The destination that most surprised me on my Eastern Mediterranean cruise earlier this year was definitely Kotor, Montenegro.

I knew to get to the city of Kotor the ship sailed down the bay of the same name, and I’d heard it had all the looks and character of a fiord, despite actually being a ria. Having sailed down a real fiord before, and seen some of the most beautiful sails in different countries, I really wasn’t expecting anything too exciting.

But I was so wrong.

Kotor, Montenegro

Edging our way up the bay…

Sailing up the bay of Kotor was so beautiful. I loved watching the hills change from green and lush, to rocky and barren, and then back again in such a short distance. The water was calm and mesmorisingly still, the only ripples being created by the wake of our slowly moving ship.

The bay of Kotor, Montenegro

I love the difference between these hills!

Sailing the bay of Kotor

Surely the ship won’t fit through there, will it?!

After one of the best sails of my cruising life I was so excited to get off the ship and explore Kotor, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Kotor is positively brimming with charm and history. To get into the city you have to enter the city walls through the gates. The walls were originally built by the Venetians to protect Kotor from invasions, and they sprawl up into the hills. You can walk up into the steep hills, and I’m sure the view of the city and the bay is stunning, but on one of the warmest days of the year it didn’t look like too appealing a prospect!

Walls of Kotor, Montenegro

The walls of the city

The streets of Kotor are absolutely adorable. Some a bright and wide, others are narrow, quiet and mysterious. I loved the feeling of not knowing where I was going and turning down certain streets, like the one below, just because they looked interesting. It didn’t seem to matter that I wasn’t sure where they would lead.

Streets of Kotor, Montenegro

Narrow streets

The area outside the city walls, around the bay itself is stunning. The water seemed to be a thousand different shades of blue and green and remained so silently still all day long. As the sun started to go down, the colours changed again and the light was softer, and it made the bay of Kotor appear all the more beautiful.

The bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Isn’t this gorgeous?!

Grandeur of the Seas in Kotor

Grandeur of the Seas in Kotor

I left Kotor utterly transfixed by its exceptional natural beauty, quaint cobbled streets, delicious food and friendly locals. It opened my eyes to Montenegro as a destination, somewhere I’d never given much thought to previously. Well, Montenegro is firmly in my mind now, and there’s even a pretty big slice of Kotor wedged into a space within my heart.