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The Joys of Kotor

Beautiful, slightly mysterious and the jewel of the Adriatic, Kotor is an absolute delight! Founded by the ancient Romans, Kotor is first documented as a city as early as 168BC. During the middle ages, Kotor developed into a wealthy city, famous for its’ schools, masonry and architecture, goldsmiths and artistic centres. As an important Adriatic stronghold, over the centuries control of Kotor has been the goal for several of Europe’s leading empires and many ferocious battles have taken place, the scars of which are still visible throughout the city today. The Venetians controlled the city of Kotor for perhaps the longest time over different periods between the 13th and 17th centuries. Much of the architecture seen today is heavily influenced by this period and contributes to Kotor’s  worthy UNESCO world heritage site status.

The walls of old town Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor city walls

The walled city of Kotor is heavily fortified but as you walk across the moat and into Kotor’s Stari Grad (Old Town) from one of the three entrances you feel the warmth of its’ people. The cool narrow streets provide a little respite from the summer heat and around every corner it seems is a square full of cafés and bars ready to serve a refreshing drink. The atrocities of recent years are still visible and yet the people of this entire area and especially of Kotor are some of the most friendly, hospitable and welcoming people one could ever wish to encounter.

The main square in Kotor, Montenegro

The main square in Kotor

Sitting under a fashionable sun shade or out in the beautiful sunshine on the elegant terrace of the Hotel Vardar in the main square in Kotor, one feels here is a place that really is moving forwards with more energy and independent spirit than ever. Service is always with a big smile, and every member of staff speaks English. The people of Kotor see that tourism and the service industry is growing and they are capitalising whilst still somehow maintaining the quaint, quiet charm of this fabulous city. Loyal to their culture, the food is mostly local Montenegrin, delicious charcuterie and cheeses produced from pigs, goats and sheep that graze in the hills surrounding the Boka Bay, along with a wide selection of fresh fish and local Montenegrin wines, the food served has a strong Mediterranean influence but with a very local feel. Foreign produce is available (but at a price!) and the local fare is delicious! For the best food in Kotor exit the old walls through the port gates and stroll along the pretty quay to the other side of the marina and dine at the super chic Galion. Here the large wooden terrace extends over the glistening water of Boka Bay and gently laps beneath you whilst you delight in a divine fine dining experience whilst enjoying fabulous views of the city lights at night. For those arriving in Kotor by yacht, the port is not huge and constitutes the main harbour wall but welcomes yachts of all sizes. Kotor is an exceptional yacht charter destination with more and more guests wishing to experience this magical place.

Stunning views from above Kotor

Stunning views from above Kotor

The city walls surrounding Kotor’s Stari Grad stretch upwards of 1,000 metres to the ancient fortress of San Giovanni. The walls are beautifully illuminated at night, perhaps best seen from the opposite side of the bay in the village of Muo. Kotor is frequently referred to as the City of Lovers, the lights around the old town reflect in the bay creating a love heart with their reflection. As romantic a picture as this is, the very best views by far are from the imposing Castle of San Giovanni itself at the top of the city walls. Leave plenty of time for this as there are over 1,300 steps to climb to the very top – a camera and lots of water are essential!

Rooftops of Kotor, Montenegro

The rooftops of Kotor

The history of Kotor, both ancient and more recent is once again clearly visible along the ramparts as you carefully pick your way through the maze of steps, some crumbling and frighteningly narrow, others more akin to a grand stair case as you climb through the various ages of Kotor. Upon reaching the top, amongst the ruins of this formidable fortress dating back to as early as the 9th century there are clear remnants of the more recent conflicts and one can’t help feeling a certain sadness, respect and admiration for a nation rebuilding itself with such strength, determination and personality.

Heart shaped lights in Kotor, Montenegro at night

Kotor at night

After taking in the views from the top and the time to reflect in the silent and thin cool air surrounding San Giovanni, it’s time to slowly and carefully head back down into the Stari Grad and to once again surround yourself with some of the friendliest locals and best hospitality ever to be experienced! Kotor should definitely be on the list of places to see for anyone heading to the Adriatic!

This article was written by Rachel Coles, charter broker at Bespoke Yacht Charter.

To plan a luxury yacht charter in Montenegro, please contact:

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