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Kotor

Wedged between brooding mountains and a moody corner of the bay, achingly atmospheric Kotor (Котор) is perfectly at one with its setting. Hemmed in by staunch walls snaking improbably up the surrounding slopes, the town is a medieval maze of museums, churches, cafe-strewn squares, and Venetian palaces and pillories. It’s a dramatic and delightful place where the past coexists with the present; its cobblestones ring with the sound of children racing to school in centuries-old buildings, lines of laundry flutter from wrought-iron balconies, and hundreds of cats – the descendants of seafaring felines – loll in marble laneways. Come nightfall, Kotor’s spectacularly lit-up walls glow as serenely as a halo. Behind the bulwarks, the streets buzz with bars, live music – from soul to serenades – and castle-top clubbing.

Budva’s got the beaches, and nearby Dubrovnik’s got the bling, but for romance, ambience and living history, this Old Town outflanks them all.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kotor.