Boko Kotor Bay in Montenegro, photo and description

Boka Kotorska Bay – Montenegro

Boka Kotor Bay

Boka Bay of Kotor (Boko Kotor Bay) is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world and invariably the main attraction of Montenegro . This place has at one time allowed Kotor to be a true trade and seafaring center. Its convenient location allowed to save the city from the sea pirates. The surrounding cities are very well located, because people have lived here for more than a thousand years for a reason. However, even today this place attracts huge ships, so the relevance of Boca-Cotorskaya Bay among tourists is understandable. Last year there were about 500 cruise ships, which brought here a total of 500,000 passengers). So even the sophisticated traveler will find a lot to see and do here. The local nature is also a delight to the eye and allows you to see all the beauty of Montenegro. The sea and the mountains have always combined perfectly with each other, so the local atmosphere is especially attractive.

Geography of the Bay

Boka Kotor Bay on the map

They say that the Bay of Kotor is the southernmost fjord of Europe, but this is a geographical mistake. Historians have proved that previously it was a lake into which hundreds of mountain streams and rivers flowed, but about 100 thousand years ago, due to an earthquake and rising water levels in the ocean, the lake joined the sea, forming a magnificent bay. It is 28 km long and 35-40 meters deep, so even the biggest cruise ships of the Mediterranean can easily swim to its end. The width varies: at the entry is 3 km, where the island Mamula, peninsula Lustica and Prevlaka (Croatia) with defensive fortresses Azra and Ostro, and the narrowest place, called “Veriga” (chain), is no more than 300 meters. Around the whole of Boka Kotorska Bay runs a coastal road length of 105.7 km, on which you can drive and admire the bay from every angle. It is divided into 4 bays: Kotor Bay, Risan Bay, Tivat Bay and Herceg Novski Bay, each of which is beautiful in its own way and no less interesting. Several islands decorate the bay with their elegance:

– St. George’s Island (“Sveti Giorgi” or otherwise known as the “island of the dead”)

– St. Marko Island

View of Boka Kotor Bay

The name “Bocca di Cattaro” (“Bocca di Cattaro” or in English “Boka Bay”) was given to the bay by the Venetians. The word “Bocca” – means mouth, as if a part of the continent, swallowing the waters of the world ocean. The word “Kotor” – by the same name of the deepest and most important city of those times – Kotor. Scattered around are numerous settlements and fishing villages, which form areas of coastal, large by Montenegrin standards, cities. There are small small factories, a shipyard and repair plant, ports and even the airport, which is conveniently located on the shores of the Gulf of Tivat.

If you want to see the whole of Boka Kotor Bay, it is advisable to take a boat trip or a boat ride up the mountain Lovcen by road P1 in the direction of Neguša and Cetinje. From a height of almost 1500 meters there is a beautiful panorama, because the bay is the largest in the whole Mediterranean basin.

On the map you can see the best panorama of the whole Boka Kotor Bay.

Attractions and cities in Boka Bay of Kotor


1. Kotor

The first inhabitants here appeared in the Neolithic period (about five to ten thousand years ago). This is evidenced by various tools and pottery found in the local mountains. Moreover, there are ancient drawings on the walls of the caves. The town was previously a part of the Byzantine and Roman empires, and around the 6th century A.D. the Slavic tribes began to live there – from about this time the town was called Kotor.

Kotor Montenegro

The old part of the town is protected by UNESCO and has a lot of attractions. If you come here you will definitely notice the narrow streets where two people can barely fit together. In fact, one of the streets here is called “Let me pass” and is only 50 cm wide. Besides you have to hand it to the medieval architects and builders, without their skills and properly chosen building materials none of the ancient buildings would have survived.

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The main sights of Kotor:

  • Armory Square
  • Clock Tower of 17 century
  • St. Trifun Cathedral from 1166
  • St. Nicholas Church of 1902-1909
  • The Church of St. Luke of 1195
  • Fortress of St. John
  • Church of St. Mary
  • Church of Our Lady of Good Health
  • Gate and entrances/exits of Kotor
  • City Chambers


2. Perast

As in the previous town, the remains of Neolithic culture were also found in the area of Perast. Up to the fourteenth century A.D. the settlement was only a small fishermen’s settlement. The main period of development of the settlement was in the XV – XVIII centuries, when Perast was part of the Venetian Republic. In the same period, instead of the walls there were erected defensive towers and a fortress.

Today Perast is a museum city which is visited by thousands of tourists every day. Barely 350 inhabitants make up the town, which is considered an integral part of the Boka Kotorska Bay.

Djergis Island

  • Church of the Holy Virgin on the island
  • Island of St. George (Island of the Dead)
  • City Museum, 1937
  • City palaces from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries: Balovici, Brajkovic-Martinovic, Bronza, Bujovic, Viskovic, Zmajevic, Lucici-Kolovic-Maticola, Mazarovic, Smekja, Shestokrylovic
  • Church of St. Nicholas
  • Fortress of the Holy Cross
  • Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
  • Church of Our Lady of Carmel
  • Church of St. Anthony
  • Church of St. John the Baptist
  • Church of St. Mark
  • Church of St. Anne


3. city of Tivat

The city of Tivat is the youngest city on the coast of Montenegro – 7th century AD. According to some reports, it was named after the last Illyrian queen Teuta, who ruled the Boka Kotorska Bay. With a complicated history and share, the city has lived and developed to our times. Today Tivat is a beautiful modern city, with a beautiful promenade, full infrastructure and even a port. On the territory of Tivat there is a botanical garden with exotic plants – the local sailors brought them from faraway lands from the 12th century to the present day. There is also an airport, which allows flights between different cities in the world.

In general, there are relatively few attractions:

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  • Bisanti complex – the residence of the noble family
  • The complex Bucha Lukovichi – residence of the Tivat family.
  • City Park – founded in the 12th century
  • Jadran military yacht – an exhibit of the military fleet
  • Porto Montenegro – the largest mega-yacht port in Montenegro (the most visited place in the city)
  • Church of the Annunciation – a 17th-century church
  • Church of St. Anthony – 14th century church
  • St. Michael’s Church
  • The Church of St. Sava – the main temple in the city, 20th century
  • Church of St. Sergius – the oldest church in Tivat – 9th century
  • Church of St. Mary in Lastva – 15th century

Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi was founded in the fourteenth century and is located at the foot of Mount Orien. There is a distinct hilly terrain, as the city has many different steps and stairs.

There is a sea fortress, which stands securely in this place since the 14th century. There are a few old towers and the Orthodox Church of St. Michael the Archangel, which was built according to all the rules of eclecticism. If you go beyond the village, you can find Savinsky monastery, founded in the seventeenth century. A few years ago in Herceg Novi restored the Russian cemetery where the officers of the czarist army were buried – they emigrated here after 1917. There is also a small monument in this cemetery, erected in honor of all our compatriots who died here. The city is also called the “botanical garden of Montenegro”, and this is quite true. There are constantly held various festivals, which do not cease to amaze even the most discerning fans of flowers and other plants.

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Herceg Novi with its 13 thousand inhabitants is also known for its therapeutic mud: in the suburbs is the Milosevic Institute, which specializes in the locomotor system, also here is extracted the healing water “Igalka” 38.5 degrees.

Sights of Herceg Novi:

Mamula Island

  • Local History Museum
  • Savina Monastery
  • Old Town in Herceg Novi
  • The Sea Fortress – Forte Mare
  • Duke Vukic Square
  • Sahat Kula Clock Tower
  • Turkish Fortress of Canli – Kula
  • Spanish Fortress of Spaniela
  • Venetian Bastion
  • Citadel
  • Church of Archangel Michael – 19th century
  • Church of St. Anthony – 18th century
  • Church of St. George – 17th century
  • Church of St. Jerome – 19th century
  • Church of St. Leopold Mandic – 19th century
  • Church of the Savior – 18th century

Holidays in Boca Cotor Bay

Boka Kotor Bay

To come here for a beach vacation we would not advise and we will explain why. Of course, many people write on the internet that there are no waves (although the coast also has none), it’s quiet, beautiful and well, everything. In fact, they write people who want to rent their apartments to tourists, advertising that Boka Kotorskaya Bay – the best place for a beach holiday. So, let’s break it down in detail and write everything.

  • Close and quick access from the airport Tivat
  • Quiet location
  • Close to the beach

Bay of Kotor tour

  • It is a bay, that is, there are no currents and washed every night water, so she in some places even begins to bloom, compared with the open sea
  • There are almost no beaches, the width of 2 to 7 meters, a large pebble or rocky shore, concrete pantones
  • Right by the shore is a highway, that is over the head of the beach vacationers.
  • Depth – from the first meters the bottom goes sharply down, it’s not convenient to have a rest with children.
  • Ships, boats, yachts, ferries – so the water is not too clean.
  • Airplanes take off and land overhead every 10 minutes.
  • Do not offer group tours.
  • Sun rises later and sets earlier in the day due to the high surrounding mountains
  • For many people it looks like a lake in the mountains, but for our man wants to rest on the open sea

The city of Kotor and Perast is a noisy tourist town, with no beaches at all. Herceg Novi is very green, but all cascading in steps and stairs – with children in strollers here will be very difficult for tourists on vacation. Tivat is a port city with a ten-minute plane rumble. But all this does not mean that you should not come here. Every place is interesting in its own way and we would advise to come here not for rest, but just for 1 day by yourself or with excursions and believe me, they are worth your time and attention to visit Boka Kotorska Bay.

Boka Kotorska Bay: map and how to get there

Bay of Kotor

This bay is hard not to notice on the map, because it is located in the west of Montenegro and is quite wide and has an interesting shape in the form of a butterfly. In Boka Bay of Kotor you can easily and quickly get to the city by public transport from Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro, or from the airport in Tivat. You can also rent a car, but please note that the roads here are very difficult because of the mountainous terrain. So it might be better to think about individual excursions or cab transfers – they are even cheaper than renting a car, given the cost of renting, parking, gasoline and other things.

The best way to visit the bay is on a group tour “Boka Kotor Bay” or “Evening Boka Kotor Bay”. This will give you the opportunity not only to see all the beauties from the ship, but also to learn a lot of interesting facts about the sights from your guide.


Distance by route Budva (ME) – Kotor (ME) ~ 23 km, approximate travel time ~ 34 min.

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Distance between Budva (ME) and Tivat (ME) ~ 25 km, approximate travel time ~ 38 min.


Reviews of Boka Kotor Bay

People who have been here write reviews that Boka Kotorska Bay looks something like a puff-pastry because of the great combination of architectural styles, which are closely intertwined with each other. Once you’re here, it’s hard to understand which century you’re in – it’s so diverse and out of the ordinary. Reviews of tourists about Boka Kotor Bay can be seen on the site:

Boko Kotor Bay – a mix of different styles and eras

Boko-Kotor Bay in Montenegro

Boko Kotorski Bay (Boka Kotorska) in Montenegro is the largest on the Adriatic. It is interesting not only because of its size but also because of its picturesque view. The bay is both a tourist attraction and a major port for passenger and cargo ships. The bay is formed by five bays: Tivat, Herceg Novo, Kotor, Risan and Morinj. The bays are named after the nearby coastal cities.

The turbulent history of this place has left a mark in the architecture of different styles and eras. The cities of Perast Bay, Tivat, Herceg Novi and Kotor are popular tourist centers. They are visited by tourists to admire the scenic views and historical monuments, take pictures of local attractions. There are also many pilgrims visiting the ancient Orthodox and Catholic churches. A brief description of the bay and coastal towns is posted below.

Where is it

The bay is located in the northern part of the coast, on the territory of three municipalities – Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat.

How to get there :

The optimal option is a car or an organized day trip.

  • Car . To rent a car is simple and inexpensive – from 30 euros per day. Before that it is worth to assess your driving skills. In Montenegro there are a lot of difficult mountain roads.
  • Excursions . Group from 25 euros for adults, from 12 euros for children under 12 years. The price includes: bus fare, guide services, boat trip, visiting the main sights. Individual excursion from 95 euros.
  • Bus . Budva-Kotor, price 3 euros. Departures every hour from bus station.

History of the Bay of Kotor

The bay is often referred to as Europe’s southernmost fjord, but scientists say this is not true. Many years ago there was a lake in the bay and rivers and mountain streams flowed into it. About 100,000 years ago, under the influence of tectonic processes and changes in sea level the lake became part of the sea, a bay was formed.

The first people settled in this place about 10,000 years ago. This is confirmed by archaeological finds: pottery, tools and drawings in the caves have been found. The owners of the cove have changed. There were Byzantines, Romans, and Ottomans. The Slavs came to these places in the VI century.

The center of the region was Kotor. In the construction of coastal cities of the bay participated many peoples who at different times possessed the bay. Such interest in this place can be explained simply, a convenient geographical location was an important factor for the development of trade and navigation. Cities were actively developed, various constructions were built: religious, protective, residential. Many have survived to this day.

The oldest city in the Boko-Kotor Bay is Risan . The first settlements were here in the VI century B.C. There was a fortress and minted coins. Later the city became part of the Roman Empire, it was part of the province of Dalmatia. It was under the Romans that the heyday of the city came, more than 10 thousand people lived in it. In comparison, today in Risan lives a little over 2 000 people. In the Middle Ages, both Risan and other towns of the bay constantly changed owners. Until they became part of Montenegro, which was part of Yugoslavia. In memory of the tumultuous historical events remained forts, temples, monasteries, built in different eras, in different styles .

Features of the bay

According to Wikipedia, the depth of the bay up to 40 meters, the length of 28 kilometers . It allows even the largest ships to enter the bay. The entrance to the bay is wide, 3 km, but there are places where the width of 300 meters. The entire bay can be bypassed on land by road, its length is 105 km 70 m . At any point it opens up a beautiful panorama of the bay. There are a few islands in the bay.

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Boko-Kotor Bay attracts divers. For diving there are many interesting locations :

  • A British fighter jet shot down in 1944. Its remains can be seen at a depth of 32 meters;
  • A sunken 16th century galleon, 32 meters deep;
  • a torpedo boat, made in 1913, sunk in 1959 at a depth of 35 meters;
  • steamship, sunk in 1917, depth – 40 m;
  • the reef near Mamula Island has many crevices, rich flora and fauna, depth from 5 m to 30 m.

In addition to towns, on the coast of the bay are many small fishing communities. There is an airport, several ports, a shipyard.

Cities of Boko-Kotor Bay

Tourists are mainly attracted by the cities of the bay. Let’s look at them in more detail.


Kotor was mentioned around the 6th century, after Slavic tribes settled in the area. For centuries the city played an important role in Europe as a convenient port. Even today traces of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, Venice and the Ottoman Empire can still be seen in its architecture. The old buildings of Kotor are under UNESCO protection. Among the places of interest there are temples of XII century, a square, a tower with a clock of XVII century, a fortress, some churches, palaces of nobility. In the city there are a lot of old narrow streets, staircases. The old part of the city is a pedestrian zone .

Today in Kotor live 13 000 people . The city is located under the mountain Lovcen. In the port of Kotor a year comes almost 500 cruise ships. Number of tourists arriving on these liners is almost half a million people.

Perast .

It is small resort town of no more than 400 people. The city is located on the shore of the bay and looks very colorful. It reached its heyday under the Venetians. Despite its modest size, the concentration of historical monuments is great – in the town there are 15 temples (3 are open to tourists), 17 palaces (not Versailles, of course, but quite interesting), islands.

Some small islands are created artificially. For example, the island of St. Virgin built two centuries. Originally it was a small reef. Next to it, rocks were sunk, unsuitable for the use of ships. Now there is a small island on which the church of Our Lady is built. It is not only a church, there are paintings and various relics that have been donated by wealthy townspeople for centuries.

This is interesting. The Venetians founded a maritime school in Perast. Russian subjects at the time of Peter I also studied here.

For more than three centuries the city was part of the Venetian Republic. The nearby cities were conquered by the Turks, but the Ottoman Empire could not conquer Perast. In 1654 the city repulsed an attack by the Turks. In memory of this victory, every year on May 15 festive events are held. Today are reminded of those times by the defensive towers, temples, and residences of noble families.


The city was founded in VII century. It is believed to be named after the queen Teuta, the ruler of the area. Wealthy families built palaces in this beautiful area. In the 13th century Tivat was chosen as the residence of Serbian Metropolitan. Since the XV century Tivat became a province of Venice, and was part of it until 1797. Then the French had a short period here, and then the Austro-Hungarian Empire took over. Since 1918, Tivat became part of Yugoslavia, where it was until the collapse of the country.

Today it is a beautiful city with a port, a promenade and all the necessary infrastructure. The botanical garden is worth visiting – the plants for which were brought by sailors from different parts of the world since the XII century. There is an airport in the city. Among the attractions worth seeing are the residence of the nobility, Porto Montenegro (the largest marina in Montenegro), the church of IX, XIV, XV, XVII centuries. The economy of the city is based on tourism.

Map of Anapa coast and Black Sea

Herceg Novi

The city was founded in the 14th century. At the same time a fortress was built, which has survived to this day. The city is very green with lots of trees, bushes and flowers. In Herceg Novi are often held festivals of flowers, and the city is called the “botanical garden of Montenegro. Tourists will be interested to see several towers, churches, monastery, Russian cemetery.

The population of the town is 13 000 people. There are also health resorts (locomotor system), thermal springs with healing water “Igalka.

Other attractions: museum of local history, the old part of town, Ottoman fortress, Venetian bastion and others. Not far from the city there is Savinski monastery, the first references to it date back to the XVII century. The monastery bears the name of the first Serbian archbishop Sava. The monastery keeps the icons painted by the Russian, Italian and Cretan masters.

Is it worth choosing Boka Kotor Bay for a seaside vacation?

According to the reviews of tourists, the bay is an ideal place for a day trip, but a sea vacation has a number of significant drawbacks:

  • due to the lack of current, the water is not renewed, near the shore it blooms;
  • the beaches are pebbly and stony, small 2 – 7 m. In some places you have to sunbathe on concrete pontoons;
  • Just near the shore is deep, which is uncomfortable for children;
  • Next to the shore is a road, quite busy;
  • because of the numerous tourist liners, yachts, ships, the water is particularly clean;
  • the proximity of the airport is not conducive to a quiet holiday. The noise of taking off and landing aircraft does not suit all tourists.

Perast and Kotor are noisy tourist centers without beaches. Tivat is a port and an airfield. Herceg Novi is green and beautiful, but because of the many stairs is not suitable for families with children. The bay is a beautiful and interesting place, but not for a beach holiday .

Interesting facts

  • One of the streets in Kotor has a width of 0.5 m. It was called “Let me pass”.
  • According to a census held in 2003, the national composition of the inhabitants of the bay is as follows: 42% Serbian, 35% Montenegrin, 8% Croatian and 15% other nationalities. The total population of the towns and cities of Boko-Kotor Bay is 71,000.
  • The narrowest strait of the bay is called Verige. It is believed that the name came from the fact that the strait was blocked by a chain to protect against pirates.
  • The smallest island in the bay is Gospa ad Milo. Its dimensions are 140 m by 80 m. On the island is a convent.
  • In Herceg Novi is a Russian cemetery. In 2007 it was restored. Here, the Russian emigrant officers, who left their homeland after the revolution, found their last resting place.
  • For the development of tourism, Montenegro actively attracts investments. For example, Azerbaijan is building a health complex Porto Novo on a place where there used to be a naval base. Unexploded World War II bombs were found on the seabed during the construction. Investors from the UAE have invested more than 200 million in the marina of Porto Montenegro.
  • The city of Perast was part of the Republic of Venice from the fifteenth to the late eighteenth century. It was the only city in the region that was not invaded by the Turks.

If Boko-Kotor Bay is not very suitable for a seaside vacation, it is a great option for a day trip. Picturesque surroundings, ancient towns, numerous attractions, fresh seafood – all this will make the trip unforgettable.

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