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Best of Montenegro and the Croatian Islands 1

Best of Montenegro and the Croatian Islands on Foot

Overview

Our Best of Montenegro and the Croatian Islands self guided walking holiday in Montenegro and Croatia takes 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.

Highlights

Our Co-Founder Peter Duncan hiked in Montenegro and Kosovo in 2016. You can read his Mail on Sunday article here

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Ivanova Korita, Lovcen National Park | 10 km

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 3-star hotel where you will spend the next three overnights. If you arrive early enough, 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.

Day 2: Old Capital of Cetinje | 10 km

Walk from your hotel down the Lovcen slopes towards Cetinje. Today’s destination is Cetinje, the lovely old town, 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 about the turbulent Montenegrin history and get to know its culture. A prearranged transfer car will transport you back to the hotel in Ivanova Korita (25 min) in the late afternoon.

Day 3: Jezerski Summit (1657 m) | 10 km

A circular walk from your hotel to the Jezerski Vrh summit (1657 m); ‘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.

Day 4: Down to Kotor Bay / Perast | 7 to 15 km

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 Kotor’s old town, you will then take a transfer to Perast by local bus (20 min).

  • Walking for the day (option 1): 6 hours, 15 km ↑300 m ↓1500 m
  • Walking for the day (option 2): 4 hours, 9 km ↑50 m ↓1300 m
  • Walking for the day (option 3): 3 hours, 7 km ↑50 m ↓900 m
  • Accommodation: Conte, Jelena Palace, Admiral or similar

Day 5: Our Lady of the Rocks / Vrmac | 17 km

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 sidewalk 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).

Day 6: Konavle | 18 km

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.

Day 7: Dubrovnik and the Island of Shipan | 14 km

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 ↑150 m (+ optional extra walks around the island)

Day 8: Island of Mljet | 9 km

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.

Day 9: Island of Mljet | 15 km

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.

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.

Day 11: Departure

Departure after breakfast. Optional complimentary transfer to Dubrovnik Airport included.

What to Expect

Accommodation

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.

Click to view sample hotels

Hotel Ivanov Konak, Dragutinovic, Conte Hotel (optional upgrade) Hotel Perla, Hotel Zagreb, Guesthouse Strazicic, Hotel Odisej

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.

Meals

Breakfasts are generally buffets that consider your active programme 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.

Difficulty & terrain

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 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 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice available here for Montenegro and here for Croatia

Click to view travel options

By plane


Our recommended airport for this tour is Podgorica. Alternatively, flights are available to Dubrovnik (Croatia) or Tivat (Montenegro). There is public transport to/from all of them, or we can arrange a private transfer.

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • 8 overnights in small family-run hotels/guesthouses
  • 2 overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel
  • 10 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

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Entrance fee to national parks e.g. for Mljet, approx. EUR 12 per person, to be paid on the spot
  • Extra nights before, during and after the tour, upon request

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