Last Summer I spent a few days exploring the beauty that is Montenegro. A country which is probably best known for its sunny seaside destinations, yet my boyfriend and I decided to take to the mountains for the day!
We had heard about Durmitor National Park before so we rented a car in one on the local rental places in Budva (which were insanely, insanely laid back with their car rental process!) and off we took to what google maps told us was just under a three hour drive…turned out to be something closer to five. Note: Do NOT rent a 1 Litre car to tackle to monstrous mountains of Montenegro!
If you are afraid of heights then this is definitely not the road to travel for you! Majority of it is spent on the cliff edge, and being used to a right wheel drive meant I was pretty uncomfortable sitting in the passenger seat at the cliff edge while my boyfriend mastered his perceptual awareness of a left hand drive. Honestly.. Never again!
But needless to say we arrived to Durmitor in one piece. Terror aside, the views the entire way were absolutely breathtaking. Due to the lack of roads it made it pretty hard to get lost/confused along the way, which also helped! We had booked a ‘wooden cabin’ on TripAdvisor for something crazy like €12 for the night – it was only when we got there that we fully realized why!
We had booked accommodation on this little site – the only two people around were the lady in charge and her young son, neither of which had very good English. Never the less she brought us homemade alcohol and a shot to wash it down, and sat with us to tell us about the puppies whose home was under our little cabin. We had experienced amazing hospitality earlier in the trip in Montenegro and Durmitor proved to be no different!
The cabins were literally as basic as they come. Two wooden beds and plenty of blankets to keep us warm in the minus 4 degree weather that would come once the sun went down that night (at around 5 o’ clock!). With no electricity or lamps, and a little out house down the site where we could use to toilet and wash our hands and face with the freezing cold water. There was a shower there, but you must have to be a mad man to brace to cold that you would face if you used it!
The beautiful part about this place was the fact the family who ran it lived in a larger cabin at the end of the others. They did have electricity and a fire, but they used the facilities that were there for us also. Towards the end of the evening they hunted their cattle from wherever they were kept to the site, so you literally had to pass cows as you walked to the toilet and back!
Durmitor itself is absolutely beautiful. We did not explore it to its full extent because it got dark so early in the evening but we did get to do exactly what we came for. In the national park there is this amazing river called Tara River which splits the northern edge of the National Park – creating one of the deepest canyons at 1200m! The best part of the canyon? You can zipline across it! I’m terrified of heights but for experiences like this I try my best to suck it up and enjoy the moment. We took the zipline with the biggest line going across (because that equals safety, surely?!) and each zipline had little harness that you sit back in. It was more like a cradle which made you feel strangely safe and secure. We felt such a rush from going across that we actually decided to get one going the other way! This one was not as sturdy as the first one, with it being more of a small harness than a safe, large cradle. But truth be told, it was a lot more exhilarating! They do rafting and canyoning in the park which are both quite expensive but definitely something to consider if you are staying longer than a day. One thing I would recommend would be to definitely not eat near the bridge. I won’t get into details about it.. it just wasn’t good!
Overall our experience up in the mountains were both short lived and brilliant. If you have an extra day or two to spare (and don’t mind driving a couple of hours…) then I would highly recommend venturing further afield and exploring more of what Montenegro has to offer.
Have you ever gone off the beaten track somewhere you have visited? What country have you ever had a crazy, unexpected experience? 🙂