Overview for South Montenegro and Kotor Bay
Our moderate South Montenegro and Kotor Bay dual-centre based self guided walking holiday offers a truly wonderful itinerary which includes some of the best walks in South Montenegro, considered one of the most breathtaking coastal areas in Europe. Following quiet shepherd’s trails and old trade routes, you will enjoy the contrast of the mountain trails in Lovcen National Park and the walks alongside the stunning coastline where the mountains meet the sea. Our walks in nature are combined with must-see visits to the Old Capital of Cetinje, Kotor and Perast, Njegos’ tomb as well as a boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks isle church so that you can fully experience the spirit of the area and explore the secrets of Montenegro.
Accommodation includes three overnights in a charming mountain hotel in Lovcen National Park (Ivanov Konak or Monte Rosa) and four overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel in Perast (Conte, Jelena Palace, Admiral or similar).
- Lovcen National Park
- Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro (Museum town)
- Njegos’ tomb at Lovcen summit
- Boka Kotorska Bay (UNESCO)
- Old Austro-Hungarian fortresses: Kom, Sveti Andrija and Vrmac
- Our Lady of the Rocks island church
Our Co-Founder Peter Duncan hiked in Montenegro and Kosovo in 2016. You can read his Mail on Sunday article here
Itinerary for South Montenegro and Kotor BayGo to top of page
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 superior 3-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). All airport transfers can be made by taxi or by a local bus (to Cetinje or Kotor) and then by taxi (20 min from Cetinje or 1h from Kotor). Private transfer is available on request.
- Walking for the day (optional walk): 3 hours, 10 km ↑300m ↓300m
Day 2: Old Capital of 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: Down to Kotor Bay / Perast
You arrive in Boka Kotorska Bay and the old town of Kotor by walking down from Lovcen. The descent is steep but rewarding; you are free to choose between three similar walks (the same route but different starting points) 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
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 Gornja Lastva village – the most beautiful and well preserved ancient village of this bay. On the way, you can make a short side walk to enjoy the lovely views to the Bay from the church of St Vitus. Taxi transfer from Gornja Lastva to Kotor (20 min), free time in Kotor and transfer back to Perast by a local bus (20 min).
- Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 17 km ↑750m ↓750m
Day 6: Crkvice
A picturesque drive (40min) to the starting point in the remote area of Crkvice, at an altitude 1,100m above the Bay. Hiking by an old military mule path dating back to the 19th century. The path passes through an area of extraordinary land formations and offers excellent views of Boka Kotorska Bay with an optional climb to the Velji Vrh summit (1,281m). Ruined fortresses along the way pay testimony to the one-century presence of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Hiking finishes in a local restaurant where your driver will pick you up for the trip back to Perast.
- Walking for the day: 5 hours, 13 km ↑450m ↓850m
Day 7: Vranovo Brdo and Fortresses
Picturesque drive (30 min) to the starting point in Donje Ledenice. This hike starts almost from the same place where you ended yesterday’s trail. From this trail, you are treated to some excellent views of the Bay. It passes through the old and abandoned village of Ubalac, (only one person is living there today) following an old military Austro-Hungarian mule trail. The highlight of the hike is Sveti Andrija, an abandoned fortress which features the most spectacular view of the Bay. After relaxing at the fortress, you will descend directly to Perast, following the narrow footpath along the slopes of Vranovo Brdo summit.
- Walking for the day: 4 hours, 11 km ↑250m ↓800m
Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel
Optional private transfer to your departure airport.
Hotels for South Montenegro and Kotor BayGo to top of page
Accommodation includes three overnights in a nice mountain hotel in Lovcen National Park (Ivanov Konak or Monte Rosa) and four overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel in Perast (Conte, Jelena Palace, Admiral or similar). All accommodation has been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. 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 you with exact accommodation details upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included. When no restaurant is available en route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or you can pre-order packed lunch from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your hotel or from restaurants and taverns in the village near your hotel.
Travel for South Montenegro and Kotor BayGo to top of page
Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Podgorica. Alternatively, flights are available from the UK via Dubrovnik (Croatia) or Tivat (Montenegro). There is public transport to/from all of them, or we can arrange a private transfer.
Transfers by Public Transport
Day 1- From Podgorica To Ivanova Korita Resort
- Take a taxi from Podgorica Airport to Podgorica Bus Station, 20 minutes.
- Take the bus from Podgorica airport to Cetinje, 10€ – 45 minutes trip.
- From the bus station take a taxi to Ivanova Korita Resort, 10€ – 15 minutes.
Day 8 – From Kotor to Podgorica airport
- Take a bus to Kotor Bus Station, 20 minutes.
- There are regular public bus transfers from Kotor bus station to Podgorica bus station on day 8 for about 10 € per person.
- From Podgorica bus station take a taxi to Podgorica airport.
Private transfers can be an economical alternative to public transport in Montenegro, sometimes equal to the cost of public transportation in the UK. We can arrange for you private transfers from/to airport to hotel for arrival and departure – please indicate that you want a private transfer when completing your online booking form.
Luggage transfer is included on all walking days, and your bags will be transported by your current hotel (or by private transfer) to your next hotel. Baggage limit 25 kg per bag.
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Montenegro: Country Info
- 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. Detailed travel and country information is provided in your holiday information pack
Trip Info for South Montenegro and Kotor BayGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate
Appropriate for regular walkers. Requires a reasonable level of fitness. The descent on Day 4 to Kotor is a highlight, but although not dangerous, it is quite steep and long; you can, however, opt to shorten it. The trip covers an average of 15 km (6 hours) of hiking per day. Average daily elevation gain is 500 m (read more about difficulty grades).
Most of your walks will be on unpaved timber roads and hiking trails, although a few sections may include walking on asphalt. Most of the trails are well-marked and signposted, but depending on the season some sections may become overgrown. 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 May until October. In May there could be occasional patches of snow in the higher parts of the mountains, but in general this kind of snow would not make a problem for hikers. It is usually old and not deep snow, so early guests (if this would be the case) should bring hiking pools and gaiters for a comfortable hike. July and August are the busiest months, and it is preferable to book as early as possible. Resort towns may become overcrowded in these months. The flexibility of self-guided holidays and the fact that there are no fixed dates allows you to start your holiday at any time of the season. Please indicate your desired starting date when booking.
Typically, you can expect excellent weather in Montenegro from April to October. Montenegro has a Mediterranean climate, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland. There is a chance of sporadic rain in spring and autumn, though this is in the form of short showers. In July and August, it can become scorching, and you must take enough water for your walks. You can expect cool nights in the Durmitor Mountains, and at higher altitudes, it is possible to have light snowing in April, May, October, November.
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.
- 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)
Included for South Montenegro and Kotor BayGo to top of page
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes, maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
- GPS tracks
- Three overnights in a charming mountain hotel in Lovcen National Park and four overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel in Perast
- 7 Breakfasts
- Daily luggage transport to next hotel of one bag of up to 25 kg per person
- All internal ground transfers and baggage transfers as listed in the itinerary
- 24/7 assistance by phone
Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements
- Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
- This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost
Options and Extras
- Private airport transfers to first accommodation / from last accommodation
- Extra nights Perast after the holiday
Please use the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the cost of the holiday and the different options for your preferred date.
- Flights and connecting land transfers to first / from last accommodation (private airport transfers available, choose when booking)
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not explicitly mentioned in the programme
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Reviews for South Montenegro and Kotor BayGo to top of page
I did a strenuous version of this trip which is no longer available - however the itinerary is practically identical (Differences: Day 2 extended to Rijeka and Day 7 ended in Orahovac instead or Perast) and so I will be writing my review here. All of the accommodation was very good and the baggage transfers worked well. I loved my vacation all the way through, beautiful places, beautiful people. Unfortunately I had quite some rain at times:) but even so I enjoyed my time there. My favorite walks were around Kotor area, much more greenery and a bit more mysterious with all those abandoned villages. Also, all the people I interacted with (picking me up or dropping me off) were super nice and friendly, always on time and willing to help you with anything you need. Staff at the hotel and my host from the guest house in Perast were also very attentive and helpful at all times. We did enjoy our first holiday in Montenegro with its wonderful landscape, fascinating history, beautiful architecture and good weather. We also met some lovely people; in particular the staff at the Jelena Palace in Perast were very helpful during our distress whilst we trying to find our guesthouse. For both of us this was our first experience of a self-guided walking holiday and I think we learned a lot from this. The trails were consistently interesting, offered astonishing views, and were challenging but not beyond our reach. We very much enjoyed this holiday. A great holiday! We had a wonderful time in Montenegro. Thank you so much for organising. Great walking and spectacular scenery. The company was very helpful and effective with arranging extra nights and transfers, in spite of the slightly relaxed (but very friendly!) attitude of local drivers and hotel managers. Excellent holiday. Scenery amazing. Walking routes were well chosen and varied. Hotel in Perast was perfect, stunning room, and great having meals at waterside. Well organised holiday and informative tour book. If your budget allows, book the Conte hotel upgrade in Perast.
I enjoyed all the hikes overall, each hike showcased a certain part of Montenegro (i.e. villages, fort ruins, coastal scenery, vineyards, mountains, forests and towns). There was good variety of scenery in this tour.
The transfers were all on time, very friendly people and reliable. People were mostly friendly and helpful. You will notice Lovcen area is poorer and more realistic of Montenegro (less tourist based) compared to Kotor. Prices for food/drink in Lovcen are a lot cheaper, but you will notice the standards overall are lower as well (i.e. there was quite a difference between the 4-star hotels in Lovcen Vs Perast).
Some tips for this tour:
- Once you sign up you will get GPS tracks for the trails you're going to hike. I HIGHLY recommend getting the phone App for the GPS. It really made following the trails at certain points much easier (but if you like the challenge and adventure of not relying on one then just have it as back up in case you really get lost). You will see optional trails (i.e. summits or forts not part of tour) on the GPS app (View Ranger) as well - most (but not all) are mentioned in the detailed tour guide.
- Tap water is drinkable - I drank tap water from both hotels (Monte Rosa in Lovcen and Palace Jelena in Perast). Just make sure to run the water for about 30sec before filling cup/hydro pac/bottle. The water in Montenegro tastes quite good (more so in Lovcen vs Perast).
- Buy groceries from the named chain markets if you want the cheapest prices (especially for packaged drinks and snacks) these store chains include: Voli, iDEA, and Aroma. Local markets seemed to have better looking produce in some cases.
- There are significantly many varieties of thorned/prickly plants in Montenegro for some reason, thus wearing long sleeved impenetrable clothes (especially for the lower leg area) is a good idea. Some of the paths are not as well maintained and you will have no choice but to scrape through these plants. There are also lots of tall grass you may have to walk through as well without choice (i.e watch for bugs).
- You will be stepping on a lot of fist-sized stones, so just be careful not to roll your ankles. I find them more slippery compared to granite as one would find in Canada - majority of rock in Montenegro is limestone.
- There are stray dogs in Lovcen that may follow you onto the hiking trails. Unless you don't mind the company you may need to scare them away to lose them. It's best if you scare them away in town because they will follow you for kilometers if you don't (I was also a solo hiker so maybe they were more prone to follow me vs a group)
- In Perast there are gates during day time that block cars without a pass from going through the town. Therefore even though it might say your driver will meet you in front of your hotel in your itinerary, you may have to go to the gate (usually a 3-5 min walk) to meet up with them there.
I did my hike in October, and it rained only once. Most hikes I saw no one else until I got near the end towards a town (e.g. Kotor), which was great. I felt much safer hiking in Montenegro vs Canada - probably due to the lack of larger wildlife.
I thought Laugavegur trek in Iceland was one of the most beautiful hikes (also Banff, Canada), but Montenegro is up there as well. They are both completely different types of hikes but the scenic quality is comparable. Therefore I would recommend this tour.
We had a great time in Montenegro, our third excellent holiday with Natural Adventure Company. Lots of memorable and exhilarating (borderline frightening!) experiences - particularly the walk to the mausoleum and the walk from Crkvice to Kom fortress. I would recommend this trip to any reasonably fit walker but would highlight the occasional difficulty in negotiating overgrown trails (sometimes on exposed ridges) and uneven terrain. Spectacular scenery on every walk makes this trip special.
Booking process was excellent, all very smooth, clear invoicing, prompt informative answers to any queries and very prompt replies by Yana to messages. My impression was that the people we met were pleased we had visited and, compared to the hordes in Kotor from cruise ships, we were actually spending some time and money locally, and using local shops.
Really liked both of our bases, great locations and most hospitable. Another brilliant NAC holiday!
A great trip. Outstanding customer service from inquiry through post-trip follow up. I would strongly recommend them. They are helpful and polite and well organised. Hotels were excellent and staff on location also excellent.
I did not bring a bottle of water with me (saving space in my bag) thinking I can just buy one plastic bottle at the hotel and refill it as I go, but they were only having the glass bottles available which can be quite heavy to carry around for a day. So either bring your own bottle or buy one in the airport before heading to Lovcen. Next option to buy water, snacks etc. would be Cetinje.
With all the rain I’ve got would have been super handy to have some gaiters (did not think I would need any) as the patch on some of the walk are almost covers buy small bushes and as you walk through all the water goes into your shoes.
Everything went as planned, I had no difficulties at all. Maybe some suggestions on what can be done/seen around Perast area (except Kotor which you get to visit on two other occasions) as if you start hiking at 9am you will be finished at 2-3pm on the last days and there is still plenty of time to fit in other activities if you still have energy left.
Thank you for organizing a fantastic vacation, i found the GPS tracks to be particular useful as well as the notes provided.
Vlatko met us at the airport, drove us to the hotel and went through a thorough briefing. Nana, our guide for the first 2 days was fantastic, so helpful and knowledgeable and fun be with.
Enjoyed our stay in Lovcen National Park and the variety of the hikes. Great to stay in a traditional style hotel.
Hiked from Lovcen down to Kotor, a beautiful day. Such a stunning area to hike in for 4 days. Hotel Conte was lovely and the team were so helpful and friendly.
All the transfers were on time, good vehicles and very safe drivers.
We had perfect sunny weather, rained on us twice but only for about an hour each time.
The hike on the last day down to Perast was our least favourite. It was over 2 hours descent on a very rough, rocky overgrown trail.
Otherwise, a fabulous self guided holiday.
I did a strenuous version of this trip which is no longer available - however the itinerary is practically identical (Differences: Day 2 extended to Rijeka and Day 7 ended in Orahovac instead or Perast) and so I will be writing my review here.
All of the accommodation was very good and the baggage transfers worked well.
I loved my vacation all the way through, beautiful places, beautiful people. Unfortunately I had quite some rain at times:) but even so I enjoyed my time there. My favorite walks were around Kotor area, much more greenery and a bit more mysterious with all those abandoned villages. Also, all the people I interacted with (picking me up or dropping me off) were super nice and friendly, always on time and willing to help you with anything you need. Staff at the hotel and my host from the guest house in Perast were also very attentive and helpful at all times.
We did enjoy our first holiday in Montenegro with its wonderful landscape, fascinating history, beautiful architecture and good weather. We also met some lovely people; in particular the staff at the Jelena Palace in Perast were very helpful during our distress whilst we trying to find our guesthouse. For both of us this was our first experience of a self-guided walking holiday and I think we learned a lot from this.
The trails were consistently interesting, offered astonishing views, and were challenging but not beyond our reach. We very much enjoyed this holiday.
A great holiday!
We had a wonderful time in Montenegro. Thank you so much for organising.
Great walking and spectacular scenery. The company was very helpful and effective with arranging extra nights and transfers, in spite of the slightly relaxed (but very friendly!) attitude of local drivers and hotel managers.
Excellent holiday. Scenery amazing. Walking routes were well chosen and varied. Hotel in Perast was perfect, stunning room, and great having meals at waterside.
Well organised holiday and informative tour book. If your budget allows, book the Conte hotel upgrade in Perast.
We just completed the Catalan Coast and Mountain week-long self-guided walking tour. February was perfect in the off-season! [The] itinerary... Read full review
We enjoyed our trip, the meals were prepared by our cook at lunchtime were very good and they always found a nice place forLunch. Our guide... Read full review
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you with our feedback. It has been nice to think about it again now though, we have very happy memories... Read full review
You certainly delivered, considering we booked and made payments on faith, via the internet. Thank you for being trustworthy.