Montenegro · Bay of Kotor
The beautiful Bay of Kotor – or Boka Kotorska – is often called Europe’s most southernmost fjord, due to its unusual look. It certainly looks like one, with towering peaks surrounding a rocky coastline dotted with pretty waterside towns. Add in a few cruise ships in the bright blue waters and you could almost be in Norway. But both the water and the climate here are much more Mediterranean than Scandinavian. The bay is not actually a fjord either, but rather a ria – a submerged river valley that is made up of four connected bays which look like a butterfly shape as they stretch inland from the coast. That is all just definition though, the scenery here is as stunning as any ‘proper’ fjord. And when you add in bags of history and culture then you can see why UNESCO have listed the Bay of Kotor as one of their World Heritage sites.
Scattered with photogenic medieval towns admiring their reflections in peacock-blue inlets, the compact bay – or simply ‘Boka’, as it’s known in local parlance – is stitched together by a series of scenic, serpentine roads, making it easy to explore. As if determined to prove the ‘good things come in small packages’ adage, the region crams in everything from island monasteries and show-stopping citadels to adventure sports and extraordinary eateries, where waterfront views induce as much drooling as the fresh seafood. Whatever your bliss, you will find it at Boka.
The Bay of Kotor consists of four smaller gulfs – gulf of Herceg Novi, gulf of Tivat, gulf of Risan, and gulf of Kotor. The gulfs of Herceg Novi and Tivat are connected via the Kumbor strait, while the extremely narrow Verige strait connects the gulf of Tivat with the gulfs of Risan and Kotor. The total area equals 88 square kilometres. The gulf of Herceq Novi empties into the Adriatic Sea.