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Hiking San Giovanni Fort of Kotor, Montenegro

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One of the reasons why I recommend to stay at least minimum of 2 nights in Kotor is because you can go for hiking in the early morning. Hiking is one of the top things you should do when in Kotor cause not only it will lead you to Kotor Fortress which known as San Giovanni Fort, but you will be rewarded with the most stunning and breathtaking panoramic view of Kotor Bay. For the past few days, I didn't do any hike throughout my almost 3 weeks trip, except for this one. Like they said, save the best for last. 

Coincidentally, I met a Malaysian lady who also did solo travelling like I do and happen to be staying exactly the same hostel and therefore, we decided to hike up together. Two is better than one, right? We left the hostel right after we had our breakfast and immediately hike up in order to beat the crowd. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 01
#1: Turn right when seeing this signboard which lead to another trek

Normally, visitors who plan to hike up to Kotor Fortress will begin their journey from the Old Town (Stari Grad) of Kotor but we took the different trek. The hostel owner gave us (and also other hostel guests) few important tips and one of it is where we can hike without have to pay the fee of €8 (approx. to RM37) in order to go up the fortress. It used to be free but I think due to overcrowded especially during the peak season (normally during the summer time), then they started to charge who intend to hike up. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 02
#2: Photo stop in the middle of our hike

I personally feel the hike is fairly easy and not that difficult as I thought. I even in a long dress which I just newly bought but of course, the most importantly I wore a comfortable walking shoe. I came across a group of family with small kids and these kids able to hike up without having any issues. Most importantly, do no hike with slippers or even sandals cause the trail consists of plenty of loose rocks and uneven stone paved track where it might be slippery in some way. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 03
#3: Oh, my goats!

Both of my newly met acquaintance and I did stop few times for phototaking and that's the reason why it took some time for us to reach to the top. As recommended by the hostel owner, we dropby a small house in the middle of our hike where the family sell their own handmade cheese and ham. However, none of us bought any of them cause we only brought along a small bag with us. But since we're there and feeling kinda awkward just leave like that, we ended by ordering coke to quench our thirst.  

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 04

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 05
#5: Love this photo with the tiny of Chapel of St. Ivan behind me

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 06
#6: This is the small hole of the wall that lead us to the fortress

When both of us passed through the small hole, quite number of visitors were quite surprise to see what we did. That's because many of them didn't know there's a secret trek which can lead us to the fortress without have to go through of paying the fee. This little hole eventually brought us to something that we didn't expect - a viewpoint overlooking the breathtaking and mind-blowing panoramic view of Kotor Bay with Montenegro's mountain as the background. As the quote goes, the best view comes after the hardest climb. Though the hike wasn't that difficult at all but I have to say this place is the most beautiful place I've ever visited. Kotor, you instantly have becoming one of my most favourite city in Europe. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 07
#7: Breathtaking and mind-blowing  panoramic view of Kotor Bay

#8: Admiring the beauty of Kotor Bay from the top of the hill.

We took nearly two hours to arrive the castle of San Giovanni and slowly, we can see more crowds are coming up as well. I believe most of them are from the enormous cruises and that's explain why I suggest to climb early in the morning. Phototaking and enjoying the view are mostly what we did when reaching the top but there are few visitors who were also enjoying sunbathing. The angmo really love to sunbath, but not me cause I easily get tan when expose to sun, even for few minutes only. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 09
#9: 1,500 years ruins of the castle of San Giovanni

It's time to go back to the ground. This round, we decided to use the other trek which lead us to the old town. It's getting more challenging to descend because not just that there are too many people, but the stairs are too small to fit in two human at the same time. There are few times I need to stop for a while in order for those who are on the way up just to passby. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor San Giovanni Fort 10
#10: This is the viewpoint I've been looking forward before arrive in Kotor. Cause....

Lonely Planet Montenegro Cover Kotor
#11: It's the front cover of Lonely Planet book. Does it looks exactly the same as the photo I took?

2019 Montenegro Kotor Old Town 07
#12: This is where one of the hiking trails starts, which is from the Old Town but visitors need to pay €8 before begin to hike up. 

2019 Montenegro Kotor Gelato
#13: A reward for ourselves after done with the hiking - gelato!

Overall, it took us almost 3 hours to complete the whole hiking trail but it could be speed up if we didn't have our sweet time at the small house which we dropby in the middle of our hike. As the whole place is totally exposed, it will getting hotter especially in the middle of the day, so don't forget to apply sunscreen and bring along hat. I don't recommend umbrella cause it might cause inconveniences as there are certain part of the trails are narrow.

Last but not least, be cautious with your belongings especially the valuable one cause my acquaintance lost her money somewhere at the top of the hills. We didn't know how and when it happened, but we're completely shocked to find out about this when she couldn't find her money to pay for her gelato. Though the amount might seem insignificant, but we still went and lodged police report at the end of the day for insurance purposes. Frankly speaking, pickpocket is pretty common in Europe and therefore, always stay vigilant with your belongings.

Nevertheless, I still in love with Kotor to date and if you would like to plan your trip to the Balkans, you must include Kotor in your itinerary. Plan now, travel later 😜


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