Kotor, Montenegro: Straight Into A Brilliant Fairy Tale

Kotor, Montenegro: Straight Into A Brilliant Fairy Tale

By |2016-10-01T18:59:13-04:00July 27th, 2012|Montenegro|35 Comments

Kotor, Montenegro - Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Have you ever been to a destination that instantly makes you feel like a kid? I’m not talking about Disney World or any place like that. I’m talking about a city or town that, as soon as you arrived, made you completely giddy and eager to explore every single corner possible.

A place that left you wide-eyed and in awe, practically skipping around and always with a smile on your face?

Maybe it’s a location that seems very much like a fairy tale and without any effort at all, you feel as if you have been inserted straight into the magical story.

For example, maybe you stumble across an ancient fortified village nestled into the end of a long, narrow bay, a bay completely surrounded by towering mountains stretching far off into the distance, straight out to the sea.

You must enter this village through an arched gateway in the wall and once inside, you are in a labyrinth of dozens upon dozens of cobblestone lanes, each one winding through the village in different directions and many barely wide enough for two people to pass. Beautiful stone buildings line these lanes, and each building is hundreds of years old, helping to create the kind of spectacular setting that up until this point you had thought possible only in books.

As you wander the lanes you hear the church bells ringing and you watch the people gather in the plazas that appear out of nowhere, hidden among this maze of a village in places that you won’t be able to find more than once.

Gate to Kotor, Montenegro

Plaza in Kotor, Montenegro

Street of Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

You get lost often as you roam around and every time you reach a dead end or a lane where you had previously been, you simply turn around and start exploring in a different direction.

While inside this village, you cannot at any time see anything beyond the village walls. The world outside no longer exists as you are pulled farther and farther into the alluring atmosphere of the unique, too-good-to-be-true destination.

Once the sun sets, and the afternoon heat disappears, you then head to the back of the village where you begin an evening hike to the fortress located at the top of the mountain. The fortress is also within the walls of the village, as the walls climb impossibly high up the mountain, in such a difficult pattern that leaves you wondering how human beings could have built such a structure.

And as you climb, a steep climb indeed, you cannot help but look out over the brilliant bay every few minutes, and each time that you do, you are completely struck by a sight so surreal.

Kotor, Montenegro from Fortress

Kotor, Montenegro 2

It is the combination of such natural beauty all around you and such a mesmerizingly beautiful village below that makes you feel like that ecstatic kid without a care in the world. And it also ensures that you will continue to feel like such a kid for as long as you choose to stay.

That was how I felt in Kotor, the town in northern Montenegro that I visited on this trip (all the photos above are from there) and a town that simply needs to be experienced.

Have you been to Kotor, Montenegro or any other destination that seemed like a fairy tale and made you feel like a kid again?

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  1. Marko January 27, 2016 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Kotor is a very nice place. Didn’t appreciate it when I went as a kid but now I realize how lucky I was to get the opportunity to visit the place

  2. Tania December 31, 2015 at 1:35 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    What do you think about visiting here in December? Will the view be as nice?


    • Wandering Earl December 31, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      I’m sure the view will be very nice, just a little cold!

      • Tania January 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

        Great. Don’t mind a little cold. Thanks!

  3. […] previously heard only very little about this country, we came across a wonderfully descriptive blog and what can I say; it sounds […]

  4. No Roads and No Horizons November 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Great account of Kotor’s beauty Earl! I loved hiking the fortress. And, I agree with you that you can’t help but look out over the city on that hike. It looks like you went up the fortress on a beautiful sunny day… I went in bad weather and a thunderstorm caught me on the way down. Got great dramatic pictures as a result though, no regrets!

  5. Hugo from Hamburg/Germany August 25, 2013 at 6:52 am - Reply

    i was there only one week ago and discovered (by accident) the ruins of then little old village by climbing through a window in the fortress’ wall that you mentioned in the report. I was so excited about this place, walking alone through the former paths and buildings. The only building that still is roofed is a little church in the center of this place. Have you recognized the little cemetery in the backyard? It was just amazing and I must return to this place. Meanwhile I’ll try to find out some more details about it. Do you have any information about the village or the “Crcva Sv. Jorje” (St. Jorje church)?
    Best from Germany,

    • Wandering Earl August 29, 2013 at 2:56 am - Reply

      Hey Hugo – I don’t know much about that village unfortunately….sorry!

  6. Gina August 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Sounds amazing. I drove through Montenegro on my way from the Tivat airport to Croatia a few years ago and it looked so gorgeous from the car. I’d love to get back to the country and really explore it.

    • Earl August 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Hey Gina – Yes, please do get back there to Kotor. It’s tiny but you could spend quite a while there and not get bored!

  7. Lektor August 11, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Earl, I told you you will love MNG and Kotor – I liked it too, actually it is one of the best places I’ve been in MNG.

    • Earl August 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      Hey Lektor – Yes you did and you were certainly right 🙂

  8. Corey August 3, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I went to Kotor during my Christmas break last year, and it was amazing. If you got to Kotor, make sure you visit Budva (including Sveti Stefan), Perast, and Herceg Novi. They are all close to each other.

    • Earl August 7, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Hey Corey – Montenegro sure does have a lot of great destinations! I managed to see Sveti Stefan but only drove through Budva as that was a bit too crowded for me in the middle of high season 🙂

  9. Graeme July 30, 2012 at 6:41 am - Reply

    WOAH! This is amazing!

    I love your writing style man, nicely done.
    I really want to go here now.

    I’ve only seen these photo’s and read your article and I’m already hooked in!

    • Earl August 2, 2012 at 3:35 am - Reply

      Hey Graeme – You should go…it needs to be seen in person!

  10. Emily in Chile July 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Looks like a beautiful old town! Between the red roofs and the set-up with the marina right there, it’s reminding me of Dubrovnik.

  11. kerolizwan July 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    It is irony how ‘Kotor’ directly means ‘Dirty’ in my language (Malay language for Malaysian) and Montenegro proved me wrong. Ah looking at your photo, the maze and labyrinth with such high bricked walls and narrow streets is definitely exciting. I would love to explore those and don’t mind to get lost. And hearing the bell’s ringing from the church, that just top! This is not an understatement. It does feel like a fairytale. I really am impressed. This town has huge to offer. I went to Cordoba last month and Kotor made me missing there even more. I blame you haha.

    Anyway great GREAT town you got up there. Take care.

  12. Will July 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Sounds and looks like a great place to visit!

    It sounds like Montenegro is an experience that not many modern day cities/towns can offer to their visitors.

  13. Callie July 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is spectacular! Love that first looking-over-the-bay picture…

  14. Craig O July 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Earl….your recent trips through that part of the world have really changed my outlook on that area. I really never knew anything about eastern Europe and kind of had this odd notion or vision in my head that the area was all similar to say…..Chernobyl in Ukraine. I definitely need to get out more. Thanks for the posts. Keep ’em coming.

    • Earl July 30, 2012 at 4:12 am - Reply

      Hey Craig – This region is wonderful to travel around and I think that most people are surprised by what they discover here versus what they expected!

  15. Stephanie - The Travel Chica July 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I would love to do that evening hike every day. Gorgeous!

  16. Larissa July 27, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

    WOW, sorry about that. Just wanted to give you a selection of comments to choose from. P.S. Those captchas are so tough to crack. Thought for a second I needed to know how to read hieroglyphics in order to post a comment

  17. Larissa July 27, 2012 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Wow, looks gorgeous. Doesn’t as crowded as I would expect which is nice. Could be a much different story while the day trippers roll through. Need to go. ASAP.

    • Earl July 30, 2012 at 4:13 am - Reply

      Hey Larissa – It wasn’t too crowded at all. Occasionally a group on a day trip from Dubrovnik would pass by but that was it.

  18. Larissa July 27, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Wow, looks gorgeous. Didn’t look crowded which is nice but I am sure it is a much different story mid-day when the day trippers roll through. Need to go. ASAP.

  19. Sara from Texas July 27, 2012 at 5:30 am - Reply

    Kotor is very similar to the old towns in both Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Both are also walled cities that encase a mysterious labyrinth of narrow alleys and dark walkways that lead to open piazzas. It seems impossible to ever know where you are going, or even to retrace your steps. It really is an amazing experience to just get lost for a while.

  20. Chris Booth July 27, 2012 at 5:11 am - Reply

    Every time I read about Montenegro I realise that I need to get in on this place ASAP. Stunning. I loved Serbia when I visited in 2010 and I think Montenegro will fill in the few blanks it couldn’t supply.

  21. Andrew July 27, 2012 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Looks absolutely fantastic Earl, just when I was thinking “no, I think I’ll settle down for a few months….”

    Can you remind me again (for about the 5th time) what compact camera you’re using? Looks to take quite nice photos.

    • Earl July 30, 2012 at 4:16 am - Reply

      Hey Andrew – I’m using the Panasonic Lumix ZS20…still love this thing!

  22. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family July 27, 2012 at 4:04 am - Reply

    Looks magical in a way that only Eastern Europe pulls off.

    I love the photo looking down at the city roofs. Looks like a jigsaw puzzle!

  23. Ryan Taxis July 27, 2012 at 4:01 am - Reply

    Yes! Thanks for the post. When we first started thinking about our next adventure, it only took maybe two pictures to lock down our decision. T-minus 34 days!

  24. [email protected] July 27, 2012 at 3:59 am - Reply

    Goodness – that DOES look amazingly surreal! Makes me wanna hop a plane to Montenegro. But instead, I’m heading to explore Mongolia and the many other magical corners on THIS side of the globe. Ah, ’tis a most wondrous world. So many places, so little time…

    • Earl July 30, 2012 at 4:16 am - Reply

      Hey Dyanne – I’m sure Mongolia will be just as incredible 🙂

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