Montenegro - Black Pearl of the Balkans

A spectacular walking holiday in secret Europe - Montenegro




From 0 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Trek in Durmitor National Park and walk the Bear Summit Circuit
  • Discover Montenegro`s jaw-dropping canyons - Tara and Mrtvica
  • Unforgettable pilgrimage stay at the atmospheric Ostrog Monastery
  • Explore UNESCO`s walled town of Kotor and its spectacular fjord

This superb walking holiday takes you on an unforgettable journey through the very best scenery in Montenegro, a spectacular mix of the magnificent Mediterranean Coast and breathtaking mountain panoramas.  Combining dramatic trekking in the Durmitor National Park, hiking along the Bear Summit Circuit, coastal walking along the Adriatic and visits to spectacular canyons, this walking holiday offers a rich variety of contrasts and trails. After crossing from Croatia into Montenegro, we spend our first memorable night at the striking 17th century, cliff-side Ostrog Monastery. Then heading north, we reach the UNESCO-listed Durmitor National Park to walk the 'Bear Circuit,' via the shores of the spectacular Black Lake. Following forest trails and heading up the Previja Pass (2145m), our journey takes us amongst high peaks where snow patches linger throughout the summer. Next we leave the mountains and travel south through Europe's deepest river canyon of Tara, where we visit Moraca Monastery and stop off for a morning's walk in the 1100 metre deep Mrtvica Canyon. Our final 2 days are spent in one of the most panoramic landscapes in Europe on the fabulous Adriatic coast, where we stay in the picturesque town of Prcanj, located on the stunning fjord of UNESCO Kotor. From our base here we explore Kotor's medieval walls and beautiful architecture, before rounding off the week perfectly with a panoramic vista of the Kotor fjord below us by hiking to the viewpoint peak of Vrmac. If you're looking for a walking holiday that combines a rich and beautiful contrast of trails and landscapes, then this is the perfect walking week!

Is this holiday for you?

The walking on this holiday is not long or sustained. In the first half of the holiday we are based in the Durmitor National Park and here we will undertake two moderate hikes, walking the Black Lake hike and the ‘Bear Peak' circuit. Both these hikes will take between 5 and 7 hours to complete. For the second part of the holiday we are based on the Adriatic coast and here we have a series of shorter hikes which will allow time for sightseeing and swimming. Overall this is a very moderately paced walking holiday.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at group accommodation in Ostrog. A single timed transfer from Dubrovnik Airport is provided.
  • Morning monastery visit. Afternoon transfer to the alpine town of Zabljak (1450m).
  • Walk in UNESCO Durmitor National Park and explore mountain lakes of the high plateaus.
  • Walk the spectacular Bear Summit Circuit.
  • Morning visit to Moraca Monastery and Mrtvica Canyon. Afternoon transfer to Kotor Fjord.
  • Explore the beautiful walled city of Kotor
  • Walk over the mountain of Vrmac for panoramic views of Kotor fjord
  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Dubrovnik Airport is provided.
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Dubrovnik. A group transfer is provided from Dubrovnik Airport to the first night's accommodation at the Ostrog Monastery. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Dobrovnik. These include Easyjet who have flights from London and Edinburgh, Monarch who have flights from London and Manchester and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at group accommodation in Ostrog. A single timed transfer from Dubrovnik Airport is provided.

    The group will rendezvous at Dubrovnik Airport. KE land only package services begin with a single timed group transfer from Dubrovnik Airport to our first night's ccommodation at the Ostrog Monastery. Leaving Dubrovnik we soon arrive at the border with Montenegro where we stop for border formalities. Depending on how long these take we may opt to stop at a restaurant before climbing the winding road which leads up to the monastery which has a spectacular location, perched on the vertical walls of Ostroška Greda. The monastery complex which consists of a series of cave churches and rooms was founded in the 17th century as a shrine to Saint Basil of Ostrog and is among the three most visited sites on earth by Christian pilgrims. We will stay tonight in the accommodation provided for pilgrims below the monastery. As to be expected the rooms here are quite basic but they are comfortable enough and the opportunity to spend the night in this sensational setting should not be missed.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals d

  • Morning monastery visit. Afternoon transfer to the alpine town of Zabljak (1450m).

    We have a relaxing day today, starting with a short climb of 30 minutes to reach the monastery. We make a tour of the cave churches and other buildings which make up the Ostrog Monastery. Although the present appearance of the monastery dates from 1926 following reconstructionafter a major fire, two of the cave churches in the complex still have their original frescoes intact. Returning to the pilgrim rest house we take lunch and board out tour vehicle for the transfer (approximately 2½ - 3 hours) to the mountain town and winter ski resort of Zabljak located at 1450 metres in the Durmitor National Park in the northeast of the country. Here we check into our comfortable hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

  • Walk in UNESCO Durmitor National Park and explore mountain lakes of the high plateaus.

    The Durmitor National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty which in 1980 was given the UNESCO designation of ‘World Heritage Site’. The park which is bordered by three spectacular river canyons, consists mainly of an upland plateau which boasts no less than 48 peaks over 2000 metres and 18 glacial lakes. Our hike today begins by following the shores of the largest and deepest of these. The walk from Zabljak to Crno Jezero, the Black Lake, takes us through pristine pine forest before continuing uphill and on to the plateau towards Zminje Jezero, Serpent Lake, where we enjoy a picnic lunch. We return to Zabljak via the scenic third lake, Barno.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5

  • Walk the spectacular Bear Summit Circuit.

    Our hike today begins by following the shores of the largest and deepest of the area's glacial lakes. Known locally as Crno Jzero, ‘the Black Lake’, this is actually two separate bodies of water connected by a narrow strait. At the end of the lake we begin a climb up into the mountains soon leaving the pine forest behind as the terrain becomes more alpine with peaks and snow patches. We reach the Previja pass (2145m) below Medjed - literally ‘Bear peak’ (2287m.), before descending back to Black Lake and down to Zabljak.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Time 7

  • Morning visit to Moraca Monastery and Mrtvica Canyon. Afternoon transfer to Kotor Fjord.

    This morning we visit the amazing 365 metre long Djurdjevica bridge which spans the Tara gorge in five arches some 172 metres above the river. Built just before the Second World War this bridge was and still is, an engineering marvel. We then begin a most spectacular drive down through the canyon reputedly the world’s second longest and deepest canyon after the Grand Canyon in Colorado. We make a stop at the Moraca Monastery which displays architectural styles and frescoes dating from the 13th century to the 17th. A little further on at the junction with the Mrtvica Canyon, we start a short walk up into this less well known but no less spectacular canyon whose sheer rock walls rise 600 and 700 metres from the river to a verdant top. Following the Mrtvica river we make use of rock-cut paths high on the canyon walls to visit the 'Gates of Wishes' a natural rock arch where you can peer through to clear blue waters. It is traditional to hurl a small stone through the ‘gate’ and if it reaches the water your wish will surely come true. After the walk we continue our journey south passing through the cap[ital Podgorica built on a small plain – just about the only flat land in the country! Reaching the spectacular Adriatic coast in the early evening we check in to our hotel in Prcanj, a charming town situated on Kotor Fjord, southern Europe’s deepest inlet.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Explore the beautiful walled city of Kotor

    A short drive along the fjord brings us to Kotor City. We will spend some time looking around this most picturesque ancient walled city. The setting could hardly be more dramatic with steep mountains rising directly for almost 2000 metres from the lapping waves. The old town (Stari Grad) is a maze of cobbled alleyways and at every turn we come across small squares containing ancient churches and grand houses. The city ramparts which are largely intact are unusual in that they climb high above the site of the present town forming a vertical shield. We have a 2 hour guided walk on the city ramparts and walls which will include climbing a lot of steps! From the top of Ivan's Tower in the St John Fortress where the Montenegro flag flies, we have magnificent views over the town and the fjord and also across to Vrmac where we will have our final day’s hike. After the climb we visit a 16th century thatched roof church located on a pass behind the city walls and descend by an old road back to the old town itself. Here we have a couple of hours of free time to explore before returning to Prcanj. After lunch there is the option (at extra cost) to take a boat ride along Kotor Fjord stopping at some of the small islands and visiting the village of Parash on the opposite side of the bay. Alternatively Prcanj is a great place to just relax enjoying the ambience of this lovely village or to take a swim in the warm waters of the Adriatic.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

  • Walk over the mountain of Vrmac for panoramic views of Kotor fjord

    Our walk today takes us over the Vrmac mountain which separates Kotor from the town of Tivat. We climb up to the ridge on a perfectly graded ancient trail once used to haul cannons to fortified defensive positions high on the mountain. Once above the tree line we get tremendous panoramic views of the fjord and of the fortifications of this coastal city. Continuing along the ridge we can enjoy the view of the bay on both sides before beginning our descent Our guide will choose the perfect spot for a picnic lunch and we then continue the descent, dropping all the way to the coast at Markov beach between Stoliv and Prcanj. Here we can relax and have a swim before completing our walk with a stroll next to the sea back to our hotel in Prcanj where we have our final night in Montenegro.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5

  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Dubrovnik Airport is provided.

    After breakfast KE Land Only package services end with a group transfer to Dubrovnik airport. This transfer will take 2 – 3 hours depending on border formalities.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced English speaking local guide
  • Single timed group transfers from and to Dubrovnik Airport
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • All meals throughout the holiday
  • Vehicle support throughout the trek.

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers (other than the single timed group transfers)
  • Tips for local staff
  • Optional boat trip on Day 6
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A single timed group transfer will provided on day 1 of the trip itinerary from Dubrovnik Airport to the first night's accommodation at Ostrog Monastery. This transfer will depart from Dubrovnik Airport at approximately 5.00pm. Group members will rendezvous at the airport (at the entrance to the arrivals hall) in time for this transfer. If you are arriving considerably earlier than this, there are left luggage facilities inside the airport and regular shuttle bus service into Dubrovnik taking around 30 minutes for the journey each way (approximate fare is €5). On the final day of the trip itinerary a single group transfer will be provided from Prcanj and is timed to arrive at Dubrovnik Airport at approximately 1100.

During this trip the group will spend a total of 6 nights in comfortable pensions and hotels. In Zablijak, and Kotor accommodation will be generally en suite. In the Ostrog monastery we stay 1 night at the pilgrims rest house. This is very basic but spotless staying in single-sex dormitories. The washing facilities in the Monastery guest house are basic and communal (no showers) but hot water is available. Other than the night spent at Ostrog, all accommodation is based on twin sharing. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex to share accommodation. For the 6 nights in the pensions, single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Prcanj are also available. For Hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The cuisine of Montenegro has been shaped by its geographical position. Turkish, Mediterranean Hungarian and other European cooking styles are common throughout the country and typical dishes of all these cultures are available in most places in Montenegro. Soups, stews, and goulashes are common as are meatballs. There is always plenty of bread which is usually Italian style, often served with a tomato and olive salad and various cheeses. On and near the coast, the diet is even more Mediterranean with fish understandably featuring in the most common dishes.

All meals are included from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8.

We estimate that 150 - 200 Euros should be sufficient to cover all personal expenses such as drinks, snacks and tips for the local staff. Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs in Dubrovnik, Zabljak, and Kotor, and credit cards can also be used to pay for some goods and services.

The group will be accompanied throughout the holiday by a professional English-speaking local guide who will have the assistance of a driver/guide and a local mountain guide in Durmitor.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying thank you to your local staff. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and dependent on good service. Most people will want to tip their guide and drivers on the trip and we recommend you do this as a group rather than individually. The group should decide on a level of tipping that all are comfortable with.

We ask you to restrict your luggage to a single trek bag and small daypack. There is no weight limit other than that imposed by your international carrier but you will find travelling easier with lighter luggage.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The altitudes attained on this holiday are not extreme and the maximum altitude attained is no more than the equivalent of a pressurised cabin on an international flight. You may ‘feel’ the altitude the first time you trek above 2000 metres but all that is required is a slower pace to compensate. You should pay particular attention to your hydration levels while trekking above 2000 metres.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rain pants
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer shirts
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sunhat or cap
  • Eyewear-Sunglasses
  • Warm Hat
  • Daypack c.30 litres
  • Headtorch / headlamp with batteries
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Water bottles x2
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Small Towel
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Basic First Aid Kit including headache tablets, medicine for upset stomach (e.g. Imodium or Pepto Bismol), plasters (band aids) and blister treatment.
  • Small padlock (to lock the trek bag)

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Gaiters
  • Training shoes / sneakers to travel in
  • Spare laces
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Shorts
  • Insect repellant – (DEET)
  • Camera, media, batteries
  • Travel clothes
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

There are 6 days of walking during this holiday and although it is possible to opt out of these, it makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on any active holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Regular hill walking is the best preparation but if this is not possible, a regular exercise regime is good for developing cardio-vascular fitness and stamina. You should gradually build up times or distances as you get nearer to the departure date, and before setting off we recommend that you make time to fit in several walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

At the coast, Montenegro’s climate is very Mediterranean while up in the mountains it is typically alpine. In June and September temperatures at the coast will range from an evening 17ºC to a daytime maximum of 26ºC and in August daytime temperatures of 30ºC are possible. In the mountains in June and September the range is from 8 - 20ºC rising to a daytime maximum of 24ºC in August. At the coast the water is a perfect temperature for swimming in August and September. The country is relatively dry with 70% of its precipitation falling in winter. However rain showers, cloud and relatively cool temperatures can occur in the mountains at any time of the year and during the summer months as with most European mountain ranges, thunder storms bringing heavier rain particularly in the afternoon, can and do occur. You should therefore come prepared for extremes of weather. Please note that the ascent of Bobatov Kuk will only be undertaken in clear, dry weather.

Western Balkans. (Lonely Planet) Montenegro. (Lonely Planet) Montenegro. (Rough Guides) The Mountains of Montenegro – A Walkers and Trekkers Guide. Rudolf Abraham. (Cicerone)

Durmitor National Park and the Tara Canyon 1:25,000. Publisher: Geokarta

The Durmitor National Park and the Tara Canyon at 1:25,000. Double-sided, showing the main part of the national park on one side, and Tara Canyon on the reverse. Contour interval is 20m with spot heights and graphics to show rocks, crags, karst and scree, etc.. The overlays shows waymarked hiking routes and other walking trails. Symbols show mountain cabins, caves, monuments, etc. The legend includes English.

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