Sunday, June 1, 2014

Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Most travelers to Montenegro would make a beeline to its coast, notably to Kotor or Budva. And why not? Easily accessed from Dubrovnik in Croatia, Montenegro's tourism could easily benefit from Dubrovnik's popularity. But for those who love mountains, Montenegro has something to offer too!

Up in the northern part of Montenegro, Durmitor National Park is Montenegro's biggest national park. It is also inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Within the park are 18 glacier lakes and the Durmitor mountain range consists of 48 peaks. 3 river canyons meander through it, of which the Tara river canyon is the biggest at 80km long and 1300m deep! So in terms of scenery, sights, and activities, there are certainly no lack of it for tourists.

Zabljak - early "spring"

The access town to Durmitor National Park is Zabljak. During winter, most tourists come for skiing and in summer, there are plenty of hiking opportunities to keep tourists happy. In fact, just a short distance away from the town is one of the most popular of Durmitor's 18 glacier lakes - Black Lake. Numerous hiking trails surround the lake too, and so, makes for an easy and excellent outing from Zabljak.

Black Lake

Aside from glorious mountain views, the Tara river provides another avenue for a popular tourist activity - river rafting. Set within the Tara canyon, the river shone like a turquoise snake in the mountainside. And one of the best views of the canyon, river and mountains is from the Curovac viewpoint, 9km from Zabljak. However, when I was there in early spring, there was still heavy snow, and I couldn't quite make it to the viewpoint. Even then, from a rest-point along the trail, the views were already stunning!

Rest point with a view

Trail to Curovac viewpoint

The Tara River and Canyon
Durmitor National Park - winter to spring

Zabljak is easily reached from Podgorica, and Kotor even. For those who are touring the Balkans, try the border crossing from Bosnia and Herzegovina into Montenegro. Take the Sarajevo-Niksic bound bus. While not as popular, the scenery at the border crossing is fabulous!

Do check out the mountains of Montenegro!

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