Hiking in Durmitor National Park

Durmitor National Park is absolutely breathtaking. The scenery, hikes and driving are enough to keep you here for over a week. In the north of Montenegro, it is one of the first national parks you drive to when crossing over from Bosnia and Herzegovina from Foca and includes access to The Tara Canyon, the 2nd deepest canyon in the world.

Durmitor National Park has nearly 50 limestone peaks reaching over 2000m, of which Bobotov Kuk is the tallest, a magnificent 2523m and the tallest peak in Montenegro. One of 5 national parks in Montenegro, Durmitor is part of the Dinaric Alps and has been carved by glaciers and underground streams. The national park is also home to the Sedlo Pass, the most breath-taking road to drive in Montenegro.

If you want to more about the National Parks in Montenegro, we have written an article which includes all 5 National Parks in Montenegro

When

July/Aug/Sept - Best for Walk/Hike/Bike
Winter - Ski & Snow Shoeing

Activities

Hike, Walk, Mountain Biking, Quad Bikes, Horse Riding, Ski, Snow Shoe, Drive the Sedlo Pass. Number 1 Road in Montenegro.

Roads

No trouble. Sometimes require utilisation of passing places but we were fine in a 7.5 m motorhome.

durmitor national park's location in montenegro

A little history

Durmitor National Park was founded in 1952, although the area was much smaller than it is today. It has been awarded the UNESCO world heritage protected status and today, this protection expands to the full boundaries of the park, which includes the Tara Canyon, another stunning area of the park. The Tara Canyon is the worlds 2nd deepest canyon after the Grand Canyon in the United States, and the deepest in Europe. 

The national park is divided into three key zones  – 10% strictly protected, 75% is protected and the remaining 15% is sustainable use. The sustainable use allocation of 15% is a balance between people, whose livelihoods have been in and around Durmitor, and conservation of  spectacular peaks, meadows, lakes and forests. 

Getting there

Arriving at Dumitor from the north of Bosnia, via Foca, you will cross the border on the E762 and then take the P14 (also known as the Sedlo Pass), which will take you straight through Durmitor National Park.  The road is good to drive, good tarmac, although maybe slightly narrow in some places. In our 7.5m motorhome, we were absolutely fine – so if your motorhome is the same length or smaller than ours, then you will be fine too! 

If you are coming up from the coast road or if you crossed into Montenegro by Trebinje you will approach on the P5 – so absolutely no worries with driving at all on this road. 

When travelling during the winter time or early spring, then be aware of winter weather and how that may affect road conditions.  Have a look at our Montenegro Travel Essentials if you need to remind yourself of any legalities for winter driving.  There are ski resorts in the Durmitor National Park, so that should give you an indication of the levels of snow that the national park gets.

Where to Stay

Officially wild camping is not allowed in Montenegro, but if you are sensible, respectful and stay out of tourist areas, then locals are unlikely to bother you. They are hospitable people who are very welcoming, even if their rather more serious demeanour may leave you thinking otherwise. 

There are lots of campsites dotted around Durmitor National Park. We only used one for one night, which was for us to empty toilets, fill up with water and stick a wash on! From our own experience, there were no problems with wild parking throughout the whole of our travels in Montenegro.  A lot of people were wild parking in the national park. Please be respectful and take all your rubbish with you. 

Because of this, we can’t advise on campsites – but we did go on several long hikes and leave the motorhome parked up in designated carparks and it was absolutely fine. 

DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK, Montenegro

Play Video about Angie and Damo standing at the Bobatov Kuk Sign, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

What to see or do

Zabljak, Gateway to the National Park

The gateway to Durmitor National Park is Zabljak, in peak season receiving over 2000 visitors a day. A bustling town which is very much geared up for tourists. There are plenty of bars, apartments, restaurants and seemingly a struggle to cope with parking! I would advise getting there early to park up or you might struggle. There is a campsite right next to the Black Lake entrance, which (currently) is 20 euros a night to stay.

Entrance to the national park is 3 euros a day, although a pass is available which allows you into all 5 national parks for 13.5 euros. It is great value if you plan to do the Sedlo Pass and plan to do multiple days hiking.  When stopping at the view points on the Sedlo Pass, rangers will ask to see your pass.  You will need a passport to get the pass which can be at the entrance point at Black Lake. 

Hiking

Probably the number one activity that people do in Durmitor is to hike, and that is certainly the activity that we did. Popular hikes that are easily accessible in the Durmitor National Park. The ones highlighted in ‘bold’ are the ones that we did:

  1. Black Lake (Easy)
  2. Lokvice Lake (Easy – Moderate)
  3. Savin Kuk (Moderate)
  4. Bobatov Kuk (Moderately Difficult to Very Difficult) 
  5. Curevac (Easy)
  6. Jablan Jazero (Easy to Moderate)

Hiking Map

Our hiking map shows the routes for the most popular hikes in Durmitor National Park.

Bobatov Kuk

Bobatov Kuk is a big pull for a lot of hikers. It stands at 2523m high. There are three higher mountains on the border with Albania – but Bobatov is classed as the highest of Montenegro. 

There are three ways to get to Bobatov. Two of them are from the Sedlo Pass and one is from the Black Lake.  It is a challenging hike, and you should allow between 8 – 11 hours for it, depending on your fitness levels. We did a circular hike, taking us to the foot of Bobatov Kuk, where we made the decision to not to climb to the peak, but to finish the round walk, which still took us almost 6 hours to complete (with plenty of photo stops!).

The Black Lake

The Black Lake is an easy hike, which will take about an hour and a half. Although the pathway is rock and full of tangled tree roots in some places, its a steady walk with a mixture of woodland wandering and lakeside views. And the perfect bar/restaurant at the end!

Lokvice Lake

Lokvice Lake (which was very low when we went in early August!) is about a 4 hour round hike. It takes you through some magnificent woodland and beautiful valleys with stunning mountain backdrops and is also the Black Lakes first part of the walk to Bobatov Kuk. 

The first part of the hike was easy – but just uphill all the way. It smoothed out after about an hour of solid uphill woodland walking to a beautiful grass plain. Once you get to Lokvice, you return the same way – although there are plenty of other onward journeys you can take. 

Savin Kuk

Savin Kuk is a great walk, because it can be as easy or hard as you want it to be!  It is a good hike to do as it is the start of the Sedlo Pass. At Savin Kuk, you can take a cable car up to the top of the mountain and walk for about 20 or 30 minutes to reach the summit. The cable car costs 10 euros for a return trip. Cable cars are only open at certain times of the year, so best to check for when you decide to go.

Taking the cable care ride to the top is split into two parts. The first cable car is long and steady climb. Once you jump off this cable car, you walk slightly down to pick up the next cable car, a steep ride to the top. From there you can take stunning photos at the view point, or climb to the summit to look down over the Black Lake. Its a fun experience.  

If you want to take the slightly easier option, and we did, it involved taking both chair lifts to the plateau, hiking the last bit for stunning views and then walking to the bottom. The hike down took us 1.5 hours. Once at the bottom, there is the option of a pint or coffee in the little ski cafe, or something with a little more substance in the restaurant. 

Drive the Sedlo Pass

The top drive in Monetengro is the Sedlo Pass, 60km of jaw-dropping beauty. Many of the stops on the Sedlo Pass are start or end points for walks in Durmitor. 

This road is just stunning and one not to be missed. If you are approaching Montenegro from the Hum border crossing between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will already have seen some of the stunning scenery driving alongside the Piva River. 

If you need to stock up on groceries, I would advise stopping at one of the small supermarkets in Pluzine. 

Backtrack from grocery shopping for 1km to cross the bridge again and take a right hand turn through a rocky tunnel to start driving the most awesome road in Montenegro!  If you are using Google maps (which we do), make sure that it has not taken a short cut. The alternative route that Google may recommend, will cut out a section of the P14. Make sure the map goes via Trsa to do the full route. 

Although the drive itself is only 2 hours, you will want to allow yourself a day. There are honey shops, a cheese making place, organic herbal tea shop to visit on the drive, not to mention the fabulous view points that you will want to get out and take pictures. 

As of the hikes start on the Sedlo Pass, you may want to drive the pass, think about the walks you want to do and return on following days to actually do the walk. That is what we did. 

distanct view of 'The Saddle' mountains that give the Sedlo Pass, Montenegro its name.
'The Saddle' Mountains, Sedlo Pass, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro,

Ski and Snowshoe

The ski resort at Savin Kuk is a great small town ski resort with 6 chairlifts, and 4.7km of ski slopes. There is also a beginners lift. Ski shops with skis in the window are scattered around, so I assumed they can be rented, but as we were in August, the shops were closed! 

Free-riders, sledging and tobogganing are all possible, and common, in this beautiful national park. Savin Kuk has restaurants and a ski school in the winter months, with a cross country trail as well. For the snow shoeing there are many options around Black Lake as well, so there is enough to keep you busy and enjoy the rugged beauty. 

The Tara Canyon, Durmitor National Park

The Tara Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the US.  This makes it a huge draw for people that visit Durmitor National Park.  There are several viewing points that you can go to to see the Tara Canyon and it often gets confused with the Tara Bridge.  We got quite confused ourselves, so hopefully this will help you to get to the right place. 

To see the beautiful Tara Canyon viewing point from the main hiking area of Black Lake, drive out of Zablajak and head north for a 15 minute drive. You will then find carparks to stop at where you can take a nice easy 30 minute hike from the carpark to the viewpoint. From there, you are able to walk all the way along the side of the canyon, which allows you to take in the magnificent views of this glorious part of Durmitor National Park.  If you put in ‘Curefac’ into Google Maps, that will get you to the right place. 

The Tara Bridge is a 40 min drive from this stunning trail hiking area, where you can do all of the rafting and the zip line activities which are talked about in the Tara Canyon area. Bare in mind the rafting in the summer time is not as adventurous as the rafting in the spring time!

The video below is a short video of the Tara Canyon, which shows what a wonderful place it really is. Check out our YouTube channel for many more of videos on our road trip around Montenegro.

Durmitor National Park summary

Durmitor National Park, Montenegro, well and truly earns its UNESCO heritage. I think it is one of the most beautiful places to hike in and enjoy nature, scenery and peace.

Even though we visited in peak holiday season (August), you never really feel that anyone else is around. We did hikes of 5 and 6 hours and only said hello to a handful of people. Black Lake is definitely the busiest place, as it is great for families to enjoy as well as more serious hikers, but once you get past that park entrance point, people spread out so you can really enjoy the tranquillity. 

Include at least one Tara Canyon hike if you have the time, given its geological importance – and magnificence of it will not disappoint. Durmitor was our favourite place in Montenegro, in fact we will go back to visit all 5 National Parks in Montenegro again, as it is everything you see in your minds eye when you think of a road trip to Montenegro – and more! 

top tips for Durmitor National park

  • Buy the pass for 13.5 euros if you plan to hike multiple days. It really is worth it.
  • The Sedlo Pass is very beautiful and has some narrow roads. There are plenty of parking places – but start out early to miss the crowds.
  • Take plenty of water on your hikes. If a sign says a walk will take 2 hours – the reference is to regular fit hikers! It always took us double the time! On hot days, the sun is unforgiving.

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