Nestled between steep mountains and opening up to a splendid bay, Kotor is one of the hidden jewels of Montenegro. It’s never cluttered with tourists and it never gets that Euro-trashy vibe you’d normally get out of coastal towns in these parts of Europe. The town itself belongs to the Bay of Kotor, a marvellous array of medieval architecture, virgin forests and an overall sense of peace and tranquillity. The old Adriatic port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period, and is, by all means, a submerged river canyon subject to a typically moderate coastal climate. For a 14-day forecast, click here.
The year is split into four different seasons, and the average temperature and rainfall volume shifts can certainly account for each of them. The town of just over 13,000 residents benefits from sturdy protection against heavy and cold winters thanks to the mountains, but it is still subject to the occasional whims of a moody bay. The driest month of the year is July, while November holds the most rain, at an average of 167mm. The hottest months are July and August, recording average highs of 31°C, and the coldest are January and February, with average lows meeting the 2°C threshold. While the sea and beaches of Kotor are not exactly great for swimming, the water temperature can go as high as 25°C during the summer.
Spreading over March, April and May, spring is a capricious mistress to the Bay of Kotor, unravelling each month with higher and higher averages ranging from 16°C to 24°C, strong winds of up to 70kmh and an average rainfall of between 75mm and 116mm. Typical for this part of Europe, the spring season offers moderate warmth, sudden and voluminous showers and cool nights measuring at 5-12°C on average. May is usually considered a good opening for the summer season, as the mercury goes up and the sun stays out for much longer. For history buffs and architecture aficionados, Kotor is a wonderful destination during this time of the year. It offers a multitude of ancient and medieval landmarks, museums and points of interest, along with stunning views of both mountains and the bay. For trekkers, climbers and bikers, this is the ultimate holiday destination, with thousands of possible routes and mountain slopes to conquer.
Overshadowed by the giant limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovcen, with the dark blue waters of the Adriatic Sea bordering its pebbled shores and a giant blue sky towering over its lush green forests and clay and terracotta roof tiles, Kotor is a haven for those looking for a romantic and secluded page out of Medieval history. Old rock towers and walls draw irregular lines down the slopes, mingling with trees and 8th century architecture. And it all just fits in so well with cherry and apple blossoms bursting all over town.
Summer in Kotor is beautiful, pleasantly hot and dry and subject to many days of glorious sunshine. The average temperature is steady around 25°C, with higher averages boldly exceeding 30°C and nights all breezy with low averages of 18°C. The days experience up to 10 hours of uninterrupted sunshine and chances of rainfall are at an all-time low, registering an average of 52mm out of June, July and August. The sea temperature reaches the 25°C marker, making it excellent for swimming – while the beaches and the seabed are not regularly popular amongst beachgoers, the crystal clear and clean waters are great for splashing around. July and August are the months when mostly European tourists pour into the coastal town of Kotor, while the yachts of the rich begin to populate the marina.
Despite the summer influx of outside visitors, the town maintains its beautiful and traditional atmosphere, its beaches unspoiled by suffocating crowds and its waters pristine and untouched by rowdy jet skis. For couples and families, Kotor offers an impressive range of tours, both on and off shore, combining relaxation and excitement in activities such as sailing, diving and snorkelling, paddling and kayaking across the bay. While the beaches are pebbled and flanked by rocky clusters, nothing would stop you from lying back on a chaise-longue and basking in the sun for hours – if anything, you won’t regret going into the water either, as it’s near-perfect during the summer.
Occupying September, October and November, autumn can be categorised as a typical stage of the marine-continental climate, bringing heavy precipitation and mildly lower temperatures, which continue to drop as winter approaches. Recording high volumes of well over 140mm of precipitation, and high averages going from 26°C in September dropping to 17°C in November, Kotor offers a moderate and humid end to the holiday season. Wind speeds vary from 50 to 70kmh, depending on how the winds shift across the bay, and humidity doesn’t leave the 70% average. Given the moderate mixture of sun and rain, autumn is another great time to explore the historical richness of the area.
A UNESCO Heritage Site renowned for its breath-taking beauty and traditional charm, Kotor was mostly developed between the 12th and 14th centuries. Stretching well over four kilometres, the stone walls which have protected the town for centuries against invasions lead all the way up to the majestic fortress of Saint Ivan, one of Kotor’s protected landmarks. In autumn, the sturdy walls and reddish roofs are barely discernible from the mountainous backdrop during the day, sitting in harmony with their natural surroundings. At night, when the lights go on and shine against the bay, Kotor seems to sparkle into life. The labyrinthine roads padded with marble or cobblestone will lead the curious explorers to multitudes of shops, corner shop cafes and restaurants, terraces and cultural venues, hidden in Venetian-style piazzas and framed by brightly coloured flowerpots.
December, January and February are the coldest months of the year, and form the winter season. Precipitation is high at 165mm during the first month, but it then drops to an average of 110mm in February. Humidity drops slightly, making way for low temperatures of 2°C-3°C and biting gusts of northern winds from the continent. As winter settles across Central Europe, the Bay of Kotor also takes on some of the winter load – expect January to bring some frost and even some snow, particularly due to the abundance of mountains surrounding the waters. The warmer days are expected to reach 13°C on average, but the sun is scarce with up to just 4 hours of sunshine per day. The nights are cold, but the marine influences still take the edge off, making Kotor a good destination even in the wintertime due to the lack of extreme temperatures.
Kotor has been continuously developed from the 9th until the 18th century, presenting both Medieval and Venetian styles in its buildings and cobblestone streets. At night, the town opens up to the sea in a gentle diffusion of lights, which reflect off the bay and somehow envelope the entire area in a nocturne halo.
Overall, Kotor is the perfect destination for people who appreciate splendiferous and relaxing views of both bay and mountain, as well as for people who enjoy getting in touch with nature or exploring the historical treasures hidden beneath Venetian roofs and medieval walls.