Montenegro

Montenegro ~ Mountain Walks and Wildflowers


Montenegro, little known, unspoilt, beautiful and wild, beckons walkers, entrances wildlife and botany enthusiasts and excites history lovers. During this 11-day itinerary, we walk through dramatic mountain scenery in several of Montenegro’s national parks, our paths bordered by colourful displays of wild flowers, while we are accompanied by soaring birds of prey. We enjoy an afternoon exploring by boat Lake Skadar, the Balkans’ largest lake, a national park and a Ramsar designated wetland. Throughout the trip, we are immersed in Montenegro’s complex and colourful history and culture, culminating in a three-night stay in the captivating coastal town of Kotor, a world heritage site and one of the gems of the Adriatic.

 

Exhilarating days are complemented by nights in comfortable hotels, selected for their location and character. We enjoy local hospitality, including an overnight stay and dinner in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as we sample distinctive Balkan cuisine, accompanied by eminently drinkable wine.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Montenegro walking tour include:  

  • Seeing the Tara canyon, the deepest in Europe, and the spectacular Bay of Kotor
  • Inspiring upland walks in the mountainous interior
  • Visiting frescoed Orthodox monasteries, dramatic fortresses, and the Venetian palaces and churches in UNESCO listed Kotor
  • A marvellous array of wildflowers, especially orchids, and many birds of prey
  • Delicious Balkan cuisine (particularly grilled lamb and fish) and very palatable red wines
 

Guests’ comments on this trip:

‘A wonderful and memorable trip with fabulous weather, excellent company and wonderful walking.’

‘Very stimulating trip in a fascinating area. Constantly varied programme around the walking makes it very refreshing.’

‘Small, friendly and very efficient. It was nice that almost everything was included. A wonderful holiday.’

DAY 1  
D included

We meet in the afternoon at Dubrovnik airport. A short road transfer takes us over the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina to Trebinje, where our comfortable modern hotel overlooks the tree-filled market square and has a restaurant offering typical Balkan dishes, such as grilled meats and vegetables.

DAY 2 
B, L, D included 

We walk through the old Ottoman quarter of Trebinje and along the Trebišnjica river valley to a notable 16th century stone bridge. We drive to the nearby monastery of Tvrdoš, founded in the 15th century and nowadays particularly renowned for its award-winning wines, before a scenic mountain road takes us over several passes to the Durmitor National Park in Montenegro. This afternoon’s 2-hour walk takes us across a broad upland plateau and offers views of the Durmitor mountains to the west. We pass flocks of sheep with attendant shepherds and observe Montagu’s Harriers hunting the grassland. One of the highlights of our walk are the stećci, the mediaeval carved Bogomil tombstones scattered throughout the countryside. Our walk ends in the village of Zabljak, located at an altitude of 1456 m in the heart of the National Park. We spend 2 nights in a comfortable modern 3-star hotel.

DAY 3
B, L, D included

A short drive through pine and birch forest brings us to the start of our walk to the edge of the spectacular Tara canyon, the longest and deepest in Europe (at certain points the drop is a sheer 1,300 metres). Balkan endemic wildflowers such as Iris bosniaca and Daphne blagayana may be seen as we walk (2 hrs) through mixed forest and meadows en route to our picnic. In the afternoon, we circumnavigate one of Mount Durmitor’s glacial lakes, Crno Jezero, the Black Lake (2 hrs). Depending on the water level, we may cross several waterfalls.

DAY 4
B, L, D included

A narrow track takes us into the heart of the Durmitor National Park, a magnificent mountain wilderness with 27 peaks over 2,200 metres and healthy populations of rarely seen brown bears, wolves and lynx. On foot, we cross a pass where snow finches and alpine choughs may be seen, and we search for high altitude flowers, particularly gentians, alpine snowbells and crocuses as we gradually descend a wild valley with superb views of the surrounding peaks (2.5 hrs). Heading east by vehicle, we pause to see the 365 m long bridge which spans the Tara river. In 1942, a Yugoslav Partisan raiding party blew up the central arch, thus halting the Italian advance through the country. We follow the Tara canyon down to the isolated Dobrilovina monastery, where a nun unlocks the heavy wooden door to allow us to see the early 17th century frescoes. In the Biogradska Gora National park, we take a 1.5 hrs’ walk around the glacial lake through the edges of a magnificent virgin forest. In Kolasin, we check in for 3 nights at our 4-star hotel, strikingly designed in wood and stone.

DAY 5
B, L, D included

We drive (1 hr 20 mins) to a village close to the border with Serbia to start our walk. From here, we walk along the Bistrica river and gradually up (300 m over 7 km, 2.5 hrs) to the remote 17th century frescoed monastery of St Nikola, where we picnic on local seasonal produce. In the afternoon, we learn the difference between kačamak and cicvara, two regional traditional dishes based on corn flour, and how the Slow Food movement is helping to preserve many regional specialities, including savoury pies, fruit jams and cheeses.

DAY 6
B, L, D included

4WDs take us to 1,790 metres for a full day’s walk crossing the mountain range of Bjelasica, characterised by rounded volcanic tops, valleys filled with primeval beech and hornbeam forest and upland meadows with globeflowers, louseworts and elder-flowered orchids. We watch for soaring golden eagles and have lunch with a family of shepherds at their katun (wooden summer shelter) before continuing over two small, steep passes and gradually down to the Biogradsko Lake.

DAY 7
B, L, D included

Our route south follows the Morača river and we visit the eponymous 13th century Orthodox monastery, known for its outstanding Byzantine frescoes. We reach Lake Skadar and have lunch, before a local guide takes us on a 3-hour boat trip of the lake, one of the largest lakes in southern Europe and a Ramsar protected site, noted particularly for pygmy cormorant colonies and rare Dalmatian pelicans. Our 3-star village hotel has a restaurant well known for freshwater fish dishes.

DAY 8
B, L, D included

We visit the nearby Lake Skadar National Park information centre. A little-used mountain road with long views and many wildflowers takes us north, via the triple-arched mediaeval bridge at Rijeka Crnojevica, to Cetinje, the former Royal capital of Montenegro. After an orientation walk and lunch, we drive down into the beautiful Bay of Kotor and settle into our 4-star hotel in the centre of the walled mediaeval town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The remainder of the afternoon is free for exploring Kotor’s heritage of Venetian architecture, including St Tryphon’s Cathedral, completed in 1166, and numerous Renaissance palaces built by wealthy patricians, merchants and sea captains. There is an optional steep walk on the 15th century walls up to the Fortress and St Ivan’s castle in the cooler early evening.

DAY 9
B, L, D included

We make our way slowly up the incredible hairpin road above the Bay of Kotor and into the Lovcen National Park. At a striking mountain-top Mausoleum (weather permitting), we pay homage to Njegos, the nineteenth century Prince-Bishop of Montenegro, widely regarded as the country’s most famous son. Later, we walk on rocky mountainous slopes, rewarded by spectacular views and the variety of flora and fauna for which the park is famous: within an area of just 60 square km, there are nine different habitats. It is particularly excellent for orchids including lesser butterfly, fragrant, green-winged, Bertolini, woodcock, bug and pyramidal and for birds such as hoopoe, red-backed shrike, peregrine, honey buzzard and wheatears. This evening, we dine in a famous old restaurant on the coast.

DAY 10
B, L, D included

Today begins with a visit to the remains of the Roman Villa Urbana in nearby Risan, with fine 3rd and 4th century floor mosaics containing geometrical and vegetable motifs, as well as the exceptionally rare presentation of Hypnos, the classical God of Sleep. We then drive to the top of the massif which dominates the Bay of Kotor, for a spectacular walk following the old Austro-Hungarian packhorse route. After a rest and picnic lunch enjoying the stupendous views, we descend to Perast. This once rich and powerful waterfront town, which boasts 16 churches and 17 formerly grand Venetian Gothic palazzi, had an illustrious nautical past. In the 18th century, Perast had a fleet of 1,000 ships and Peter the Great sent his officers to learn marine engineering and cartography here. We take a small boat over to Our Lady of the Rock island to see the votive church and return to Kotor for our farewell dinner in a fine seafood restaurant on the harbour.

DAY 11
B included

We drive along the coast to cross the border into Croatia en route to Dubrovnik airport for late morning flights home, or on to Dubrovnik itself for an optional extension in this coastal jewel of a city.

Trip Price, per person sharing:
£2,303.25 until 1st September 2019
£2,365.50 until 1st December 2019
£2,427.75 until 1st March 2020
£2,490 after 1st March 2020
https://www.kudutravel.com/faq#discounts
 
£400 deposit per person
£220 
single room supplement
 

Please note that the single room supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share, but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable. We shall endeavour to obtain double rooms for single occupancy whenever possible, but hotels in some countries do have single rooms that are small and less well positioned. In this case the supplement is simply ensuring your privacy and comfort.

 
Price Includes
  • Accommodation for Days 1 through 11, on a twin shared basis

  • Meals (with wine at dinners and restaurant lunches) as listed in the daily notation

  • Land and water transportation as described, except during free periods

  • Entrance, sightseeing, guiding and National Park fees except during free periods

  • Gratuities for local guides and restaurant and hotel staff (appreciation for Kudu tour guides is optional)

 
Price does not Include
  • Flights to and from Dubrovnik airport

  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance

  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements

  • Passport, visa and health documentation

  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol besides wine and beer with group lunches and dinners, free time activities, etc.)

  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia departure tax, if any

 
VALUE FOR MONEY - SO MUCH IS INCLUDED

On Kudu trips, you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 1 night in Trebinje, in a comfortable modern hotel overlooking the tree-filled market square

  • 2 nights in Zabljak, in a comfortable modern 3-star hotel

  • 3 nights in Kolasin, in a 4-star hotel strikingly designed in wood and stone

  • 1 night in Virpazar, in a 3-star village hotel with a restaurant well known for fish dishes

  • 3 nights in Kotor, in a 4-star hotel in the centre of the walled mediaeval town  

Visa and Health Requirements

Visitors from the EU, USA, Canada and Australia currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest relevant Embassies.

At present, there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.

Insurance
It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. We can arrange comprehensive cover for UK residents. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party 
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 14 guests


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