Our Best of Montenegro and the Croatian Islands self guided walking holiday in Montenegro and Croatia takes in in 11 days the highlights of the Montenegrin coast (including the stunning Bay of Kotor), the southern Dalmatian coast with its islands and the town of Dubrovnik.
Spend four days of walking in Lovcen national park, visit the old Montenegrin capital of Cetinje, then descend to beautiful Perast, enjoying amazing views of the Bay of Kotor. After an overnight in a beautiful seaside hotel, move to Dubrovnik and spend the next five days exploring the Dubrovnik coast and the beautiful islands of Mljet and Sipan.
- Lovcen National Park
- Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro
- Njegos’ tomb at Lovcen summit
- Boka Kotorska Bay (UNESCO)
- Our Lady of the Rocks island church
- The Old Town of Dubrovnik
- Konavle and its vineyards
- Mljet Island
- Sipan Island
Our Co-Founder Peter Duncan hiked in Montenegro and Kosovo in 2016. You can read his Mail on Sunday article here
Day 1: Ivanova Korita, Lovcen National Park
Arrival in Ivanova Korita resort, positioned in the heart of Lovcen mountain. It is one of the five national parks in Montenegro. Accommodation is in a hand-picked 4-star hotel where you will spend the next three overnights. In the case of earlier arrival, we have prepared a light circular walk to one of the most wonderful viewpoints on the Adriatic coast!
Arrival is possible at one of the three closest airports: Tivat, Podgorica or Dubrovnik (Croatia); a complimentary airport transfer can be organised from any of them.
- Walking for the day (optional walk): 3 hours, 10 km ↑300m ↓300m
Day 2: Cetinje
Walk from your hotel down the Lovcen slopes towards Cetinje. The focus of the day is Cetinje, the lovely old town which was the Capital of Montenegro from the 15th century until 1918. This city is known as the Old Capital or the ‘Museum Town of Montenegro.’ This is the best place to learn all about the turbulent Montenegrin history and familiarise oneself with its culture. In the late afternoon, a prearranged transfer car will transport you back to the hotel in Ivanova Korita (25 min).
- Walking for the day: 3-4 hours, 10 km ↑50m ↓700m
Day 3: Jezerski Summit
A circular walk from your hotel to the Jezerski Vrh summit (1,657m); ‘Njegos tomb’ is positioned at its top. You can visit the tomb then take an optional rest and have time for lunch in a lovely restaurant nearby. Views from the top are just stunning and give you a chance to admire all the summits of Montenegro, Skadar lake, (the largest lake in the Balkans) with the Albanian Alps in the background as well as Cetinje, the Adriatic coast and Boka Kotorska Bay.
- Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, 10 km ↑500m ↓500m
Day 4: Kotor Bay / Perast
You arrive in Boka Kotorska Bay and the old town of Kotor by walking down from Lovcen. You are free to choose between two similar walks (the same route but different distances) for this part of the itinerary. Either choice will offer breathtaking views of the Boka Kotorska Bay and the surrounding mountains. After some time exploring the old town of Kotor, you will then take a transfer to Perast by local bus (20 min).
- Optional route 1: 6 hours, 15 km ↑300m ↓1,500m
- Optional route 2: 4 hours, 9 km ↑50m ↓1,300m
- Optional route 3: 3 hours, 7 km ↑50m ↓900m
Accommodation (Days 4 and 5): 4-star Conte Hotel in Perast or similar
Day 5: Our Lady of the Rocks / Vrmac
Boat trip to the artificial island across Perast. Visit the “Our Lady of Rocks” church and its museum. Continue by a private boat to the village of Donji Stoliv where you start the day’s hike, passing through a dense chestnut forest to the abandoned village of Gornji Stoliv with excellent views to Perast and the Bay. You will then head up to the ridges of Vrmac peninsula towards Kotor’s old town. After time to refresh in Kotor you will transfer back to Perast by a local bus (20 min).
- Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 17 km ↑750m ↓750m
Day 6: Konavle
Transfer from Perast to Konavle in the southern part of the region of Dubrovnik, where you will spend the first night. The area offers rolling green hills and vineyards, charming villages and rugged cliffs, stretching above the sea. Starting from your accommodation in Konavle, on your first walking day in Croatia, you will explore the charming trails and villages in the Konavle area. Walk through the village, across the valley, through forests and vineyards all the way to the impressive cliffs, stretching above the sea.Return to the hotel.
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Zlatovisce or similar in Konavle
- Walking for the day: 18 km, 6 hours ↑550m
Day 7: Dubrovnik and the Island of Shipan
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Dubrovnik Old Town, a beautiful fortified medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. After check-in at the hotel, you will set out from the main port of Dubrovnik by local boat to Šipan, the largest of the famous Elafiti islands. The island has a rich cultural heritage and is perfect for walking with its vineyards, olive groves and pine forests. You will start your walk from Sudjuradj and head inland all the way up to the other settlement on the island, Luka Šipanska. Historically Šipan was a residential place of Dubrovnik patricians.
If you follow the road from port Sudjuradj along the vineyards and olive trees to the port of the Luka, you will pass by old churches, summer residential palaces, beautiful pine forests, hidden bays. Upon arrival in Luka, you can have lunch in some local tavern. Late afternoon return to the port of Sudjuradj where the boat departs to Dubrovnik.
- Accommodation: Hotel Perla, Hotel Zagreb or a similar 3-star hotel in Dubrovnik
- Walking for the day: 14 km, 4 hours ↑150m (+ optional extra walks around the island)
Day 8: Island of Mljet
Mljet, often called “the green island” because of its lush vegetation it is a pearl in the Adriatic and one of the eight Croatian National Parks. As on Šipan, there is a clear blue sea, numerous bays, beaches and cliffs… but also two lovely salt lakes – warm even in early spring.
The day starts with a bus transfer to the port of Dubrovnik, from where you will take a boat to Polace on Mljet. The walking begins at the village of Polace behind ancient remains of a Roman palace dating from the 2nd century and continues through the National Park and around the salt lakes. The walk averages around 3-4 hours, and there is the chance to swim and enjoy lunch at a local tavern before your return to Polace. Overnight in Polace, Mljet.
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Strazicic, Hotel Odisej or similar
- Walking for the day: 9 km, 4 hours ↑350m
Day 9: Island of Mljet
Walk in the national park and hike to the highest peak of the island, Montokuc hill, offering great views to the island and the Dalmatian coast.
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Strazicic, Hotel Odisej or similar
- Walking for the day: 15 km, 4-5 hours ↑300m
Day 10: Dubrovnik
Boat transfer to Dubrovnik, where you will have a free day to explore the town. We recommend that you take the Dubrovnik cable car to the top of Srd Hill for breathtaking views of the Old City of Dubrovnik, the crystal clear Adriatic Sea, and the numerous Dalmatian islands.
- Accommodation: Hotel Perla, Hotel Zagreb or a similar 3-star hotel in Dubrovnik
- Walking for the day: none
Day 11: Departure or Onward Travel
Departure after breakfast. Optional complimentary transfer to Dubrovnik Airport included.
Accommodation is in en-suite double/twin rooms mainly in small, locally-run, 3-star hotels and guesthouses and two nights in a seaside 4-star hotel in Perast. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfasts are generally buffets that take your active programme into consideration with a variety of low-fat and high-nutrition choices. Lunches and dinners are on your own but arrangements with accommodation can be made on the spot. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.
The most convenient airport is Dubrovnik. Complimentary arrival and departure airport transfers are included in the trip price.
Flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
On walking days, your luggage is transferred to your following night’s accommodation. Luggage transfer is mostly carried out by us, but sometimes we also use the accommodation provider or a local taxi service. Bags should be ready for collection by 09:00 am and will be at your next overnight stop by 3 pm.
We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with travel insurance. Our Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options, including a Cancel for Any Reason coverage. For complete peace of mind, we also recommend enrolling with Global Rescue, the worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation and security extraction services.
Country Info – Croatia
Timezone: GMT +1. Language: Croatian (a variety of Serbo-Croatian). In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel staff where you stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are normally in the Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems. Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.
The local currency in Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HKR). The best way to carry money is a combination of cash and credit/debit cards. You can then draw cash from ATMs. They are available all over Croatia and are the safest and easiest way to access cash. Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted and attract high rates of commission. Make sure that you change any money that you will need for the day ahead.
Foreign currency can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices, post offices, travel agencies, hotels, camps, marinas. Cheques can be cashed in banks. Please note that bank hours are very different from bank hours in the EU. Most banks are open only in the morning from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and a couple of hours in the afternoon. If you need to change money during the tour, we recommend that you look for a bank in the morning.
Up-to-date travel advice on Croatia is available here.
Country Info – Montenegro
Timezone: GMT +1. Language: Montenegrin (a variety of Serbo-Croatian). In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel staff where you stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are normally in the Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems. Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.
Currency: Euro. We strongly recommend taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit.
Up-to-date travel advice on Montenegro is available here.
Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate
This trip requires a basic physical condition; some of the walks in Montenegro require a head for heights and sure-footedness (especially the descent to Kotor Bay) but some of these sections can be skipped using a transfer if needed. It is easy to moderate with a choice of shorter or longer walks on most days. The terrain varies from paved and cobblestone streets (during village exploration) to single-track trails with loose stones or gravel, rocky paths, ancient ruins, and sets of ancient stone steps. The trails are often exposed to the sun (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available from the beginning of May until the end of October.
Traditionally May/June and September/October have always been the most favourite time of year because the weather is best. If you choose to visit during July and August you should be aware that temperatures may be high and make walking slightly more difficult. Please also note that Dubrovnik and Kotor have become popular travel destinations and may become overcrowded in July and August.
The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired starting date when booking.
The climate in is mild, Mediterranean; there are warm and dry summers and mild and pleasant winters. The average air temperature during the coldest part of the year is 6ºC and during the warmest 30ºC.
What to Bring
Having the correct personal equipment will make your walking holiday more enjoyable and comfortable. We hope that you find the following suggestions useful when considering what to take on your trip. They are based on personal experiences, and we are confident that you may find other solutions working equally well.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
- 8 x overnights in small family-run hotels/guesthouses
- 2 x overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel
- 10 x breakfasts
- Information package including detailed route description (maps and route notes), a guidebook, luggage tags and vouchers for hotels.
- Luggage transport from hotel to hotel on all walking days
- Ferry tickets for the walks
- Airport transfers from/to Tivat, Podgorica or Dubrovnik Airport on Day 1 and to Dubrovnik Airport on Day 11
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Single room supplement: Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
- This holiday is available for solo travellers. As transfer and accommodation costs are not shared, a solo traveller supplement is payable
- Entrance fee to national parks e.g. for Mljet, approx. EUR 12 per person, to be paid on the spot
- Flights and connecting land transfers to first / from last accommodation from airports other than the ones listed as ‘included’ above
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme
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