GPS: 42.425865986541, 18.767921841258
Situated between sea and mountains in the south-west of Montenegro, the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) is also wrongly called the “Europe’s southernmost fjord” because of its appearance submerged by water. From the Adriatic Sea, where it takes shape, this underground canyon extends some 30 km deep inland. With the brilliance of its maritime gulfs and the splendour of its natural harbours, the Bay of Kotor is among the most beautiful bays in the world.
The Bay of Kotor has a fascinating human history and a great maritime past. Under various external influences, this place became an important port and a hub of trade in the Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages, this region was controlled by the Republic of Venice for four centuries (from 1420 to 1797) and suffered several attacks from the Ottoman Empire. To protect themselves, the Venetians developed a system of fortifications consisting of ramparts, towers, citadels, bastions and defensive castles. After the fall of Venice in 1797 against Napoleon’s troops and the signing of the Treaty of Campo Formio, the territory of the Bay of Kotor passed into the hands of the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy. Coveted for its direct access to the sea, the site of Kotor became an important military and merchant base in the 19th and 20th centuries. The bay still preserves a superb architectural heritage and many cultural monuments from the Middle Ages (churches, cathedrals, monasteries, museums, palaces and villages) despite several earthquakes. The most important heritage of the bay is undoubtedly the fortified town of Kotor, one of the best preserved medieval cities in the Mediterranean and one of the most picturesque places in the Balkans.
Protected from the wind by a range of mountains in the Dinaric Alps, the Bay of Kotor also benefit from a favourable microclimate for most of the year. They contain charming little villages, all worthy of interest, which are scattered around a breathtaking coastline made up of creeks, beaches and natural caves. These gems are now threatened by the unbridled process of concretization of the Montenegrin coastline. From the sculpted heights of the mountains, the coastal destination of the Bay of Kotor hides its most amazing viewpoints. When you reach Sveti Ivan’s Fortress after a long climb of 1,350 steps, you will be rewarded for your efforts with one of the most remarkable panoramas of the bay.