San Giovanni Castle

Kotor, Montenegro

San Giovanni, also called St. John’s Castle, is perched 1200m high on the hill of St. John. The fortifications date back as far as 532 when Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had the fort built. Since it’s creation, the fort has under seen plenty of changes and battles under Venetian, Russian, and French rule. It’s been bombed by British Naval armies, occupied during World War II, and even survived three separate earthquakes.

The walking path to San Giovanni castle has 1,350 steps and needs good shoes. The view over the Kotor bay is breathtaking from the top.

San Giovanni is part of the fortifications of Kotor which are an integrated historical fortification system that protected the medieval town of Kotor containing ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, cisterns, a castle, and ancillary buildings and structures. They incorporate military architecture of Illyria, Byzantium, Venice, and Austria. Together with the old town and its natural surroundings the fortifications were inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979 labelled Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor.


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Founded: 532 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Montenegro

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maximilian Stalzer - MPC (9 months ago)
Nice view up there. I recommend to go up in the morning at 5 am, if you do not want to pay the entrance fee, that you are down right before the open;)
Paolo Bellu (10 months ago)
Beautiful historical structure combined with a nice tracking opportunity. It would take you from 40 to 60 minutes to reach the fortress and viceversa. It's a tough enough uphill, but with the growing satisfaction of the beautiful scenery. Negative sides are the overall bad shape of the structure, not well maintained... and the fact that both going up and coming down, you can safely use just the part of the road with the stairs infact the other partel is too much slippery. This could slow you down if there are too many people.
Behruz Khalatai (11 months ago)
The place that is must visit if you are in Kotor. There is magnificent view of Kotor bay from the castle which you can enjoy for hours. There are more than thousand ladders which you must climb but it is not so difficult if you physically active in you daily life. But I strongly recommend you to start you journey at least at 8 am. In that situation you will climd mostly at shadow, which will make you journey more easy and enjoyable
Coco Namure (2 years ago)
The views are stunning, I recommend taking the hike. It takes some time and is almost all stairs so take a bottle of water with you (it took us approximately 25 minutes with breaks to get to the top). The only thing we didn't like was the price, 8 euro per person seemed a little overpiced.
Wioleta Morańska (2 years ago)
Amazing view from the top. Totally recommend to climb there, however be prepared, it’s tiring and sweaty (get sturdy shoes, cap for the sun and loads of water). To avoid the cost of 8€ per person, we climbed up Ladder of Kotor and squeezed through the fortress wall inside and then for free went down by stairs. I would recommend it to everyone, as I actually believe Ladder is an easier climb up than just using slipper steps. And yes, the view is worth it!
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