The Call of Kotor

Trip Start Aug 25, 2012
Trip End Sep 11, 2012

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Flag of Montenegro  ,
Monday, August 27, 2012

27th August 2012

Ear plugs and an eye mask gifted me with a good 8 hours sleep ,despite the gusty winds blasting through the window. Thankfully, my feet seemed to have recovered from last nights escapades. Following another YHA continental breakfast, we said our goodbyes to Christian and Lee, then walked down to the bus station to catch our bus to Kotor, Montenegro.

Dubrovnik was really close to the Montenegrin border, so it only took about 30 minutes to reach it. The border crossing was one of the quickest I've ever seen, especially when compared to some of the borders that we've crossed (the 8hr Russian-Mongolian border springs to mind!).

Once through the border, with another stamp in the passports (Pete's starting to run out of pages!), the bus took another 3hrs to reach Kotor, following the long and windy road along the Bay of Kotor. The small towns and villages we passed through were really picturesque and we got some good views from the bus window of the largest fjord in Europe apparently!

Arriving at Kotor bus station, we walked a short distance to the Old Town and checked into our hostel, the Old Town Hostel. The hostel was a really nice, relaxing and laid back place to stay. Once settled in, we set out to explore the Old Town. Since it was about 2pm, we decided to head up the Old Town Walls via Trg od Salata for views of the town and the Bay of Kotor.

It was a long hard slog up 1,350 odd steps (a total ascent of ~1,200m) to St John's Fort and the summit. We were rewarded with amazing views of the Old Town and the whole of the Bay of Kotor. The area was very mountainous with huge, grey peaks towering up behind us.

Heading back down towards the Old Town, we ended up outside St. Mary Koledata Church in Trg od Drva (Timber Square). Heading eastwards through the narrow streets, we came across St Nicholas Church (an early 20th century Orthodox church) and St Luke's Church (a small, late 12th century church with Romanesque and Byzantine influence), both of which were located in Trg Sv. Luke (St Luke's Square).

Continuing southwards towards Trg Bokeljske Mornarice, where numerous restaurants lined the square's sides, we found the Maritime Museum. The museum was located inside an 18th century palace and had 3 floors of interesting displays on the maritime history of Kotor and Montenegro.

South of the museum was Trg Sv. Tripuna (Saint Tryphon Square) and the Cathedral of Saint
Tryphon, a massive Roman Catholic church which was originally built in the 12th century, but rebuilt several times after numerous earthquakes. It's interior is considered a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, with slender Corinthian columns, a series of vaulted roofs and some impressive displays of religious artefacts.

Heading north-west through more restaurant-lined squares towards Trg od Oruzja (Square of Arms), we came across a strange pyramid, which was situated in front of a clock tower (built in 1602). Heading out of the Old Town via the Vrata od Mora (the Sea Gate, built in 1555), we walked southwards around the Old Town Walls towards a small pond (Gurdic Spring), where locals were fishing.

Back at the hostel, we tried to organise a day trip to Lovćen National Park. However, we soon discovered that there was no public transport going to or from the the national park. We couldn't hire a car as I'd left my driving license at home, plus it was really expensive. Our last option was to try and hire some bikes and ride up there, but the guy working in the hostel advised us not to do that as the road was really long (+50km) and really steep! We considered going on an organised tour but no one was going tomorrow, so instead, we decided to go to the former capital Cetinje for a day, located in the heart of Montenegro.

After the national park fiasco, we went out for dinner at a pizzeria located in Trg Sv. Tripuna.  Following a nice and relaxing dinner in the square, we went back to the hostel and relaxed with a few beers and some local Montenegrin Brandy, a rather strong and vile tasting drink, before calling it a night.
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