Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

11 - 12 Sept 2017

We arrived Kotor at 10pm after a long journey from Valbona through Lake Komani by ferry (Ferry Alpin, 9am, EUR 8 per person); then onwards to Shkoder from Koman by minibus (minibus was waiting at Koman, EUR 2 per person); crossing the Albania-Montenegro border to Ulcinj (4pm minibus, EUR 5 per person), then finally to Kotor (6.45pm bus, EUR 9 per person).

From Ulcinj to Kotor we journeyed through a 90 km stretch of coastline, but unfortunately it was almost dusk when we started our journey, so not much was seen through the bus ride. It was also raining that night. Fortunately, when we reached Kotor bus station, the rain has stopped. We walked from the bus station to our Apartment Dukic inside the Old Town (or Stari Grad) for about 15 mins (850m). We entered through the Sea or Main gate, navigating through the narrow streets of the Old Town.

Skurda River or North Gate of the Old Town

The Kotor Stari Grad is part of the Natural and Culturo Historical region of Kotor and a Unesco World Heritage site. Kotor town is located in a secluded part of the bay of Kotor, a submerged river canyon, surrounded by limestone cliffs. Hence why it is listed as both natural and historical heritage. Kotor fort is also included under another Unesco World Heritage list - Venetian works of defence between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Our so called "studio" at Apartments Dukic was actually an attic room with no air conditioning, TV, shower, kitchenette or fridge as promised on (EUR 31.50 per room per night). It was actually a room at the reception floor where the facilities are shared with the staff. Even the bathroom is shared. So be careful next time you're booking your room, make sure you check the pictures of the room first. As in our case, there was no picture in the booking page.

our attic room

Since we did not have any proper meals yet since breakfast in Valbona, we decided to venture out, trying our luck if there was any restaurants or cafe still opened at 10.30pm. Mamma Mia bakery just outside the Skurda River or North gate was still open, so we had a vegetarian pizza and cheese bread for dinner. We bought mineral water at the nearby supermarket at the Kamelija shopping centre. We were so tired already by then so we headed back to our apartment to rest for the day. It started raining again not long after.

Skurda river at night

Early next morning, we ventured out to climb the Kotor fortress at 7.30am through the entrance near our Apartment Dukic. The entrance fee is EUR 3 per person. It is a 1350 step climb up the St John (San Giovanni) mountain with elevation of 200m. Proper shoes are needed for the climb, and one would need to be fit as well. The view from the top is definitely worth the climb, so don't skip this if you are healthy. Also it is recommended to start climbing early in the morning when the gate  opens at 7am. When we almost reached down later at around 9am, busloads of tourists were trickling in so we managed to avoid the crowd.

Kotor fortress around St John mountain

St John mountain
huge cruise ship at Bay of Kotor

Bay of Kotor view from the fortress

St John church at the fortress

We then ventured around the Stari Grad, taking pictures and buying some souvenirs. We bought really nice fresh figs from the farmer's market just next to the Sea Gate. There is a sizable population of cats in the Old Town, being taken care of by some of the shop tenants here. There is even a cat museum here. For lunch today, we went to Mamma Mia bakery again to have our vegetarian pizza and cheese burek.

the triangular shaped Old Town viewed from the fortress (red roofs)

Old Town walls at the Main gate

Sea or Main gate

Main gate from inside Old Town

shops at Old Town
cat themed souvenir shop
cat museum
narrow streets of the Old Town
Triphon cathedral
Old Town
Farmer's market next to the Main gate

Bay of Kotor jetty

the very calm Bay of Kotor

Skurda river near North Gate

cats rule here in Kotor!


Finally at 3pm, we walked to the bus station to catch our bus to Dubrovnik at 4pm (EUR 20 per person, additional EUR 1 per bag stowed in the lower bus compartment). Kotor really is beautiful! You get sea, river, mountain, old town and fort in one trip!



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