- 31 Mar 2022

Hiking in Bay of Kotor

What many visitors don’t know is that the Kotor Bay and the surrounding mountains hide a network of spectacular hiking trails. For some a welcome surprise, for others the highlight of the visit, hiking up at least one of the trails is an experience you shouldn’t miss if you are an outdoorsy person at all. 

This is why we decided to offer hiking tours as the new addition to the range of outdoor activities offered by Limitless.  Our mission is to show our customers the Bay of Kotor in all its glory, and hiking and walking tours open up a whole new dimension of the experience. 

Keep reading if you want to learn about the best hiking spots in Kotor and its surroundings. 

San Giovanni Fortress 

The first hike that comes to mind when it comes to Kotor is the climb to the Fortress of San Giovanni (St John) which sits up on the hill above the old town. To climb to the top of the city walls, you’ll need to walk well over 1000 steps but the view from the top will be well worth it 

Conquering the San Giovanni Fortress should really be on the must-do list of every visitor. It’s a rite of passage of sorts: you can’t really say you’ve visited Kotor until you’ve taken the challenge and climbed up to the flag. 

Getting up to the fortress is certainly strenuous, but the path is not difficult and almost anyone can do it with some persistence. The climb up can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on your pace. Still, we recommend planning at least 3 hours for this trip, as you’ll surely want to stop and admire the views and the historic buildings. 

While the hike up to these fortification walls built during the Venetian rule is amazing, it’s just a glimpse into the world that lies beyond the wall. 

The Ladder of Kotor 

For a start, the hilltop fort of San Giovanni can be reached by two different paths. The alternative path starts behind the city walls and is popularly dubbed the Ladder of Kotor. 

This winding trail with countless switchbacks is actually the start of a longer trail that was once the main connection between Kotor and the Montenegrin capital Cetinje. 

The Village of Špiljari is the first settlement you’ll encounter on the way up. This old village is deserted now for the most part, but is still a sight to behold, and the one active household up there does offer rakija and refreshments to tired hikers. 

From Špiljari it is possible to continue in two directions: one path takes you to the city walls, which can be entered through a small window with the help of a wooden ladder (quite an experience!). The second path takes you further up the road until you eventually reach the Praćište viewpoint and the Krstac pass (940 meters above sea level). 

A visit to Špiljari and the Ladder of Kotor can be combined with the hike up the city walls to San Giovanni for an amazing day trip. If this sounds interesting, and you’d like to do it with an experienced guide, you can book a tour with Limitless and know you are in safe hands. 


Speaking of fortresses, San Giovanni is far from the only one in the area. Just opposite the Old Town there is the hilly Vrmac peninsula, whose thick forests hide a fortress with the same name.

The Vrmac fortress is an amazing structure that seems as if frozen in time. Built at the end of the 19th century, the fort saw action during WW1, but since then has been left deserted and became a favorite spot for hikers of all ages. 

The hike to Vrmac fortress is really an enjoyable one, no matter which way you choose to reach it. The lush forest surrounding the fortress is a nice refreshment from the rocky landscape. And, you’ll also catch some amazing views from the top. Vrmac peninsula separates Kotor bay on one side from the Tivat bay on the other, so you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of both. 

Vrmac fortress can be reached via a steep but not too difficult hiking trail. It can also be reached by car, although the road is a bit scary. 

There are multiple other fortresses built during the Austro-Hungarian rule scattered around the bay. They include the Goražda fortress not far from fort Vrmac, fortresses Sveti Andrija (Saint Andrew) and Šanik on the hills above Perast and Risan, as well as a few fortresses on the Luštica peninsula. All of them are set in remote spots, some fairly easy to reach and others only reachable by a long hike. 

The Hinterland 

A little known part of the cultural history of the Bay of Kotor area are the villages in its hinterland, the mountainous area surrounding the bay. These villages include Velje Selo, Vališta, Mali Zalazi, Veliki Zalazi and Njeguši, among others. 

The village of Njegusi is nowadays reachable by car, and quite popular with tourists, but others are not. Villages Vališta, Mali Zalazi, and Veliki Zalazi are nowadays completely deserted. They are only reachable on foot, but those who make the effort will get to witness the remnants of life as it once was. The houses, churches, and auxiliary buildings built using the local dry stone technique still stand there surrounded by complete silence and pristine nature. 

These villages can be reached using various hiking trails that start from Kotor or nearby. These are probably the most attractive hiking paths in the bay, but they do require conquering a height difference of approximately 900 meters. Spectacular views are guaranteed for those who are up to the challenge. 

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