While cruising into the Bay of Kotor it was quite evident that it’s a special place. A small fortified town nestled between mountains and the adriatic sea, what’s not to love?
We got off the ship bright and early, eager and ready to see as much as we possibly could in one day. We entered the old town and relished in how few people there were in the early morning hours.
We read about a ‘secret entrance’ to San Giovanni Fortress and decided we would try going this way. The trail was a little tricky to find but we managed to locate it. The trail we took is actually part of the ‘Ladder of Kotor’ hike and in my opinion, a much nicer way to walk up to the fortress. The trail has many switchbacks but we didn’t find it difficult. The scenery along the way was really pretty and it was nice just to be out hiking.
About 35 minutes into the hike there’s a trail that branches off to the right, this is the trail we took to get to the fortress. Just before the fortress, we saw the Chapel of St. Ivan, some very old ruins, and some very cute goats. We found the ‘not so secret – secret entrance’ quite easily but it’s now manned by a security guard. On our way up, we passed a fellow on the trail who said the security guard turned him away and told him he must go all the way back down to town and pay the fee there to enter. We were disappointed to hear this and wondered what we should do. I decided to ask the security guard in the most friendly way possible if we can please enter, I told him we would happily pay the fee. He agreed and let us enter through the ‘castle window’. We climbed up the very precarious ladder – it wasn’t fastened to anything and was just propped up against the castle wall on uneven ground. Gordon held the ladder while I climbed up, then I held it for him from the top while he climbed up – we made it without incident. We paid our entrance fee to the guard who then offered me an apple to take along for a snack later. Nice guy!
The fortress was built to protect Kotor Town from invaders, construction started in the 9th century and ended in the 15th century. We enjoyed walking around the fortress and the views over the bay were beautiful.
We slowly made our way down a series of stone staircases to the old town. We considered ourselves quite lucky to go up one way and come down a different way – we never like to backtrack if we can help it!
Once back in the old town, we wandered aimlessly, grabbed a coffee, and just enjoyed everything Kotor had to offer.
We visited Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral. Saint Tryphon’s relics are kept in the cathedral and Saint Tryphon is the protector of Kotor. Apparently the saint’s relics were originally on their way to Dubrovnik from Constantinople (Istanbul) but didn’t get any further than Kotor. We paid a couple of euros to visit the inside of the church and the upper floor which has a collection of local dress, weapons, and artifacts.
I loved the little church of Saint Luke.
We exited out the south gate at the Gurdic Spring and walked the waterfront to the beach. The water looked so inviting…
We enjoyed a beautiful evening cruising out of the Bay of Kotor past the church on ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ – an artificial island created in XV century.
We thought Kotor was a fantastic place and we definitely want to see more of Montenegro in the future!
Where we stayed: Holland America-MS Koningsdam-Mozart Deck 👍
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel