Read this in: German
Have you ever heard of the Durmitorring? There was already a blog post about Montenegro, which I recommend to you, as I clarify many fundamental questions here. Which language can I speak and install on Google Translator, do I need a different currency? And what accommodation can I find there?
n fact, many people around me do not know this place, and that’s a pity, because since about 2010, this country is something of a backpacker blogger secret for me. However, many do not generally like the Balkans that way. By now, at least, word has got around that many cruises stop in Kotor and you might prefer to travel to the Bay of Kotor, rather than to other parts of the Adriatic. However, the north is an equally rewarding destination in summer and winter, with no cruise tourists or parking in places like Perast.
In winter not only in the Alps
The main season in Montenegro is already over and now we are already planning for the winter holiday – as a fan of winter sports of all kinds, such as skiing or snowshoeing, you should consider Montenegro as well. As a North German, I know many friends and acquaintances who just do not go by car on their winter vacation, but fly and even there they often find only slopes that can only be operated by means of the snow cannon.
Alternatively, you can find plenty of snow in the north of Montenegro and never drive too long in the compact Balkan state from A to B, but has in winter a variety of climates from mild, rainy weather on the Adriatic to white splendor in the mountains in the North. So you can also get out of the snow, if you want a varied holiday. In the young Balkan state, there are numerous ski resorts that are in no way inferior to the newest buildings in the Alps in terms of modern design, spa and amenities.
In recent years, the north has become increasingly important in Montenegro. Here you will find everything the outdoor heart desires. Whether hiking, mountain biking or even ziplining on the famous Tarabridge.
A good starting point is Žabljak, which has just under 2,000 inhabitants, but already offers a good number of accommodations in every price range as a ski resort. At 1,450 meters, this is the highest settlement in the Balkans. There I also had a little experience of a different kind, because I bought there food in the course of the press trip in a local supermarket and dared to pay with a 50 Euro bill. Unless you are on the Adriatic or in an environment that offers high priced goods according to Montenegrin conditions: please do not and cover yourself with small bills before the trip. When in doubt, cash is always the trump card in Montenegro.
First of all, at Durmitor National Park I was a bit scared of the fact that you do not come across a diverse flora with many faces, but you might also come across bears that are at home there. As curious as I was, I explored one of the lodgings with other travelers on or off the road, on one of the 25 trails. These confirmed to my relief, however, that there would have been no problems with bears with them. Another highlight are the lakes, but I’ll tell you more soon anyway …
The Black Lake
It has been honest since my first blog posts a little dream of me, once to visit the Black Sea. In the portrayals of the first bloggers this lake always looked like magic, just as you might know from the Eibsee in Germany. What really awaited me was completely different from the postcard idyll.
Perhaps it was in my case because I first visited the Durmitorring and a glacier lake lying there and then only at Crno Jezero, the Black Sea. A walkway snaked its way through the coniferous forests towards the lake at 1416 meters above sea level. The road reminded me somehow of the Titisee in the Black Forest, just not so overloaded with tourists. Arriving at the lake, the crystal clear reflection of the mountain panorama awaited us in the background. To my right a playground, to my left a tourist restaurant. If you expect real wildness at the Black Sea, you will probably be at least 8 years late. Meanwhile, the beauty of the lake has got around.
Also many Asian tourists were on site with high shoes, airy summer dresses and big hats. You could not really walk on the shoes, but they were only for the perfect holiday photo on the dock. I recommend you to this and other lakes: Pack the camera away and enjoy the peace and quiet. For example, we do not have them on Lake Titisee. My recommendation would therefore be: If you are at the Durmitorring, then you can also visit the Black Lake. But who is already on the Black Sea and then does not travel the Durmitorring, has definitely missed something.
The Durmitor Ring
My absolute highlight for the north and a place I definitely want to return to is the Durmitorring. One of the 4 panoramic routes in Montenegro is now well developed. And not only by car, you can explore this route well – it is also a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. Durmitor National Park covers an area of 32,000 hectares and is part of the Unesco World Heritage. One can not put into words even limited in pictures what the orbit of the Durmitorring is for an extraordinary sensory experience. And I do not just write that because I mistakenly put myself in an ant nest during one of the numerous stops.
Inside the ring, it’s off, sometimes it’s steeper, and sometimes it’s gently rolling serpentines. Anyone who has traveled a bit in their lives, has associations and thinks back to this or that destination. For me it was in the case of the Durmitorring sometimes Black Forest, then Mediterranean flower meadows, then it was again something of the Lidlands or Ireland and suddenly you felt like in the Scandinavian high mountains. Behind each bend, a new world awaited, new smells and a new landscape. Whether by car or by bike or on foot – this experience is unique. Of course you are almost never alone, others also travel the streets. Sometimes even camping carts dare the sometimes very narrow streets along like a couple from Germany, that wanted to look at the return journey from Albania again to Montenegro.
It would be important for this route due to the diversity of the landscape at about 1500 m altitude, that you also take some layers of clothing and clothing in case of doubt, rather warm than too airy for this tour – this applies to any type of trip, including bikers, cyclists or hikers.
The meals in the North
The kitchen in northern Montenegro can be compared very well with the kitchen in the Alps – in the summer many families still go to the Katuns in their mountain huts to feed goats and make cheese. In this hard work you need a rich kitchen. Among other things, there are of course homemade cheese, often fish and hearty meat dishes.
Along the Tara
If you rent a car from Podgorica or book a driver for a tour, you should not scurry quickly through this enchanting landscape. Even if there are special panoramic roads, I think that almost every corner in this country has incredibly beautiful panoramas from the perspective of a North German.
But the Tara Gorge is with 1300 meters also not a sight like any other, because after all, it is after the Grand Canyon second deepest gorge on earth and thus the deepest in Europe. Here you can understand why Montenegro has chosen the slogan “Wild Beauty”.
A road trip into the North
Of course you do not have to fly to Podgorica and then rent a car or driver to get to the north and Durmitorring. Who is a fan of road trips or who anyway comes from Austria or just wants to make a stopover there. Who says now: I do not want to travel by car, but sustainable by train. It’s not that easy, but not impossible. However, in the wild Montenegro with all its mountains in terms of travel by bus and train is limited to only a few routes. It is definitely worth a try. Unfortunately, we do not have an exact date for this venture, but my husband and I definitely want to travel to Montenegro on a sustainable basis.
This report was created during a press trip. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire team of the National Tourism Organization Montenegro. Especially with Andri, who accompanied us throughout the journey. More information about traveling to Montenegro can be found here on the official website of the organization. Thanks also to all families and hotels, where we were allowed to be guests and food.