Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

After a few days in Dubrovnik it was time to bid the city farewell and travel onward to the country of Montenegro.

map of Croatia and Montenegro
Map courtesy of Owl & Mouse modified by J. Ross for this post

Shortly after boarding the ferry at the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), the beauty of the area was on display.

A peninsula in the bay of Kotor with houses

Against such a backdrop even a humble transport ferry somehow becomes more photogenic.

A ferry crossing the Bay of Kotor

The crossing of the bay to Porto Montenegro took approximately 15-20 minutes.

After disembarking the ferry, travelers can take a brief ride to the marina with its impressive yachts.

Yachts anchored at Porto Montenegro

Adjacent to the waterfront was a beautifully detailed shopping mall where visitors can feel like they are in an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Designer mall at Porto Montenegro

Dior Store at Porto Montenegro

The mall ran alongside the hotel and “commuter” marina for smaller watercraft.

Hotel and marina at Porto Montenegro

After a quick visit to Porto Montenegro it was off to the ancient walled city of Kotor.

Walled City of Kotor's South Gate
Gurdic Gate (South Gate) City of Kotor

The small city with winding streets and steep hillsides has numerous attractions and charming characteristics. A favorite stop for tourists is the Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon (Sveti Tripun) which dates back to 1166. Parts of the Cathedral were rebuilt and modified after earthquakes as evidenced by the differences in the two towers.


 Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon

The brick columns and vaulted arches offer the sanctuary the impressive countenance it’s history demands.

Interior of the Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon

The gilded altar is one of the city’s prized possessions.

Altar of the Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon

Not far from the Cathedral is a square where one of the oldest trees in the world can be found. This black poplar was reportedly planted around 1667.

Black Poplar dating back to 1667
Black Poplar (Populus nigra) – read more HERE

The thick brick walls and amply spaced viewpoints reinforce the concept that Kotor is a fortress.

Kotor's fortress walls

It is a wonder how some of the more delicate artifacts such as this carving of the Venetian Lion under an archway have withstood the centuries.

Relief carving of the Venetian Lion

Every town or village of this era has at least one fountain.

Public Fountain

Built along the base of the mountainous cliffs, residents of Kotor made use of steep, outdoor stairways that have become quite worn over the years.


Exterior steps to the next level of the city

In any area that beckons travelers, there are dining venues and Kotor was no exception.

Restaurant table with flowers and wine

Inside the city’s walls one can see just the tips of the cliffs of Mount Lovćen. Once outside of the wall the scope of the mountains becomes more apparent.

Mountain views from outside the city wall

The domed buildings inside the wall are nestled between the mountains and the Škurda River.

The Skurda River along the walls of Kotor
Near the North Gate/River Gate




If you are interested in a detailed guide to Kotor, check out Toms Port Guide to Kotor.


See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic
Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all
Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down
Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd


Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Breaking away from our routine of traveling to national parks in the United States, we decided to journey overseas with a noted tour company to see a part of the world in which we have been interested for a long time. So off it was to Portugal and Spain.

Map of Portugal with Lisbon noted

Map Via

We arrived in Lisbon relatively early in the day. After we checked in at our hotel, we were anxious to get out and about to visit some of the sights we researched. High on the list was the Alfama district in Lisbon.

One of Alfama’s distinctions is that it is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. It is located along the Tejo river and is very picturesque. The concierge at the hotel explained that we needed to take a taxi to the tram stop and then take the number 28 to Alfama.

Tram #28 headed to Alfama

The #28 tram’s route traverses the city’s center thus making it a very busy mode of transportation as tourists use this to arrive at many of Lisbon’s popular attractions. It is less expensive than a tour bus, but there is no guide to point out the sights. We had to be careful as there were two different #28 trams. We determined we needed the one with the destination noted as Prazeres.

You can read more about it HERE

This popular tram usually operates from 7AM until 11PM daily. Check out the current schedules to be sure.

NOTE – Pickpockets often frequent this tram so be careful and keep your valuables close. We had no problems at all (besides the usual language barrier).

Little did we understand that the tram was going to drop us off quite a distance from the main section of Alfama and that we also needed to board a small van to take us to Alfama’s central location; no extra charge. Streets are so narrow in places that cars cannot navigate them. Bicycles and smaller motorized transports are plentiful on these narrow side streets.

As we were walking to board the jitney, we passed a trash can that was quite unique. We didn’t realize that this was customary in Portugal and Spain. Trash/recycle receptacles are sometimes painted and serve as a work of contemporary art. The city sponsors some to the container art. Apparently a number of other European cities have adopted this colorful method of camouflaging these streetside bins.

Art covered trash=recycle bins

We managed to find our way to the small van and disembarked near the Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Viewpoint of the Doors of the Sun) which is a large terraced area with an elevated point of view looking over Alfama. The first thing visitors are going to notice is the famous red roofs. This is Alfama’s trademark!

Landmark red roofs of Alfama seen from Miradouro das Portas do Sol

In the picture above, the river is barely visible, but some of the prominent buildings can be clearly seen. The large building in the upper left (with the two towers) is the Church or Monastery of São Vicente de Fora which Wikipedia translates as “Monastery of St. Vincent .” Just off to the the right of the Monastery is the dome of the National Pantheon.

Saint Vincent is Lisbon’s patron saint and a statue to honor him stands as a sentinel at the Portas del Sol close to where most visitors will arrive at one point or another during their explorations. There are several vendors and street merchants at this location trying to capitalize on the crowds that often gather in this area.

Statue of Lisbon's patron saint, Saint Vincent

Here is another photograph of Alfama taken from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia which is another great viewing area. The Tejo river is located along the horizon. More central with a single tower visible is the iglesia de Santo Estevao (Church of St. Stephen).

Another view of the port of Alfama seen from Miradouro de Santa Luzia

As we began to make our way through the old streets of Alfama on the way to the Thieve’s Market, we passed by ancient structures. Here is a crossover near the Campo de Santa Clara (market square).

crossover near the Campo de Santa Clara (market square)

The Thieves Market is similar to flea markets around the world. It is only open on Tuesday and Saturdays in the square near the Panteão Nacional and São Vicente de Fora dating back to the late 1880’s.

Vendors at the Thieves Market in Alfama

There was a large variety of goods for sale including books, crafts and other typical flea market wares.

Wheelbarrow with dishes for sale

Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


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