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Discover the Mountains of Montenegro with a Cicerone guidebook - Introduction

Cover of The Mountains of Montenegro
Availability
Published
Published
8 May 2015
ISBN
9781852847319
Edition
Second
Size
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
Weight
280g
Pages
256
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The Mountains of Montenegro

A Walker's and Trekker's Guide

by Rudolf Abraham
Book published by Cicerone Press

This guidebook to Montenegro includes 17 walks and trekking routes throughout the Dinaric Alps, in Montenegro's five national parks as well as Orjen, Komovi, Tara Canyon and the UNESCO-listed old town of Kotor. The circular and linear routes range from easy hour-long outings to challenging 5-day treks involving exposure and scrambling.

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Description

This guidebook includes a range of day-walks and multi-day treks throughout the Dinaric Alps of Montenegro. These mountains are some of the wildest, most spectacular, and least visited in Europe. Nevertheless they are easily accessible, and many areas have well-marked trails. They present an opportunity to travel through outstandingly beautiful and remarkably unspoilt natural scenery, which sees few visitors. The guide covers the most spectacular mountain areas in Montenegro, with a selection of circular and linear routes, with variants and extensions.

The guide also includes generous background information, including mountain huts and shelters, travel to and within the country, history and language, as well as what to expect in the various mountains and National Parks the routes explore. This is the first comprehensive English-language guide to walking in this beautiful area, and provides and ideal gateway into Montenegrin adventures.

  • Activities
    Day walks, multi-day treks
  • Seasons
    June to September (mountains have moderate summer temperatures and abundant snowfall in winter).
  • Centres
    Durmitor National Park - Žabljak Prokletije National Park - Gusinje Biogradska Gora National Park - Mojkovac Lake Skadar National Park - Virpazar Lovćen National Park - Kotor or Cetinje Orjen - Herceg Novi
  • Difficulty
    Routes range from easy day walks to extended and more challenging multi-day mountain treks. All routes are graded. No special equipment required.
  • Must See
    Montenegro's five national parks - Durmitor, Prokletije (on the the Albanian border), Biogradska gora, Lovćen and Lake Skadar (the largest lake in the Balkans, plentiful birdlife), as well as several other areas including Orjen, Komovi, Kučka krajina, Tara Canyon (the deepest canyon in Europe). UNESCO-listed old town of Kotor, on Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor).
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Contents

Contents
Introduction
Geography
Geology
Climate
Vegetation and wildlife
History
Culture
Food and drink
Language
Getting to Montenegro
Local transport
Accommodation
Money
Staying in touch
Walking in Montenegro
What to take
Maps
Trail markings
National parks
Safety in the mountains
Using this guide
Orjen
Route 1 Subra
Stage 1 Kameno – Vratlo Hut
Stage 2 Vratlo Hut – Subra (return)
Stage 3 Vratlo Hut – Kabao (return)
Stage 4 Vratlo Hut – Kameno
Route 2 Zubački kabao
Further Possibilities
Lovćen
Route 3 Jezerski vrh
Route 4 Kotor fortress
Lake Skadar
Route 5 Rumija
Further Possibilities
Durmitor
Route 6 Central Durmitor
Stage 1 Žabljak – Lokvice
Stage 2 Lokvice – Terzin bogaz (return)
Stage 3 Lokvice – Bobotov kuk (return)
Stage 4 Lokvice – Minin bogaz (return)
Stage 5 Lokvice – Ledena pećina (return)
Stage 6 Lokvice – Samar (return)
Stage 7 Lokvice – Žabljak
Route 7 Durmitor Circuit (via Škrčko jezero)
Stage 1 Lokvice – Škrčko jezero
Stage 2 Škrčko jezero – Jablan jezero
Stage 3 Jablan jezero – Žabljak
Route 8 Durmitor Circuit (via Velika Struga)
Stage 1 Lokvice – Donja Ališnica
Stage 2 Donja Ališnica Žabljak
Day walks from Žabljak
Bjelasica
Route 9 Biogradsko jezero
Route 10 Biogradska gora
Stage 1 Biogradsko jezero – Pešića jezero
Stage 2 Pešića jezero – Trešnjevik
Further Possibilities
Komovi
Route 11 Komovi
Stage 1 Trešnjevik – Štavna
Stage 2 Štavna – Kom Vasojevićki (return)
Stage 3 Štavna – Kom Ljevoriječki (return)
Stage 4 Štavna – Trešnjevik
Kučka Krajina (Žijevo)
Route 12 Kučka Krajina
Stage 1 Veruša – Bukumirsko jezero
Stage 2 Bukumirsko jezero – nameless pass (return)
Stage 3 Bukumirsko jezero – Štitan (return)
Stage 4 Bukumirsko jezero – Maglić (return)
Stage 5 Bukumirsko jezero – Veruša
Further Possibilities
Visitor
Route 13 Visitor from Plav
Further Possibilities
Prokletije
Route 14 Volušnica
Route 15 Krošnja and Karanfili
Route 16 Kotao
Route 17 Ropojana Valley and Jezero
Further Possibilities
 
Appendix A Mountain areas, major peaks and long-distance routes
Appendix B Further reading
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Language notes and glossary
Appendix E History of Montenegro

Introduction

Few parts of Europe are so little known as the countries lying between the Danube and the northern frontier of Greece.

Sir J Gardner Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro (London, 1848)

‘Ljepši od Alpa’ – ‘more beautiful than the Alps’. This description of Montenegro’s mountains was given to me by a Croatian climber, in the most congenial setting of a wedding, just over the Slovenian border. And it was these words, together with a postcard of improbably sheer-sided peaks in Durmitor, the country’s best-known mountain area, which first drew me to Montenegro, while living in Zagreb between 1999 and 2001.

Montenegro (or more correctly Crna gora, ‘black mountain’) lies on the southern Adriatic coast, sandwiched between Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia and Albania; and within its borders are some of the wildest, most spectacular, and least visited mountains in Europe.

So I wrote in the introduction to the first edition of this guide, back in 2006. And remarkably, with the exception of Durmitor National Park which in recent years has seen a healthy surge in visitor numbers, the last part of that sentence remains just as true now, as I write material for a new edition in 2014, as it did then. It’s true that Montenegro’s popularity as a travel destination has grown enormously over the past few years – new guidebooks have appeared, low-cost direct flights to Podgorica have been launched from the UK, luxurious new hotels and marinas have sprung up. However, while Budva, Kotor, Sv Stefan and other hotspots on the coast heave with sun-seekers and receive a regular stream of cruise ships, much of the rest of the country – and in particular its mountains – remains little visited.

Most of the surface area of the country is taken up by the Dinaric Alps – a great string of mountains, extending in furrowed ranges from Slovenia and Croatia in the north, and reaching their greatest altitude in inland Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. Rising in some places almost sheer from the Adriatic, these mountains throw themselves up in soaring, jagged limestone tops, and have alternately been compared to strings of pearls, and to the entrance to hell itself. The fierce, rugged character of the Montenegrin highlands is reflected in the name of the mountains running along the northern part of the Albanian border: Prokletije, meaning ‘the accursed mountains’. Yet the landscape is also rich in wildlife and plants, from the diverse birdlife of Skadarso jezero to the primeval forest of Biogradska gora.

The mountains of Montenegro are at their most impressive in the inland areas of Durmitor and Prokletije, where the stunning terrain typically consists of glacial cirques surrounded by fine ridges – often wonderfully exposed – and steep-sided 2000–2500m peaks, some of which require a degree of scrambling to ascend. High pastures, often scattered with stone or wooden shepherd’s huts (known locally as katun), give way to valleys, the lower slopes of which are cloaked in dense pine and beech forest, and picturesque lakes. Between these mountain areas, the landscape is slashed by deep canyons – one of which, the Tara, is the second deepest in the world.

Like the mountains of neighbouring Croatia, Slovenia and other countries of the former Yugoslavia, the mountains of Montenegro are criss-crossed by well-established, clearly marked trails. There are some mountain huts and shelters, although considerably fewer than in Croatia or Slovenia (many of the walks in this guide require carrying a tent), and detailed maps are available for many of the most popular hiking areas.

Montenegro is easily reached from the UK – either a direct flight to Podgorica, or via Dubrovnik – and costs within the country are relatively low. Added to these already considerable attractions are the country’s many other, perhaps better-known assets – a beautiful coastline, fascinating history and some impressive architecture. The proximity of Croatia and its own lovely coast and mountains might be added as a further lure…

It is hoped that this guidebook – at the time of writing the second edition, still the only comprehensive English-language guide available to the mountains of Montenegro – will enable more people to visit this remarkable area, and shed some light on what is, quite simply, one of the finest walking destinations in Europe.

MONTENEGRO – KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

Country name: Crna gora

Capital: Podgorica

Language: Serbian

Currency: Euro

Population: 625,266 (2011 census)

Surface area: 14,026km

Time zone: GMT + 1hr

National Day: 13 July

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