The city walls of Kotor are a UNESCO world heritage site, they form an arch over the rough cliffs of St John’s hill and are 4-5 km long and in parts just 2 meters wide. We strongly recommend the climb even if just for the incredible views. Dating back to medieval times, St John’s fortress, towers high above the town with the city walls representing a mix if ramparts, gates, churches, cistern’s and bastions. Most people start the walk at the Northern, entering through an archway leaving the old city.
First stop, after a 20 min climb, for a break and photos, at 100 m altitude, is in front of the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, built in 1518 by survivors of a plague and became a site to make a pilgrimage to.
Further on is a small crumbling fort with shelled out rooms and crumbling walls. Beyond this is a gap in the wall that allows you to detour onto a narrow dirt path to a clearing. You can see remnants of stone houses and a small ruined church, the door lies open so you can just make a stone altar and fragments of faded frescos on the walls and ceilings.
Back through the wall the hike to St John’s fortress continues and the view becomes more impressive. As you look down at the Old Town of Kotor with its tiny red roofed houses looking like miniatures and the view of the blue bay below, surrounded by high mountains, you really will have your breath taken away.
If you don’t walk to walk the same way down, you can also return through the ‘gap’ mentioned above, and from there follow a marked trail that leads over a grassy terraces and via a series of switch backs down the along the outer side of the city walls on the northern edge of the moat. This trail is called the ‘Ladder of Kotor’, centuries old trail that was used by the Montenegrin women to go to the market in Kotor. The walk is not easy, especially in the heat of the summer. 1355 step need to mastered on some steep and slippery paths. Sturdy shoes, a bottle of water, hat, sun-tan lotion and being physically fit, are a must.
It’s hard to imagine the Venetian walking and working on these walls every day especially in the hot summer. During the summer months we recommend to climb the walls in the morning, as it can get very hot during the day. But in the cooler months, the best time of the day is around noon, when the sun shows the beauty of Kotor Bay in all its splendor.
The walking time is approx 2hrs ( return walk ).
Open: All year round.
Cost: €3 per person as 2017 ( no charge out of season).