Hotel CUE Podgorica > Blogs > From Peaks to Valleys: An All-In-One Guide to Montenegro National Parks

From Peaks to Valleys: An All-In-One Guide to Montenegro National Parks

Montenegro National Parks stand as a testament to the country’s unparalleled natural beauty, showcasing a diverse array of landscapes, from soaring peaks and deep canyons to serene lakes and dense forests. As one delves into the heart of Montenegro, they are greeted by the majesty of five distinct parks, each offering a unique window into the country’s ecology. These verdant sanctuaries, though varying in terrain and experiences, collectively paint a picture of Montenegro’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures for generations to come. Join CUE Podgorica as we delve into these marvels of nature.

Montenegro National Parks: The Legacy of Lovćen Mountain

Nestled within an expansive 6,220 hectares, the park boasts a diverse elevation that ranges from a modest 939 meters to the soaring heights of 1,749 meters above sea level. Dominating landscapes are the majestic peaks of Štirovnik, which proudly stands at 1,749 meters, and Jezerski vrh, with its impressive altitude of 1,657 meters. Since 1952, Lovćen has been honored with the prestigious title of a National Park, a testament to its unparalleled natural beauty and significance.

Places to visit near the Heart of Lovćen

The journey to Lovćen is incomplete without visiting Cetinje, Montenegro’s historic capital. Nestled on the slopes of the majestic Lovćen mountain, Cetinje shows Montenegrin culture and history. Often referred to as the “Capital of Culture”, it offers travelers a glimpse into Montenegro’s soul with its plethora of museums.

Ivanova Korita, a picturesque settlement, is perfect for a family day out with activities that cater both young and old.

Areal view of the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš on Lovćen Mountain in Montenegro.

The Crown Jewel: Mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš

By visiting Jezerski Vrh you will be met with Montenegro’s pride – the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš. An ascent of 461 steps will lead you to panoramic views that are simply unparalleled. From this vantage point, one can gaze upon the Bay of Kotor, Skadar Lake, and on clear days, the distant Adriatic Sea. In front of the mausoleum, the sculptures by renowned artist Ivan Meštrović, depicting the strong Montenegrin women stand tall. Inside, the mausoleum features a vault adorned with a mosaic of 200,000 gilded tiles.

Lovćen, with its breathtaking vistas and profound history stands as a beacon of Montenegrin pride. As you leave, the spirit of Lovćen will linger, prompting a promise of return.

Lake Skadar, one of Montenegro National parks.

Montenegro National Parks: Skadar Lake

Nestled between Montenegro and Albania, Skadar is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula and a hub of biodiversity and cultural richness.

With a seasonal expanse ranging from 370 km² in the summer to a sprawling 540 km² in the winter, the lake is ever-changing and ever-mesmerizing.

Activities on the lake

Montenegro National Parks offer a plethora of activities, and Lake Skadar is no exception. Start your morning witnessing the tranquil dance of green water lilies. Then, if you’re feeling adventurous, in the heart of Montenegro’s national parks, glide across pristine waters with stand-up paddleboarding or embark on enchanting boat trips to historical islands, where ancient monasteries and fortresses await, including the captivating former Turkish prison castle Grmožur.

For those who prefer land-based adventures, the park offers great terrains for hiking and trekking. Moreover, with its 280 bird species, including the rare Dalmatian pelican, Skadar is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, especially during the prime bird-watching seasons of autumn and winter.

A Dip into Culture and History

Lake Skadar isn’t just about nature. It’s a custodian of Montenegrin culture and history.

Rijeka Crnojevića is perfect place to visit when near Lake Skadar. You’re sure to stumble upon remnants of a time gone by. After a long day, indulge your taste buds. Local taverns welcome you with dried carp, smoked bleak fish, and glasses of local wine. The pan-seared carp with prunes and apples, is a must-try!

Conservation of Montenegro National Parks

Skadar Lake National Park holds immense ecological significance. Designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) in 1989, it was also enlisted in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance in 1995. As part of Montenegro National Parks, it stands as a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage.

As you embark on your journey exploring Montenegro National Parks, let Skadar enchant you with its tales and landscapes.

Montenegro National Parks: Biogradska Gora

Nestled between the flowing Tara and Lim rivers, Biogradska Gora National Park stands as an example to nature’s splendor in the heart of Montenegro’s mountainous Bjelasica region. With an expanse of over 54 square kilometers, it holds the distinguished title of being one of Europe’s last three primeval forests. A sanctuary that is both ancient and awe-inspiring, it offers visitors a glimpse into a world untouched by time.

Emerald Waters and Verdant Forests

Spanning 5,650 ha (13,961 Acres), Biogradska Gora is the smallest national park in Montenegro, yet its significance is monumental. The primeval forest reserve here stands as a living museum, with trees that have witnessed half a millennium. The park’s dedication to preservation is evident in its history, with protections dating back to 1878 when King Nikola prohibited commercial exploitation of its precious forest.

One of the significant attractions of this Montenegro national park is Lake Biograd. As the largest of the park’s six glacial lakes, its serene waters mirror the dense forests and mountain peaks which are surrounding it. The shores of Lake Biograd provide either adventure or relaxation to seasoned hikers or those looking for a tranquil retreat.

Lake biograd in Montenegro national park Biogradska Gora.

Activities in the park

While many Montenegro national parks offer an array of activities, Biogradska Gora stands out for its diversity. Here you can try anything ranging from mountain biking and hiking, to water activities on the the shores of Lake Biograd, such as kayaking and boating.

For those eager to experience the national food of the region, nearby eco katuns serve traditional dishes like “kačamak” paired with homemade sour milk, providing an authentic Montenegrin experience.

Biogradska Gora National Park is an experience that encapsulates the heart and soul of Montenegro national parks. Rich in history, biodiversity, and natural beauty, it beckons travelers to enjoy its timeless charm. Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or a bit of both, this park promises a journey you won’t soon forget.

Mountain lake at Durmitor national park in Montenegro.

Montenegro National Parks: Durmitor

Situated in the heart of the Dinaric Alps, the Durmitor National Park is one of Montenegro’s most beautiful natural splendors. Home to the majestic mountain of Durmitor with over fifty peaks casting shadows over the land, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers an array of experiences.

The Mesmerizing Landscape

From the towering peak of Bobotov Kuk, standing tall at 2,523 meters, to the mesmerizing depths of the Tara River Gorge, Europe’s deepest gorge, Durmitor unfolds as a canvas of contrasts. The region’s 18 glacial lakes, often termed as “mountain eyes,” sparkle with pristine clarity, offering tranquil spots for reflection and relaxation.

Adventures in the park

Adventure enthusiasts are spoiled for choice here. Whether it’s rafting along the Tara River, exploring the mysteries hidden within the Ice Cave, or canyoning through canyon, Nevidio, Durmitor promises an adrenaline rush at every turn.

Beyond the natural wonders, Durmitor is also a land steeped in history and myth. The ancient medieval tombstones whisper tales from the past, while legends speak of the healing properties of the Savina Water Spring.

The heart-throbbing zipline across the Tara Canyon and the scenic cable car ride to Savin Kuk add another layer of excitement to this multifaceted national park.

A Haven for Flora and Fauna

While Durmitor’s landscapes captivate the eyes, its biodiversity engages the heart. The park is home to a myriad of species, including the endangered Danube Salmon. And with its unique blend of Mediterranean and alpine microclimates, it’s no wonder that Durmitor was honored with the UNESCO World Heritage status.

Truly, amidst all the activities and adventures, take a moment to just breathe in the fresh mountain air and let the beauty of Durmitor National Park sink in, this gem of Montenegro National Parks is not just a destination; it’s an experience waiting to be lived.

Montenegro National Parks: Prokletije

Deceptively named as “The Damned,” Prokletije National Park stands in stark contrast to its nomenclature. Tucked away in Montenegro’s northeastern corner, this park reveals itself as a paradise for unparalleled adventure. Dubbed the “Alps of the South of Europe,” it remains one of the most untapped wonders within Montenegro national parks.

Covering an area of 1,660 hectares, Prokletije showcases the zenith of Montenegro’s natural grandeur. It’s where the country’s highest peak, Zla Kolata, stands mightily at 2,534 meters above sea level, challenging mountaineers with its altitude.

View of Prokletije Mountains in Montenegro.

Activities on the mountain

With over 20 peaks surpassing 2,500 meters, and adding the Grlja River’s canyon to the mix the park offers a thrilling arena for those daring enough to navigate its terrain.

Beyond its imposing peaks and gorges, Prokletije National Park boasts tranquil spots, epitomized by the Lake Hrid or the Lake of Happiness. This heart-shaped lake, besides being a natural wonder, is also home to legends of forest fairies. Legend has it that this lake is imbued with a magical charm that grants wishes.

The tales of romantic proposals near the Ali Pasha’s springs and the binding power of a “yes” uttered there only add to the park’s enchantment.

As the youngest national park in Montenegro, Prokletije has over 1,700 plant species making it heaven for anyone interested in botany.

Diving deep into the heart of the Balkans, the Montenegro National Parks reveal many wonders which few corners of the world can rival with. Each park shows Montenegro’s raw and untamed beauty in a different way. Our nation’s soul rests in these sanctuaries, with every glacial lake and soaring peak singing a song of ancient traditions and landscapes. So what are you waiting for, book a stay at CUE Podgorica and start planning a thrilling adventure.

Annual ticket for all five National Parks is 13.50 euros and you can buy it here.