Cycling to Kotor, Montenegro

Cycling is by far my favorite mode of transport. Recently, I found myself with a bicycle at my disposal, and so to make the best of the opportunity, I decided to ride from where I was staying in Tivat to the old town of Kotor. Kotor is one of the major coastal towns in Montenegro, and the old town is reputed as a charming relic of the past. These days there is a tunnel connecting Tivat to Kotor, greatly reducing travel time while also eliminating traffic on the little road that winds along the edge of the bay. The tunnel is no fun for cyclists. It’s dark, and the air is nasty, while the old road is mostly flat and about an hour’s easy ride. With the mountains jutting up on my right and the glistening bay on my left I rode slowly through quiet villages, passing the occasional cyclist or pedestrian. It was both exhilarating and serene.

Arriving in Kotor, I entered the walled old town, wandered the streets and sipped espresso. Most of the shops are open, selling everything from clothing and shoes to coffee and pastry. A little wine bar called the Old Wine Bar (inventive!) looked particularly alluring with its exposed stone and timber interior and warm decor. I dropped in a few days later with a couple of girlfriends and we found that their wine and service was excellent. There are a couple of churches and museum/galleries that also looked interesting. The sun was threatening to disappear so I didn’t take as much time as I would have liked to, so they’ve been rainchecked for the future.

There were a couple of other things that I missed but I believe would be worth doing. I heard after I returned that if you continue on that road past Kotor, there are fascinating relics of architecture and beauty to be found. And behind old-town Kotor is a craggy incline with an old stone wall zig-zagging up to ancient ruins. Apparently it’s an easy hike and very well worth it for the view and the beauty of the ruins.

If you like gentle exercise and beautiful scenery, do the cycle. If you’re into cobblestoned streets and secret staircases, definitely explore the old town of Kotor. And if you want a little more of a challenge, cycle to the old town and climb the old wall. I’d suggest buying lunch from somewhere in town and enjoying it up on the ruins, looking down at the bay like you’re the king of the world!

See more on bicycle touring the Balkans for the big picture or bicycle touring the EuroVelo 8 for more specific info.

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