If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful coastline for a day, check out five places to visit in Montenegro’s mountains!
One thing I discovered on my recent trip is that Montenegro really is an insanely beautiful country, wherever you go. Old towns, coastal views, and stunning mountains.
We stayed in a the Iberostar Bellevue hotel near Budva, just moments from the beach, and it would have been quite easy to spend the entire time just soaking up the sea views. Ever the adventurer, though, I booked us onto a day-long trip exploring Montenegro’s less coastal landscapes – and oh boy, am I glad I did.
Our tour took us inland, up mountains, past rivers, and through canyons. Have I said that this place is spectaular yet? It really is. These are the locations that really stood out amongst all that beauty…
After a couple of hours on the road, we made a stop at an unassuming cafe, which had the BEST €2 cheese and spinach pastries and toilets that were simply a hole in the ground. Not so keen on the latter.
Around the corner, though, a bridge offered amazing views over the Morača River – our first river of the day, but not the last. It definitely set a bit of a precedent, with it’s gorgeous aqua-blue water set against the green trees and rock faces alongside it. The whole river is beautiful to drive alongside, although if you’re doing it yourself, factor in plenty of stopping time to take all the pictures you’ll want!
Looks pretty beautiful, right? Montenegro has a fair few notable monasteries that you can visit, and Morača is definitely one not to miss. Walking down the path from the car park, the central chapel comes into view. The quaint buildings are set against the gorgeous mountain landscape, and the monastery gardens and building exteriors overflow with bright, colourful flowers.
You can actually head inside, but we settled for exploring the grounds and chapel. Inside the chapel, you’ll find some of the most beautiful and intricate painted ceilings I’ve ever seen in a small church. Even if the eyes on the paintings do follow you as you walk around! No pictures allowed, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself…
Biogradska Gora National Park
Winding our way along tree-lined roads, we reached Biogradska Gora’s Lake Biograd, where we hopped out to stretch our legs a little. And it’s a great spot for a hike. The lake itself is beautiful, with a small jetty where you can hire boats. If you’re more into your hiking, there’s a trail that makes its way all around the lake, with plenty of views over the water.
Biogradska Gora is actually one of the last three large virgin forests in Europe, with loads of untouched areas to explore. Streams and lakes reflect the wild, natural tree lines, and over 150 species of bird make their home in the park. It was a wonderful introduction to Montenegro’s natural sites, and you could easily spend a whole afternoon (t least!) hiking and exploring within its borders.
Đurđevića Tara Bridge
The drive to the Tara Canyon Bridge was pretty spectacular in itself – sheer drops beside the road that lead down to the snaking Tara River. The Tara River Canyon itself is around 1,300 meters at it’s deepest point, making it one of the world’s deepest river canyons. As you drive through the canyon, the towering cliffs compete for attention with the pristine, clear blue river water below.
The concrete arches of Đurđevića Tara Bridge span the river and its surrounding green banks, at 365-metres across. It’s pretty spectacular to check out from both near and far.
Here, you’ll also find one of Europe’s longest and highest zip lines – which I obviously HAD to have a go on! The start actually feels quite tame, as you set off not far above the ground and go over a tree line. The Tara River Canyon opens up below you, and suddenly you’re speeding above incredible views over the river, a cluster of houses and loads of amazing green space below. Face your fears, it’s worth it!
Durmitor National Park
As much as I love city life, when I first set eyes on Montenegro’s Durmitor National Park, I was just about ready to give up the rat race for a quiet life in a lakeside cabin. This place is seriously something special.
With eighteen glacial lakes, Durmitor is a paradise for those who love to be near water. We visited one of the most famous, Black Lake, and as we made our way along the path, through a gap in the trees, the mighty Međed mountain top slowly comes into view. Strolling through trees that offer peeking views across the water, we followed some of the trail that circles the lake.
Like Biogradska, Durmitor is somewhere you could easily spend your whole day – or longer – with plenty to explore, numerous hiking trails and, of course, so many beautiful views!