Starting in the heart of Lovcen National Park, you will slowly descend through forests before reaching the long zig-zag path that takes you into Kotor passing the Castle of San Giovanni.
Head towards the Adriatic Coast through loamy forests and down steep paths, continuing on the old trade route which once connected Cetinje with Kotor, now known as the “Ladder of Kotor”.
Take in amazing views towards the Bay of Kotor as you zig-zag down towards Kotor. Continue on the trail past the Chapel of St Ivan, an old Catholic church, and the fortress of Castle of San Giovanni, enjoying changing views of the bay as the vista changes with your progress. Finally, you will reach the thick fortified walls of the Old Town via a series of steep paths and stone bridges.
The fortified town of Kotor is a deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site with its Venetian palaces, Roman Catholic cathedrals, Byzantine church, and romantic cobbled streets, the town is steeped in history and is beautifully preserved.
On today's walk, one section in particular involves a steep descent, with sheer drops and loose terrain. This section is not suitable for people with vertigo, or if the weather is particularly bad (section of the path between 7 and 8 km on the trail). If you would prefer to avoid this section, you can follow an alternative route, which instead requires 1km of walking on a quiet country road: https://your.macsadventure.com/en/tour/hiking-trail/alternative-route-lovcen-national-park-to-kotor/37550550/
There are two descents into Kotor, one that takes in the ancient fort but has many steps (1350 to be precise!!) and can be tough after a long day of trekking. The other is a more gentle slope that passes by the fort and offers excellent views, go down this route instead and then explore the fort more extensively when you have the energy to appreciate it.
There are some road crossings, always be aware of traffic and be sure to use a pavement/sidewalk where possible. Where it isn’t, walk on the right-hand side of the road in the direction of oncoming traffic.
Some of the ground can be uneven, with rocky/pebbly paths. Ensure you have suitable footwear and step cautiously when needed.
Parts of the route follow clifftops, so take care to walk a reasonable distance from the edge - particularly in low visibility.
Although most of the snakes are not poisonous, and many of them are very timid, you will see them. Take care by stopping moving when you see them and keeping a safe distance as it leaves the path to allow you to cross.
There can be quick but fierce thunderstorms, make sure you check the weather before you go out and make sure you know the correct behaviour if you are caught in a storm: https://www.cdc.gov/features/lightning-safety/index.html
Food and Drink
There are a couple of sweet domestic/household eateries on the way don the zig-zag path into Kotor. Here you can get a sandwich made by the residents, a beer and homemade drinks and cake. This is not an official cafe, it is someone's house, look out for the hand-painted signs on the garden gates for a unique lunch experience. Other than this, the route is not well equipped for food and water so be sure to bring supplies from Lovcen.
Points of Interest
View over Kotor Bay
At 9.2 km, the path emerges from the trees and the vista opens up. This is the best view you will have all week, encompassing the whole of Kotor Bay and the fortifications below as well as the Escher like zig zag path. Stop here for a drink, a snack and a few photographs.
Castle of San Giovanni
San Giovanni, also called St. John’s Castle, is perched 1200m high on the hill of St. John. The fortifications date back as far as 532 when Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had the fort built. Since it’s creation, the fort has under seen plenty of changes and battles under Venetian, Russian, and French rule. It’s been bombed by British Naval armies, occupied during World War II, and even survived three separate earthquakes.
Located along one of the world’s most beautiful bays is Kotor, a city of traders and famous sailors, with many stories to tell.
The Old City of Kotor is a well-preserved urbanization typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor land on the UNESCO’s World Natural and Historical Heritage Site list.
Through the entire city, the buildings are intersected by narrow streets and squares. Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (Sveti Tripun) is at the centre of one of these squares, and it’s a monument of Roman culture and one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.
The ground can be uneven, so be sure to wear sturdy walking boots with suitable ankle support.
There are a number of stream crossings where walking poles will make these crossing easier and safer. They also come in handy when crossing uneven ground or making steep descents.