Kotor - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Kotor


Tourists to Montenegro will most likely spend the bulk of their time exploring the little Balkan country's magnificent natural landscape. From snowy peaks to tall pine forests, from rugged coastlines to verdant fjords, Montenegro is an outdoor adventure lover's dream come true.

However, for those looking to get to grips with the culture of Montenegro, the medieval city of Kotor is certainly the place to visit. In recent years, as Montenegro swiftly establishes itself as one of Europe's top tourist destinations, the small coastal city of Kotor has seen a sharp increase in tourist activity.

It's not hard to see why this should be the case: the gorgeous surrounding Mediterranean coastline, with its limestone cliffs and thick vegetation, is punctuated by the historical port of Kotor, which is itself surrounded by city walls that were built by the Republic of Venice. In fact, these ramparted and bastioned city walls - as well as the Venetian-inspired old city - are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, lauded for its role in the diffusion of Mediterranean culture in the Balkan region.

A small city, with a population of just under 14,000 permanent inhabitants, Kotor is a wonderful place to navigate on foot, soaking up the scenery and admiring the medieval buildings. In terms of tourist sights, the Maritime Museum is a must-visit attraction, as is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (built in 1166) and the Church of Our Lady of Health, which is located on a small promontory overlooking Kotor and provides unbeatable views of the bright blue Adriatic Sea beneath.

Information & Facts

Serbian (very similar to Croatian) is the official language of Montenegro, although Albanian is commonly used in some areas. English is widely understood in the capital, Podgorica, and in the coastal resorts.

The official currency is the Euro (EUR). Visitors entering Montenegro with more than EUR2,000 (including travellers cheques or the equivalent in another currency) should declare the amount on entry. Without declaration on entry large amounts may be confiscated on departure. Serbian Dinars are not accepted in Montenegro and should be exchanged for Euros. There are ATMs, which accept international bank cards in major cities and towns, and most of the larger hotels, shops and main restaurants accept Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard, but American Express cards are less welcome. Money can be exchanged at the numerous banks in the towns and cities.

One of the European tourist scene's best-kept secrets is surely the Budva Riviera, a 22-mile (35km) strip of Adriatic coastline surrounding the town of Budva on Montenegro's west coast. For most people, Montenegro does not immediately spring to mind when considering ideal destinations for a beach holiday in Europe - but for those in the know, it provides the perfect setting for a holiday filled with sun and surf. The Budva Riviera is the heartbeat of Montenegro's tourism industry, attracting 300,000 visitors in 2010, but this figure is only to rise as word gets out of its spectacular jagged coastline, which is home to bays, inlets, caves, small islands and more than 20 beaches - not to mention a vibrant nightlife and plenty of sophisticated restaurants, cafes and bistros. Tourists looking for a piece of sand to call their own will be spoilt for choice, but highlights include Jaz Beach (which hosted a Rolling Stones concert in 2007), Mogren Beach (which gets the most sun), Milocer Beach (which is surrounded by woods filled with rare and exotic tree species, including Lebanese cedar and agave cactus), and Becici Beach (the most famous of Montenegro's beaches, and winner of the 1935 Grand Prix prize for most beautiful beach in Europe).

Kotor's Maritime Museum is one of the most popular cultural sights in Montenegro, and an extremely worthwhile place to visit for travellers of all ages. Housed in a stately Baroque palace that used to belong to the noble Grgurina family, the Maritime Museum proudly displays artefacts and documents chronicling Kotor's rich naval heritage. A well-run and ably financed operation, the exhibitions at the Maritime Museum are filled with some truly beautiful pieces that will capture the imagination of young and old visitors, 'sea-dogs' and 'land-lubbers' alike. In addition to bronze reliefs, old portraits, ancient maps and aquarelles, there are also antique navigational instruments and models of old galleys and sailboats on display, as well as a poignant collection of bottles that, presumably, once carried messages from sailors back to shore.

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