Kotor is a tender port – Ships have to anchor off Kotor and tender passengers ashore by boat. When tendering is required, guests using mobility devices will not be transferred into or out of the tender. Many tender ports do not provide wheelchair access so even if the guest can board the tender they may not be able to disembark ashore. Again the shore-side facilities, movement of the tender, weather and tidal conditions can also preclude tendering.
Tucked away between the mountains and the Bay of Kotor, one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea, is where you’ll find the picturesque town of Kotor. Its fortified entrance to the sea made the Old City of Kotor an ancient trade center. The Old City is a well-preserved collection of buildings, churches, squares and stone streets that date to the Middle Ages. The car-free, walled town is just across the street from the city’s cruise ship dock.
You’ll want to get an early start when arriving in Kotor to enjoy entering the Bay of Kotor and gliding for an hour through the mountains on a 17-mile waterway known as Europe’s southernmost fjord. It’s not actually a fjord, but the views are fjord-like, with mountains rising on both sides of a long, thin bay that leads to this secluded city, where you will come upon the dramatic 65-foot high protective walls, which date back to the Venetian period during the 9th century.
The port itself is a medieval gem: its narrow, asymmetrical streets are lined with ancient stone houses, old palaces, and churches dating from the 12th century. Kotor is full of shops and little restaurants. Pick a square, order a coffee and gaze at churches from the 12th to 15th centuries. Don’t miss the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, an ornate church first consecrated in 1166. Then, scale St. John’s Fortress; the hilltop fortifications, dating back to the 6th century, offer the best views of the city, the harbor and the surrounding mountains.
The disabled cruiser visiting Kotor will find the terrain mostly friendly. The entire town is close to the tender port which is right across the street. The town is flat with cobblestone. Some of the buildings have ramps for easy access and some don’t. For example, the Catholic Church has a ramp whereas the Tryphon Cathedral does not.
The town of Kotor is small, and visiting the town does not take up a lot of your time. With this in mind, you will want to venture out of the city. Once out of Kotor, the drive through the mountains is beautiful. One are you can explore is the town of Cetinje. The town is flat, but does have cobblestone, however wheelchair access is not difficult. Another town of interest is Budva. This is an old town that has some hills with lots of cobblestone and easy access into the buildings is limited. Overall accessibility in Kotor is good, even though it is a mountainous area, the towns are flat.
Since the cruise ship does not dock and the disabled cruiser is tendered to the island from out in the harbor; if the water is too rough, the captain may not let the disabled cruiser off the ship. Anyone with limited mobility would have some difficulty. Anyone in a wheelchair would have to be carried on and off the tender.
Where You’re Docked
Kotor is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship’s tender.
Tenders discharge passengers right onto the quayside, just across the street from the Old City’s imposing 16th-century Sea Gate (about a 50-yard walk). The Old City is directionally confusing, but you can wander off without fear, as any local will be able to direct you back to this gate.
From the port head straight to the Old City, where you’ll find souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, ATMs and inexpensive Internet cafes.
Good to Know
Port traffic is busy along the waterfront; take care crossing the road. Be aware of loose rocks and uneven steps when walking around the city walls and up to St. Ivan’s Fortress. If you decide to do this, wear sturdy shoes. Also keep an eye out for the two tiny islands at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, one is Our Lady of the Rocks, a lush, green outcropping that’s popular as a diving site. The other, St. George, is home to a 12th-century Benedictine monastery.
On Foot: Walking/rolling is the best way to get around Kotor’s Old City, which is fairly small, compact and car-free. And as the streets get narrower, the shops get more interesting. If you have only a few hours in port, you’ll probably want to spend them making the most of the Old City. But if you have more time, trips into the mountains or along the Adriatic coast are worth considering.
By Taxi: Local taxi drivers meet the cruise ships and will ply you with offers of countryside tours, priced from around 60 euros an hour for a car and up to four passengers. Check out the Points of Interest section for ideas, and don’t be afraid to negotiate; it’s a good way to check how good the driver’s English is.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
Montenegro’s currency is the euro. There are plenty of ATMs dotted around the Old City.
The official language in Kotor is Montenegrin, which, like the languages of the neighboring Croats, Serbs and Bosnians, has its roots in ancient Slavic, but don’t worry too much. English is widely spoken; and even more widely understood in Kotor.
Quality work by local artists is widely available in the Old City’s craft shops, including watercolor landscapes hand-painted on silk for less than 20 euros. Other good buys include locally made woolen goods, woodcarvings, lace, embroidery and hand-painted pottery. Wine from Montenegro’s Plantaze vineyards goes down well; ask for Perla Nera if red is your tipple, Krstac if you prefer white.
Montenegrin food has its roots in Balkan cuisine but is also influenced by other European countries such as Italy, Turkey and even Austria.
In addition to pizza and pasta, you’ll find moussaka on menus, alongside plenty of grilled fish and meat dishes, and hearty soups and stews beloved by the locals. If you want to eat as the locals do, order a plate of sarma (cabbage stuffed with spiced beef and rice), podvarak (roast meat served with sauerkraut), or rastan with kastradina (wild cabbage with smoked lamb).
Points of Interest
- The Old City – Architectural highlights include the 12th-century Romano-Gothic St. Tryphon (Sveti Tripun) Cathedral; the little Church of St. Luke (Sveti Luka), which dates from the same century and contains original medieval frescoes; the 13th-century watchtower; the ninth-century city fortifications; the 19th-century Napoleon’s Theatre; and a number of imposing 17th- and 18th-century palaces.
- St. Tryphon Cathedral – The ornate St. Tryphon Cathedral was completed in 1166, and boasts fascinating Romanesque and Byzantine architecture.
- Maritime Museum – A short walk from the Sea Gate, this museum spans three floors of the early-18th-century Grgurina Palace and contains a fine collection of paintings, photographs, uniforms, model ships and elaborately decorated weapons used by Montenegro’s navy, which has defended the Bay of Kotor for more than 12 centuries.
- Budva – A historic Montenegrin town, Budva is 2,500 years old, making it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast. It boasts narrow streets, medieval ramparts, and 15th century towers.
- Njegusi – Situated high in the mountains and offering panoramic vistas of the coastline, Njegusi was the birthplace of Peter Petrovic-Njegos, considered the most important leader in Montenegrin history.
- National Museum – The National Museum is housed in a former royal palace that was once home to King Nikola Petrovic I, who ruled from 1860. It is home to the ‘Oktoih Prvoglasnik’, a revered 15th century manuscript.
- Cetinje – Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro was founded in 1482, and is located at the base of the spectacular Lovcen mountains. This charming town found itself under siege during the Ottoman Empire.
- Perast & Our Lady of the Rocks – Perast flourished in the 1700’s, due to its busy shipyards, and is arguably the best-kept Baroque city in Montenegro. Our Lady of the Rocks Island is home to the charming ‘Gospa od Skrpjela’ church.
- Lastva – This pretty village nestles in the hills high above Kotor, and offers stunning views of the coastline below, including Tivat Bay. It is famous for its delicious olive oil, and village smoke houses.
- Wine tasting – Explore Montenegro’s Wine Road and pay a visit to the Plantaze vineyards, where some of Montenegro’s best-known wines are produced. Head to the underground wine cellar for a tasting paired with local cheese. You’ll need around seven to eight hours; the drive from Kotor to Podgorica and the Plantaze vineyards of “Cemovsko field” takes about two hours. If you’d prefer a guided tour, try Globtour Montenegro.
Kotor Accessible Excursions
Kotor, Montenegro is one of the most well preserved medieval cities on the Mediterranean coast. You can choose to take an accessible driving tours that includes round-trip transportation in a van with a wheelchair ramp, or an accessible walking tour of Kotor with an English-speaking guide that will show you the main attractions of the Old Town.
Highlights of Old Town Kotor Accessible Cruise Excursion
Founded in the 5th century BC, Kotor was once part of the Roman province of Dalmatia. It is home to several historic buildings, beautiful architecture, and spectacular views of the Adriatic. During this 4-hour accessible cruise excursion on the Bay of Kotor you will visit the charming, scenic Old Town of Kotor, Montenegro and the Baroque town of Perast. Your driver and professionally licensed guide will pick you up from the cruise terminal utilizing convenient accessible vans for transportation with a wheelchair ramp. Your accessible cruise excursion will start in the green market just outside the city walls. Here you will be greeted by the fragrant smells and colors of fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices, and local honey, olives, and cheese as you make your way to Old Town Kotor.
Inside the city gates of Kotor, your guide will take you to see the highlights of the city, including the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral and St. Lucas Church, medieval palaces, and renaissance buildings. Next stop on your Kotor accessible shore excursion is the baroque town of Perast, home to 16 cathedrals, 19 churches. This enchanting little town has deep roots in maritime tradition, as it was once home to a Venetian fleet of 1,000 ships. You will visit the Perast Maritime Museum to learn about the town and its fascinating history. You will then walk/roll through the streets of the city, as your guide provides informative and interesting commentary on the many ancient, historical buildings that are impossible to miss.
Finally, visit the neighboring town of Risan, where you will see five Roman mosaics, believed to have been part of a 2nd century A.D. Roman house. At the end of your accessible Kotor shore excursion, your guide and drive will take you back to your ship at the cruise terminal.
The Highlights of Old Town Kotor Accessible Cruise Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the tour guide is not able to push the wheelchair.
Panoramic Montenegro Accessible Shore Excursion
This Panoramic Accessible Shore Excursion of Montenegro takes you on a 6.5 hour scenic driving tour along picturesque roads as you visit old towns, villages, and a national park. Your driver and professionally licensed guide will pick you up from the cruise terminal utilizing a convenient accessible van with a wheelchair ramp for transportation.
Your Panoramic Montenegro Accessible Shore Excursion will start in Old Town Kotor, where you will enjoy the atmosphere of this charming old town as your guide describes the city’s fascinating past and maritime traditions. Walk/roll down the streets to St. Tryphon Cathedral and St. Lucas Church, both originating in the 12th century. You will also see many medieval palaces and Renaissance buildings as well as the Maritime Museum.
A short drive away is the 3500 year old city of Budva, where the narrow streets and small squares of the Old Town are encircled by Venetian walls. After exploring Budva, your next stop is the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro, Cetinje. Here, your guide will tell the story of the origins of Montenegrin statehood, and you will visit a monastery built in 1484 that was long considered to be the epicenter of knowledge in Montenegro.
The next stop on your panoramic Montenegro accessible shore excursion is the village of Njegusi, the birthplace of Petar II Petrovic Njegos, Prince-Bishop of Montenegro, philosopher, and poet. It is also the location of Lovcen National Park, where you will enjoy breathtaking views of mountains and the center of Europe’s biodiversity.
You will end the tour with a scenic drive that goes from 1400 meters high, all the way down to sea level with views of Boka Bay along the winding mountain roads that lead back to Kotor.
The Panoramic Montenegro Accessible Shore Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the tour guide is not able to push the wheelchair.
Best of Kotor Accessible Walking Tour
The Old Town of Kotor, Montenegro is home to a rich seafaring history, medieval palaces, and centuries old Romanesque and Renaissance architecture. The 2 hour Best of Kotor Accessible Walking Tour visits the highlights of the Old Town, including St. Tryphon Cathedral, the Maritime Museum, and Medieval Quarter.
The first stop on your Kotor accessible walking tour will be the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, that main cathedral of Kotor. This Roman Catholic cathedral is widely considered to be the most beautiful building in Kotor and is the largest building in the city. Inside the cathedral, you will see a vast collection of relics that are older and more valuable than many other collections in Europe. The collection includes 14th century frescoes, works of art by local masters, gold, silver, reliefs, ornaments, and many other precious items.
Stroll down the ancient streets with your knowledgeable guide as you experience this beautiful Mediterranean port city that dates back to the 5th century BC as your guide will then take you to the Maritime Museum, where you will discover Kotor’s interesting maritime culture and history. See weapons, costumes, and other artifacts from the city’s past. Finally, you will visit Kotor’s Medieval Quarter, where you will see several medieval palaces, the preserved ancient city walls, and wonderful Renaissance architecture.
At the conclusion of your tour, your guide and driver will take you back to the cruise terminal where you will board your ship.
The Best of Kotor Accessible Walking Tour follows an easy route with a private guide. However, it does not use a wheelchair accessible van and you will encounter some steps along the way. This tour is best for slow walkers and those who do not use a wheelchair.