Last Updated on January 6th, 2020
Are you visiting Montenegro any time soon and thinking to hit Lovcen National Park hiking trails? I would love to share a few ideas and our own experience.
It seems that for the most part people, who visit Lovcen, mainly go to Njegoš Mausoleum, the village of Njeguši, Kotor Serpentine or Etno Selo Sveti Georgije, missing out on all the beauty hidden among the mountains. And all the hiking trails that Lovcen National Park has to offer.
Definitely, Njegos Mausoleum is worth a visit but there is so much more to this area.
For us, Lovcen National Park became some type of getaway place when we were living in Budva. Especially during the fall. When it was hot near the sea, the park was cool and pleasant. In October, when Budva, Kotor and neighboring towns kept reminding about the summer, Lovcen park experienced foliage in full swing.
On many occasions, we would take a car and just wind through the park, stop where we felt like it and walk around. This is how we learned about some amazing paths that open up a stunning view.
If you are planning to visit Montenegro, I highly recommend to unwind and go hiking in Lovcen National Park. And, once in the park, go off the beaten path and see more than Mausoleum. Lovcen is breathtaking! If you are traveling with kids, there are easy trails for the entire family.
Before I jump to hiking trails, check what else to know before the Lovcen National Park hiking trip.
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Here are a few tips I would love to share to help you get the best out of your visit:
A Few Things to Know Before Lovcen National Park Hiking
How to Get to Lovcen National Park (By Car Or Public Transportation)
Unfortunately, the only way to get to the National Park is by rented car or taxi transfer. There is no way to reach it by public transportation. Another option includes bus #32 from Kotor to the city of Cetinje, where you can grab a cab, hire a car with a driver or walk.
Believe it or not, but some experienced hikers walk to the mausoleum inside of the park (and back) from Cetinje. The entire distance is about 20 kilometers one way but the road is twisty and narrow with the series of steep bends. The truth is: it is very scenic since you can see magnificent mountain landscapes almost on each turn. Still, it is very challenging and time consuming for most travelers, especially those who are short on time.
We made the best decision when decided to rent a car and visit Lovcen National Park on our own terms. If you prefer going with a tour, consider this private tour of Lovcen National Park, Cetinje, and Mausoleum or this one if staying in Podgorica. Those who seek more action should take a look at this adventurous biking tour from Kotor.
Assuming that you can rent a car, the best way to get in the heart of the park is by driving from Budva or Kotor. Recently a new road was built on the stretch between Zanjev Do and Lovcen Mausoleum, so today it is much easier getting to the park from Kotor. And that drive is absolutely spectacular.
Yet, if you can, do not drive the same road twice and better make a loop. If going from Budva, on the way back take the Kotor serpentine road. And vice versa, if driving from Kotor, go back through Budva. Each route is beautiful in its own way and there is plenty to see.
Highway M2.3 from Budva to Cetinje has quite a few vistas offering a fantastic view of the coast, Sveti Stefan, Petrovac and nearby mountains. So if you want to stop, there are plenty of options for that. If you are keen on visiting Cetinje and the monastery, it is a short drive away.
Side note: If you are thinking to hire a car in Montenegro, check our guide on this topic. There are some important details to know. We have rented from 5 different companies, learned a lot through the process and share it in one long post. If renting a car in summer, check Skyscanner and EasyRentCars for the best deals.
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What to Do in Lovcen National Park
In addition to all the hikes that I am going to mention below, Mausoleum and Mount Lovcen, people love coming to the park to admire nature, meditate and just walk.
The local area has a large number of pastures and picturesque villages with the traditional architecture of Montenegro. An example is the village of Njegusi which has a special ethnographic value – it was a place where the royal dynasty of Petrovich lived. There, you can purchase homemade cheeses if you wish. In fact, Njegusi is famous for the street of prosciutto (and wine.) Feel free to go to any house where you see the sign about the sale.
If you are driving from Budva, I recommend making a first stop in the village of Ivanova Korita and getting a cappuccino (wine anyone?) or delicious lunch. Two restaurants, one at Monte Rosa hotel and another one at Konak hotel offer excellent food of national cuisine. And at the very top, where the Negosh mausoleum is located, there is a panoramic restaurant. Each of these places has a beautiful outdoor terrace. When the weather is nice, it is so pleasant to sit outside, admire the mountains, clouds, and nearby coniferous forest.
One of our favorite places to eat in Lovcen was Kraljicin VRT cafe. This place is conveniently located along the main road and has a big board with its name on it. The food is absolutely delicious and so cheap. There are two beautiful outside patios – one in front of the building and another one in the back. Seating inside is also available. The pizza was the best we tried in Montenegro. As well as it was probably the cheapest place we have eaten at during all our time in the country.
We paid only 4 euros for a gigantic pizza, 1.5 euros for 3 huge pancakes (called palacinki,) 2 euros for a big bowl of soup and just 1 euro for a pot of tea. We found street food to be more expensive than meals at this lovely cafe.
Our waiter told us that cafes and entire Ivanova Korita village get very busy during the summer and winter. He mentioned that residents of Cetinje love visiting Lovcen in summer when the temperature is always significantly lower than in the valley. They also love it in winter because the village sees snow. We visited in the fall and it was completely empty.
If you are spending all day long in Lovcen National Park hiking, on the way back, if taking a road to Kotor, make another stop in Horizont Restaurant. And do it better for the sunset with a glass of wine, local cheeses, prosciutto, and olives. The restaurant is located not far from Njegusi village and has a surreal view with pretty good food. We also dined at Nevjesta Jadrana restaurant, farther along the road, and the entire experience there was disappointing. The food was too greasy, the service was poor and the entire place was dirty. I guess this is what happens when a place gets too many tourists. Owners and workers just stop caring at all.
Parents who travel with kids to Lovcen National Park can bring their little ones to Adventure park. It has 6 types of tracks for adults and children. Kids at the age of 5 and older are allowed to visit. Ticket prices go from 8 to 18 euros.
Side note: If you decide to go to Njegoš Mausoleum, expect to pay at first 2 euros per person to go through some type of gate and then separately 3 euros per person for mausoleum entrance. 2 euros cover the gate and let you drive 3 kilometers or so towards the parking lot. Once you park, you go to the mausoleum and pay another 3 euros.
During the busy times, the parking lot is full and there is no way to park your car. And unfortunately, a person who charges at the gate does not tell about it. So there is a possibility, if visiting during the busy season, that you may end up paying just for the entrance and drive around while not being able to find parking and go to Mausoleum.
If you want to avoid this, come early or go on one of the hikes that I talk about below.
Prices in Lovcen National Park
- Entrance to the territory of the Mausoleum is 2€ per person (excluding children under 7 years old)
- The cost of visiting the Mausoleum – 3€ per person
- Bicycle rental – 2€ / hour
- Bicycle rental – 7€ / day
- Guide services – €100 / 8 hours
- Accommodation on average costs 50€ / night
- Camping: Tent – 5€ / day, RVs – 10€ / day
- Use of campgrounds with amenities – 10€ / day
- Bonfire in specially designated places (the price includes the required amount of wood) – 5€ / day
- Jeep safari – 20€ / day
- Permission to collect berries, mushrooms, herbs, and flowers (per person) – 5€ / day
A Few More Things To Know…
The majority of hikes start in Ivanova Korita, so you need to base yourself there. Ivanova Korita is a tiny forest village (mainly with adventure park, restaurants, and hotels) on the main road from Cetinje to Mausoleum of Petar II. Besides hiking trails, in the same area, you’ll find a Visitor Center and educational trail.
Locals love Lovcen and frequent it often, especially during the summer when trying to escape the heat. We’ve even seen a few groups with students having a field trip there. Nonetheless, on our hikes during the off-season, we haven’t met anyone.
If you are not staying overnight but want to go hiking, when you arrive, park your car near the Visitor Center or hotel Ivanov Konak. From there you can have a short walk to one of the trailheads. Although, summers are usually busy and parking by the hotel may not be an option. Park a bit farther and along the road.
Lovcen National Park Hiking Trails
Now, let’s get to the point. Here are some truly amazing hiking trails in Lovcen National Park that guarantee quite an adventure.
WOLF TRAIL (A LOOP) & DETOUR TO BABINA GLAVA
Length: 4.4 miles (7 km) of the loop, detour to Babina Glava another 2 miles (3.2 km). It takes between 3 and 4 hours to hike.
This is one of our favorite hikes in the entire park and I believe one of the best hikes in entire Montenegro. The trail has numerous viewpoints and those views are absolutely mindblowing. We loved that the hike was easy and mostly flat. It gave us a great overview of the park, coastline, and mountains. It took us 4 hours to make a loop with a detour and return to the same point where we started.
The most remarkable thing about this hike was a walk through a magical autumn forest. Seriously, we felt like we entered a different world where trees talked and elves lived. We thought that the birds were singing only for us and the wind was whispering something to the leaves.
The lady at the visitor center told us that Wolf Trail is absolutely gorgeous during any season. She advised returning in winter to experience a totally different wonderland.
So no matter when you visit, go on this hike. You will fall in love with a place and transfer for a few hours in a fairytale.
The hike (loop) is around 7 kilometers. It starts near the Ivanov Konok Hotel. There is an asphalt road which goes to Dolovi village. Before you get to Dolovi, you’ll see a few signs pointing to a hike through a forest on your left.
I recommend going through Dolovi, especially if you are doing it in summer. The reason for that is no shade in the village. On a hot day, it may be difficult to hike under the scorching sun. Hike through the forest has a lot of shade.
After Dolovi, follow the signs towards Babina Glava and Kuk. From there the road becomes a gravel one. Follow the markings and a big path.
Side note: The southern part of Lovcen National park has a lot of wildlife, including bears and wolves. This is why this trail has such a name. But do not worry, there are no wild animals in the area with hiking trails. Just elves, remember? It is going to be absolutely peaceful and relaxing.
HIKE TO MAUSOLEUM FROM IVANOVA KORITA
Difficulty: From Moderate To Difficult
Length: 5.5 miles (8 km) with some climbing
This is a great hike for half a day (or possibly more) that will bring you through a forest to rocky outcrops and meadows of grass and then all the way to the mountain and mausoleum with fantastic views.
We thought about taking this hike and even walked a little bit but never really did it in full.
If you decide you want to do it, here are a few options where to start.
The starting point is near Hotel Monte Rosa or Ivanov Konok Hotel. From there you have to follow signs towards Mali Bostur and Prti Jaskyna (if starting from hotel Monte Rosa.) If from Ivanov Konok hotel then you’ll see a sign towards Velji Bostur and from there signs towards Prti Jaskyna and Mali Bostur.
Technically, Mali and Velji Bostur are connected in a loop and the path (which is not really a path but more of a gravel road) goes through the forest with minimum views. All the views start on a path to Jezerski Vrh or Mausoleum. However, keep in mind that the last part is the most challenging one. It is very steep and everything you do is just climb up. In summer, if hiking in the afternoon, it is very exhausting.
The markings are clear and you’ll definitely know where to go. For the best experience, I recommend making a loop. Although, one thing to remember. If you decide to hike all the way to the mausoleum, keep an eye on the road. You have to cross it only once almost right after you pass a spring. When you get to the first parking lot, do not follow the road. You’ll see another path on the left and this is where you have to go.
On the way back, after passing Prti Jaskyna, instead of following the same path, turn to the right (or left, depending on where you came from.) There are no other trails, so you won’t be lost.
The hike towards Mausoleum’s viewpoint and back is around 8 kilometers but one-third of it is very steep. And with a hike, you still need to pay an entrance fee which is 3 euros per person. If you don’t want to go to the mausoleum, there is an alternative to hike to the Lovcensko lake. This is when you actually cross the road to mausoleum near the parking lot the second time and follow another path to Bukovica and Njegusi.
The lake reminds more of a paddle than a lake but it offers almost the same views as mausoleum does.
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HIKE FROM IVANOVA KORITA TO KUK POINT
Length: around 8 miles (12.8 km) if taking a loop or 3.8 miles (6.11 km) if not. It takes between 4-5 hours or 2-2.5 hours accordingly
A hike to KUK point is a very beautiful hike that opens truly dramatic views on the coast, Tivat, and fjords in a distance. It can be done as a loop (12.8 km) or as a quick hike tot KUK lookout and then back (6.11 km.)
If doing it as a loop, you can start at two different places. One starts the same way as the Wolf Trail described earlier and goes through Dolovi village. In Dolovi though, once you step on a gravel road, you’ll see signs towards Babina Glava (to the left and you don’t follow that) and KUK (to the right and this is where you go.) Another one starts near the church ‘Svetog Petra Cetinjskog’ and winds to Velji Bostur.
We didn’t go on a loop, only half of it through the Dolovi village. Everything we wanted to do while on the trail was taking one million photos. It was spectacular. There were multiple vistas and the entire path was all about views. In KUK we turned back and followed the same path.
If you are hiking in summer, expect it to be hot. Most of the path is in open sunlight. Don’t forget water, hat, and sunscreen.
This is it for now. Have you guys been to Lovcen National Park? If yes, share in comments how you liked it! If not, are you planning to? Pin this post to refer to it later!