If you’re planning a trip to Kotor, Montenegro, be prepared to lace up your shoes and hike all of the incredible trails.
Montenegro is one of the most visually beautiful places in the world with some of the most accessible hiking trails. Use this guide to plan your adventure to Kotor, Montenegro and discover the seven best hikes in Kotor Bay.
1. Kotor to Tivat (Vrmac)
Distance: 11 miles
Elevation: 785m (2,576 feet)
Time on Trail: 5-6 hours
Our favorite hike in Kotor, Montenegro was the trek that took us from Kotor to Tivat. Tivat is a small, beautiful port city on the other side of the ridge as Kotor. Getting to Tivat can be done via car, bus, or taxi.. or our favorite way, by foot!
If you’re looking for the BEST vantage point above Boka Bay (Kotor Bay), this is the hike for you.
On this trek, you’ll enjoy stunning landscape views of both Tivat and Kotor. The summit, also known as Sveti Ilija, is 2,500+ feet above sea level, giving you the perfect setting to enjoy lunch before hiking to the other side.
The hike is approximately 11 miles in total, so give yourself enough time to complete the entire walk before the sun goes down.
For comprehensive details about this hike, check out our recent post: Exploring Vrmac: Kotor to Tivat Hike.
Kotor To Tivat Hike Trailhead
For this Montenegro hike, you can either start in Kotor or Tivat. Since the trailhead is easier to find in Kotor, this is the option that many hikers take.
To locate the start of this hike, use the coordinates: 42.422380, 18.761858. This location is a short 10-15 minute walk from Kotor’s Old Town.
When you arrive in Tivat, you can either take the bus back to Kotor or hire a taxi. The bus will take about 35 minutes to bring you back to Kotor and it costs 2 euro. Buses depart from Tivat to Kotor each hour; look for the “BlueLine” buses and wave them down.
Taking a taxi will be a bit quicker (but not by much) and will cost 15+ Euros. Taxis can be found all over Tivat, but since it costs so much more, I highly recommend taking the bus.
2. The Ladder of Kotor
Distance: 4 miles one-way, 8 miles round trip
Elevation: 940m (3,084 feet)
Time on Trail: 5-6 hours roundtrip
A very well-known hike in Kotor, Montenegro is the Ladder of Kotor. The Ladder of Kotor can be seen from miles away and offers amazing views of the city and the bay below.
Prepare yourself for endless switchbacks that lead you higher than 3,000 feet above sea level. But believe me.. the effort is worth it!
Although a bit challenging, the Ladder of Kotor is one of the more family-friendly hikes in the Bay of Kotor. The trail is well-marked and well-maintained. Be sure to pack snacks and enough water for your adventure up to Krstac Pass.
The Ladder Of Kotor Trailhead
Finding the start of the Ladder of Kotor is one of the more difficult parts of this hike. But in fact, the trailhead is quite easy to find with the right information and description.
The map above illustrates where you can find the start of the Ladder of Kotor. Use these coordinates to help you locate it: 42.427203, 18.773361. The trail will follow alongside the river, before crossing the river on a small footbridge. Continue on this path all the way up the Ladder.
3. Sveti Ilija (Vrmac)
Distance: Approximately 7 miles
Elevation: 785m (2,576 feet)
Time on Trail: 4-5 hours
Similar to the hike that takes you from Kotor to Tivat, the hike up to Sveti Ilija will give you panoramic views of the entire coast of Montenegro. You’ll be able to see Kotor nestled into the mountainside, Tivat’s fancy yachts, and Budva in the distance.
Although this hike shares the same summit as the hike from Kotor to Tivat, this hike will have you returning to Kotor. So, instead of worrying about transportation back to your starting location, hiking Sveti Ilija will bring you back to where you started. How convenient!
The trail leading up to Sveti Ilija from Kotor is very well-maintained. You’ll be hiking along a gravel path that meets up with a larger dirt road.
With very few cars and people venturing to this area, you’ll feel like you have the entire Vrmac ridge to yourself. This feeling, combined with the breathtaking views, convinced us that this was one of the best hikes in Kotor, Montenegro.
Sveti Ilija Trailhead
Find the trailhead to Sveti Ilija in the same location as the hike from Kotor to Tivat. The trailhead is located just a 10-15 minute walk from Kotor’s Old Town.
For those coordinates again, the Sveti Ilija trailhead is located at: 42.422380, 18.761858.
4. Donja Lastva (Vrmac)
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation: 785m (2,576 feet)
Time on Trail: 3-4 hours
The hike through Donja Lastva is a bit more easy-going than other hikes on this list, but don’t discount the beautiful views that this trail offers. Topping out at Sveti Ilija, this hikes brings you around the backside of Vrmac Ridge to get a taste of northern Kotor Bay.
A gravel road will lead you up to the summit before looping around and ending up back in Tivat. This is a family-friendly hike, but keep in mind that no Vrmac hike is truly “easy”.
Donja Lastva Trailhead
The trailhead to Donja Lastva is located downtown Tivat. Use the map below for reference and use these coordinates to locate the exact road that leads you to the trail: 42.446090, 18.688514.
Notice that this hike takes an out-and-back trail, with a loop at the top. Follow signs for Donja Lastva along the trail and you’ll be able to navigate your way around the Vrmac Ridge and back to your starting point.
5. Donji Stoliv (Vrmac)
Distance: Approximately 5 miles
Elevation: 785m (2,576 feet)
Time on Trail: 4 hours
Our hike up Donji Stoliv was special to us because we stayed in this area for more than a month. Stoliv is a small town along the coast of Kotor Bay. With Perast in sight to the north and Kotor to the south, this was the perfect location to base our Montenegro adventures.
Luckily, we found that Donji Stoliv has hiking trails of their own, too! The hike up Donji Stoliv will eventually bring you to the summit of Sveti Ilija. With the sights of Stoliv and Boka Bay below, you’ll be happy you took this trek.
The hike is approximately 5-6 miles in total, but the trail isn’t as well-maintained as other trails on this list. I wouldn’t suggest doing this hike with small children due to slippery rocks and steep drop-offs.
Enjoy the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian empire along the way. These buildings date back hundreds of years and you’ll even find some written information posted along the trail.
Donji Stoliv Trailhead
Without our knowledge, we were walking by the trailhead for Donji Stoliv daily for the first two weeks of living in the area. We couldn’t believe we missed it; there’s even a sign pointing the way!
To find the start of this hike, look for the restaurant Konoba Marius. When we were in Stoliv, this restaurant was no longer in business and was just an empty shell.
The trailhead can be found directly across the street from this restaurant. You’ll need to walk in an alleyway to begin your hike.
For an even more accurate location, use the coordinates 42.462907, 18.736674 to find the trailhead.
6. Pestingrad Peak
Distance: Approximately 13 miles
Elevation: 1009m (3,310 feet)
Time on Trail: 7-9 hours
The most epic hike in Kotor, Montenegro goes to Pestingrad Peak. Pestingrad is considered “the Top of Kotor Bay” and for good reason. Hiking to this peak will bring you up 3,310 feet above sea level. The views from the top are incredible.
Since this Montenegro hike stretches for more than 13 miles, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for those who aren’t in good physical condition.
You’ll need to ascend the Ladder of Kotor before continuing up to the summit. A good way to decide if you’re up for the challenge of summiting Pestingrad peak is to climb the Ladder of Kotor first and see how you’re feeling once you reach Krstac Pass. If you feel great, continue along the road (P1) to the trail that leads you to the summit.
Pestingrad Peak Trailhead
Pestingrad Peak shares it’s trailhead with the Ladder of Kotor. To find it, use the map above (The Ladder of Kotor trailhead) and these coordinates: 42.427203, 18.773361.
7. The Fortress Walls (St. John’s Fortress)
Distance: 2.8 miles
Elevation: 260m (853 feet)
Time on Trail: 2 hours
The most well-known hike in Kotor, Montenegro is St. John’s Fortress, also known as the “Fortress Walls”. Due to its location and inspiring views of Kotor’s Old Town amid Boka Bay, it’s no wonder why tourists flock to this popular Montenegro hike.
During this trek, you’ll experience stairs, stairs, and more stairs; be prepared to venture up many flights to reach the top. Due to the incline of this hike, bring water along on your journey (you’ll thank me later!).
While we climbed the Fortress Walls in Kotor, we saw people of all ages hiking to the top. This hike can be done by most people, but be sure to wear proper footwear and watch your step.
For us, this hike was neat, but it was definitely NOT our favorite in Kotor. There were so many people on the trail with us that it got crowded at times.
And you know what you get when a lot of people flock to one place? Trash.
Tourists left their trash all over this sacred wall. Not only was it disgusting, but it was heartbreaking, too.
If you decide to hike the Fortress Walls in Kotor, Montenegro, bring cash with you! Recently, the city has been charging tourists to venture to the top. You’ll need to shell out 8 Euros per person before you can start your hike.
Note: Some travel bloggers have mentioned that you can access the city walls for free by climbing through a small hole in the fortress wall. While this used to be true, it isn’t anymore.
This hole is heavily manned by security guards. We watched him turn away person after person and he was NOT happy.
The Fortress Walls Entrance
The entrance to the Fortress walls is easy to find. Enter Kotor’s Old Town and head to the north-eastern corner. You’ll start by climbing upstairs to reach the security guard; this is where you’ll pay the entrance fee.
The coordinates to the start of this hike are: 42.425679, 18.772628.
The Wrap-Up: Hike Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor, Montenegro is one of the best places to find brilliant hiking trails in the Balkans. When planning your holiday to Kotor, Montenegro, leave several days open to explore the beautiful nature and mountains that Kotor Bay has to offer.
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