Wedged between brooding mountains and a moody corner of the bay, this dramatically beautiful town is perfectly at one with its setting. Its sturdy walls – started in the 9th century and tweaked until the 18th – arch steeply up the slopes behind it. From a distance they’re barely discernible from the mountain’s grey hide, but at night they’re spectacularly lit, reflecting in the water to give the town a golden halo. Within those walls lie labyrinthine marbled lanes where churches, shops, bars and restaurants surprise you on hidden piazzas.
In July and August people pour into Kotor and the yachts of the super-rich fill the marina, but this town never gets quite as Euro-trashy as some other parts of the coast – this sheltered arm of the bay just isn’t as appealing for swimming. But anyone with a heart for romance, living history and architecture will find Kotor a highlight of their Montenegrin travels.