Unfortunately, Hotel Fjord was demolished recently. Let this article be a tribute to this great building. You can still enjoy other alternative attractions of Kotor.
I’ve always thought that small, charming seaside towns are just small and charming, with long and interesting history but offering attractions only to “mainstream” tourists. I was so sure that Kotor is like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved it there, a lot, it’s a fascinating place to visit! I even believe it might be the most beautiful destination in the Balkans or even in Europe. I mean, look at the view from the top of St. John’s fortress, among others,it literally takes your breath away and not only because you had to climb that high.
But I didn’t expect to find there any alternative Kotor sights. Fortunately I was wrong!
As I want to share my love for this amazing town here is my list of some of the best alternative Kotor attractions that you should check when you visit Kotor too!
Hotel Fjord – the gem of alternative Kotor
This was probably the most surprising alternative attraction of Kotor, at least for me.
At the very end of the bay, in the most perfect location, a fancy, five star Hotel Fjord used to be. The spectacular building was designed as a real brutalism gem by the awarded Bosnian architect Zlatko Ugljen and the hotel opened its doors in 1986. Guests could stay in one of 155 rooms and they could use restaurants, bars, a conference center, swimming pool or tennis courts (these are actually still in use).
Hotel Fjord remained open only for 19 years, till 2005. The violent 1990s war in the Balkans, even if didn’t reached Kotor, weakened the economy of former Yugoslavia (that Montenegro was part of until 2006) and resulted in less tourists visiting the area.
Eventually the fancy hotel, a star of Kotor accommodation, had to be closed down. Now it’s just the abandoned concrete structure that might seem spooky at times.
The moment I’ve found about Hotel Fjord I knew I have to visit it! I was glad a friend of mine joined me for this trip to Montenegro, otherwise I’d be freaking out to explore the abandoned building on my own (still, I wouldn’t have resisted and went inside for sure).
When we approached the building there was no one around but couple of people playing at the nearby tennis court. We thought it might be difficult to get inside and we were even fine with admiring the building from the outside. But honestly, it was probably the easiest abandoned building you can enter.
There is a netting fence around (from the side of the bay) but it has at least three big holes that allows you to easily step inside the premises of Hotel Fjord. And from there you’re free to explore.
For the place that haven’t been in use for some 10 years Hotel Fjord in a pretty good shape. True, all the equipment (including elevators or doors) is long gone and the windows might be broken but overall it doesn’t look or smell that bad. There is even some floor-covering here and there and on the main door you can see sticker saying which credit cards you might use!
At some point we split and I was exploring the floor on my own. The thought that Agata is somewhere nearby was encouraging but I still felt kind of like in a thriller movie – Hotel Fjord would be a perfect scenery for such a production!
The future of Hotel Fjord is still unclear. The owner, the Irish investor Michael Fingleton, was supposed to renovate the place and reopen the luxury accommodation in Kotor but for years nothing has been happening.
On one hand it’s heartbreaking that such a beautiful building in the most perfect location is left to despair but on the other it’s the best alternative Kotor attraction and probably the coolest urban exploration sight in the whole Montenegro!
Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to properly see every corner of this concrete beauty as we were (literally) running to catch to the bus to Sutomore. I was still hoping to get to the top floor, next to the faded sign or to find the abandoned swimming pool.
Fortunately I’m returning to Kotor soon to go for some great day tours with 360 Monte (the best way to see all the awesomeness that Montenegro has to offer in the short time!) so I will do my best to return to Hotel Fjord and explore some more, even if I will have to go there alone…
Jugooceanija building – now the art center
Even if Kotor is a true gem and an UNESCO listed place that attracts thousands of people every year you might be surprised that tourism isn’t the main economy branch in the area. It’s the maritime industry.
For centuries people of Kotor Bay has been known as the best sailors and the sea has been the most important part of life. Therefore Jugooceanija – the main maritime company in the former Yugoslavia – was founded in Kotor.
These days the company’s building, located conveniently next to Hotel Fjord, is used mostly as an art center. There are 40 ateliers of both local and international artists, numerous cultural and creative events take place here regularly. The place also encourages street art which I’m more than happy about.
Letrika Caffe bar
The most alternative Kotor spot you will find inside the city walls. This small art cafe is hidden in a narrow street and crowds from cruise ships seem not to find it.
In the daytime it’s the relaxing oasis to enjoy the coffee or cold beer yet in the evenings it changes for the local party place with DJs and live music. I don’t think you can find a better hang out cafe/bar in Kotor Old Town! For some reasons I didn’t take any pictures of Letrika but that’s the street leading to it:
Fortunately Jelena and Slavenko from 360Monte send me some more pictures of Letrika! This is how the bar looks like:
For such a small and touristy town I was really surprised to find those alternative Kotor attractions and I somehow have a feeling there are even more of them!
When I was going from Perast along the old road (closer to the bay) I could see some really impressive abandoned palaces from the old times. There is also an abandoned building, possibly a factory, directly on the other side of the road from the bus station that I didn’t have a time to check closely. That’s why I’m really excited to return to Kotor soon and find even more of alternative spots there!
If you think of visiting Montenegro or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:
- Kotor, Montenegro in pictures – is it the most beautiful place in the world?
- Stari Bar – an overlooked gem of Montenegro
- and more!
If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.
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Stacja Bałkany13/02/2017 at 18:29
Widziałem ten hotel jak byłem w Kotorze 4 lata temu. Tam niedaleko był też chyba szpital wcale w nie lepszej kondycji :) Jednak chyba wolę normalne atrakcje :)
kami21/02/2017 at 22:26
każdy ma swoje upodobania :) na szczęście w Kotorze i normalnych atrakcji nie brak :)
Stefania16/02/2017 at 14:15
I remember that old abandoned building on the other side of the street from the bus station and I wondered what it was. I didn’t think to snap a picture as beautiful as yours, though! I hope you can go back to Kotor and explore more of these “alternative” spots. I’d love to read about your thoughts about this tourism of the abandoned buildings and dilapidated areas with a sad history, why you are somehow attracted to it and so on.
kami21/02/2017 at 22:37
Funny, I took this picture in the rush as the bus was already waiting for me (and I was waiting for a friend who went to get us some breakfast ;)) Actually I’m going to Kotor again in May so hopefully will be able to explore more sights then! I haven’t thought of writing such an article (and I don’t even know why I’m that fascinated with abandoned places) but maybe I really should one day! Thank you for the idea! :)
Bruno Arcos21/02/2017 at 20:31
that’s pretty awesome! I’ll be visiting Kotor next July :) I actually wanted to ask you something. Did you need a passport to enter Montenegro? Or was your ID (polish citizen) enough?
kami21/02/2017 at 22:52
You will love it for sure!
No, the Polish ID was enough – my friend used it and didn’t have any problems both entering and leaving Montenegro, I used passport because I’m a stamps collector ;)
Jasilyn28/02/2017 at 09:41
That hotel looks absolutely amazing! As much as I do love a good abandoned building, I hope the do renovate it instead of tearing it down! It looks so neat!
kami03/03/2017 at 23:03
I really hope so too! The building is really amazing and the location couldn’t be more perfect!!
Ewa05/04/2017 at 07:33
I’m sooo excited that soon I will also be there and have the possibility to check the place out. Thanks for the inspiration!
kami17/04/2017 at 19:49
My pleasure :) you will love it for sure!
Kasia09/05/2017 at 13:53
Wow. This hotel has a climate!
kami27/05/2017 at 09:23
it really has! amazing place!
James07/08/2017 at 18:07
How is someone not finding investors and turning this into something! I would be happy to help… Would be a super fun place to fix up and stay!
kami21/08/2017 at 20:01
I’m wondering about that too as this location is just perfect, one of the best in Kotor!
Sebastian01/10/2018 at 08:58
Hotel Fjord doesn’t exist any more. The building was demolished this year. :(
kami01/10/2018 at 09:07
oh no :( that’s a terrible news :( I was in Kotor in March this year, it was still standing but it looked like some works were going on there. I was hoping they will keep the building, just repair it here and there. So sad :(
Claudia Mitchell23/10/2019 at 14:27
The hotel has been demolished. Only the tennis courts remain. Looks like the job was completed quite recently!
kami06/11/2019 at 22:51
I heard about it recently too. I need to update the article but it’s such a shame it’s not there anymore :(
Mata22/01/2020 at 20:18
Piękne miejsce…tym bardziej mam sentyment ponieważ w wieku 22 lat pracowałam tam na wymianie studenckiej:))
kami11/02/2020 at 16:28
O proszę :) musiał to być fantastyczny czas dla Ciebie :)
Uffe Johansen24/09/2020 at 21:10
Thank you for letting me see your beautiful photos from kotor, I lived at hotel fjord back in 1987 when I was 20 years old and spent summer holidays in the former Yugoslavia
I remember that I had great pity for these people in Kotor
First World War II then they rebuild the city
then earthquake in 1979 rebuild the city again
then war and destruction again
When I visited Kotor I was also in Budva, Dubrovnik and Podgorica
Once again Many many thanks
kami30/09/2020 at 11:47
I’m glad this article has brought some good memories to you. I can imagine how interesting it must have been to visit Kotor and Yugoslavia back then!
Edit05/12/2020 at 17:47
Mi 2002-ben Montenegróban nyaraltunk és a Hotel Fjordban szálltunk meg. Az utca végén volt egy pékség mindennap meglátogattuk. Ma is emlékszem milyen finom péksütemények voltak ott. Ma kíváncsiságból kerestem rá a szállodára, hogy megmutassam a lányomnak és szomorúan láttam milyen sorsa jutott. Nagyon sajnálom mert terveztük, hogy vissza megyünk megmutatni a gyerekeknek.