Montenegro: The Balkan’s greatest outdoor secret

Montenegro: The Balkan’s greatest outdoor secret

Today’s article starts with a geography question: just where is Montenegro? Unless you’ve already been, you might well be scrabbling for the answer. The chances are that this gorgeous country on the Adriatic Sea, just to the south of Croatia, probably didn’t yet exist when you were in school, so we’ll let you off the hook. Now you really do need to start learning something about it, however, because it’s set to become one of the hottest tourism destinations in the Balkans.

First of all there’s the mountains and the national parks. One of Europe’s last great wildernesses, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a hiker, a mountain biker, or a winter sports fanatic: there’s plenty of untouched nature to explore. The snow cover is good until April around the Biogradska Gora National Park, and at Kolasin 1450 you’ll find 25km of trails for skiers and snowboarders, a challenging Nordic circuit, and a ski school. With lift passes costing just €20, it must be one of the cheapest resorts in Europe. Freeriders tend to head to Durmitor and the little mountain town of Žabljak, where the NGO is making a huge effort to develop and promote the sport. The mountain scenery here is second to none.

Later in the year, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Tara Canyon, which with a staggering depth of 1,300m is the deepest canyon in Europe. Carving a spectacular streak through the Durmitor plateau, the Tara River offers superb opportunities for kayaking and white water rafting, including through the virgin forests around Mojkovac, where there are also hiking trails. Though trekking and climbing are pretty much in their infancy in Montenegro, Outdoor Club Podgorica can provide information on routes, and its some of its members may well be keen to join you on your trek. Consider ice climbing in the Boan and Komarnica valleys, mountaineering challenges in the Durmitor and Prokletije Mountains, or hiking along the stunning, multi-day Primorska planinarska transverzala (PPT), the coastal transversal hiking route from Stari Bar….

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