Exploring Expat Life In Kotor, Montenegro

Get Your Free Montenegro Report Today!

Learn more about MONTENEGRO and other countries in our free, daily Overseas Opportunity Letter. Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send you our FREE REPORT - The 10 Best Places To Retire In 2023.

Kotor Bay, Montenegro: Safe, Small, And Low Cost

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

sunny street in Prcanj, Kotor Bay, Montenegro
Adobe Stock/Anatoliy Sadovskiy

Kotor is in the southeastern corner of the bay. The jewel in its crown is Kotor Old Town, a three-sided walled city of great historical significance that’s widely regarded as the best-preserved medieval town in the Mediterranean.

Most importantly, Kotor is not just Kotor Old Town. It stretches for a few miles to the north and northwest, with little towns and villages lumped in with it.

When you start thinking of living overseas, Kotor could be an option for you. Especially if you want to be near the historical center of this region or right inside it. You could live right in Kotor Old Town, although it’d be a niche choice…

It’s a tiny area. You could walk from one end to the other in about five minutes. A couple times a day, tourists unload from massive cruise ships and overwhelm its narrow streets… something you’d have to accept if you chose to live here.

Montenegro is in Eastern Europe, sandwiched between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, and Croatia.

Kotor Bay is in the southwest of the country. However, it has a unique geography, full of nooks and crannies that together make up one of the most indented areas of the Adriatic Sea. And, gorgeous views of the sea and mountains are a given regardless of where you are in the bay.

Kotor Bay is made up of three main towns: Kotor, Tivat, and Hercig Novi.

Kotor, Montenegro, is shaped like a V and surrounded by tall mountains. The downside to living here is that, for half the day, one side of the V gets sunshine while the other side is in the shadows…

This pattern reverses as the sun makes its way across the sky. No matter where you choose to be in Kotor, you’re going to be in relative darkness for half the day.

Expat Community In Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor has a big, diverse, and lively expat community. You’ll most likely not have trouble making connections here.

The best way to meet people is by joining the expat Facebook groups, like Expat Living Montenegro, Foreigners in Montenegro, and Montenegro Digital Nomads & Remote Workers.

Expats love this area for its safety, its access to nature, the myriad recreation opportunities, and the diverse and interesting community.

The downside is the lack of international-standard health care… although they say for basic treatment, they’re happy with Montenegro’s care.

Cost Of Living In Kotor, Montenegro

The biggest objective on Montenegro’s agenda right now is joining the European Union, which it’s poised to do in the next couple of years (some say by 2025; some say by 2030). It became an EU candidate in 2010 and adopted the euro as its currency in 2002.

Considering all that’s on offer, and unlike comparable destinations like Croatia, the cost of living in Montenegro is low.

A couple can live comfortably here on a budget of US$1,700 to US$2,200 per month depending on your lifestyle choices. The closer you choose to live like a local, the lower your monthly budget will be.

On the other hand, prices vary from town to town, with Kotor Old Town and Tivat’s seafront drag costing the most compared to the villages scattered around the bay. You can rent a small, one- or two-bed apartment in Kotor Old Town for about 800 euros per month.

Every real estate agent I met with told me that property prices are on the rise… but I’m willing to bet that most American and Canadian retirees would consider Kotor Bay property a steal, especially considering the proximity to the sea and deep historical significance.

You can buy a modest, two-bedroom home, albeit one likely in need of some TLC, for as little as 50,000 euros. Inland, this price can go even lower.

For example, if you’re taking taxis to get around, expect to spend 18 to 20 euros on the journey between Kotor Old Town and Tivat. The most I spent on transportation was 60 euros, which was the amount I paid to go from Kotor Old Town to Podgorica Airport—an hour-and-a-half drive.

In terms of food and drink, for a meal for two at a nicer place, expect to spend 50 to 60 euros, including drinks, mains, and dessert. You can have hearty meals at local spots for much less than this; 20 to 40 euros for two. For the average breakfast, you’ll pay 10 euros or less.

A cappuccino costs about 1.50 euros; a mini bottle of wine is 4.50 euros; a slice of pizza is 3 euros; a slice of cake is less than 5 euros.

In short, Kotor Bay offers some of the best value for money on the Continent.

Public buses and taxis operate in Kotor Bay. Taxis are plentiful and easy to find, with taxi ranks in popular areas (like outside Kotor Old Town and just off Tivat’s boardwalk). Drivers speak English, and rates are reasonable; most drivers use the meter to determine the fare.

You really need a car to have a comfortable, well-rounded lifestyle in Kotor Bay. I wouldn’t want to rely on public transportation if I lived here, and I wouldn’t want to limit myself to just my small section of the bay.

Property, rent, utilities, meals, and more are affordable in Montenegro. You can lower your current cost of living by moving here.

Let’s look at an example of what your monthly budget could look like in Kotor, Montenegro…

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$746Three-bedroom apartment in the city center.
TransportationUS$36US$1.10 per one-way ticket. US$36 for monthly pass.
UtilitiesUS$135Electricity, including heating and cooling, and water.
Cell PhoneUS$24Depends on the cell phone plan you choose.

Eating out twice a week at a local restaurant.
Beers twice a week at a local pub. Movie theatre trip twice a month.

GroceriesUS$300Monthly grocery haul for a couple.

Start Your New Life Today, Overseas

A world full of fun, adventure, and profit awaits! Sign up for our free daily e-letter, Overseas Opportunity Letter, and we'll send you a FREE report on the 10 Best Places To Retire In Style Overseas Today

Things To Do In Kotor, Montenegro

kotor in montenegro view of valley and town

Montenegro is small but geographically diverse. You can ski on the slopes in the morning and swim in the Mediterranean in the afternoon.

Everyone points out how underrated it is for natural attractions. Montenegro’s geography is mind-boggling. You notice when you fly into the country that it’s full of dramatic mountain peaks.

There’s tons to see in Montenegro. Many people who live on the coast have cabins in the small mountain towns, for instance. Or they head out on weekend ski trips, which involve driving a couple of hours… Your own car will facilitate all of that.

The roads are generally good quality, but Montenegro is extremely mountainous, which translates to hairy roads and a lot of driving through tunnels.

All the more reason to have your own car—to put safety in your own hands when you’re traveling around the country.

Here’s a list of things to do and places to visit while in Kotor…

1. Explore the historic Old Town of Kotor

It’s a well-preserved medieval town––is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 located in the bay.

Visiting this town will make you feel like you’re stepping back in time with its narrow, cobble streets, giving you a unique experience.

It’s encircled by tall city walls which offers the visitor who decides to climb up a panoramic view of the town, the bay, and the surrounding mountains.

There are several historical buildings and landmarks to take in while visiting The Old Town.

When here, make sure to stop by the of Cathedral St. Tryphon, the Church of St. Luke, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Clock Tower, and the Prince’s Palace.

There are also various museums such as the Maritime Museum, and art galleries here. Cafés, restaurants, and shops line the streets of The Old Town as well.

2. Take A Boat Tour On The Bay Of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Taking a boat ride here is one of the most unique and delightful ways to take in all the scenery.

While on your boat tour, you’ll be able to enjoy the picturesque landscape, towering mountains, and the sparkling blue water.

Visiting the island of Our Lady of the Rocks is one of the highlights of this tour. It’s a manmade island and it’s home to a stunning Catholic church and museum.

There are other islands and places to visit on this tour such as the town of Perast and Mamula Island and Blue Cave.

This tour is a great opportunity for photography lovers to practice their craft and take amazing shots.

3. Visit The Castle Of San Giovanni

The Castle of San Giovanni is an ancient fortress on a hill behind the Old Town of Kotor. From here you’ll get a panoramic view of the town as well as surrounding landscapes.It’s believed that the castle dates back to the 9th century.

It was built in various stages and its intention was to be used to protect the town of Kotor. If you’re a history buff or if you enjoy architectural history, this is a great example of medieval construction since the castle has thick stone walls, towers, and bastions.

It’s mostly in ruins, but you’ll still get a decent example of what it used to be. It’s a popular place to watch the sunset and snap some memorable photos of your visit.

4. The Great Outdoors In Kotor

Kotor, Montenegro, offers outdoor and nature lovers a wide range of activities to take part in.For instance, you could go hiking and trekking in the surrounding mountains as well as national parks.

Hiking up to the Castle of San Giovanni gets you two for one in that you’ll spend some time in the great outdoors as well as visit an ancient fortress rich in history.

You can also rent a bike and either cycle through and around town or go mountain biking to add a little more adrenaline to your day. Guided bike tours are available here.

Watersports are a great day activity in Kotor, especially during the months from June to August (summer). Kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, and kitesurfing are all popular activities here.

All you need to do is decide what type of activity you want to enjoy on a certain day, find a rental shop or “extreme sport” school and head out. If you want something calmer, we recommend kayaking and paddleboarding.

And, if you’re looking for something more on the extreme side, windsurfing and kitesurfing should do the trick.

Start Your New Life Today, Overseas

A world full of fun, adventure, and profit awaits! Sign up for our free daily e-letter, Overseas Opportunity Letter, and we'll send you a FREE report on the 10 Best Places To Retire In Style Overseas Today

Safety In Kotor, Montenegro

You can feel completely comfortable walking around at any time of day or night, without any fear of crime in Kotor, Montenegro. Locals believe this is thanks to the small population. Everyone knows everyone, so it’s hard to get away with bad behavior.

Still, we always recommend you exercise basic safety precautions such as keeping your belongings on you and in sight at all times when in crowded areas.

Also, remember locking your homes and cars whenever you go out, removing your valuables from sight, and avoiding flashy jewelry and carrying large amounts of cash to avoid attracting any unwanted attention.

Health Care In Kotor, Montenegro

The health care in Kotor, Montenegro, is decent. It’s fine for basic care, but for serious procedures, most expats prefer to go abroad.

Also, health care is free to Montenegro residents, but many expats prefer to keep a private insurance plan in place for access to private clinics and quicker treatment.

There are two main medical centers in this area…

  • Kotor General Hospital, which is a public facility offering emergency treatment for adults and children. It specializes in internal medicine, anesthesia, resuscitation, gynecology and obstetrics, and has a surgical department.
  • Tivat Health Center, also a public facility with emergency medical service, as well as dental services, pediatrics, gynecology, internal medicine, diagnostics, neuropsychiatry, and ambulance service.

Map Of Kotor, Montenegro

Have You Heard Of Montenegro?

To move here, you’ve got to be a little adventurous, a little bold, and a little open-minded to be able to come to terms with the realities of living in a country that’s still in development.

But you’ll be rewarded for that boldness…

You’ll be among the first to arrive to a place that I believe is going to explode in popularity over coming years.

Above all, you’ll get to enjoy stunning sea and mountain vistas every day… You’ll lower your current cost of living…

You’ll enjoy mild temperatures year-round as well as access to untouched nature…

Also, you’ll be able to choose the lifestyle that suits you best among a diverse array of opportunities…

You’ll have a friendly expat community to lean on if culture shock becomes overwhelming at any point…

Most importantly, you’ll be making a smart move, as property and rent are still cheap and it gets you residency and potentially a backdoor to the EU…

Start Your New Life Today, Overseas

A world full of fun, adventure, and profit awaits! Sign up for our free daily e-letter, Overseas Opportunity Letter, and we'll send you a FREE report on the 10 Best Places To Retire In Style Overseas Today

Visa And Residency For Montenegro

For now, setting up a life in Montenegro is simple, with easy residency policies and even a direct path to citizenship. Current policies are not set in stone, however…

Americans and Canadians can come to Montenegro visa-free and stay for 90 days within a 180-day period. For longer stays, you’ll need to apply for a temporary residence permit.

Montenegro offers a unique residency program, whereby you can buy real estate worth any value and be granted temporary residency. This is the best way to get residency in Montenegro. Plus, it can be pretty affordable.

Stay up to date on any changes that may happen to residency and visa requirements for Montenegro by visiting the Embassy of Montenegro in the States or online.

Weather In Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor has a Mediterranean climate. Year-round, temperatures average between 36°F and 88°F, with humidity hovering between 50% and 74%.

Spring in Kotor runs from March to May. March and April usually see temperatures of about 50°F to 59°F. May starts experiencing temperatures of about 66°F.

Summer in Kotor, Montenegro, runs from June to August with average temperatures of about 77°F to 86°F.

July and August are usually the hottest months during this season. The town of Kotor experiences plenty of sunshine during this time making it an ideal season for outdoor activities and time spent at the beach.

Fall runs from September to November and brings occasional rainfall. September still feels somewhat warm with temperatures usually at 75°F.

During October and November, temperatures start to drop a bit. Temperatures during this time usually range from 61°F to 52°F.

Winter in Kotor runs from December to February. Average temperatures during this time range from 46°F to 57°F.

It’s rare to see snow here, although you’ll probably be able to see it at the tops of the mountains and, of course, at the ski resorts. You’ll get a bit of rain— about 55 inches over the year.

Kotor, Montenegro - FAQs

Where Is Montenegro?

Montenegro shares borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, Albania to the southeast, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. Also, it has a coastline of 293.5 kilometers.

Do You Need A Visa For Kotor, Montenegro?

You can stay in Kotor, Montenegro, for up to 90 days in a 6-month period without a tourist visa. But, if you want to stay longer, just apply for a visa or temporary residence permit.

What Is Special About Kotor, Montenegro?

One of the more notable things about Kotor is its Old Town which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

Is Kotor, Montenegro, Touristy?

Kotor, Montenegro, especially its Old Town, welcomes thousands of cruise passengers daily. Some may leave Kotor and explore other part of Montenegro, but many will stay. Seeing tourists around Kotor isn’t uncommon.

Is Kotor, Montenegro, A Good Place To Live?

Kotor, Montenegro, is popular with expats. It’s especially popular among expats looking for luxury. That’s not to say that a couple couldn’t live here on a budget though. For example, if you choose to live closer to the local way, a couple could live a wonderful life here on a budget of about US$2,000 per month.

Get Your Free Montenegro Report Today!

Learn more about MONTENEGRO and other countries in our free, daily Overseas Opportunity Letter. Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send you our FREE REPORT - The 10 Best Places To Retire In 2023.

Download your FREE report on

The Best Places To Retire In 2023


Find Your Paradise Overseas