Wish You Were Here: The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, “Europe’s Southernmost Fjord”
by Owen James Burke
Photo: Alexander Matyukhin/Shutterstock.
Often referred to as Europe’s southernmost Fjord, The Boka Bay, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is in fact a “drowned” river canyon around which the mountains not only build a unique landscape, but an enticing microclimate.
The bay is protected virtually 360° by wind and weather, but also happens to be one of the wettest places in Europe. Photo: Porto Montenegro.
North of the Mediterranean’s subtropical zone, the bay is heavily protected from winter weather by the mountains to the north, allowing for an abundance of Mediterranean vegetation not typically able to grow so far north.
“Our Lady on the Rocks”. Every year on July 22nd at sunset, locals sail out to deposit more rocks at the base of the manmade islet. Photo: Photo: Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock.
There are a couple of islands in the bay. Above is “Our Lady of the Rocks”, which is an artificial island that began construction in the 15th century, and is still being built, year by year, to this day. Local lore states that the island was built by fishermen in the 15th century after they had visions of the Virgin Mary and vowed to drop rocks over the rail each time they sailed past. Well, soon enough there was an island, and by the mid 17th century, the Romans had built a church there.
Above: the island of St. George and its 12th century Benedictine monastery.
Above: Risan, the oldest settlement in the bay, dates back to at least the 4th century BCE, and was built by the pre-Roman Illyrian Kingdom. Photo: Vlada Z/Shutterstock.
Cafes, bars and restaurants dot the shoreline in classic Mediterranean splendor, but the real wonderment can be found just staring into the bay, which on any given day can vary from the reflective, deep chrome to a turquoise view. If you’ve got the means, go by yacht. -OJB