The breathtaking Bay of Kotor in Montenegro is also called the southernmost fjord of Europe. It impresses with its dreamlike symphony of rugged cliffs, crouching settlements at its feet and the emerald-green glittering Adriatic Sea.
The breathtaking Bay of Kotor ("Boka Kotorska") in the south of Montenegro is located on the south-eastern Adriatic coast and is fringed by steep mountain slopes. For many, the Bay of Kotor is the most beautiful spot on the Adriatic coast.
Due to its scenic beauty, it is one of the top 10 sights in Montenegro and is visited by many Adriatic cruise ships. Together with the Bay of Risan, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
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PICTURES: Bay of Kotor
The Bay of Kotor is just under 30 kilometres long and consists of four individual basins connected by spectacular straits between the towering mountain flanks. Because of this fjord-like division, the Bay of Kotor is also known as the "southernmost fjord in Europe", but it is not a fjord in the true sense of the word.
Due to the steep shores of the Bay of Kotor, it is only suitable to a limited extent for a bathing holiday, but it has a lot to offer for party animals as well as for those interested in history.
On the way in the Bay of Kotor
Numerous fortifications were built around the Bay of Kotor. If you enter the bay from the Mediterranean, you pass the heavily fortified Prevlaka peninsula, which belongs to Croatia, and the Montenegrin peninsula of Luštica. In the middle of the approximately 2-kilometre-wide inlet lies the fortified island of Mamula, a third defensive fortification.
Picturesque towns on the "southernmost fjord in Europe
The coasts in the Bay of Kotor are so steep in places that the narrow settlements with their bright red roofs can hardly find room on the shore. Nevertheless, they huddle defiantly in the shadows of the peaks above them, which gives the place a very special flair.
The first large coastal town you see is Herceg Novi, and continue east towards Tivat. Heading north along the coast, you soon catch sight of the picturesque village of Perast and further northwest the coastal town of Risan in its spectacular valley of sky-scraping limestone walls.
From the scattered chapels in the steep slopes, enemy ships could be spotted very soon in the past. Light signals were used to warn the valley, whereupon the strait in front of Perast was simply blocked by a huge chain.
Final stop: Wonderful Kotor
Kotor is well protected in the far corner of this fantastic coastal landscape at the foot of "Saint Ivan", an impressive mountain with dense forests. From its summit, by the way, you have a breathtaking view over the entire Bay of Kotor, whose emerald-green water surface winds over 30 kilometres in several loops to the Mediterranean coast.
As a relatively easy-to-defend location on the Mediterranean, Kotor was already an important cultural and trading centre in antiquity, but also a hideout for pirates and buccaneers.
In addition to remains of Roman buildings, an incredible number of monasteries have also been excavated, making the Bay of Kotor the most "religious" region on the Mediterranean. The monasteries of Sveti Đorđe on St. George's Island off Perast, the Orthodox monastery of Savina and the monastery of the Archangel Michael on the Isle of Flowers near Tivat are still popular places of pilgrimage today.
Cultural diversity in the Bay of Kotor
Countless peoples, from the Illyrians, Romans and Byzantines, to the Venetians, Austrians and Russians, to the Serbs, Turks and French under Napoleon, have populated the Kotor coast and left their historical footprint. Kotor has also always been a link between East and West, Catholics and Orthodox, Christians and Muslims, resulting in an extraordinary cultural diversity in the settlements.
Once the Bay of Kotor was overshadowed by the breath of communism. In Tivat, a wall separated the coast from the interior, behind which lay the heaps of rubble of a former Yugoslav shipyard. Disused submarines were left to rot on dry land and the harbour facilities were partly rusted and rotten.
But it was not to stay that way. Since everything in the Bay of Kotor is too small and too narrow for mass tourism, the managers of "Porto Montenegro" had an offer in the luxury class in mind. The expensive super yachts anchored in Nice, Monte Carlo or Antibes thus also found their way to the Bay of Kotor. 5-star hotels and a golf course complete the high-end holiday offer at the stylish port of Tivat.
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