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South Montenegro and Kotor Bay 12
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South Montenegro and Kotor Bay: Summit to Sea

Overview

Our South Montenegro and Kotor Bay: Summit to Sea 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, and 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.

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). 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.

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 ↓1,500 m
  • Walking for the day (option 2): 4 hours, 9 km ↑50 m ↓1,300 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: Crkvice | 13 km

A picturesque drive (40 min) to the starting point in the remote area of Crkvice, at an altitude 1100 m 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 (1281 m). 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.

Day 7: Vranovo Brdo and Fortresses | 11 km

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 hike’s highlight is Sveti Andrija, an abandoned fortress revealing 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.

Day 8: Departure

Optional private transfer to your departure airport.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation includes three overnights in a nice mountain hotel in Lovcen National Park and four overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel in Perast.  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.

Click to view sample hotels

Ivanov Konak, Monte Rosa, Conte, Jelena Palace, Admiral

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.

Meals

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.

Difficulty & terrain

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 a bit 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.

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, weather can be quite hot, 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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

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.

Inclusions

Included

  • Three overnights in a charming mountain hotel in Lovcen National Park and four overnights in a 4-star seaside hotel in Perast
  • 7 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
  • GPS tracks
  • 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 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 to first / from last accommodation
  • Extra nights Perast after the holiday, upon request

Gallery

Reviews

Average rating:    from 13 reviews

Sat W

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.

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.

Bob P



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!

Justin H

All of the accommodation was very good and the baggage transfers worked well.
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.

Mihaela F

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.

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.

Ann D

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.

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