Hiking in Montenegro’s Black Mountains

Letter 115

“At least one of you will probably experience vertigo” said our hostel owner and expert on all things in Durmitor National Park. Would it be me? I’d never been to 2,500m before – I hadn’t even been to the tallest peak in the UK, which only rises to a measly 1,345m – so how was I supposed to know?! Fortunately, I managed the hike and the view from the top gave me smiles, not dizziness. I surprised myself in so many ways and was proud of what I achieved hiking the tallest peak of Montenegro.

montenegro tallest peak

Out of all of my favourite places in Montenegro (they all were) this was probably my favourite of the favourites. Zabljak was unbelievably beautiful and I got to spent 4 days hiking with the best group of people, swimming in a giant black lake and eating amazing traditional food in the town of the highest altitude I’ve ever visited.

zabljak

I arrived in Zabljak late afternoon and immediately bumped into a guy I had met in Krka National Park in Croatia a couple of weeks before (post about that here) and arranged to met a guy that I spent a few days with in Bar, Montenegro (post here). Along with another girl staying at the hostel we headed out for food at a little restaurant in the village where I had a delightful meat and veg stew. The four of us were pretty much inseparable for the next few days – I’ve said it before but, how great is solo travel?

The next day, on instruction from Alex at the Hiker’s Den Hostel (the only place you should consider staying) we headed out, along with a fantastic Kiwi couple, on a hike to Bobotov Kuk, ie the highest point in Montenegro. I was honestly worried I wasn’t fit enough to walk it but turns out I underestimated myself. My group and I took the walk steadily stopping to admire the stunning views and to eat and soon made it to 2,500m. The hike was pretty treacherous at times! Hanging onto a cable whilst scaling what seemed to be an oversized rock whilst also making sure I didn’t have vertigo (which I didn’t). It was honestly incredible. I was on top of Montenegro.

montenegro bobotov kuk hike 1montenegro bobotov kuk hike 2montenegro bobotov kuk hike 3montenegro bobotov kuk hike 4montenegro bobotov kuk hike 5montenegro bobotov kuk hike 6montenegro bobotov kuk hike 7

When we returned I took a taxi with a couple of others up to a vantage point for the Tara River Canyon, which I’m told is the second deepest in the world, only beaten by the Grand Canyon. It was hard to get photos of this but it was stunning to see.

montenegro tara river canyon

Feeling pretty fresh, even after a 6 hour hike the previous day, I decided to take on another hike with my group. This one was longer and harder but with less of an incline. It took us on a breath-taking route through the national park, arriving at an ice cave in the middle. This was pretty incredible. In 30 degree heat we scaled a large slide of ice into a below 0 degree ice cave. Crazy.

montenegro durmitor hike 1montenegro durmitor hike 2

montenegro durmitor hike 3

Our group of 6 grew to 11 and we all stayed together for the whole 8 hour hike.

montenegro durmitor hike 4

Pivo = Beer

montenegro durmitor hike 5 ice cavemontenegro durmitor hike 6montenegro durmitor hike 7montenegro durmitor hike 8

 

We arrived back in town tired and sweaty, and very thankful for the chilly Black Lake which is such a joy to swim in. We relaxed for an hour or so and then went to get warm and dry and EAT!

montenegro black lake 1

The next day, because apparently I wasn’t yet done exerting myself, I went on a bike ride to another lake. This one was appropriately called Devil’s Eye and the ride was stunning (if slightly very challenging). I’m not a bike rider and I discovered why approximately 8 minutes in. I had a sore bum for days after.

montenegro bike ride lake 1montenegro bike ride lake 2montenegro bike ride lake 3

I was incredibly lucky with the pleasant weather for my whole stay in Durmitor, but the last night was a huge thunder and lightning storm. On the last day we were left with a soggy National Park and finally (after 2 and a half months) a chance to use my waterproof! I went for a walk with a friend I met in Ulcinj (post here) where we aimed to go up a ski lift to another peak – but it was out of use because of the weather. Sadly we turned back and had a little walk around the Black Lake (which even in the rain looked stunning).

montenegro rain 1montenegro rain 2

My days in Zabljak were filled with hiking, friends and stunning places. I loved it so much and it was the best possible end to my trip. I certainly ended on a massive high (metaphorically and geographically). It’s a place where I had the perfect amount of time and saw everything I wanted to.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

From Lou

About Me

PS. I’ve finally finished posting about my summer 2017!! Only a couple of months late I guess… Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and if you want to read my letters about my travels in Spain, Portugal, Croatia or the rest of Montenegro here are all the links you’ll need:

Nerja in a nutshell  |  Malaga in pretty purple  |  Cordoba at it’s best  |  Happy Travels in Flamboyant Sevilla  |  Photo Essay: colours of Spain  |  Relaxing on the Algarve  |  13 reasons why … Lisbon was the best.  |  Castles + palaces + forest = Sintra  |  Pretty Porto  |  BUDAPEST, ZAGREB, PLITVICE AND PULA  |  Romantic Rovinj  |  Zadar: hiking to an abandoned fortress  |  The most underrated Croatian city: Šibenik  |  Krka or Plitvice?  |  A snippet of Split  |  Island escapes: Brač and Korčula  |  The many highs and few lows of Dubrovnik  |  Reminiscing about the beautiful Bay of Kotor  |  The Best Hostel!  |  Wonderful People of Montenegro

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