The Bay of Kotor through the eyes of Kim

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Why the Bay of Kotor?

Kim, one of the writers of our Balkanlocals team, regularly visits Croatia for a few weeks. When she’s there, she also visits one of the neighbouring countries for a few days to discover new things. This time, she went to Montenegro for three days with her sister, to the Bay of Kotor. “I am interested in Balkan countries and I had not been to Montenegro before. I found it very fascinating, because the country used to be part of Serbia, which is very different from, say, Bosnia.”

“For me, it was the overall picture: a nice hotel, beautiful weather, kind people and beautiful views.”

What immediately caught your attention in the Bay of Kotor?

“I found the journey to the bay quite fascinating. When you drive out of Croatia and into Bosnia, and then drive out of Bosnia and into Montenegro, you have to show your passport at a border post. We don’t have this anymore in Western Europe.” Driving through Montenegro to her final destination, Kim saw the bay at one point. This was her first introduction to the Bay of Kotor. “That gave me a beautiful first impression of the bay and what this place has to offer.” She also noticed that the people are very friendly. Kim stayed just outside the bay, in the town of Herceg Novi. A tip: on the way to the city of Kotor, you pass several non-touristy towns such as Risan where a coffee costs less than €1,50.

What did you not know about the Bay of Kotor?

Kim did a speedboat tour on the Bay of Kotor and “this was my best and most beautiful experience. We went to the island ‘Our Lady of the rocks’ and there is a myth associated with this that I didn’t know.” According to legend, sailors from the town of Perast found an image of the Virgin Mary on a rock sticking out from the sea. They saw this as a sign and laid stones on this spot after every successful voyage, so that a church could be built on the rock. “I was impressed by this story.”

Kim was also not yet familiar with the local traffic and the way of driving. From Herceg Novi, it was about a 25 kilometre drive to Kotor. “You think: that’s half an hour’s drive. But it’s not, the traffic there is bizar! They drive very slowly or with two cars next to each other where only one is allowed. So it took me a very long time to get to Kotor, but you can enjoy the beautiful views of the bay in the meantime. After every turn, you have a different view.”

What are your top recommendations?

  1. Kim first gives a general travel tip for this location: “Some people fly to a destination and stay in the same place for a week. I think this location is a great base, that can be combined with the countries and cities surrounding it, like Dubrovnik, for example. Or visit Kotor if you are already in southern Croatia or Bosnia.”
  2. Visit the city of Kotor. Many people here are orthodox-christians and there are several little churches. Kim went into one of the churches as a mass was taking place. “I have a Catholic background myself and the faiths are similar, but there are differences. Very interesting to experience such a mass.”
  3. Sleep at Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa in Herceg Novi for a luxurious experience. “I love having a luxurious stay. It wasn’t that expensive and my sister and I enjoyed a spa treatment. You also have very beautiful views over a part of the bay.”
  4. Head to Hipnos Restaurant in the town of Risan. Naturally, Kim ordered a typical Serbian dish called Karađorđeva šnicla. “This was a really nice experience because there were only locals there. Children play in the squares there and mothers sit on a bench chatting. There are no tourists. Nice to get a taste of local life.”
  5. Take a speedboat tour and go to the island ‘Our Lady of the rocks’ and the town of Perast. In summer, you have the advantage of cooling down a bit thanks to the wind and water.
  6. Hire a car and visit the small towns surrounding the bay.
  7. On top of the mountains near Kotor is a ruin. A beautiful walk called ‘the ladder of Kotor’ takes you there. “It was 40 degrees, so we didn’t do this. But it’s always in the lists of highlights of this place.”

What would you avoid?

Cruise ships often dock in Kotor in the morning and the city is flooded with tourists. As a result, there are a lot of people and all the terraces are full. “We couldn’t even find a place to have lunch. So in advance, check if a cruise ship is going to dock that day. They usually leave around 11 or so, so if you go to town in the afternoon, you won’t be bothered by all those people.” And if you don’t like heat, remember that it can be very hot here in summer.

What is your fondest memory?

“I have already mentioned the boat trip a couple of times, but that was very beautiful and thus the most memorable thing. We went to little islands and these offered beautiful views of the fjords surrounding us. The blue colour of the clear water also contrasted beautifully with the white of the little church. It was special to share this moment with my sister.” According to Kim, you really need to experience this place for yourself. So what are you waiting for?

Are you curious about Kim’s stories? Click here and make a typical local recipe, read about Croatia’s coffee culture or about the land of a thousand islands, for example.