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North Montenegro Short Break 1

North Montenegro Walking Break

Overview

This is a short version of our Summits and Lakes of North Montenegro self guided walking holiday which features two of the most untouched natural environments in Europe, including the beautiful Biogradska Gora, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of the last three primaeval rainforests in Europe and Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Highlights

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

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kolasin

Arrival from the airport (Podgorica, Tivat or Dubrovnik) by public transport (or a private transfer, upon request). On the way to Kolasin, you will pass through the impressive Moraca Canyon where you can take a break and visit the 13th-century Moraca Monastery. The Moraca Monastery is one of the best-preserved  Serbian medieval orthodox monasteries. Overnight in Kolasin.

  • Accommodation: 3-star Hotel Čile in Kolasin or similar

Day 2: Bjelasica Mountain | 16 km

This morning, after breakfast, you will start your walking. The path leads you to the heart of the Bjelasica Mountain. The hiking is mostly uphill and on pastures and grassland. At the end of your invigorating first hike, you’ll arrive at the Katuns or Shepherds’ huts, which are traditional mountain houses found all over Northern Montenegro. Traditionally, rural farming families close their village homes and move to these simple cottages during the summer months. Life in the katuns is rustic and simple and you will have a chance to feel the Montenegrins’ real rural life.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 16 km ↑950 m ↓250 m
  • Accommodation: traditional mountain hut Katun Vranjak (private rooms, but shared facilities!)

Day 3: Crna Glava Summit (2139 m) | 16 km

During this day’s walk, you will hike the gentle green slopes and summits of Bjelasica. This is a circular walk heading to Crna Glava, the peak of Bjelasica, passing by two lovely mountain lakes. There are excellent views to the shepherds’ villages below your trail as well as to the surrounding mountains. On the way back you will have time to take a short break and taste the crystal clear water from the Biogradska river’s spring, the main water supply for Biogradsko lake.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 16 km, ↑700 m ↓750 m
  • Accommodation: mountain hut Katun Vranjak (private rooms but shared facilities!)

Day 4: Biogradska Gora National Park and Biogradsko Lake | 12 km

The first part of today’s hike passes through the highlands of Lica mountain – heading to the hidden shepherd’s village of Goles Katun where you can stop for lunch or try a selection of home-made products. The forests are the most important natural feature of the park, as the 1,600-hectare woods are one of the last three primaeval forests in Europe so that you will be passing by 400 to 500 years old trees.

On arrival at Biogradsko Lake, you will have plenty of time to relax and take a walk around the lake. We will then transfer you to Durmitor National Park through the canyon of the river Tara. Before you arrive in Zabljak, which is located in the heart of Durmitor National Park, you will be able to view one of the most beautiful bridges in this part of the world – Djurdjevica Tara bridge.

  • Walking for the day: 5 hours, 12 km, ↑350 m ↓950 m
  • Accommodation: local guesthouse, private en-suite rooms. Optional upgrade to Hotel Zabljak or a similar 3 or 4-star hotel

Day 5: Durmitor Circular Walks | 12-14 km

Option 1: The Bear Summit circuit
The Bear Summit circuit. After breakfast, you will take a trail that passes by the Black Lake and then up into the mountains, hiking through a changing landscape of fir forests and low alpine vegetation. Your destination is the Previja Pass (2,145m), located beneath the heights of Medjed (Bear) peak (2,287m), where you will enjoy a scenic lunch enjoying the majestic vistas below. While bear and wolf are rarely sighted in the park, there is a chance of spotting chamois on the high mountain slopes and fox, weasels and badger. After your lunch break, you will head back down to Black Lake, following a trail that takes you via a shepherd’s camp at Lokvice, before returning to the accommodation.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 13 km, ↑800 m ↓800 m

Option 2: Jablan Lake (1,791 m)
One of the most charming lakes of Durmitor National Park, Jablansko lake is also the highest in Durmitor (1791 m). The trail to this lake is well-marked, but it is one of the paths least used by hikers. You will enjoy the calm and quiet as you pass through woods and pastures and can even take some time for a refreshing swim in Jablan lake. You will also enjoy excellent views from the trail to the most prominent lake in Durmitor – the Crno (Black) lake.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 14 km, ↑450 m ↓450 m

Option 3: The Three Lakes Tour
The last circular walk by the three Durmitor lakes is a relaxing one, with an optional rest/swim in Crno Jezero (the Black Lake). The terrain is flat, and a path leads through a fir and pine forest. You will see Barno, Zminje and Crno lakes, Barno being the smallest and Crno the biggest during this hike. Return to your accommodation.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, 12 km, ↑150m ↓150m
  • Accommodation: local guesthouse, private en-suite rooms. Optional upgrade to Hotel Zabljak or a similar 3 or 4-star hotel

Day 6: Departurе

Departure on your own, or optional private transfer to your departure airport.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels, guesthouses and mountain lodges as indicated in the itinerary. All hotels have private en-suite rooms (the only exception being the overnight at Katun Vranjak, where the rooms are private but facilities are shared). We have carefully hand-picked all the hotels and lodges and we regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms, and great local cuisine.

Click to view sample hotels

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 to you the exact accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on 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 restaurants and taverns in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

Appropriate for regular walkers. Requires a reasonable level of fitness. The trip covers an average of 14 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 – but not all – of the trails are well-marked and signposted. 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 June until September. In early June there could be occasional patches of snow in the higher parts of the mountains. July and August are the busiest (and the hottest!) months, and it is preferable to book as early as possible. The flexibility of self-guided holidays and the fact that there are no fixed dates allows you to start your trip at any time of the season. Please indicate your desired starting date when booking.

Usually, you can expect excellent weather in Montenegro from April to November. 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 generally, this is in the form of short showers. It can become quite hot in July and August, and you must take enough water for your walks. You can expect cold nights in the Durmitor Mountains, and on higher altitudes, it is possible to have light snowing in April, May, October, November.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

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.

By train or bus

Public transport to/from Podgorica

Day 1- From Podgorica to Kolasin

Take a taxi from Podgorica airport to Podgorica bus station 15-20€.

By bus from Podgorica bust station to Kolasin –buses depart approximately every 30 minutes from Podgorica to Kolasin. The ticket costs 4€-5€.

Day 6 – From Zabljak to Podgorica airport

There are regular direct public bus transfers from Zabljak bus station to Podgorica bus station on day 8 for about 10 Euros per person. Then take a taxi from Podgorica bus station to Podgorica airport for 15-20€.

Public transport to/from Dubrovnik

Day 1 – From Dubrovnik to Kolasin

-Take the bus from Dubrovnik airport to Dubrovnik bus station (Atlas buses upon arrival of every scheduled flight) – price 40HRK (5.5€)

– Take the bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor: there are two daily buses to Kotor.

-By bus from Kotor to Kolasin: several buses are departing from Kotor to Kolasin every day. The ticket costs 11€.

(Please note – to make it for the last 3 pm bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor your flight arrival time should be not later than 12.30 pm. Any later arrivals would need an overnight in Dubrovnik or a private transfer to Kolasin)

Day 6 – From Zabljak to Dubrovnik 

Buses are available from Zabljak to Dubrovnik, but you need to change coach in Niksic and/or Trebinje. Total cost is around 60 Euro pp. Then take a taxi from Dubrovnik Bus station to Dubrovnik airport.

Private Transfers

Private transfers can be an economical alternative to public transport in Montenegro, in some cases equal to the cost of public transportation in the UK. We can arrange private transfers from/to airport to/from hotel for arrival and departure – please indicate that you want a private transfer when completing your online booking form.

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation for 5 nights in hand-picked 2 to 3-star hotels or family-run guesthouses as listed in the itinerary (including 2 nights in a simple but charming mountain lodge, private rooms but shared facilities and no electricity!)
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 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
  • Daily luggage transport to the next accommodation of one bag of up to 25 kg per person
  • All internal ground transfers and baggage transfers as listed in the programme
  • 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 explicitly 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)
  • Private airport transfers
  • Hotel upgrade on Days 4 and 5

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