main attraction in Kotor, and you can walk there from your ship.

How to Get to From Kotor Cruise Port to City Centre

Getting to Kotor’s city centre couldn’t be easier from Kotor cruise port.

If your ship is docked alongside, you’ll be able to walk the 200m to the city centre. There is an underground walkway with an escalator from the port to the old town. This means you don’t have to cross the busy road between the port and the town.

If your ship is at anchor you’ll be taken by transfer to the port of Kotor. Tenders take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending how far away your ship is anchored. From there you can walk to the old town.

Kotor is a walled city, meaning the whole old town is surrounded by 20m high, impenetrable walls. There are three gates you can use to get into the old town. The best entrance from the port of Kotor is the Sea Gate, which is on the sea side of the town and across the road from Kotor port.

Stop at the information kiosk in front of the Sea Gate to get a free map of the old town. This map will help you navigate your way through the old town’s streets. It also lists all the palaces, churches and historic buildings in the old town, although not all of these are worth seeing, nor will you have time to see them all. If you’d like to explore Kotor independently, my book, Kotor Beyond The Wall, tells you which sights are worth seeing and gives you the information you need to explore them on your own.

What to Do in Kotor From a Cruise Ship

If you’re stopping on a cruise, you’ll have a choice of shore excursions in Kotor, Montenegro. You’ll usually have anywhere from a few hours to all day to spend in Kotor, and this should determine what you choose to do while you’re here.

Once you’ve booked your cruise and know how long you’ll be spending in Kotor you can work out what you want to see.

Below, I’ve listed the main attractions that you can reasonably visit in a few hours to one day in Kotor. My advice is to plan what you want to see and book your tours in advance. Planning your cruise excursions in Kotor will help you get the most out of your time in Montenegro.

If you’re looking for some sample itineraries, you’ll find several examples of ways to spend one day in Kotor here. You can also book customisable, privately-guided tours that will introduce you to Montenegro's nature, culture and cuisine in an intimate and personal way.

And don’t forget to compare shore excursions in Kotor. Those offered on cruise ships tend to be more expensive and have much larger groups than those offered locally. It’s worth shopping around to save yourself money on your Kotor excursions and make sure you have a great experience.

Tips for Cruise Excursions in Kotor 

Wear comfortable shoes – Kotor’s streets are made with cobblestones that have been worn down and made slippery with centuries of foot traffic. You’ll probably do a lot of walking through the town, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable and practical shoes.

Bring euros – many attractions only accept cash so bring euros with you, preferably in small denominations. It’s also common to tip tour guides in cash. If you need to withdraw cash or exchange large denominations for smaller ones, you’ll find banks and atms in Weapons Square just inside the Sea Gate (main entrance into Kotor old town).

Kotor Old Town

The must-see attraction in Kotor is Kotor old town, a beautiful walled Venetian town that’s one of the best –preserved medieval towns in the Mediterranean. The city of Kotor was founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago and is both beautiful and historic.

There’s an abundance of things to see in Kotor old town, like churches, museums, galleries and historic sites. The old town is a rabbit warren of pedestrian alleyways winding their way between traditional stone buildings. These alleyways open out to piazzas, open air squares filled with cafes and restaurants.

Best Ways to Explore Kotor Old Town

Kotor old town walking tour– a walking tour of Kotor old town is the most time-effective way to see the highlights of the old town. There are several tours to choose from, click here to see the best.

Kotor Beyond The Wall – if you prefer to explore on your own, my guide to Kotor old town, will guide you around the town, showing you the highlights and some local secrets you won’t find out about on any tour!

Kotor Secret City Trail – this scavenger hunt crossed with a self-guided walking tour of Kotor old town is great way to discover Kotor’s top sights and hidden gems and have lots of fun along the way!
*Use the code ‘montenegropulse’ on the Secret City Trail website to get 10% off your game!

San Giovanni Fortress

Kotor fortress selfieSan Giovanni Fortress. Image: Deposit Photos

Are you up for taking on the biggest challenge in Kotor?

San Giovanni Fortress lies on the site of the original Illyrian hill fort that was established here over 2,200 years ago.

But to get there you’ll need to scale 1355 ancient steps up Mount Saint John (San Giovanni) behind Kotor old town.

This short but steep hike takes around an hour each way and fair bit of stamina, but it’s absolutely worth it for the views. From the top you’ll be able to explore the old fortress and get views out over Kotor old town and the Bay of Kotor.

If you’d love to get these views, but aren’t up to this ‘huff n puff’ hike, read on to find out how you can still get these views from the serpentine road to Njeguši village.

At the top of the hike you’ll be able to refresh yourself at a little homestead that serves traditional specialties like prosciutto, cheese and pomegranate juice. You’ll also be able to explore the ruins of Špiljari, the original village that was established by the Illyrians over 2,200 years ago.

You can scale San Giovanni on your own or join a tour with a guide who will tell you about Kotor and the fortress. Click here to see guided tours.

San Giovanni hike: €8 per person
Opening hours: 8am – 8pm daily
Tips: Bring water and wear walking shoes

Perast

Perast DepositPerast. Image: Deposit Photos

Perast is an idyllic Baroque town in the Bay of Kotor. Perast was the centre of wealth and power and the shore is lined with Baroque palaces and churches.

The town is just 1km end to end and you can walk by seaside and visit Perast Museum in a former palace.

Perast is also a great place to try some Kotor Bay cuisine at one of the seaside restaurants. Order some calamari, sit back with a glass of vino and watch the boats shuttling back and forth taking people to Our Lady of the Rocks.

Getting to Perast

Local bus: you can catch a local bus from the bus stop just outside Kotor old town to Perast for €1.

2 hour speed boat tour to Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks: this speed boat tour departs from Kotor City Park (next to the port of Kotor) and takes to see both Perast and nearby Our Lady of the Rocks. Click here to see pricing and availability.

The Old Captain's Smile: a private tour that includes Kotor, Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks by car or speed boat. Click here to find out more.

Our Lady of the Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks DepositOur Lady of the Rocks. Image: Deposit Photos

Our Lady of the Rocks is one of the Bay of Kotor’s most popular attractions. Floating off Perast’s shore, the island has pretty blue-domed church and an adjoining museum with artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age.

From swash-buckling pirates to unrequited love, Our Lady of the Rocks, and its neighbour, Sveti Đorđe island, are rich with history and stories that show you the history and traditional spirit of the Bay of Kotor.

The entrance fee to Our Lady of the Rocks is €2 per person and this includes a guided tour through the church and museum.

Getting to Our Lady of the Rocks

2 hour speed boat tour to Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks: this speed boat tour departs from Kotor City Park (next to the port of Kotor) and takes you to see both Perast and nearby Our Lady of the Rocks. Click here to see pricing and availability.

3 hour speed boat tour to Our Lady of the Rocks and the Blue Cave: this speed boat tour departs from Kotor City Park and takes you to Our Lady of the Rocks, submarine caves and to swim in the Blue Cave. Click here to see pricing and availability.

The Old Captain's Smile: a private tour that includes Kotor, Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks by car or speed boat. Click here to find out more.

Montenegro Oyster Tour: this speed boat tour takes you to Our Lady of the Rocks and Porto Montenegro marina, before taking you to lunch at a family-owned oyster farm and finishing with swimming at a Kotor walking tour. Click here to find out more.

If you’re already in Perast, you can get a boat from there for about €5 per person return. Make sure they give you at least 45 minutes to see the church and museum and take some pictures.

The Blue Cave

Blue CaveThe Blue Cave, Montenegro. Image: Deposit Photos

The Blue Cave is a sea cave just outside the Bay of Kotor. It's one of the most popular attractions around the Bay of Kotor and you can only get there by boat.

The cave got its name from the iridescent blue that lights up the cave as the sunlight reflects off the sandy bottom. You can take a boat tour from Kotor to swim in the Blue Cave, and most tours include other attractions like Our Lady of the Rocks.

Best Tours to the Blue Cave

3 hour speed boat tour to Our Lady of the Rocks and the Blue Cave: this popular speed boat tour departs from Kotor City Park and takes you to Our Lady of the Rocks, submarine caves and to swim in the Blue Cave. Click here to see pricing and availability.

Speed Boat Adventure: this boat tour with a private guide includes Kotor, the Blue Cave, submarine caves and a seaside lunch at a fishing village. Click here to find out more.

Njeguši Village and Lovćen National Park

Bay of Kotor view from LovcenThe Bay of Kotor from Lovćen National Park. Image: Deposit Photos

Njeguši Village is arguably one of the best places to experience authentic Montenegrin culture. This small village lies above Kotor and was the seat of power for the rulers of Montenegro. In the village, you can visit the birthplace of one of Montenegro’s most famous rulers, Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, which has been turned into a museum.

Njeguši is also where Montenegro’s best prosciutto is made. The main road through town is lined with stalls where you can try prosciutto, cheese, wine and rakija, a traditional brandy that’s a staple in all Montenegrin homes.

Tip: Stop at the restaurant Kod Pera na Bukoviću, the oldest restaurant in Montenegro, to try traditional Montenegrin prosciutto and cheese sandwiched between slabs of thick domaći homemade bread, washed down with a glass of vranac red wine and a shot of rakija for a real Montenegrin experience!

Lovćen National Park is the best way to see some of Montenegro’s spectacular mountain scenery, just a stone’s throw (okay, an hour’s winding drive) from Kotor. The drive from Kotor up the ‘serpentine road’ with its 25 hairpin turns to Njeguši will give you spectacular views of the Bay of Kotor.

Inside the national park, Petar II Petrović-Njegoš’ mausoleum is a must-see attraction. The mausoleum itself is a stunning monument to this beloved leader and poet. Not only that, but from the guvno (threshing circle) behind the mausoleum, you’ll get views all the way over Montenegro out to Croatia and Albania on a clear day.

Lovcen mausoleum depositPetar II Petrović-Njegoš’ mausoleum.Image: Deposit Photos

Best Tours to Njeguši Village and Lovćen National Park

Historical Zig-Zag Tour: This customisable private tour takes you through Montenegro's heartland and coastal gems, Kotor and Budva. Click here to find out more.

Day Trip to Lovćen and Skadar Lake National Parks: Skadar Lake is another of Montenegro's stunning natural places. This tour takes you to both national parks and the old royal capital, Cetinje. Click here to see pricing and availability.

Is There a Ferry From Dubrovnik to Kotor?

No, there is no ferry from Dubrovnik to Kotor.

Dubrovnik lies in Croatia, while Kotor lies in Montenegro, meaning there is an international border crossing between Dubrovnik and Kotor. While this isn’t a barrier to having a ferry between these two beautiful cities, unfortunately there isn’t a ferry at the moment.

We live in hope!

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