Destinations | EUROPE

Hiking Durmitor National Park: A Complete Guide

26 May 2024 | Destinations, Europe, Montenegro

Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Montenegro, is a haven for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike. Its majestic peaks, deep canyons, and pristine lakes offer a diverse landscape that promises adventure at every turn. Whether you are seeking thrilling mountain ascents or tranquil walks by glacial lakes, hiking Durmitor National Park delivers with unparalleled beauty. 

This guide will take you through the must-visit trails and areas within the park, ensuring you make the most out of your hiking experience.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

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Hiking Durmitor National Park: A Complete Guide

In the sections below, I will go over the various hiking trails in the Durmitor National Park as well as practical tips. 

 

Important Information:

In order to access the hiking trails or explore Durmitor National Park, you will need to pay an entry fee. 

Fee is 3 euros per day. You can also buy a discounted pass for a week (at 12 euros).

Best Time to Visit

Durmitor National Park is open all year round. But for the best experience, aim for spring or summer to enjoy mild weather and the full splendour of Montenegro’s natural beauty. These seasons offer the ideal conditions for hiking and exploring.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

How to Get to Durmitor National Park from Kotor

Exploring Montenegro’s natural beauty is a commendable adventure, and most people visit Durmitor National Park from Kotor as it showcases some of the best landscapes this country has to offer. 

Distance from Kotor to Durmitor: 158.0 km

It takes about 2.50 hours via Narodnih Heroja/P5

Here are your options to reach Durmitor National Park from Kotor

Option 1: Renting a Car

Renting a car provides the most flexibility and allows you to enjoy the scenic route at your own pace. 

The drive from Kotor to Durmitor National Park is approximately 158 kilometres and can take around 2.50 to 3 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

Directions:

  1. Start from Kotor, moving north towards the E65/E80.
  2. Follow the E65/E80 and E762 to Nikšić. This part of the drive will take you along the Bay of Kotor, offering stunning views.
  3. In Nikšić, continue on the E762 towards Šavnik. From Šavnik, follow the signs to Žabljak, which is the closest town to Durmitor National Park.
  4. Once in Žabljak, follow the local signage to enter Durmitor National Park.

Remember to check the weather and road conditions before you depart, as certain routes may be challenging in winter. 

Pro Tip: If you’re relying on digital maps while driving, ensure your devices are charged and consider carrying a portable charger.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Option 2: Joining a Tour

For those who prefer not to drive, joining a guided tour is a wonderful way to experience Durmitor National Park. Several companies in Kotor offer day trips or multi-day tours to Durmitor, which include transportation, guided walks, and sometimes meals.

Benefits of a Tour:

  • Expertise: Guided tours are led by knowledgeable guides familiar with the best spots in Durmitor National Park, ensuring you don’t miss any highlights.
  • Convenience: Transportation is taken care of, removing the need to navigate Montenegrin roads yourself.
  • Safety: Travelling with an organised group provides an extra layer of safety, especially for solo travellers.

Make sure to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your spot.

Here are top tours to consider and book:

Tip: Whether driving yourself or joining a tour, wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. The mountain terrain can be challenging, and weather conditions can change rapidly.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Option 3: By public transportation

You can travel from Kotor to Nacionalni Park Durmitor by bus. Buses have one transfer at Niksic, Zelijeznicka stanica, and then at Žabljak. The entire journey takes approximately 5 hours and 55 minutes.

Recommendation: If you are planning to explore Durmitor via hiking trails I recommend renting a car and driving there yourself. Keep Žabljak as a base to explore more of the area (more on accommodation tips below)

When pressed for time, opt for a day tour from Kotor or Budva to experience the national park’s highlights. 

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Hiking Trails in Durmitor National Park

Durmitor National Park is home to over 200 kilometres of hiking trails making it every outdoors lover’s dream! 

So, let’s go over the various Durmitor hiking trails that you can hit during your stay!

Bobotov Kuk

  • Difficulty level: Challenging
  • Length: 11.4 km roundtrip 
  • Duration: 5 to 6 hours 

Standing proud at 2,500 meters, Bobotov Kuk is not only the highest peak in Montenegro but also one of the most exhilarating hikes in Durmitor National Park. 

Requiring around 6 hours in total, the hike can be ascended via 4 different routes – Sedlo route (begins on Sedlo pass), Dobri Do route (trailhead on Zabljak) – Trsa route, and Skrka route, which leads from famous Skrka valley.

We hit the trail head from the charming mountain town of Žabljak. The trail leads you through rugged landscapes, offering panoramic views that stretch across the national park and beyond. 

The Sedlo route is even more challenging. The total length of the trail in one direction is about 5.6 km, which will take you between 3 and 4 hours, with about 800m of elevation gain. 

This route is secured with iron ropes and pegs, but one has to be in good shape to finish this. 

One can also head down via Saddle pass, towards the Black Lake and check off the beautiful Ice Cave and the Black Lake itself.

Note that it’s a challenging ascent, but reaching the summit rewards you with unparalleled vistas of Montenegro’s wild beauty. This hike is a must-do for those seeking to conquer Durmitor’s highest peak.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Tara Canyon – Ćurevac Tara Canyon Viewpoint 

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Length: 2.10 km roundtrip 
  • Duration: 1.50 hours 

For a different but equally stunning perspective, venture to Tara Canyon, one of the world’s deepest and most dramatic river gorges. 

The trailhead is located about a 30 minutes drive from Žabljak. Hiking along the canyon provides a unique opportunity to admire its awe-inspiring cliffs and the vibrant Tara River carving its way through the landscape. 

There are several viewpoints and minor trails along the canyon’s edge, offering spectacular scenes that make for unforgettable photo opportunities.

Without a hike, you can also book a guided water rafting tour to hit the waters such as this one here.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Savin Kuk

  • Difficulty level: Easy (normal route)
  • Length: 11.9 km roundtrip 
  • Duration: 6.5 hours 

Savin Kuk offers a versatile hiking experience, suitable for both avid hikers and those looking for a more relaxed adventure. You have the choice of hiking up the mountain or taking the cable chairs for 9 euros, which provide a scenic ascent to the top. 

Once at the summit, hikers are greeted with splendid views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, making Savin Kuk a popular destination within Durmitor National Park.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Black Lake – Crno Jezero

  • Difficulty level: Easy (normal route)
  • Length: 4.7 km round trip 
  • Duration: 1.50 hours 

A visit to Durmitor National Park would not be complete without seeing Black Lake, the largest and most famous of the park’s glacial lakes. 

Easily accessible from the park’s entrance and nestled at the foot of Međed Peak, the lake is surrounded by dense pine forests that reflect beautifully on its surface, creating a serene and picturesque setting. 

The trail around the lake is gentle and suitable for hikers of all ages, making it a perfect family outing. Or a picnic by the lakeside. 

The clear, tranquil waters and peaceful ambiance provide a refreshing contrast to the more rigorous mountain trails. This is one of my favourite day hikes in the area.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Crvena Greda – Red Rock Peak

  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Length: 8.1 km out and back
  • Duration: 3 – 4 hours 

Nestled in the heart of the northwest Durmitor Mountain, the Crvena Greda peak stands as a testament to nature’s splendour. Affectionately known as the Red Rock for its dazzling red-orange hues that grace its eastern side at dawn. 

The trail is of medium difficulty and requires 3-4 hours. 

Though the path to Crvena Greda is not marked, it presents little challenge to find your way as the trail is well-worn and visible, etched into the landscape by countless adventurers who have traversed its length before. The trailhead is near the restaurant Momcilov Grad.

Along the way, you will find an array of breathtaking sights, from lush meadows blanketed in wildflowers to dense forests whispering tales of ancient times. The real prize, however, awaits those who reach the summit, as they are greeted by panoramic views of Durmitor Mountain in all its glory!

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Other Things to do in Durmitor National Park

Here are some more epic things to do at the Durmitor Park, if you are not into hiking!

Go on a Durmitor Ring Road Trip

The Durmitor Ring (Durmitorski Prsten) offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes of Durmitor National Park. 

This 85km circular drive encapsulates the raw beauty and majesty of the region, making it an essential experience for anyone visiting the area. 

Whether you’re keen to hit the road for just a few hours or are planning a leisurely day trip complete with hikes and picnic stops, the Durmitor Ring promises an adventure filled with awe-inspiring views and serenity.

What I like MOST about this route is that you can soak in the natural beauty without strenuous hikes, and it is perfect for everybody!

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Plus the route only takes about 2-3 hours to complete. But you can add extra time to hang out, relax in the lap of nature and add this to your overall Montenegro itinerary. 

You can start from Žabljak (also keep it as the perfect base) to explore Durmitor National Park. This quaint mountain town not only sits on the edge of the park but also boasts a variety of high-quality accommodations and delightful eateries. 

Drive out from Žabljak towards Momčilov Grad, and get ready to be mesmerised by the amazing views. 

When at Žabljak, you will also find several trails off the Durmitor Ring leading to breathtaking viewpoints and serene spots perfect for a picnic.

From here, you’ll head towards Nedajno, passing through dense forests before the landscape opens up to reveal the vast, stunning mountain vistas that Durmitor is celebrated for. 

Photo Opportunities: Pack your camera! The route to Nedajno is a photographer’s dream. Don’t miss the chance to capture the majestic views and possibly even spy eagles soaring on the thermals above.

Note: For the first 10 km out of Žabljak, not all roads are well-marked. Exercise caution during your drive. 

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Road trip from Plužine to Žabljak village during Golden Hour

Escape into the heart of Montenegro’s stunning landscapes with a road trip from Plužine to Zabljak village. This route offers an unforgettable adventure through some of the country’s most breathtaking natural wonders and iconic cultural sites. 

Note that Plužine is a small village and the road is quite hilly and it can add extra driving time to your overall road trip itinerary. The road distance is merely 50 km (and should take 1.50 hours one way. 

Plužine is a good spot to stay overnight just like Zabljak (but the latter has more options). 

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Piva Canyon and Piva Lake

The turquoise waters of Piva Lake serve as a stunning backdrop for photos and offer opportunities for kayaking or a tranquil picnic by the water.

Piva Monastery

Not far from the lake, the Piva Monastery stands as a testament to Serbian Orthodox heritage. This 16th-century monastery, with its exquisite frescoes and tranquil surroundings, provides a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into Montenegro’s rich history.

It is considered to be one of the most important Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Montenegro.

Durmitor National Park

And of course, you can add a visit to the natural highlights of Durmitor National Park. Explore the majestic Black Lake, surrounded by dense pine forests and towering mountains, or venture on one of the many hiking trails to discover hidden glacial lakes and breathtaking vistas (Tara Canyon viewpoint – but add extra hours to your road trip!).

Trsa

A scenic detour to the village of Trsa reveals traditional Montenegrin architecture and a lifestyle preserved through generations. 

Trsa is also a great starting point for trails leading into the heart of Durmitor’s wilderness.

It is about 30 minutes from Plužine, and 1+ hours from Zabljak to Trsa (so it is worth adding it to your road trip itinerary).

Pro tip: Given the mountainous terrain, ensure your vehicle is in top condition, with a focus on brakes and tires. A well-equipped vehicle will handle the mountain roads more safely and efficiently.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Ziplining and other outdoor activities in Durmitor

Durmitor National Park is a haven for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. It’s a place where the wild beauty of the Balkans is on full display, offering an array of outdoor activities that promise to elevate your heart rate and fill your lungs with fresh mountain air. 

Among these thrilling experiences, ziplining over Tara Canyon stands out as a must do activity. There are  alot of companies who offer this adventure (you can also arrange this as part of a day tour – charges extra. Check out this day tour here)

Ziplining over Tara Canyon gives you a bird’s eye view like no other – the panoramic views of rugged cliffs and the emerald Tara River below are experiences that words barely do justice.

This exhilarating adventure is designed for those who crave a rush of adrenaline coupled with unparalleled natural scenery. 

Whether you’re an experienced zipliner or a first-timer looking to try something boldly different, the experience offers a unique blend of excitement and serenity that can hardly be found elsewhere.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Beyond ziplining, Durmitor National Park is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Its landscape, marked by dramatic mountains, serene lakes, and lush forests, provides the perfect backdrop for an array of activities:

  • Mountain Biking: Explore Durmitor’s rugged terrain on two wheels. There are numerous trails that cater to all skill levels, allowing bikers to weave through picturesque landscapes at their own pace.
  • Canyoning: For those who wish to combine hiking, climbing, and swimming, canyoning through Durmitor’s gorges is an adventurous way to discover the park’s hidden gems. Here is one of the newest canyoning adventure that you can book
Hiking Durmitor National Park

Kayaking and/or white water rafting on the Tara River

The Tara River, with its crystal-clear waters, offers some of the best white-water rafting experiences in Europe. Navigate through exhilarating rapids, or enjoy calmer stretches of the river, surrounded by the park’s stunning scenery.

Most rafting tours are set for half a day (with transportation), and you have about 2 hours on the water. Here is a highly rated rafting experience on GetYourGuide to book

Whether you’re drawn to the thrill of ziplining over Tara Canyon, eager to paddle through the rapids of the Tara River, or looking to explore the park’s natural beauty on foot or by bike, Durmitor National Park is your gateway to outdoor adventure. 

These experiences are designed to connect you with nature, challenge your limits, and leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Accommodation Options for Žabljak and Durmitor National Park

To truly savour your trip to Durmitor is to consider an overnight stay in Zabljak village to experience the local culture and relax after a day of adventure.

With hundreds of hotels to choose from, finding the ideal place to stay in Žabljak is a breeze. From luxurious lodges to cosy bed and breakfasts, there’s something for every traveller. 

Here are some of our top recommendations for the best places to stay in Zabljak to explore Durmitor National Park intimately,

 

Hotel Soa: 

This is one of the most popular hotels in Žabljak. They have free parking onsite, so it is great for road trips and sightseeing in the national park. The hotel also offers airport shuttle service. 

Their rooms have a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Several suites have a separate bedroom and living room, kitchenette and balcony. 

There is also a restaurant and a bar onsite.

Click to view availability for your stay

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Holiday Home Vile Calimero

Located just 3 km from Crno Jezero Lake, Holiday Home Villa offers a homely stay surrounded by epic mountain views. Most suites come with a balcony and dining and seating area. 

There is also a kitchen, equipped with a dishwasher and oven. There is a private bathroom with slippers in every unit. Free parking is available and pets are also allowed on property. Plus you will find tons of outdoorsy activities nearby! 

The Javorovac ski lift is 20 metres from Holiday Home Vile Calimero, while the centre of Žabljak is some 500 metres away. However, there are no restaurants onsite.

Book your stay here

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Durmitorski konaci apartments

This is a no-frills apartment that is perfect for a stay close to the national park. By staying at this apartment, you will be minutes away from the Black Lake and the Viewpoint Tara Canyon.

The units are equipped with a cable flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen with a fridge, and a private bathroom with a bath or shower. Larger/ family rooms are available. 

Breakfast is also offered in the morning. You will also find BBQ facilities onsite. Check it here

Ensure to check online for great savings on hotels in Žabljak, read hotel reviews, and secure the best deal for your stay.

Hiking Durmitor National Park

Tips for Hiking in Durmitor National Park

Now that I have got you all excited about hiking in Durmitor National Park, here are some key things to keep in mind as you hit the trails…..

  • Preparation: Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Layers are recommended, as mountain weather can be unpredictable.
  • Timing: The park is stunning all year round, but the best time to visit is from late spring to early fall when the weather is most favourable for hiking and other outdoor activities.
  • Equipment: Wear sturdy hiking boots for traction and support. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, plenty of water, and snacks for energy replenishment.
  • Safety: Inform someone of your hiking plans, especially if venturing into more isolated trails. Consider hiring a local guide for challenging routes like Bobotov Kuk.
  • Respect Nature: Stay on marked trails to minimise impact on the environment and pack out all trash to help preserve the park’s natural beauty.
  • Permits: Some areas may require a small entrance fee or hiking permit, so visit the national park’s information centre in Žabljak to stay informed.

So that’s a wrap! By now you know that the Durmitor National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders begging to be explored. Whether it’s reaching the summit of Montenegro’s highest peak, marvelling at Europe’s deepest canyon, enjoying panoramic views from Savin Kuk, or basking in the tranquillity of Black Lake, Durmitor offers diverse experiences that cater to every type of hiker. 

Equip yourself well, respect nature’s boundaries, and immerse yourself in the spectacular wilderness that is Durmitor National Park. 

Happy hiking!

Pin: Guide to visiting and Durmitor National Park Hiking Trails 

Durmitor National Park

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