Once upon a time, responsible travel essentially boiled down to the old adage, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
Highlights of Montenegro Walk
Highlights of Montenegro Walk
Montenegro may be tiny, but it sure packs a punch! Lying in the south Adriatic - bordering Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Albania - it is arguably one of the most diverse, interesting and alluring countries in Europe, and is crammed with cultural heritage, architectural treasures and jaw-dropping natural beauty.
Our twin-centre walking week is a glorious and contrasting mix. Starting in the mountainous north, we explore first the vast Durmitor National Park, with its glacial lakes, dense forests - with masses of endemic species - sparkling streams and fast flowing rivers. We visit the Tara Canyon (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the second deepest canyon in the world at 1300m, after Arizona's Grand Canyon) to survey one of nature's best-kept secrets from a viewpoint 1200m above the crystal clear Tara River, granting panoramic vistas over the whole plateau!
For the second part of our trip we head south, to the warm shores of the Adriatic - described by Lord Byron as 'the most beautiful encounter between land and sea' - where pretty coastal villages cling vertiginously to rock walls that jut dramatically from the sea. We stay in Venetian Perast, considered the prettiest village in Montenegro, and relax by the water's edge after exploring some of its 18 historic churches. For a totally different perspective, we'll also take boat trips around Lake Skadar (great for bird-spotting) and the shores of tranquil Kotor Bay with its famous islets.
In both the mountains and on the coast, we've hand-picked high-quality 4-star hotels. Evening meals are included on all nights except for one where we've left you free to enjoy dinner at leisure at a restaurant of your choice.
Walks involve a mixture of woodland and forest trails, open meadows and country roads. While not challenging, short sections are rocky. The walk around Kotor's walls will take place at a gentle pace but involves steps to the top. Walking boots are recommended.
Perast on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro
Durmitor National Park
Hotel Zabljak, Montenegro
View from the hills in Montenegro
Montenegro Walk Itinerary
Arrive in the high Balkan mountain town of Zabljak, where you overnight at a four-star hotel.
Tara River Canyon
A feast for the eyes of both keen and novice photographers this morning as we stroll the woods and meadows up to the spectacular Tara River Canyon, the deepest in Europe and arguably the most beautiful river canyon in the world. Part of the Durmitor National Park and a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it boasts 40+ tumbling waterfalls, 80+ large caves, rapids, lakes and dense forest harbouring an abundance of plant and wildlife.
Durmitor National Park
Swimming in the glacial Crno Jezero (Black Lake), walking through deciduous forest - keep your eyes peeled for various eagles in the skies above - and a picnic in the shadow of the Medjed Peak are just some of today's highlights as we explore the heart of the Durmitor National Park. Formed by glaciers, and traversed by a multitude of rivers, lakes and underground streams, the park is also home to one of the last virgin black pine forests in Europe with fauna including brown bear, wild cat, chamois and capercaillie.
Bay of Kotor
We take a scenic drive south west this morning from Zabljak to the coast. En route, we'll stop in Niksic, home to Montenegro's most popular (and only homegrown) brewery. There's lunch on arrival at the Hotel Conte in Perast (home for the next 4 nights) followed by a relaxed afternoon on the water exploring the gorgeous sheltered Bay of Kotor and its postcard-pretty mediaeval villages, ancient coastal settlements and tiny man-made island of 'Our Lady of the Rocks' whose famous church is steeped in maritime history.
Lovcen National Park
A scenic serpentine road takes us to Lovcen National Park with over 6,000 hectares of natural contrasts: imposing snow-capped peaks, stunning coastal views, 2000+ plants, 85 species of butterfly and over 200 bird types including many regal birds of prey. Besides its natural beauties, the park protects a rich, cultural and architectural heritage too, including authentic katuns - summer cottages for cattle breeders. We walk up to the mausoleum of Prince- Bishop Petar II Petrovic-Njegos - the ruler, poet and philosopher credited with having modernised Montenegro. We then continue to his birthplace - the picturesque mountain 'food' village of Njegusi, famous for its cheeses, honey and dried smoked hams, before returning to Perast for dinner.
Wedged between brooding mountains and the gorgeous bay, the historic city of Kotor is a UNESCO listed Natural and Culturo-Historical Region. Within the ancient walls its labyrinthine streets reveal some of the finest examples of mediaeval architecture: Romanesque churches, Venetian piazzas, San Giovanni castle and other cultural monuments. We've built in a walking tour of the city walls in the morning, but have left the afternoon free for you to continue exploring independently; you might prefer to simply sit and survey the yachts of the super-rich at the sun-kissed water front!
Lake Skadar & Godinje
Drive past pretty coastal villages and wonderful mountain scenery, then on to the warm waters of Lake Skadar on the Albania-Montenegro border. Flanked by small orchards and vineyards, this is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula, and is one of the most important reserves for wetland birds in Europe. After a circular walk up to the wine village of Godinje - lots of tasting opportunities! - we'll take a boat tour on the lake to view the area's wild beauty from the water. Think verdant hills rising from the lake, old world villages peppering the shores, an abandoned 14th-century monastery on its own tiny island and whiskered terns building their nests on floating water lilies.
If you wish to extend your holiday with nights in Dubrovnik, we can provide a free transfer there at the end of your holiday.
Hotel Soa, Zabljak
Situated in the heart of Žabljak and surrounded by the natural scenery of the Durmitor National Park is the newly built Hotel Soa. The hotel features a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture with 18 comfortable rooms, a restaurant offering a variety of dishes and a stylish lounge bar. The hotel itself is tucked away, just off the road to the lakes, and surrounded by conifer trees, with a magnificent view of the mountains.
Hotel Conte, Perast
Lying right by the water's edge and boasting one of the area's best restaurants is the historic Hotel Conte. The hotel was once the Venetian town hall but was converted into a stylish hotel by the current owner in 2010. The restaurant is right at the water's edge with simply stunning views of the Verige straight and the tiny islands of St George and Our-Lady-of-the-Rocks. In the morning boats can often be seen mooring here to look at the menu and visit some of the town's 18 churches, the church of Saint Nicholas being just a few steps from the Hotel.