Mar 29, 2022 3 min read

Spending Time in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

A mountain overlooks a Montenegrin village with a view of the blue sky

The Bay of Kotor sneaks its way inland, creating a winding coastline where, naturally, towns have been established since the Roman and Greek eras and earlier.

A cruise ship in the Bay of Kotor is foregrounded by houses with orange roofs

Digital nomads and remote workers may not yet have chosen the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro for their remote work wish list, because a digital nomad working visa is still forthcoming and, frankly, this part of the world is a little bit under-explored and underrated compared to nearby Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia.

What is the Bay of Kotor? Well, it's one of the most unique bays in the Mediterranean, the only major "fjord-style" bay in a warm-water port area. That means the mountains rise steeply from the coastline, creating a natural harbor that looks more like Oslo or Greenland than like Nice or Monaco.

The Bay of Kotor sneaks its way inland, creating a winding coastline where, naturally, towns have been established since the Roman and Greek eras and earlier.

Montenegro is a small country, with only 600,000 people, a Balkan country that until recently was part of Serbia and Montenegro, and decades before that — Yugoslavia. The country is mostly mountainous, and the capital is a high-elevation land-locked city further up from the ocean.

Kotor itself is the name of a historic town on the bay, which also includes towns like Tivat, Budva, Herceg Novi, Perast, and more. The language here is Montenegrin, but it is a dialect of the continuum of languages called "Serbo-Croatian" that are mutually understandable.

A map of the Bay of Kotor shows cities dotting the bay

One of the best parts of Kotor is the same as one of the best parts of nearby Dubrovnik. It's the Old Town. Now I have to admit, I walked into the Old Town by accident. I was going to the pharmacy to grab a few things, and I pulled up Google Maps for some walking directions. I was staying in a town adjacent to Kotor called Muo, just across the bay and a twenty-minute walk away (where I had my accommodations).

All of a sudden, I thought I must be on the wrong road because I went from a very "20th-century" intersection (with corner stores, electronics shops, and legal offices) through a fortress gate and into a medieval village. It was the closest thing to time travel I had ever experienced. The cobblestone streets were narrow, cats were roaming around, and the architecture gave you the feeling of being a small animal inside a stone labyrinth — but a labyrinth where the walls were full of restaurants, patios, and businesses.

From the top of the Bay of Kotor looking down into the fjord and mountains

But there is even more to do than exploring the Old Town of Kotor. This is a full bay with natural wonders and hikes. I hiked to the top of the Bay of Kotor to get a view looking down at the bay.

A seaside coffee and seafood dish in Perast was a treat. The main road that twists around the Bay of Kotor passes through Perast, but a pedestrians-only boulevard breaks off and allows you to walk along the bay and enjoy outdoor dining.

And I only briefly spent time in the more touristy resort town of Budva, but for beach-goers who want more of the sandy-beach vibe, that's available too.

Worth It or Not Worth It?

I absolutely think a trip to the Bay of Kotor is worth it in your lifetime! Cost of living is cheap. Food and accommodations are very reasonable. Montenegro is not part of the EU but uses euros as their currency of exchange, so you can bring your euros over from travels in other parts of Europe.

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