“The most important thing to do and see when visiting Montenegro, is to visit Durmitor National Park and it’s wider area!”
Of course, everyone knows that Montenegro is recognizable for its beautiful beaches, full of people bathing in the sun and the turquoise Adriatic Sea that leaves you breathless. Also, Montenegro is known for its diverse historical heritage, delicious wines and luxury marinas.
But, it is quite rarely known that the mix of natural beauty, cultural heritage and hospitality of local highlanders is rarely to be found as it can be found on the cliffs, rocks and valleys of Durmitor.
In this article we will reveal only a small number of reasons why you should visit Durmitor National Park and have time of your life.
Originally named by Celtic people “Dru Mi Tore”, literally meaning “Mountain full of water”, Durmitor National Park was founded in 1952, and in 1980 thanks to its vast natural resources, by the decision of the International Committee for World Culture in Paris, was inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The locals consider Durmitor a sacred mountain, because the centuries-old tradition of coexistence with the mountain, which has always given them the best, still continues today.
❐ The construction of traditional architecture, which is increasingly disappearing, has a significant place within the cultural heritage of the Durmitor region. Typical traditional architecture is characterized by types of country houses built of stone, or built of logs with a stone wall, with steep roofs covered with rye straw or shingles.
With its 150 km in length and depth of up to 1300 m, the Tara Canyon is known as the deepest canyon in Europe and the second largest in the world, after the canyon of river Colorado.
As a part of the Dinaric Alps, the Durmitor massif was shaped by glaciers, with the highest peak at 2523m, called “Bobotov Kuk. With nearly 50 peaks over than 2000m high, surrounded by rivers Tara, Draga, Sušica and Komarnica, Durmitor National Park is probably the most beautiful and diverse national park of Montenegro.
Due to the richness of flora and fauna, the complexity of ecosystems, the presence of over 1300 species of vascular plants, and a large number of endemic and relict species, Durmitor is an exceptional natural value and lasting inspiration for scientists and nature lovers.
In the canyons of Piva and Tara, certain types of tertiary flora from the Ice Age have been preserved.
❐ The fauna of Durmitor itself is rich in wild animals (brown bear, wolf, wild boar, wild cat, chamois, several species of eagles, grouse and partridges, etc.), various species of insects, birds and fish, many of which are endemic.
Very interesting and rare is the occurrence of the so-called “forest inversion” on Durmitor, where in several places above the level of conifers, there is a cover of deciduous beech vegetation.
Out of a total of 529 worlds biosphere reserves in 105 countries, the Tara river with its canyon in 1977, under the UNESCO MAB program (A man and the biosphere), was inscribed as the World Biosphere Ecological Reserve.
There is hardly a place in the world that offers so much potential for outdoor tourism in a smaller and more accessible geographical area. Whatever you think you want to do in collaboration with nature, Durmitor offers it to you.
If you want rafting, the Tara River with its 150 kilometers of flow, a bunch of great slopes and a canyon depth of over 1300m offers you an unforgettable experience.
❐ In terms of attractiveness, rafting on the Tara is categorized from III-IV degree (according to the international river categorization scale), which places the Tara at the very top of the most attractive rivers in the world, along with Colorado and Zambezi.
If you want hiking, on Durmitor you have almost 50 peaks larger than 2000m, each of which provides an amazing hiking experience. The peaks of Bobotov Kuk, Prutaš or the valley of Škrčka Jezera (Škrka Lakes) are the most beautiful gifts of Mother Nature.
❐ Durmitor is one of the best hiking destinations in the Balkans. With very well marked trails, beautiful peaks and lakes, wide panoramas and year-round possibility of enjoyment, Durmitor will not leave anyone indifferent.
If you want amazing mountain lakes great for relaxing, enjoying or swimming, there are 18 glacial lakes on Durmitor, popularly known as “Mountain Eyes”, which with their beauty can replace all the beaches and seashores of this world. Of course unmissable Black, Zminje, Vražje and Škrka lakes are must see.
❐ Vražje Lake and Riblje Lake are located not far from the town of Žabljak and are an excellent location for picnics or relaxing in beautiful nature.
If you want camping, you couldn’t have come to a better place. Excellent marked trails, and many locations where you can safely camp make Durmitor one of the most desirable camping locations.
❐ If you are a fan of outdoor camping, the Durmitor National Park region offers you many locations for safe and comfortable camping.
If you want winter fun, the Žabljak ski resort, Savin Kuk, has enough infrastructure for solid skiing. But if you want fun in the snow for which you do not need lifts, i.e. if you want ski touring or snowshoeing, then Durmitor becomes one of the best destinations for this type of activity.
❐ Durmitor ski center is located on the slopes of the mountain peak of Savin Kuk and has trails in the total length of 3,500 meters. For beginners and people who like smaller skiers that are positioned lower in price compared to the region, Savin Kuk is an ideal choice.
In addition to these few basic outdoor activities that you can do on Durmitor, we additionally highlight horseback riding, boating on Black Lake, adventures on via ferratas, cycling and e-biking, and many other activities where untouched nature is the most important asset.
The traditional hospitality of the Durmitor Highlanders is absolutely unsurpassed. If you decide to visit some of the traditional Durmitor villages such as Mala Crna Gora, Nedajno or Trsa, at first contact with the locals you will understand how far their hospitality goes.
Don’t be surprised if they will immediately invite you to the home, offer you brandy and homemade food, gladly sit down with you to talk and give you some advice, and sincerely rejoice that the path has led you to their door.
❐ The opinion is that Montenegrins are good and attentive hosts who, as a sign of welcome, open the doors of their home to the guest, put him “at the head of the table” and offer him the best of what they’ve got.
Since sustainable tourism, which we deal with, creates strong connections with the local population, tours organized by Funky Tours on Durmitor always prefer direct contact and acquaintance with locals, learning about their customs, culture and other spheres of life.
Traditional Montenegrin coastal cuisine is quite different from the continental, which is an incredible uniqueness of this country.
On the Adriatic coast you can enjoy excellent fish and seafood, but as soon as you move to the central and especially the northern part of Montenegro, you will be greeted by cuisine dominated by energy-rich dishes. Of course, traditional life in the countryside involved a lot of physical effort, and the dishes adapted to these challenges.
❐ Food prepared “ispod sača” (eng. Under the bell) is a widespread method of baking food in the Balkans, especially represented in the rural regions.
When visiting Durmitor, be sure to try dishes such as “kačamak” (a porridge made from wheat, buckwheat, barley or corn flour and served with cheese or sour milk), “cicvara” (Balkan version of polenta served with cheese and sour milk), “priganice” (similar to donuts and are traditionally eaten with cheese, dried meat, cream, honey, jam, etc.) and lamb cooked in milk, which is a huge specialty of the high mountain parts of Montenegro.