Jetties & Gorges
It’s virtually impossible to read a travel article without Montenegro being crowned the new ‘it’ destination and for a very good reason. Montenegro is a country whose scenery would not look out of place in a fairy tale. Not even 300km long, this tiny country is full of incredible beauty and diversity; of soaring peaks and deep canyons; of fjord-like bays and emerald-green lakes; of lively history and passionate locals. Make no mistakes this is a country with a huge amount of charisma.
On this tour you will get to explore the heart and soul of this miniscule nation. Jump from old stone jetties on the shores of Kotor Bay for a spot of wild swimming; get lost in the labyrinth of stone-paved alleys and in ancient squares in the old walled towns of Kotor and Budva; marvel at the panoramic views from Lovćen National Park; visit the largest wetlands in the Balkens, Lake Skadar; explore the primeval forest of Biogradska Gora National Park, the dramatic gorges of Tara Canyon and the rugged limestone peaks of Durmitor National Park. Be prepared to be utterly enchanted by this tiny nation.
- Flights: Direct return flights from UK regional airports to Tivat (TIV)
- Transport: Car hire from airport pick-up to airport drop-off
- Accommodation: 7 nights in a charming hotel, eco-lodge or apartment
- Meals: Breakfasts where stated
- Trip Pack: Key family-friendly information about the country you are visiting with recommended activity links, places to eat and fun facts.
- Explore breath-taking Kotor Bay by land and by sea
- Stroll the cobbled lanes of Kotor and Budva and dine on fresh seafood in Perast
- Visit the old royal capital of Cetinje and the bird paradise of Lake Skadar
- Hike in Biogradska Gora National Park with its picturesque lakes and meadows
- Visit turquoise Tara Canyon – the longest and deepest gorge in Europe
- Explore the stunning limestone massif of Durmitor National Park
- Take advantage of a wealth of optional activities such as kayaking, zip-lining, white-water rafting, horse riding, mountain biking and more.
- When can we go? April to October
- What type of tour is it? Self-drive
- Who is it suitable for? For active families that enjoy nature, beaches, hiking, mountains and lakes.
- What is the minimum age? We would recommend a minimum age of 6 years due to the time spent driving and the physical nature of the trip. Please check the recommended activities as the minimum ages will differ.
We publish ‘guideline prices’ for both the high and low season to give a reasonable estimate of what you might expect to pay per person based on a family of four (two adults, two children). To get an accurate price based on your estimated departure date and party size please contact us directly.
Guide Price: Apr & Oct - £468pp
Guide Price: May to Sept - £737pp
After your direct flight from the UK, pick-up your car from the airport and transfer to your accommodation. It’s time to unwind and relax with perhaps a dip in the swimming pool before a walk around the bay into Kotor old town for your first taste of Montenegrin cuisine. Kotor exudes a special atmosphere. It’s like stepping on to a movie set with its marble piazzas and narrow cobbled streets filled with restaurants, art galleries and craft shops. There is often live music, street theatre and concerts - perfect for keeping the children entertained.
This day trip takes you way up high with breath-taking views so make sure your camera is fully charged. Today will be spent in Lovćen National Park, home of the black mountain that gives Montenegro its name. It’s a steep climb to the top where the mausoleum of ruler Petar II Petrović Njegoš peers down from the heights like a guarding sentry. The 461 steps to the top will certainly get the muscles working. On a clear day you can see across the lunar landscape into Croatia and Albania. Down on the slopes of Mount Lovćen, the village of Njeguši with its old stone houses is well-known for its prosciutto and cheese and is a great a stop for lunch.
In the afternoon you could follow one of the numerous hiking trails in the national park or turn up the adrenaline levels with an optional excursion to the nearby high ropes course. This has a series of ropes trails varying in difficulty but all lots of fun swinging between the tree tops on zip wires and rope ladders. Maybe time to release your inner Tarzan?
Fun Facts: Once a year part of the road from Kotor to Cetinje (the section with the hair-raising 25 serpentines) is used in the Montenegrin Car Racing Championship.
Optional Activities: Adventure Park with its zip lines and rope swings.
You have the morning free to explore the beautiful shoreline of Kotor Bay. We would recommend driving or cycling (cycle hire available locally) around the peninsula towards Prčanj and Donji Stoliv. Here exists a blissful existence perhaps unchanged for centuries. Local fish restaurants line the waterside and wooden jetties provide the perfect opportunity for the whole family to enjoy wild swimming in the bay. No modern day electronics required here - just family holidays as they are meant to be.
In the afternoon make the 20 minute journey in the opposite direction to the postcard-perfect town of Perast. This enchanting town is precipitously balanced between the imposing mountains and the cerulean sea. Rich in Venetian inspired architecture it houses sixteen Baroque palaces and seventeen churches. We recommend taking the ferry boat over to Our Lady of the Rocks Island, where the views back to the mainland can only be described as humbling.
An alternative option for this afternoon would be to take a mussel farm boat tour of Kotor Bay. You start with a boat ride from Kotor to Our Lady of the Rock church in Perast, followed by a stop at a private mussel farm where you will have opportunity to pick, clean, cook and eat the mussels. Lots of love for the slippery molluscs is probably a prerequisite!
Fun Facts: In 1452, two sailors discovered an icon of the Madonna and Child resting on a rock in a shallow part of Kotor Bay. Considering the find ‘a miracle’ the sailors pledged an oath to honour their find with a worthy sanctuary. The sailors dropped stones around the spot and it became a tradition for sailors to drop stones in the water before a voyage to ask the Virgin Mother to bring them safely home. Eventually an islet was formed on which a small chapel, Our Lady of the Rocks, was built.
Optional Activities: Mountain biking around Kotor peninsular, mussel farm boat tour.
Today you leave Kotor Bay behind and head inland via the Adriatic coast to the area of Kolašin where you will spend the night. It’s a journey time of 3 hours so we would suggest breaking the journey up along the way. The first recommended stop is the old Royal capital of Cetinje whose colourful main street is lined with cafes and shops and at the southern end the elegant Blue Palace. Nearby Lipa Cave is great fun for the kids. It is millions of years old and has freakishly amazing stalactites and stalagmites. After Cetinje take a slight detour off the main road towards Lake Skadar where the breathtaking view of the water-lily lined river loops provides a memorable spot for lunch. This area is largely untouched by tourism - just a squadron of pelicans and the odd nun from the nearby medieval island nunnery in her rowing boat. If time allows, you can take a boat trip onto the lake.
After lunch drive through Podgorica. From here the road follows the Morača River with its spectacular near perpendicular canyon. You can make a brief stop at the Morača Monastery to admire the frescoes and to reset the blood pressure levels. Eventually you will come to Kolašin which is the gateway to Biogradska Gora National Park. This pretty town is surrounded by mountains and is a fantastic ski destination in the winter. There is also a fine tradition for cheese making here. Spend the rest of the day acclimatizing and enjoying your eco lodge accommodation.
Fun facts: Inland it is not unusual to have a spring snow storm in the middle of May and the area around Kolašin is one of the most likely places for this to happen.
Optional Activities: Lipa cave with its quirky rock formations, Lake Skadar boat trip.
Today is all about enjoying the patchwork of mountains, lakes and canyons that stitch together inland Montenegro. This is a raw, wild and captivating environment. Spend part of the morning in Biogradska Gora National Park with its rolling hills, glacial lakes, alpine meadows and fragrant forests. This is one of the last primeval rainforests in Europe. You have the option of using your own two legs to explore or taking a horse riding excursion. Just saddle up and start climbing! Perfect for families is the 3.5km hike around Biogradska Gora Lake.
Next head towards Žabljak where the road follows the Tara river canyon with its jaw-dropping viewpoints. The largest part of the river is under UNESCO protection as part of Durmitor National Park. This is an area of unspoilt beauty; of crystal clear waters and pristine waterfalls; of thick rainforest slopes and birds darting & dancing to their own song. It’s feels a bit like you have mysteriously woken up in the middle of a Disney film - probably Snow White. Make a stop by the historic and elegant Tara Bridge, 172 m above the Tara River. Here the boats floating past below look like nut shells transporting ants. You have the option of taking an exhilarating zip line across the canyon. Look out for stalls selling homemade rakija (fruit brandy) or med (local honey) on the final part of the journey.
After a quick stop for refueling, then head towards Durmitor National Park to explore Black Lake. This is a serene and peaceful spot where the colours radiating from the clear water combine with the reflections of the mountains to make it truly special. You can follow a 4km trail around the perimeter of the lake, weaving in and out of the forests. The kids have around 50 types of mammals to spot although it’s highly unlikely they’ll spot bears or wolves which may be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. The cable car to the top of nearby Savin Kuk will give you amazing views of the carved limestone landscape that surrounds this area. Then it’s time to give your tired feet a well-earned rest.
Fun Facts: Kolasin is a stop on the famous Belgrade to Bar railway line. The much revered Yugoslavian leader, Tito, adored this route so much that he had his own ‘Blue Train’ specially crafted for it.
Optional Activities: Horse riding, zip lining and taking a ride on a cable car.
Today you have the option of heading back into Durmitor National Park or turning up the activity notch with a thrilling white-water rafting experience. This is one of the most exhilarating family activities you can do in Montenegro. The kids will have an absolute blast and you should only gain a couple more grey hairs. But hey ho – you only live once! You will be fully kitted out and given a detailed safety briefing before you go to make sure you are happy. The river is fed primarily from a spring via the mountain ice and is incredibly cold! It will certainly take your breath away if you have the misfortune of falling in!
Afterwards it is time to head back to the coastal delights of Kotor where you have the rest of the day free to explore or relax by the pool.
Fun Facts: The Tara River is considered moderately ‘wild’ in the spring months of April/May/June due to the high water levels. The levels lower from July making this the best family-friendly time to raft.
Optional Activities: White water rafting.
Today takes a more leisurely pace following the adventures of the last few days. You can choose between staying in Kotor for an optional kayaking trip or exploring the walled towns of the Adriatic Coast. The kayaking option combines cliff jumping & kayaking with a stop at beach café to relax – around 3 hours of action in all.
If you decide to head over to the coast then your first stop is Budva where you can explore the cobbled lanes of the old town. From Budva harbour you can take a boat over to Sveti Nikola Island, with its beautiful secret beaches and crystal clear waters which are great for snorkelling. A few miles down the coast is Sveti Stefan which is perhaps the grandest walled town on the Adriatic Coast. It’s a combination of creamy stone walls, terracotta roofs and sapphire waters that make it so perfect. It’s now a luxurious Aman resort, meaning it’s off-limits to all but paying guests but you can use the public beach and certainly enjoy the views for free. Enjoy the rest of the day back in Kotor where you can shop for souvenirs and catch up on street theatre and ice cream.
Fun Facts: In the Sixties and Seventies, the Montenegrin coastline was the St-Tropez of the Adriatic, where the likes of Sophia Loren, Princess Margaret, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor holidayed.
Optional Activities: Boat trip to Sveti Nikola Island, kayaking tour of Kotor Bay.
After one last breakfast in the sun it is time to head back to the airport, drop off the car and catch your direct flight home.
Wandering Tribe has travelled to all of the destinations that we feature and we like nothing better than talking about them. If you would like further information about these tours or a tailor-made quote then please contact us on 07392 742333. Alternatively you can fill in the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.