A weekend in Kotor, Montenegro, is enough to get a taste of this well-preserved old town located on a stupendous fjord-like bay with a lively little market, fine food, and a hike up to the ruins of the Castle of San Giovanni for spectacular views.
Weekend In Kotor – A Perfect Two Day Itinerary
On our last trip to Kotor, we settled into a waterfront apartment for two weeks in Muo, a 20-minute stroll around the Bay of Kotor into the Old Town. The walk became a bit tedious after half a dozen times, but the location was worth it for the breathtaking views. Take a look at this time-lapse of Kotor at dusk that Terence made to see what I mean. Alternatively, check into the charming old Hotel Marija, owned by a delightful elderly couple who are as madly in love now as when they first met. They also own apartments in the Old Town.
Climb up to the ruins of Kotor’s Castle of San Giovanni (or Castle of St John), dating back to medieval times, to appreciate these historic fortifications and savour the stupendous vistas of Kotor Bay and birds-eye-view of the Old Town.
Enjoy a glass of Montenegrin vino and some prosciutto from the nearby villages with the locals at Bokun, a buzzy wine bar cum osteria in the Old Town where you can graze on wonderful local proscuitto and cheeses and tapas-style servings of hearty traditional specialties. Enjoy a feast in the atmospheric interior then head outside to soak up the Old Town evening atmosphere.
Wander around the lively morning market outside the Old Town walls, where you’ll find fantastic fruit and veg and plenty of local products, including cheeses, salamis and prosciuttos from surrounding villages such as Njeguski. If you miss the market, head to the nearby Panto supermarket and buy some regional specialties there, including an infinite array of tinned fish and countless types of Slivovica, Kotor’s famous brandy. Grab a handful of these so you can do a brandy tasting while you take in the sunset tonight.
SATURDAY MID MORNING
As you approach the Sea Gate, the main entrance to Kotor’s Stari Grad, look out for the handsome, grey-haired gentleman in traditional costume, charming eccentric Čedo Pustinjac, and stop for a chat. Ask him to show you his Kotor of secret courtyards and hidden gardens. Just make sure to tip him.
Lunch on authentic traditional specialties at Bastion III, a local institution that’s popular with Old Town employees. Whenever we ate here it was packed with everyone from government officials in suits and ties to council workers in overalls.
Do our Kotor Old Town Walk under the medieval gates, along the marble clad alleys, and through the sunny squares of this mini Dubronik. The self-guided stroll takes in churches and museums and offers vistas of the impressive fortifications that earn Kotor a UNESCO World Heritage listing. If you’re up for some shopping, you’ll find fascinating antique shops on Craftsmen Street, covered in our walk.
Drop into the Old Winery for a glass or two of Montenegrin wine before making a beeline for traditional seafood restaurant, Cesarica, set in an atmospheric stone building down an Old Town alley. Order owner-chef, fisherman and sea captain, Rino Janovic’s fantastic Riblja Čorba, a wonderful fish soup that is the quintessential dish of Kotor, and whatever fish is fresh that day.
If you bought some farm eggs, local pork products and ajvar (Serbian salsa) at the market yesterday and you’re staying in an apartment rental, make yourself these scrambled eggs with Njeguski kobasica (smoky pork sausage) and ajvar (‘Serbian salsa’) for breakfast.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch of wild seafood from the Adriatic Sea and fresh local produce at 200-year old Stari Mlini restaurant, located in a waterfront flour mill dating to the 1700s.
After lunch, wander along the waterfront. If you have the energy you can walk right along the bay back to the Old Town, gawking at the gorgeous bay and majestic mountains the whole way.
Save Restaurant Galion, Kotor’s only proper fine dining restaurant, for your final night. Set in an elegant stone building with a sleek contemporary dining space attached, and overlooking the bay, with yachts bobbing on the water outside, a meal here is a fitting way to end a weekend in Kotor.