Montenegro’s gem: The Bay of Kotor

Find a pebbled beach to go for a swim, hike into the mountains or sit down in the middle of Kotors impressive old town and watch life go by.

The Bay of Kotor is sometimes called Europe’s southernmost fjord, where the beautiful mountains hit the blue waters. But it’s a bay, a flooded gorge. If you do not have a car, find a bus! Where the road winds its way around the bay, you have cobalt blue water on one side and idyllic little towns on the other. Of course the mountains overlook it all. Did I say ’idyllic’?

One of the gates into the Old town.

Old town
The UNESCO-listed old town of Kotor is well worth a visit when you are here. Disappear into the maze of narrow, cobbled streets and discover a secluded square or the next narrow alley. When your feet have had enough, sit down at one of the many restaurants or bars and order something refreshing to drink. The old town is very well kept. There are many with the same idea and the experience can be impaired by the hordes of tourists, who unite in the narrow streets in the middle of the day. Group by group they find their way here from the many cruise ships that anchor up in the bay.

It was late in the afternoon when we first walked the streets here, the cruise boats were gone and so we had a pleasant experience of the old town. It was peaceful and relaxed. The next day we had agreed to have lunch with some relatives who were in the area. The old town was packed with groups of people following their guide. Bearing in mind that they are now considering limiting the number of visitors in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, we can clearly see that something similar eventually needs to be done here. Montenegro has now received an ultimatum from UNESCO; they must regulate tourism and construction in Kotor.

The cats

When you first visit Kotors old town, you cannot help but notice the cats. The residents have embraced them and they now appear as a symbol of this place. The city of cats as it is known.
Most of the shops seem to sell souvenirs with a cat theme and there is even a cat museum. Are you looking for the real cats? There are plenty of them more than happy for some attention, while enjoying the suns rays falling between the buildings. Others are shy and run away and hide. But why are there so many cats here? One theory is they came from ships visiting the area and when they were no longer needed for catching mice on board, they were left on shore.

One theory is they came from ships visiting the area

“Our Lady of the Rocks”

A beautiful view as you get up the hills. The two small islands to the right.

Half an hour north of Kotor, we see two islets out in the bay. As if Kotor needed any more postcard scenes, these two small islands each house a chapel (of course), attracting the attention of visitors. ‘’Sveti Juraj’ (St George Island) is open only to priests, while ‘Gospa and Škrpjela’ (Our Lady of the Rocks) can be visited. There are boats that take tourists from the small town of Perast.

It became tradition among local fishermen to add a stone here after every successful fishing trip

The island of Gospa and Škrpjela is probably the only man-made island in the Adriatic Sea. According to a local legend, the construction started in 1452 when two fishermen found a picture of Virgin Mary on a small spit here. It became tradition among local fishermen to add a stone here after every successful fishing trip. When these stones were later supplemented with larger blocks in 1722, the island was large enough to hold a church, which still stands today.

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