Kotor, a fascinating fortified town in the Adriatic sea is a popular tourist town in Montenegro. What’s interesting about it is that its completely surrounded by nature: high rocky mountains and a gorgeous bay thats deep enough even for the cruise ships!
If anyone’s coming to Montenegro, they eventually get to Kotor. Its medieval walled city is complete with an old fortress is mini great wall. What fascinated me the most is the walled city, plus the hiking opportunities close to city. I am going to share my experience on the hikes and leave the details of walled city out for someone else (or I’ll do one later).
St Johns Fortress
St Johns fortress is one of the main attractions in the city and is clearly visible behind the walled city, a mini replica of the great wall of china. Its awe inspiring at first glance and also amazing that its still intact and preserved.
It costs €3 to enter the fortress which is collected at the beginning of the walk near old town. However, there is the option to avoid it by taking the 2nd hike which starts from outside of the city walls, and then use the foot path to get to the fortress which is more effort that it should be for a lot of people.
Path up to the fortress is easy with a mixture of stone path and steps. It takes from around 20-40 minutes to get to the top of the fortress with a couple of breathers – you can never have too many of those 😉
Around mid way point, there is a lovely little church. Being a fan of old churches, I couldn’t resist going in and taking a couple of minutes to admire its beauty and some much needed rest and a break from the sun. Just look at it…
There are people selling water and some snacks and souvenirs just outside the church. There are also a couple of people at the top selling water if you need to get hydrated. Option is there, but you should always carry your own water as tap water here is drinkable.
View from the top of the fortress is amazing! You can see a lot of the bay and if its a nice sunny day, its even better. Make sure you get the mandatory selfie or group photo before descending back into town.
Old Kotor Fort
Similar to St Johns fortress hike, this one goes up the mountain just behind the walled city, but a lot higher altitude wise. These path’s are marked in Google maps and is easier to follow. Unlike St Johns walk, this doesn’t cost a penny and alternatively you have the chance to sneak into the fort avoiding the 3 euro charge.
Hike all the way up to the top is relatively easy with light altitude gains with options to climb up higher through short cuts which maybe suitable for adventurers (see the path in photos below). It generally takes about 1.5-2 hours with moderate walking speed.
I started my climb at 6pm on the day to avoid the sun and used a few short cuts to get up quickly, and took me 65 mins to reach the top. I thought this was quicker than I expected, but maybe I was unconsciously aware of the diminishing daylight as the walkway is not lit at night. As a result, I had to use my mobiles’ torch to assist me get down safely at the end.
Nevertheless, views from the top are breathtaking (literally and metaphorically) and is worth every bit of sweat and pain. You can see the entire bay of Kotor clearly…
I was blessed with an amazing sunset which I took sometime to cherish. There was no one around and I had the place to myself.
More photos from above…
Where to stay in Kotor
Generally speaking, I’ve been staying in hostels a lot and I found Pupa hostel to be excellent value for money. Its just outside the city walls and was quiet for a good nights sleep. Very good beds and cooler rooms. Guys at the reception are very helpful too 🙂