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Unless you’re a fan of the international glitterati, you probably don’t know much about the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro. One of the youngest nations in Southeastern Europe, Montenegro has a fantastic coastline on the Adriatic Sea that’s long been a favorite spot for jet-setters in the know.
But there’s another side to Montenegro – a brilliantly rugged, dramatic side that adventure travelers have just begun to discover.
If you love hiking, climbing, snow skiing, whitewater rafting, or even just driving along impossibly twisting mountain roads, then Montenegro is your version of paradise.
This 130-square-mile adventurer’s heaven is Durmitor National Park, a protected area within the Dinaric Alps in the northern part of Montenegro (near Zabljak).
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Europe’s deepest river canyon, Tara River, and pristine glacial Black Lake, all guarded by the looming limestone peaks of the stunning Durmitor Massif.
The entrance fee is around 3 Euros (or $3.16 U.S. dollars) to enter Durmitor National Park.
- How to Get to Durmitor National Park
- TL;DR – Our Favorite Activities
- Things to do in Durmitor National Park
- 1. Raft the Tara River Canyon
- 2. Hike the Park
- 3. Chase Waterfalls
- 4. Admire Local Wildlife
- 5. Go Mountain Biking
- 6. Enjoy World-Class Skiing
- 7. Visit Glacial Lakes
- 8. Zipline Across Tara River Canyon
- 9. Go Canyoning at Durmitor National Park
- 10. Embark on a Road Trip
- 11. Take a Jeep Safari Tour
- 12. Spend the Day at Piva Nature Park
- 13. Seek out Mysterious Stone Statues
- 14. Explore the Dobrilovina Serbian Monastery
- 15. Conquer your Fear of Heights at Durdevica Tara Bridge
- 16. Set up Camp
- 17. Visit an Ice Cave
- 18. Live the Cowboy Lifestyle
- 19. Cast a Line
- 20. Try the Local Food
- 21. Give Via Ferrata a Try
- Final Thoughts
How to Get to Durmitor National Park
The closest airports to the national park are Tivat Airport (TIV), about 54.5 miles away. Podgorica Airport (TGD) is approximately 53 miles away, and Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) is about 55 miles from Durmitor National Park.
You can book a car rental to get to Durmitor National Park from the airport (no public transportation or regular buses to the national park). Durmitor is about a three-hour drive from the coast of Montenegro. The town of Zabljak is considered the gateway to Durmitor National Park. Once you’re in the park, stop by the visitor’s center and pick up a map!
TL;DR – Our Favorite Activities
- Most Significant Landmark – Tara River Canyon
- Best Accommodation – Hotel and Resort Gacka
- Best Thrilling Activity – Zipline across the Tara River Canyon
- Best Cultural Activity – Search for antique stecci formations
- Most Beautiful Site – Kravice Waterfall
Things to do in Durmitor National Park
1. Raft the Tara River Canyon
There are three extravagantly lovely canyons in Durmitor National Park. There’s only one for daring kayakers and rafters: the Tara River Canyon, the deepest gorge on the Durmitor National Park map.
The full 42-mile river rafting trip takes you through narrow and impossibly steep canyon walls, over challenging rapids, and into quiet, lush areas where you will likely be completely alone.
For an incredibly scenic rafting trip, book an excursion under the Durdevica Tara Bridge (more on that later!).
Rafting the Tara River Gorge in Durmitor National Park is comparable to whitewater adventure rafting on the Colorado River in the U.S. But there’s one huge difference: your guided tour group and River Tara rafting might be the only ones on the Tara River.
The Tara River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges in the mountain of Montenegro and Europe itself and the second deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon.
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2. Hike the Park
Once you’ve walked the smooth white sand beach of Black Lake and waved to the flat top of Crvena Greda Peak, get serious with Durmitor National Park hiking. There are 125 miles of marked hiking trails. Many of these hiking trails can be accessed from Black Lake.
At 8,278 feet, Bobotov Kuk Peak is the highest peak. Three canyons surround the highest peak at Durmitor massif – Susica Canyon, Tara River Canyon, and Draga Canyon. All are excellent for hiking enthusiasts.
Enjoy hiking past European black pine forests, eerie rock formations, lake scenes, and waterfalls on this Durmitor National Park hiking day trip.
3. Chase Waterfalls
On your hiking trip, bike ride, or stroll around Durmitor National Park mountain, don’t miss the stunning waterfalls. Cijevna Waterfall, Tara Canyon, Kravice Waterfall, and Grlja Canyon and Waterfall are the four most stunning.
Cijevna, sometimes called the Niagara Falls of Montenegro (though not as massive), features a great view of the Cijevna River. Don’t miss it on your visit.
The Tara River Canyon, the deepest canyon in Durmitor National Park Montenegro, has several small waterfalls that plunge along the Tara River. They’re best seen in early spring and after rainfalls.
Kravice Waterfall, about 91.5 feet high, offers the unique sight of several waterfalls along a circular cliff. You can cool off with a swim below or relax. There are restaurants within walking distance, making this a fun way to spend the day in the park.
Grlja Canyon and Waterfall is a crashing stream of water flowing down into an underground cave-like structure. It’s at the location where the Vusankskim stream meets up with the Vusanje River in the national parks.
4. Admire Local Wildlife
If you’re a fan of the fur and feathers, Durmitor National Park is an excellent day trip destination so bring the binoculars and cameras! Black Lake is a good location to catch sight of many of these creatures.
You’ll see an assortment of Durmitor’s native fauna on a day hike, including the grey wolf, brown bear, European wild cat, and any of 160 species of birds such as woodpeckers, squirrels, and the golden eagle, and maybe even the odd peregrine falcon.
The rare European wild cat is similar in appearance to a common house cat but larger. They feed on birds and small rodents.
See Related: The 7 Best Bungee Jumping Locations In the World
5. Go Mountain Biking
Take a guided tour or biking trip with your crew through the awe-inspiring landscape of Durmitor National Park. Durmitor Circular MTB is a trail that takes you around the mountain and its natural resources. This activity is best done during the summer months.
The mountain biking trail starts and ends at Zabljak City. Whether you bike the whole trail or stay out for just a few hours on a day trip in the park, you’ll encounter the many peaks, mountains, alpine meadows, diverse flora, and glacial lakes of Durmitor National Park, as well as animals such as the brown bear, the grey wolf, and more.
6. Enjoy World-Class Skiing
When you visit Durmitor National Park in the winter, you’ll find a wonderland of alpine ski bliss. The park boasts a near-perfect snow cover from December through March and some of the best skiing in the Balkans.
Conditions at the national park challenge the best venues in Europe but at lower prices and with smaller crowds. You’ll find the Savin Kuk ski resort in the nearby town of Zabljak, near Black Lake. It offers 7.4 miles of ski and snowboard trails through Durmitor National Park Montenegro.
If you’re looking to spend the night near Durmitor National Park, Zabljak makes a great anchorage point. Hotel Pavlovic offers spacious rooms and apartments with free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, and an on-site restaurant. It’s near shopping, dining, and activities near Durmitor National Park.
Be aware that Durmitor National Park is better known for its skiing than its warm-weather sports. You won’t be alone here in the winter season.
To avoid the crowds and extra cost, try summer skiing on the Debeli Namet Glacier, which offers pristine powdery snow all year round.
7. Visit Glacial Lakes
If you’re planning to hike through the entire park at Durmitor National Park Montenegro, be sure to visit Black Lake. It’s possibly the most beautiful of the park’s glacial lake gems (18 of them!).
The hike around Black Lake is relatively undemanding if you’re not an experienced hiker. Black Lake is even accessible to cyclists pedaling around the canyon.
Considered the highlight of the park, Black Lake is the most visited spot in Durmitor National Park Montenegro. Don’t let the name of the lake fool you. Black Lake gets the ominous name from the shadow created by Meded Peak.
Surrounded by forests filled with Norway spruce, European silver fir, and Scots pine, Black Lake is actually made up of two small lakes, Big Lake and Small Lake. In the fall, the lake rises to create one lake. During the summer, you can walk along the expanse between the two sections of Black Lake.
Black Lake is popular for swimming and boating. There’s a dock for rowboat rental at Black Lake. If you aren’t into hiking, this is a fun way to spend the day.
Besides Black Lake, other glacial lakes in Durmitor National Park include Barno Lake, Vrazji Lake, Modro Lake, and Snake Lake.
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8. Zipline Across Tara River Canyon
Book a zipline tour across the spectacular Tara Canyon. Considered one of the fastest ziplines in the world, you’ll soar high above the Tara Canyon.
This is the longest zipline in Europe, so you can put a checkmark next to that on your bucket list! Ethno Cottage Momo Tepca is about 1.5 miles from the Tara Canyon viewpoint and 12 miles from Black Lake.
Here you can enjoy a continental or vegetarian breakfast each morning. There is a terrace, a garden, and barbecue facilities too.
9. Go Canyoning at Durmitor National Park
One of the best destinations for adventure seekers on this national park day trip. Nevidio Canyon is about 1.86 miles long and offers waterfalls, naturally made sculptures, narrow channels, and steep passages.
This Durmitor National Park canyoning expedition is a challenging climb. There are sections where it’s only three feet wide. You’ll need climbing gear and a wetsuit for this Durmitor National Park experience.
Looking to stay overnight near the national park on your canyon trip? Eco Village Nevidio is a terrific option for accommodations near the park canyon.
The cute A-frame bungalows have private bathrooms and balconies overlooking the lake and mountains. Compare prices to get the best deals on your visit to the mountains of Eastern Europe.
10. Embark on a Road Trip
Sedlo Pass is one of the most stunning drives through the mountains, meadows, lake, and canyon landscapes of Durmitor National Park.
It’s the highest road pass in the park. You can take the road from Piva Lake to Zabljak. While narrow, the road is paved, so that’s a positive thing for a leisurely day trip.
Summer is a good time for this excursion as you don’t want to traverse those mountain passes in icy, snowy conditions (trust us on that one).
11. Take a Jeep Safari Tour
If you like the idea of a rugged day on the mountain, consider a Jeep safari tour. You’ll travel along the Durmitor Ring (a 49.7-mile loop around the park), passing the village of Little Montenegro, sheep and horses, Susica Canyon, the Piva Nature Park, and much more stunning scenery.
Most tours begin and end in the town of Zabljak. If you’re anchoring your trip in Zabljak, consider booking a room at Summit Guest House. Decked out in knotty pines, walls, and floors, rooms have patios, a fridge, private bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi.
Choose from two-bedroom apartments (for six guests) or three-bedroom options (for nine guests) at this pet-friendly guest house.
12. Spend the Day at Piva Nature Park
Address: 5R4W+Q8P, Pluzine, Montenegro
Piva Nature Park, the first nature park within the national park, offers several small villages, lakes, mountains and meadows, and the canyons of the Susica, Tara, and Piva Rivers.
With more than 1500 different types of plants, this is the place for nature and botany enthusiasts. Roam through forests of beech, fir, and black pine. You may even see deer, wild boars, and bears.
Bring your camera!
13. Seek out Mysterious Stone Statues
Visit Durmitor National Park in the summer to experience the hunt for historical relics. The Greek Graveyard and Bare Zugica are two spots to see stecci, decorative Medieval limestone headstones.
These mysterious stone statues – inscribed with religious symbols, hunting scenes, and geometric shapes – can be found all around the Balkan region in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Croatia (as well as throughout the park).
They’re some of Europe’s most interesting and unique formations, so keep a lookout while hiking around the Durmitor massif region.
14. Explore the Dobrilovina Serbian Monastery
Address: 2CH2+488, P4, Dobrilovina, Montenegro
The Dobrilovina Serbian Monastery, a Serbian Orthodox monastery, sits at the edge of Durmitor National Park in the village of Donja Dobrilovina.
Check out the frescoes inside the church or enjoy the peaceful setting after you’ve hiked the deepest gorge of Tara Canyon and the highest peak of Bobotov Kuk in Durmitor National.
If you’re looking for a hotel in this area, check out Hotel & Resort Gacka. With a tennis court, indoor pool, spa, restaurant, and winery, it offers a bit of luxury within this rugged destination. Doubles rooms and one and two-bedroom cottages are available at this pet-friendly hotel.
15. Conquer your Fear of Heights at Durdevica Tara Bridge
Address: P4, Montenegro
As mentioned in the rafting section, when you visit Durmitor National Park, don’t miss the 564-foot-tall Durdevica Tara Bridge. It spans 1,197 feet across the Tara River, connecting the two sides of the canyon. When it was built in 1940, just before World War II, it was the longest concrete arch bridge in the world.
There’s a footpath in the middle of the bridge where you can test that fear, or love, of heights. If you’re looking for accommodations near Durdevica Tara Bridge, consider Tara Bridge Castle.
It’s within walking distance of the bridge and has a restaurant, a garden, and a terrace. Some rooms have a small kitchen area and a refrigerator. Family rooms are available in the guesthouse.
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16. Set up Camp
Auto Camp Mlinski Potok offers tent and RV camping right in the park. There are toilets, a self-service kitchen area, and showers with hot water as well as RV hookups for electricity.
The camp has trails that lead to the peaks, so you can get your hiking experience started right away. Black Lake is about 15 minutes away.
17. Visit an Ice Cave
Located at the peak of Obla Glava (which means Round Head), this ice cave features gorgeous stalagmites, stalactites, and ice columns. It’s found at a whopping 1.34 miles above sea level. How cool is that to add to your Insta feed or travel blog?
For accommodations near this incredible Ice Cave, consider Hotel Javor. It’s about a mile away and offers comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a bar/lounge, and a playground.
18. Live the Cowboy Lifestyle
Have you ever wanted to travel on a horse through beautiful green landscapes and forests? Us too!
Horseback tours are a unique way to explore for beginner and experienced horseback riders. Local companies lead you through the park as you take in this impressive landscape’s scenery, sounds, and sites.
19. Cast a Line
Fly fishing in Durmitor National Park is a popular activity. Set up along the Tara River, Moraca, Black Lake, or Lake Biograd, where brook trout, grayling, and Danube salmon are plentiful.
Several sites only allow artificial lures to be used – the Tara River, the River Moraca, and Lake Biograd are a few – so be sure to follow all rules and regulations to reel in the big one. You may need a fishing license, as well.
20. Try the Local Food
What’s the point of an epic adventure if you don’t try the local food to accompany it? None, if you ask us!
While visiting Durmitor National Park, and Montenegro in general, be sure to try local specialties such as priganicee (donuts), kacamak (polenta), cicvara (a traditional stewed cornmeal recipe made with cream, cheese, milk, and flour), and Montenegrin prosciutto from the Njegusi village.
Another traditional Montenegrin dish that must be tried is japraci. Similar to the dolma of Greek cuisine, it’s a delicious mixture of ground beef and spices that are rolled into rastan leaves and boiled with onions.
21. Give Via Ferrata a Try
Via Ferrata (Italian for iron path) is a guided and protected way of climbing a mountain. It combines the adrenaline of a thrilling, but safe, adventure with the opportunity to view incredible scenery (think of it like mountain climbing, but you’re strapped in for safety).
The path up the mountain is marked by a steel cable (the “iron” path) used as a guide. You’re then attached to the cable with a harness. Foot and handholds are used as you scurry up the mountain in sections. By Ferrata in Durmitor, you’ll be climbing Uvita Greda along the scenic Durmitor Ring.
Take advantage of this Balkan gem while it’s still mostly undiscovered. Durmitor National Park is just a 3-hour white-knuckle mountain drive from Montenegro’s glitzy Adriatic coast — but the lake, canyon, and mountain peaks make it feel like a whole world away.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.