Complete guide to hiking to Fort Vrmac in the city of Kotor, Montenegro.
Looking for a unique, hidden gem adventure offering incredible views and some insight into Kotor’s fascinating history? Today I’ll let you in on just that, an epic short hike on the Vrmac mountain range ending at the best-preserved Austro-Hungarian fort in the Bay of Kotor.
About Fort Vrmac
Fort Vrmac is a former fortification situated on the limestone mountain range called Vrmac. This is the mountain immediately west (opposite) the famous Kotor Fortress (St John's or San Giovanni Fortress).
The Austrians built this fort between 1894 and 1897 in their attempts to strengthen their defenses against Montenegrin rebellions. It features an impressive stone and concrete structure situated right on the top of the Vrmac mountain (785 m/2,575 ft).
While it is abandoned today, it did play a role in several conflicts throughout the past century, including action during World War I.
The fort is completely open to the public and there is no fee to enter or explore its surrounds or interior chambers.
Don't Miss: Best Things to do in Kotor, Montenegro
How to get to the Fort Vrmac Trailhead in Kotor
While it is possible to drive to Fort Vrmac via the road from Troica to Gornja Lastva in Tivat, I recommend instead taking the short but steep hike from Muo, just opposite Kotor Old Town.
Not only is this a fun hike, but you'll also get the best possible views of Kotor Old Town from across the Boka (Bay of Kotor).
The trailhead begins at the end of a short cul de sac road shared by the local police. Below I've pinned the exact location of the trailhead to help you find it.
Once you reach this point, continue up the road for about one hundred meters before you reach the concrete steps. Begin following these steps up the hill, passing some local houses on the way.
There'll be a series of steps to take and many wrap behind some residential homes. Don't worry, this is a shared walkway.
Soon, just before the last steps leading up to the P22 road, you'll see an unambiguous trail to your right. Follow this path and begin the series of switchbacks to the top of the Vrmac Ridge.
Alternatively, for those with a car, you'll find a small place to park your car at the sharp bend on P22. From here, walk down one set of concrete steps and continue straight (don't turn right down the next set of steps).
How to Get Around in Montenegro
Rent a car! Montenegro is very safe for motorists, & you can drive across the entire country in less than 3 hours! Best of all, rental cars are very cheap (starting at €30) & easy to book by comparing rates across dealerships in Kotor and Budva using DiscoverCars.
The Fort Vrmac Hike
- Hiking Distance: 8.5 km (5.2 mi) return
- Duration: 2-3 hours return
- Elevation: 510 m total elevation gain
- Difficulty: Moderate
This hike is technically quite easy as the trail is well-graded and wide throughout the walk. While you will be climbing up the steep ridge for the majority of the hike, the trail features a series of continuous switchbacks all the way to the top.
This is very similar to the Ladder of Kotor hike on the other side.
Climbing the Vrmac Mountain
After some initial confusion, we finally found the correct trail leading up to Fort Vrmac.
The elevation on this climb isn't very steep due to the long, winding turns. While nothing crazy, the ground is mostly rocky, with small-medium-sized stones on the inside of larger boulders forming a terraced trail.
The first section of the trail begins in dense forest but quickly breaks out to an exposed area. As you climb higher, you'll get increasingly better views of Kotor. We made several photo stops on the way up.
Eventually, the trail leads back into a forested section. There are a few shortcuts visible here. As a result, you can save some time by walking straight up on some sections.
Soon after entering the forest, you'll come to a derelict signpost indicating the way to the little-known Kotor Viewpoint and of course, Fort Vrmac.
The Kotor city Viewpoint
We decided to take the short, 5-minute detour to the Kotor Viewpoint before hiking all the way up to the fort.
We were very happy with this decision as the views here were phenomenal. The path leads out to a completely exposed area devoid of any trees blocking the view.
From here, you can see all of Kotor Bay, Muo, Kotor Old Town, and the famous fortress walls snaking up the hillside.
After admiring the view, we doubled back and continued up to the fort.
Exploring Fort Vrmac
I'm not going to lie, exploring Fort Vrmac was a little bit scary. It definitely had a haunted vibe, with nature almost completely engulfing its dark, stone walls.
After walking around to the base of the ditch, we found the entrance and decided to explore the interior. As you might expect, it's completely dark in there, and some local bats gave us a bit of a fright.
There are many hallways and rooms to explore, each a little eerier than the last.
What we didn't expect to find up at this fort was another set of ruins directly opposite it. These are a series of concrete buildings with graffiti and smashed windows. They looked a little newer than the fort, and I'm not sure if they were built during the same period.
Here, strangely we met lots of domestic farm animals, including potbelly pigs, cows, goats, chickens, and a few dogs. While we didn't see anyone around, we assumed that somebody lives up here with these animals.
Sunset from Mount Vmrac
Easily the highlight of this unexpected hidden gem was the view! From the top of this range, we were able to see over Kotor, the Troica Pass, and the Župa valley and all the way out to the Adriatic Sea.
We spent a good hour snapping some photos and admiring the incredible sunset behind the mountains.
Where to Stay in Kotor
The best places to stay in Kotor are the Old Town, Muo (west side of the bay), or Dobrota (east side of the bay). Below is a quick roundup of the top-rated picks and recommendations for every budget.
- Blue Premium Spa Resort -An Amazing adults-only luxury spa resort overlooking Boca Kotorska.
- Apartmani Art Karampana - A beautiful apartment in the Old Town district. Rated 9.7 out of 10 with hundreds of reviews.
- Centrum Hostel - With hundreds of reviews, this is still the best-rated hostel for its location and vibe in Kotor Old Town.
More Montenegro Travel Guides & Inspiration
I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide to hiking up Fort Vrmac in Kotor, Montenegro.
Below you'll find some more useful travel guides and inspiration for your adventures in this beautiful Balkan country.