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Hiking the Ladder of Kotor: Findings of a Beginner

When you are planning a trip to Kotor there are a few things you’ll definitely end up doing – walking the Old Town, going on a scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor and huffing and puffing as you trek up the Fort / City Walls.

For those with a bit more time, wanting to avoid the crowds and looking for a little more adventure might consider hiking the Ladder of Kotor.

What You Need To Know About Hiking The Ladder of Kotor

Ladder of Kotor History 101

It’s a curvy and scenic hiking trail with 70+ u-turns leading you into the mountains above the Kotor for the best postcard views of the area. Again … not to be confused with walk up to the Fort

The trail is also known as the Ladder of Cattaro and used to be part of a historical route that connected the bay of Kotor with the smaller surrounding villages, my heart goes out to all those horses and donkeys that had to take the carts and people through the mountains.

Where Does The Ladder Of Kotor Walk Start?

The trail starts outside of the Old Town. To get there, walk down of Old Town’s North Gate. The road is lined with old buildings, take the path along the river and you should be able to make out the u-turns clearly.
Rather have Google direct you to the start. Just search for “Start of The Ladder of Kotor”

Markings On The Ladder of Kotor Hike

Every step has a spectacular view that only gets better the higher you go, with colourful pomegranate trees lining the paths. Since it’s literally zig-zagging up the hill the trail is very easy to follow – but just in case there are red markings painted on the rocks to guide your trail.
The trail is rocky and uneven – so unless you have feet of steel, ditch your flip-flops/sandals for proper shoes/trainers.
About 1/3 up you will find another trail going to the right to a small church and the Kotor Fortress – you’ll have to climb through a window-shaped arch in the wall to get there.
So you can end your hike here and go down via the castle walls on the tourist route. Those who sweat all of the way to the top (940 meters) will be rewarded by phenomenal views of the Bay of Kotor and beyond and get to brag about it.
According to Google Reviews there might be security at the window keeping you from entering the paid for city walls. So try, or don’t, at your own risk.
You can still do it the other way round: buy tickets to the Fort/City Walls and exit at the window to join the Ladder of Kotor. It will save you some time / energy.
Halfway up you will hear a barking dog and then see a little stone house (marked on Google as the Cheese Shop), don’t worry the dog won’t bite, his paws won’t let him use a mobile so he is one of the few that just gets excited to see people come by.
His owners, the old couple that live there sell homemade cheese, pomegranate juice and other refreshments.
On your way back you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the view and listen to the guy’s stories on how it’s to live in one of the most idyllic places in the world. If you can find a local to translate that is.
The cows and mules you might run into are also theirs.

Ladder of Kotor Roundwalk

To return to Kotor you can take the trail towards the Fortress so you can hike down via the walls of Kotor, which will lead you directly in the Old Town.
Alternatively, to avoid the swarms of tourists, prepare for sore glutes and follow the path back the way you came.

Other things to know before Hiking The Ladder of Kotor

Visiting Kotor during the Summer? Keep in mind that it gets hot. It starts to warm up around 10/11 and hot around 12 – 14/15 so either do the walk in the morning or later in the day.
The climb is doable for beginners,  it’s not super easy, but the views distract from that. Take your time and maybe do it really early the morning so you don’t have to rush back.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated during your walk, so don’t forget to bring enough water with you.

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One Comment

  1. Working in travel, I’ve always wanted to visit Kotor – Montenegro is definitely an underrated travel destination! Your photos are truly beautiful… I’ll have to wait until my boy is a bit bigger for embarking on a trip like this! x