I Hiked: The Sveti Ivan Fortress (Kotor, Montenegro)

Here’s a quick hike to wake you up in the morning. Located right in the Old Town of Kotor, this steep climb takes you to the ancient Sveti Ivan Fortress and beyond

Difficulty: Strenuous
Type of Hike: Paved Trail
Time: 2-2.5 hours
Distance: 2.4 kilometers
Number of Wrong Turns: 0!

The Trailhead
Follow the signs through town to Sveti Ivan (or Saint Johns). There is an entrance fee (usually about a euro) so make sure you have a few small coins on hand. If you arrive before eight, there’s nobody there to collect the fee, but please remember to pay it on the way out. It’s not much money and you should support the local trail system wherever you are hiking.

On The Hike
My advice is the earlier, the better for this mini-expedition. Try to plan for a day when a cruise ship isn’t docking in the port, as this is the most popular hike in the city with hundreds of tourists clogging up the route.

The incline is a solid leg-burner, so even though it’s short, you’ll definitely get in a workout. Like my hike from the previous day on the other side of this city, views of the spectacular Bay of Kotor are almost immediate. You’ll also see the Our Lady of Health, an iconic church built in response to ancient plagues.

Closer to the top, you’ll see more remnants of the Saint John’s Fortress and a mysterious window path. Just on the other side is a very old and very picturesque Catholic church.

Expanding the Hike
This hike is just a quick introduction to “The Ladder of Kotor”, a much longer expedition that switchbacks all the way to the very top of the mountain.  Head through this doorway to adventure!

Final Notes
Not everything has to be an all-day adventure into the unknown, and if you only have a short amount of time in Kotor, this hike is well worth the time and a fun way to wander around the hillsides. Speaking of wandering, just past the church is a cheese maker, so make sure to leave some time to sample the local food along with with a few shots of early morning rakija.