I’ve already written about Perast, my favorite Montenegrin seaside town. But the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro has much to offer to visitors willing to stray from its more developed Mediterranean coastline.
For Montenegro’s rugged, wild interior attracts fewer visitors, but it’s well worth the effort.
The Montenegrins tell a story about the creation of their country. They say that after God created the Earth, he looked down in his bag which had once contained all the birds, fish, animals, plants, water and the first humans who now populated his new planet. He noticed that in the bag there were still some stones left and he threw them down to the newly created Earth, thereby creating Montenegro.
You can’t help but think of this story as you navigate within Montenegro’s rugged, wild interior. Although it is a small country, getting from point A to point B in inland Montenegro takes a long time because you are driving along narrow, twisting (and let’s face it, often terrifying) mountain passes and roads through the country’s numerous gorges.
But the drives are worth it to reach gems such as the Durmitor National Park.
Durmitor, a UNESCO Heritage site, is located in northern Montenegro, close to the border with Bosnia-Hercegovina. Its pristine lakes and rocky mountains are a wonder to explore – and you will do so easily with extremely well-marked hiking trails for all skill levels.
Vegetarians beware: on the menu is lamb, lamb and more lamb (I had no idea there were so many ways to prepare it), but also scrumptious priganice – a type of small fried dough, like fritters – served with either kaymak (soft, salty cheese), fermented milk or honey, and mouthwatering berries picked fresh from along the trails. A little slice of heaven.
From Durmitor, it’s also possible to organize whitewater rafting trips in the Tara River Canyon. This canyon is a popular place for whitewater rafting excursions. Serious rafters will want to go in the spring/early summer, with its higher water levels and fast rapids, and plan a two-day (overnight) trip to the Bosnian border.
Travelling with young children, we were happy for the lower water levels and slower rapids of late summer. The kids loved their first rafting experience and can’t wait to return.
Durmitor is a fantastic European destination for hiking, rafting and outdoor sports, all against the backdrop of stunning, pristine nature… well worth a visit.