DAY BY DAY ITINERARY - WHERE YOU STAY
Hotel Soa ****
Zabljak (Days 1+2+3)
Situated in the heart of Zabljak and surrounded by the natural scenery of the Durmitor National Park is the newly built Hotel Soa. The hotel features a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture with 18 comfortable rooms, a restaurant offering a variety of dishes and a stylish lounge bar. The hotel itself is tucked away, just off the road to the lakes, and surrounded by conifer trees, with a magnificent view of the mountains.
Further details on the hotel website.
We meet you at Dubrovnik airport for the transfer (3.5 hours with a short break) to your hotel in the high Balkan mountain town of Zabljak (1450m) and your **** hotel. (Staying at Hotel Soa , Half Board)
A feast for the eyes of both keen and novice photographers this morning as we stroll the woods and meadows up to the spectacular Tara River Canyon, the deepest in Europe (1300m) and arguably the most beautiful river canyon in the world. Part of the Durmitor National Park and a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it boasts 40+ tumbling waterfalls, 80+ large caves, rapids, lakes and dense forest harboring an abundance of plant and wildlife. (Staying at Hotel Soa, Half Board)
Swimming in the glacial Crno Jezero (Black Lake), walking through deciduous forest - keep your eyespeeled for various eagles in the skies above - and a picnic in the shadow of the Medjed Peak are just some of today's highlights as we explore the heart of the Durmitor National Park. Formed by glaciers, and traversed by a multitude of rivers, lakes and underground streams, the park is also home to one of the last virgin black pine forests in Europe with fauna including brown bear, wildcat, chamois and capercaillie. (Staying at Hotel Soa, Half Board)
We take a scenic drive south west this morning from Zabljak to the coast. En route, we'll stop in Niksic, home to Montenegro's most popular (and only homegrown) brewery. There's lunch on arrival at the Hotel Conte in Perast (home for the next 4 nights) followed by a relaxed afternoon on the water exploring the gorgeous sheltered Bay of Kotor and its postcard-pretty mediaeval villages, ancient coastal settlements and tiny man-made island of 'Our Lady of the Rocks' whose famous church is steeped in maritime history. (Staying at Hotel Conte, Half Board)
Hotel Conte ****
Perast (Days 4+5+6+7)
Lying right by the water's edge and boasting one of the area's best restaurants is the historic Hotel Conte. The hotel was once the Venetian town hall but was converted into a stylish hotel by the current owner in 2010. The restaurant is right at the water's edge with simply stunning views of the Verige straight and the tiny islands of St George and Our-Lady-of-the-Rocks. In the morning boats can often be seen mooring here to look at the menu and visit some of the town's 18 churches, the church of Saint Nicholas being just a few steps from the Hotel.
Further details on the hotel website.
A scenic serpentine road takes us up (45 mins) to the Lovcen National Park with over 14,000 acres of natural contrasts: imposing snow-capped peaks, stunning coastal views, 2000+ plants, 85 species of butterfly and over 200 bird types including many regal birds of prey. Besides its natural beauties, the park protects a rich, cultural and architectural heritage too, including authentic katuns - summer cottages for cattle breeders. We walk up to the mausoleum of Prince Bishop Petar II Petrovic-Njegos - the ruler, poet and philosopher credited with having modernized Montenegro. We then continue to his birthplace - the picturesque mountain 'food' village of Njegusi, famous for its cheeses, honey and dried smoked hams, before returning to Perast for dinner. (Staying at Hotel Conte, Half Board)
Wedged between brooding mountains and the gorgeous bay, the historic city of Kotor is a UNESCO-listed Natural and Culturo-Historical Region. Within the ancient walls its labyrinthine streets revealsome of the finest examples of medieval architecture: Romanesque churches, Venetian piazzas, San Giovanni castle and other cultural monuments. We've built in a walking tour of the city walls in the morning, but have left the afternoon free for you to continue exploring independently; you might prefer to simply sit and survey the yachts of the super-rich at the sun-kissed water front! (Staying at Hotel Conte, Breakfast only)
A 90-minute drive this morning takes us past pretty coastal villages and wonderful mountain scenery, then on to the warm waters of Lake Skadar on the Albania-Montenegro border. Flanked by small orchards and vineyards, this is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula, and is one of the most important reserves for wetland birds in Europe. After a circular walk up to the wine village of Godinje - we'll take a boat tour on the lake to view the area's wild beauty from the water. Think verdant hills rising from the lake, old world villages peppering the shores, an abandoned C14 monastery on its own tiny island and whiskered terns building their nests on floating water lilies. (Staying at Hotel Conte, Half Board)
We take you to Dubrovnik either for your flight home or to spend some extra nights in Dubrovnik.
DAY BY DAY WALKING GUIDE
Walks involve a mixture of woodland and forest trails, open meadows and country roads. While not challenging, short sections are rocky. The walk around Kotor's walls will take place at a gentle pace but involves steps to the top. Walking boots are recommended.