Kotor Fortress, Montenegro – photo essay and tourist information

Kotor, Montenegro (68) - Kotor Fortress

Kotor Fortress

Kotor Fortress, snaking up the hill behind the town of the Kotor, has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and offers breathtaking views across the stunning Kotor Bay.

Montenegro flag flying above Kotor Fortress

The defences of the medieval town include ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, a castle, and contains a mixture of different military architecture with discernible traces of Illyricum, Byzantium, Venice, and Austria styles evident across the site. The fortifications were gradually built between 9th and 19th centuries.

Kotor and Kotor Bay seen from the Kotor Fortress

The medieval town of Kotor is positioned on a triangular piece of land, bordered by the Bay of Kotor to the south west. The city walls offers protection on the city’s northern and south-western side and comprise of three gates offering access to the water (Sea Gate, River Gate and Southern Gate) which are protected by solid bastions (the most prominent being the Kampana tower and citadel at the point where the river enters the bay). On top of the mountain the castle of San Giovanni dominates the eastern bay and the town below.

Kotor seen from above, Montenegro - Kotor Fortress

Climbing the fortress

The city walls of Kotor are around 4.5km in total length and and the ascend from the town to the uppermost ramparts is around 1.2 km. The best time to climb the 1350 steps is during the morning or late afternoon and the round trip will take around 2 hours. It is not advisable to those with health problems and you will need good solid shoes (no flip-flops) as the stairs are uneven in places. The entrance free in 3 €.

Check out this useful map with monument list and three walking paths you can choose to visit the Fortress. The colours represent:

  • relatively safe walking path
  • zone of increased risk
  • high risk zone

Letters A and B represent entrance points.


(Click to enlarge)

written by: Jon and Ania

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  • Montenegro is really the place to go in the Mediterranean nowadays. I loved it in this region – I found the little town of Kotor inside the walls great. I must confess to not being as brave as you guys though and climbing up so high, from a guess I stuck only to the blue route. Love reading your blogs! Very inspiring!

    • Thanks a lot, Andrew! The views from the top were really worth the climb!!! :) Montenegro is a really beautiful place but, like Dubrovnik, we found it over-saturated with tourists and the prices in summer were incredibly high. We were asked for 60 Euros to stay in Kotor, so we just camped 15 km outside. Lovely town, though!

  • Amazing. Whenever we see a large structure built on the side/top of a mountain, I always wonder how they got the building material up there.

  • Wherever the cruise ships go there will be lots of tourists. Are there days when the ships don’t come? Spectacular views from the top. I think I would need more than two hours for the round trip. We hope to get to Montenegro. The sooner the better by the sound of it. :)

  • Wow, fantastic photos! We’re right now in Prague considering our options for when our Schengen visa runs out. Have seen a few posts about Montenegro and Kotor in general and it looks like a good place to stay for a month or so. Just gorgeous views.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Hello Frank! Kotor is indeed a stunning location but I feel that a month just for Montenegro might be a bit too long, as apart from the coast and Durmitor NP there is not that much else to see. If you have that much time on your hands, I suggest visiting neighbouring Bosnia or Albania, they are both really friendly and picturesque countries!

      • Maybe you’re right…on the other hand we like small towns and slow travel. Most of the week is taken up working in our rental apartment so as long as its a comfortable little town with a café, some nice restaurants, and some walks and hikes we’re pretty happy. And if we ever get bored we could cross the border into Croatia