The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro 
A Landscape Escape

 

Located just around the corner from the Adriatic Sea and a few miles away from the Croatian border, the Bay of Kotor is a submerged river canyon forming a unique Balkanic destination with impressive fjord features. Nothing similar can be found elsewhere in South Europe. Made of four little bays and a fistful of ancient towns surrounded by incredible natural sceneries, the “Boka” joined the UNESCO world heritage in 1979.

 

I had the honour to be invited as international photographer on a weekend tracking tour organised and sponsored by Regent Porto Montenegro. Since the assignment was focused on landscapes and panoramas, I chose to expand the scenarios' magniloquence by elevating minimalistic elements  to co-protagonists of the scene. Fishermen, boats, and churches in distance, usually adopted as expedient to confer visual scale, here become key part of the narrative and contribute to portrait various corners of the Boka accordingly.

The result is a mesmerising "landscape escape" blessed by autumn colours of rare beauty, with a touch of human - and sometimes feline - presence, leaving room for a return to the Bay for a complementary exploration into people and culture. 

Towns & settlements

The bay is named after the old town of Kotor, a medieval gem surrounded by the impressive limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovcen.

Tivat, the youngest municipality in the area and smallest in the whole country, lies on the other side of the bay. It’s worth pointing out that although Kotor names the bay, Tivat isn’t playing a secondary role: its natural reserves, remarkable sunset viewpoints and coastal villages beautifully frozen in time can only be given justice with no less than a full day of exploration.

The coastal village of Bjelila is a must-see for visitors looking for an authentic local atmosphere: traditional houses, old dock, and little taverns make for a time-traveling experience.

Friendly altitudes

The Bay of Kotor is naturally divided in two by Mount Vrmac. At these altitudes, 300m above sea level, the almost uninhabited settlement of Gornja Lastva welcomes visitors with its traditional white stone houses, amazing panoramic sceneries, and trails regularly attracting locals and tourists.

Fun fact: cat lovers are going to have a great time around here because several felines have comfortably settled amid deserted houses and don’t seem keen on moving elsewhere anytime soon. Cats are also very numerous in downtown Kotor, where they have become a municipal symbol.

The ultimate scenery

One of Montenegro’s most popular features is the proximity between the sea and mountains. 

 

Equipped tourists can literally go for a swim in the morning and ski in the afternoon, after a quick road trip to reach the altitudes. And while the Bay of Kotor isn’t really a destination for snow lovers, its proximity does not lack hotspots for mountain aficionados.

One for all: Lovćen, home to the homonym National Park. Driving up the 25 hairpins connecting sea level to the peak of Lovćen leads to the most spectacular panorama on the whole bay and beyond, where everything from Kotor to Tivat to the main Adriatic pool down the horizon can be admired.

Media Picks


Wanderlust UK: Reader's Pick, Boka Bay (Dec 2020)

GoNomad: Bay of Kotor, Montenegro's Amazing Boka
Gone Travelling: Exploring the Bay of Kotor

Go World Travel: Through my Lens: The Bay of Kotor