The day we went hiking from Kotor to Tivat along the Vrmac Ridge is a day I won’t forget. This was tough! Don’t be scared straight away though, because we thought we could take a shortcut we saw at maps.me, however this turned out to be a cow path and we ended up along steep precipices and fields with thorn bushes. The beer at the end of the trail was therefore well deserved. Nevertheless, I would still recommend hiking from Kotor to Tivat (Vrmac Ridge) as an active day activity and the perfect day hike from Kotor, especially when taking the right route. We did this hike during our Balkan trip, where we were staying for 6 days in Kotor as a main base to explore Montenegro. Do you want to read more on the full Balkan trip? Check it out here.
The distance is around 14km
The hike takes around 6 hours
Elevation is around 850m
We started the hike from Kotor – the trailhead is relatively easy to find. You’ll start from the different side of the bay than were all the buzz is happening. Google Maps even highlights the start of the trail, which you can find by searching for the trailhead to Vrmac Fort. The trail you’ll hike is referred to Vrmac Ridge and the first part will be climbing up towards the Fort. You’ll walk a trail that is easy to follow, starting at the back streets of Kotor, where you have to follow the red and white marks. The first part are some staircases but soon, you’ll find switch backs getting up the hill. If you see them, you know you’re right! Be prepared, this is rather tough. When you arrive on top, you should head right and you can use a forest road to get to the Vrmac Fort.
Our research beforehand wasn’t too elaborate, so we actually barely knew what was awaiting us and that there was a building on top of the hill. There is also a road, coming from Tivat, that ends at the Fort. So, in case you want to visit the fort but don’t feel like the hike, this is an option too. For us, it felt a little bit unsatisfying to arrive at the first ‘goal’ of the hike and see that you can easily reach it by car. However, always remember the experience won’t be the same.
The fort is an Austro-Hungarian fortification that saw action during the First World War. We were really impressed with all the items still being present in the fort. These kind of surprises generally impress me more than just the outside of a building.
After the Vrmac fort, it is time to head to the second point. You’ll enter an open area to walk the ridge where you have the bay of Kotor on your right side and you’ll see Tivat on the left. You can head to St. Ilija for views over the bay. Enjoy the views over the Adriatic and have your lunch (or walk on a little bit further to find a place in the shade, as the ridge can be quite sunny with no place to hide).
And this is where it all went wrong. We thought we could save some time by using a different path. Of course, we checked out maps.me beforehand to see if there would be an option to follow the path all the way down to Tivat. From the Tivat side, there are two main entrances to the Vrmac Ridge, to be reached from either Donja Lastva or Donji Stoliv. I would recommend the path going down to Donja Lastva, and don’t make the same mistake as we did to actually think going straight to Tivat over ‘smaller’ paths is better. The way down exists out of broader switchbacks and is quite easy to walk. If you want to have a reference map on where to leave the route, I would advise to use Villa Lastva as your end point.
I’ve made some screenshots of maps.me to highlight the path we took. I would advise to take the orange route, down to Donja Lastva instead of the red route, that takes you through the thorn bushes straight into Tivat.
Now you’ve arrived in Tivat it is time for some relaxation! We had a great afternoon at a place called The Clubhouse, which I can recommend. The place sometimes hosts parties and is a mix between a fancy and hipster beach bar. There are several nice beach bars and there is also a ‘beach’ area where you can take a dip in the water when you feel like cooling down.
At the end of the day, after dinner, we took a cab back to Kotor. You can also take a bus or a water taxi, but we went for the easy approach, because we were tired of the day and it was getting later. We paid around €20 for a cab if I remember it correctly.
This day hike from Kotor to Tivat over the Vrmac Ridge is a hike I won’t quickly forget. However, I would still recommend the hike. Views from the ridge are stunning, the Vrmac Fort is worth a visit. Happy hiking!