Established as independent country in 2006, the small Balkan nation of Montenegro is quickly becoming a popular travel destination. Gorgeous beaches, verdant mountains and postcard-perfect historic towns draw an increasing number of visitors every year. Add a mild Mediterranean climate into the mix, toss in opportunities for active pursuits ranging from mountain biking to whitewater rafting, and it’s no wonder that tourism is now the driving force behind Montenegro’s growing economy.
Biogradska Gora National Park
Wedged between the Tara and Lim rivers in central Montenegro, the Biogradska Gora National Park features shimmering lakes, swift-running streams, lush green meadows and one of the few remaining primeval forests in Europe. Although it’s one of the smallest of Montenegro’s national parks, Biogradska Gora offers the greatest diversity when it comes to flora and fauna, including 500-year-old trees. Most visitors head to Lake Biograd, a large glacial located in the heart of the park. The recent development of the nearby town of Kolašin makes it a popular base for tours of the park.
One of the most striking natural features in Montenegro, soaring Mount Lovcen is capped by two mammoth peaks of granite. Part of the Mount Loven National Park, the mountain inspired Montenegro’s name and is a symbol of national pride. Climbs to the top of Mount Lovcen offer panoramic vistas of the fortified city of Kotor, the surrounding hills and the Bay of Kotor. With its circular viewing platform, the nearby Njegoš Mausoleum is a destination for sightseers as well as for those who want to pay their respects to the poet and philosopher buried there. Petar II Petrović-Njegoš is beloved for writing “The Mountain Wreath,” Montenegro’s national epic poem.
Lake Skadar is a wild wonder waiting to be explored. A vast freshwater lake straddling the borders of Albania and Montenegro and surrounded by dramatic karst mountains, its mirrored waters, rocky shores and wetlands play host to a myriad of wildlife with more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, islet monasteries and pristine beaches.
Durmitor National Park
Centered around the mountain village of Žabljak, the thickly forested Durmitor National Park is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Situated in the Dinaric Alps, the park includes the high-altitude peaks of the Durmitor Massif, 18 glacial lakes and the Tara River, home to the world’s second deepest gorge. Skiing and snowboarding are the main activities in winter while whitewater rafting, camping and hiking attract visitors in the warm-weather season. The park’s wildlife includes 163 bird species, mammals ranging from wild boars to brown bears, and the most varieties of butterflies found anywhere in Europe.
Tara River is the wildest, the most beautiful and the clearest mountain river in Montenegro. Also called “The Tear of Europe”. Due to the canyon of Tara River is 1,330 m deep and it represents the deepest canyon in Europe. Therefore the second deepest in the world after the Grand Canyon in Arizona, with it’s Colorado River. Tara River rafting offers an unforgettable experience. The major part of Tara River flow is in the area of Durmitor National Park.
Prokletije National Park
The Prokletije Mountains (Проклетије) are a huge, hulking expanse of wilderness forming the border with Albania and Kosovo. They’re the southernmost – and highest – part of the Dinaric Alps. Surreally scenic and eerily remote, this magnificent area may well rate as one of Europe’s least explored. In 2009, a 160-sq-km chunk of the Montenegrin side of the range was declared the country’s fifth national park.