Montenegro

Durmitor National Park Hiking: 8 Stunning Hikes That Should Be On Your List

Last Updated December, 2019

Montenegro is more than just beaches and Kotor Bay. Though the coastal part of the country gets flooded with tourists during the summer, the mountainous north stays rather quiet. If you love the mountains and outdoor adventure, look into Durmitor National Park hiking. This beautiful park in the North is the right place for that. In fact, the Durmitor mountains in Montenegro are one of the most impressive places in the country to go trekking.

When we lived in Montenegro, we visited Durmitor many times, explored different trails, lakes and climbed many peaks. Every time the scenery was impressing us so much that we kept returning.

I believe every trip to Montenegro should include a little bit of hiking in Durmitor National Park or hiking in Montenegro in general. Durmitor, in particular, is incredibly beautiful, peaceful, with fewer tourists, good markings, cleanest air and lots of, lots of lakes. The majority of the hikes mentioned below will get you to the lake in one way or another.

Here is the list of our favorite Durmitor National Park hiking trails for those who want to experience more than the coast. They are less known and visited by tourists (except for one hike.) And I know you will enjoy them as well.

Psst: I recommend to download maps.me app before you go hiking in Durmitor or pretty much anywhere else around the world. It shows all hiking trails, viewpoints, parking lots, sources of water, camping sites, roads and more. Once you download a map of a region, you’ll be able to use it anywhere regardless of the Internet and cell reception. Google Maps won’t show even half of those places I am mentioning below. Maps.me, by contrast, has them all.

For the Durmitor National Park map, I recommend stopping by the Visitor Center in Zabljak. It is located in the very center across VOLI grocery store. 

Are you traveling to Durmitor in winter? Check my post on what to expect from winter travel in Montenegro.

8 Stunning Durmitor National Park Hiking Trails:

HIKING IN DURMITOR TO ZMIJINJE JEZERO (SNAKE LAKE)

durmitor national park hiking

Difficulty: Easy 

Length: 1.3 miles (2 km) one way, takes a few hours.

The surface of this lake looks like a snake’s skin but the color of the water is bright green. By legend, many, many years ago this part of Durmitor was full of snakes but with cold winters they all died out. So no snakes today. You can relax and enjoy the moment.

The lake is hidden deep in the forest and anywhere around it is very calm and quiet. There are some benches from where you get a whopping view.

Most of the tourists usually go to nearby Crno Lake (always super mega crowded) not knowing about this place which is perfect for a picnic or a bit of meditation.

Hike to Zmijinje jezero is very easy and short unless you decide to hike all the way from the Black Lake area. It reminds more of the walk in the dense forest than a hike that’s supposed to challenge you.

The best way is to drive to Bosaca village and park your car in the forest closer to the trailhead. In this case, you also don’t pay an entrance fee (for one of the most touristy places) and can hike to the Black Lake if you wish.


RELATED POST: BACKPACKING MONTENEGRO: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO


JABLAN JEZERO (OR JABLAN LAKE) HIKE

durmitor national park
Jablan lake from above in low touristy season

Difficulty: From easy to moderate

Length: 1.8 miles (3 km) or more

Jablan Lake or as locals call it Small Lake is beautifully sitting at the foot of the mountain Crvena Greda in the northern part of Durmitor National Park. The location is right in the same direction as Zmijinje Jezero mentioned above.

The reason I say difficulty can be from easy to moderate because it depends on either you consider combining this trek with a previous one, making it half a day hike. Or, make it as a loop and add a visit to Crvena Greda mount. In this case, you would hike straight to this lake, continue to Crvena Greda peak from where you get a view of the lake from above, and on the way back take a path towards Zmijinje (Snake) Lake.

Jablan lake is small indeed but deeper than many other lakes in Durmitor. Although some people say it used to be bigger. Locals love having picnics there, so will you. Don’t forget to take lunch, a hiking blanket and your travel mug for a mid-day tea if you are ok to walk with it. You’ll be tempted to stay longer and enjoy the view of rocky cliffs and high peaks.

Bright green color and cleanness of the water (it is cold though) are so inviting that some people even swim in this lake during the summer.

The trek is mostly flat, going through the forest and pastures and accompanied by birds singing. In summer, flowers and wild plants serve as a beautiful carpet which makes it even more impressive.

This part of Durmitor is very quiet. Most likely you will be the only (or one of a few people) on the entire path.

HIKE AROUND THE BLACK LAKE

durmitor national park hiking

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 2.2 miles (3.5km) loop

In the beginning, I didn’t want to include this Durmitor hiking trail on the list at all. Black Lake in Montenegro is one of the most touristy places and it always gets crowded. I feel everyone knows about it anyways. A lot of visitors, when visiting Durmitor, mainly go to this one place, missing out on so many other wonderful spots around. Still, I decided to mention it and put my two cents.

If you plan on staying overnight in Zabljak and spending at least 2 full days in the area, I definitely recommend to go see Black Lake and, if possible, hike around it. If you have only one day, do not spend it on hiking around this lake. Check it out quickly and better drive on one of the most spectacular roads in Montenegro Sedlo pass (which goes through the park) and do another trek from this list.

A path that goes around the lake is flat and it takes around an hour and a half to make a loop. For a better view and fewer people come in the morning.

CUREVAC HIKE

hiking in durmitor national park

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 1.2 km (0.7 miles) one way, 2 hours hike

At the north end of Durmitor, Curevac trek introduces visitors to the second largest canyon in the world Tara Canyon. If you don’t have a lot of time in the park and wonder what are the best things to do, make sure to include this hike.

The get to the trail you need to drive north from Zabljak towards Tepca. The road winds through a forest and is a bit bumpy, so it usually takes between 30 and 40 minutes to get to a trailhead.

Once you are on a trail, the beginning is a bit steep, later it is mainly flat but twisty and mostly on rocks. Although the path is rocky and slows you down, the trek is easy and can be completed within a 1.5-2 hours roundtrip. It’s actually one of the easiest hikes in Durmitor National Park. But going on it will let you walk on the edge of Europe’s largest and deepest canyon.

It is advisable to go during the first part of the day, especially if you are hiking in summer. The reason for that is sunlight. Overlooking Tara Canyon during the sunset from the Curevak trail is not the best idea. Sunlight blocks the view and it is very difficult to see the vastness of the gorge.

Tip: Don’t forget to pack the binoculars and shoes other than snickers!  

HIKE TO SUSICKO LAKE

best hikes in durmitor national park

Difficulty: Medium 

Length: From half a day to a full day

The best time to go on this hike is spring through mid-summer. Susicko lake is one of periodical lakes in Montenegro and it generally dries out in August. Going to hike at that time or later will open up only canyon views (which are magnificent too.)

Hike here starts in the North-Western part of Durmitor and is one of the least visited places in Montenegro. The scenery is very different from what you find anywhere else in Durmitor. High cliffs and old pine forest surround the lake on both sides. Trekking through this canyon, even when the lake is not there, is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

You would need to drive to a small town of Nedajno (or Mala Crna Gora if coming from Zabljak) where you can park a car and start a hike.

Technically, there is a narrow asphalt road that starts from Nadejno town and goes all the way into the mountains passing by the Susicko Lake. But to be honest, that road is so narrow, with so many curves and dropoffs that driving there will take all joy away. I recommend hiking that distance instead.

We’ve been driving on similar roads many times and every time had stressed out immensely. Usually, only one car can fit on the road, so if another vehicle is coming from the opposite direction (which is rare in that area but still possible,) it is very difficult to pass each other. One of the drivers should be skillful enough to back up and find a spot to pull aside.

Walking or hiking this road, on the contrary, is a wonderful way to enjoy the views and have a relaxing time. The road to the lake is around 5 miles long (8 km) one way with some descend into the canyon, so it shouldn’t take a lot of time getting there.

An alternative would be to go to Mala Crna Gora village. There, in the southern part, you’ll find a trail that descends into the Susica Canyon and reaches the Susicko Lake. From there the hike is a bit shorter – 3.5 miles (5.5 miles) one way.


RELATED POST: A FEW MORE AWESOME HIKES IN MONTENEGRO FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST


SAVIN KUK HIKE

From Savin Kuk summit

Difficulty: From easy to medium, depending on how you do it

Length: Depends – from a few hours to 8 hours   

Savin Kuk is probably the most visited peak in Durmitor National Park because of the ski center at its foothill and chairlift that goes through it to the summit. There are two options on how to get to the peak.

First one, the easy one: you can ride a skylift and from the last stop hike around 0.7 mile (1 km) to the summit. The 1-kilometer hike sounds very easy but in reality, for some people, it may be challenging due to wind gusts and rocky twisty trail. Mark and I were there in October when the weather was sunny and relatively warm but, oh my gosh, how crazily windy it was on the top. A few times we had to stop and almost lay down because the wind was that strong. I think overall it took us 30 minutes to cover that short distance.

On the way back we met a local and he told us that winds are very common in this area during any time of the year. So just be aware of that.

The second option is to hike the entire distance instead of taking a chairlift. If you opt to hike then expect to sweat and cry but also get incredible scenery. You should definitely be in good shape to handle the elevation gain of more than 2 km. Also, don’t forget the proper clothing and shoes! We decided to go with this second option, wearing jeans and snickers, and on the way back I barely made it, seriously. The views and the entire ascent was absolutely magical though.

Taking a lift saves time and eases the process of getting to the summit but hike guarantees unforgettable moments and a really good workout.

The trailhead to Savin Kuk starts near the restaurant ‘KOLIBA’ and Ski Center in Virak.

PRUTAS PEAK HIKE

hiking trails in durmitor
Prutas peak is behind me in the clouds. It’s going to be a long hike

Difficulty: Medium 

Length: Half a day

This hike offers some of the most dramatic views in Durmitor National Park. Prutas is one of the largest peaks in this park and the view you get from the viewpoint reminds a lot about Alps’ peaks. Not only the view though. The entire trail looks very similar to one of the trails in the Alps of Austria or South Tyrol (just on a smaller scale.)

The landscape changes a few times throughout this hike – from limestone rocks to green grassy valley and meadows with flowers (if hiking in spring and summer.)

If you are deciding between a hike to Bobotov Kuk or this one to Prutas Peak, choose Prutas. Yes, Bobotov Kuk is the highest peak in Durmitor but it doesn’t offer as impressive scenery as Prutas does. And it’s more challenging. Plus, on top of Prutas you get to see Bobotov Kuk peak in all its beauty.

The time it takes to do this hike and the intensity depends on where you start. There are 4 or even 5 different trails leading to the peak, but from our experience, the best way is to start either at Sarban water spring (or Dobri Do) or Pistet water spring (Todorov Do.)

The hike that starts at Todorov Do is really intense. The first third of a trail is very steep and you basically climb the mountain for the first hour or so. Do not attempt it if it has been raining or snowing. It gets very, very slippery and you can easily slip down, especially on the way back.

Distance-wise, this hike is shorter than the one from Dobri Do, but if you are not experienced hiker it may take more time to get to the top. This hike is great for those who love a challenge. The view will be their reward after putting an effort in a steep ascent.

HIKING DURMITOR SKRCKA LAKES VALLEY

durmitor national park hiking
On the way to the valley

Difficulty: Medium 

Length: From half a day to the entire day

To get to Skrcka Lakes Valley to be able to see two beautiful lakes you would need to start hiking at the same spot from where you hike to Prutas Peak. Actually, from Prutas viewpoint you can see these lakes in a distance. And if you keep hiking for the next 1.5 miles (2.4 km) you’ll get to Skrcka Lakes. The farther away you go from Prutas Peak the more pristine the landscape is going to be.

In the valley between the lakes, there is a little hut where visitors can stay overnight and dine. It is mainly open during the summer months only, so keep that in mind and don’t forget to pack snacks and water for the hike.

Hike to Skrcka Lakes Valley can be a solid one day trip. Technically it is possible to cover everything during 5-6 hours (round trip,) but why would you be in a rush? Take your time, enjoy the scenery and beautiful day in the wilderness.

If you decide to start at Dobri Do, you can always skip Prutas Peak and go straight to lakes. It will save you some time. If starting at Todorov Do, the trail passes by Prutas, so you get a chance to see the peak and the lakes. This is our favorite option. In my opinion, the views are more impressive and the hike is shorter. But you should be comfortable and prepared to take this trail.

WHERE TO STAY: THE BEST DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION

If you have more time in Montenegro, I highly encourage you to spend at least one night in Durmitor National Park or anywhere near it. There is just so much to do and see that one day will not be enough. Plan at least two days.

Zabljak, a village at the foot of Durmitor, is small and you won’t find tons of options where to stay. During all our visits we personally stayed in three types of accommodation. Check below if any of them can be a good option for you too:

SOA HOTEL – a lovely hotel located within walking distance from Black Lake. We stayed there one night and had a very pleasant experience. Mark and I have been working for Marriott sometime ago and thought that Soa looked very similar to Courtyard, just on a smaller scale. Comfortable lobby, courteous staff, delicious breakfast, and cozy room awaited on us in this hotel.

View from the restaurant during the breakfast

If you are traveling to Montenegro with a friend, partner or family member and plan to be mainly in Durmitor National park, this hotel is perfect for your stay. The rooms are not big but very comfortable.

My main demand to any place where we stay is its cleanness and high level of comfort. Even if the hotel (motel, Airbnb or whatever else) is simple, it still should be clean and deliver a certain level of comfort. Soa hotel met that requirement.

No matter what type of room you book, breakfast is included as well as one hour in the sauna. Breakfast comes in the form of a buffet with plenty of various foods on the table.

In our opinion, it is one of the best hotels in Zabljak. The building is new and modern. Rooms are clean, food is delicious, service is great and Durmitor National park is within walking distance only.

POLAR STAR – another good choice that can suit various types of travelers. Those who love spacious rooms when traveling in a small company and others who travel with children or a few friends.

Every room here doesn’t even look like a hotel room. It reminds more of the apartment with a full-size kitchen. You can cook as you wish and feel almost at home. Although bringing your own spices, salt and oil is a good idea. There are none in the room. 

We stayed in a one-bedroom suite with a separate bedroom for two of us and an unfolded couch in the living room where we could work and watch TV. Our room was one of the smallest. So if you come with family or friends, there will be enough room for everyone. Breakfast is included in the rate, comes as a buffet and there are a lot of items to choose from.

Even though the property is located near the major road, it is absolutely quiet and peaceful.

Polar star hotel does not look like a hotel, more like a cabin style mini village

This hotel is located 10 minutes away from the Zabljak city center in a picturesque setting. If you have a car, driving to and from Polar Star will not be a problem.

AIRBNB ROOM – Airbnb is always a great choice if you love to feel at home during the travels. We stayed with Radovan and loved it so much that didn’t want to leave.

His home was comfy, warm and stylish. The hosts were very friendly and took good care of us. The flat was rather small but simply perfect for two of us. Take a look if you like it. 


Are you convinced yet to do some of Durmitor National Park hiking?

I know, Kotor sightseeing and coastal part of Montenegro can keep you busy during the entire trip. But hiking Durmitor mountains are not less picturesque and awe-inspiring.

In case you are curious if there are any other awesome hikes besides Durmitor trekking, make sure to check our post on hikes in Montenegro and Lovcen National Park hiking guide. When thinking to hire a car in Montenegro, read my Montenegro car hire guide.

DISCLAIMER: You’ll notice that in some posts (like this one) I link to some hotels, tours or services. If you purchase anything through one of those links, we may earn a commission (for which we will be mega grateful) at no extra cost to you. 

durmitor national park hiking
 
 

 

Anya is originally from Ukraine but in heart she is a citizen of the world. She is working online and that’s why has an opportunity to travel slowly and live in different countries around the world. On this blog, her main goal is to inspire others to travel to under-the-radar-places and discover the world through life and work abroad.

8 Comments

  • Lau

    Hey Anya great info thank you so much for it! Question! Which trail you think is the best if planning camping one night in the park? We have time, two days, so we’re planning to do a chill long hike + overnight. Would love to know your opinion!

    • Anya

      Hi Lau, when are you guys going there? Wild camping is not really allowed in Montenegro and if going during the summer months, chances of getting a fine are high because rangers are walking along many trails (unless you detour and camp farther away from the path.)
      If going in the fall, for instance, it will be more quiet and there are just a few rangers in the entire park.
      We saw a tent on the way to Skrcka Lakes Valley, on the stretch between Prutas viewpoint and Skrcka Lakes, not sure if those folks were staying overnight there or just set a tent for a day. In my opinion, this is probably the best place where to camp. The hike is long and two days would be perfect to get to the Lakes and then back and do it slowly.
      When are you going, guys? My friends plan to camp in the end of August on the way to Susiko, they promised to share all the details. I am happy to pass those to you.

    • Kostas

      Hi. I’m planning visiting this weekend (29 Feb) for photography and hiking. Is there any snow at the peaks showing from the black lake? Is the lake frozen or everything around it? Any idea where to find a live cam or a latest picture of the area? Thanks

      • Anya

        Hi Kostas, this year winter is very mild and there is not a lot of snow as it used to be. There is snow on the peaks for sure but you won’t get to see a lot from the Black Lake area. The lake is partially frozen and trees are covered with snow too but for snowy mountain peaks, you need to drive at least part of the road to Sedlo pass.
        This is the information I got from my friends who live there. I don’t know of any live cam for that area but you can contact the Soa hotel and ask them for more details on the weather. They are located in the park and can tell you right away.

    • Anya

      Hi Melissa, most of the trails are usually closed in February because of the snow. Although this year’s winter is very mild and Durmitor doesn’t see a lot of snow.
      Having said that, you will be definitely able to walk/hike around the Black Lake and, if there is no snow in the forest, you can hike to Zmijine lake.
      Also, you can always go to Savin Kuk peak. There is a skylift and it makes it easier to get to the top.
      You know, even if you can’t do a lot of hiking in February, it is still a very beautiful time to visit, enjoy your trip!

  • Jolanta

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post! We are planning our trip to Montenegro and want to spend at least few days hiking in Durmitor. Your information helped a lot! We are also looking for a trail in Plokletije National Park, it’s a bit of a detour but would not want to miss… Have you done any hikes there? Thank you!

    • Anya

      I am very happy to hear you found this post helpful! We haven’t done any hikes in Prokletije NP yet but will do this summer. Happy travels guys, Montenegro is gorgeous!

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