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How To Spend 48 Hours in Durmitor National Park

Nevidio canyon in Montenegro
Nevidio canyon in Montenegro | © Alexander Nikiforov / Alamy Stock Photo
It is no exaggeration to say that a lifetime could be spent happily exploring Montenegro’s Durmitor National Park. Not all of us have that much time to spare unfortunately, and 48 hours might have to suffice. Don’t waste a moment.

Two days will fly by in Durmitor National Park. The huge verdant oasis is full of activities both thrilling and tranquil in manner, and it is entirely up to you which way around you tick them off. Here is how we recommend spending 48 hours in Montenegro’s magical mountains.

Day one: Embrace the magnificent natural attractions

Morning: A spot of hiking to kick things off

Going to Durmitor and not enjoying a little bit of hiking would be akin to visiting Paris and not bothering with the Eiffel Tower, and all that remains is deciding when in your trip to hit the trails. Why not make it your first port of call? The trails in the park are some of the best defined in Europe, and the combination of morning freshness and initial excitement will make for some truly magical moments.

The earlier you can start, the better. There are few more inspiring sights in the region than the morning sun causing the Durmitor landscape to glisten. Durmitor is the sort of place that whisks visitors off their feet, and hiking to the many peaks first thing will leave you practically defenceless — in the best way of course.

Durmitor National Park © Ky0n Cheng / Flickr

Afternoon: A tour of the lakes

Nature is king in Durmitor National Park, and its 18 glacial lakes might just be the particularly gorgeous jewel in that most effervescent of crowns. It is highly unlikely you will be able to visit all 18 in an afternoon without flying past some, so pick and choose your spots depending on mood and location.

If you prefer to spend the entire afternoon lazing by one of the lakes, the Black Lake (Crno Jezero) absolutely must take that honour. The magnificent body of water is found at the food of the imposing Međed Peak, the mountain that shadows it and gives it its name. It is one of the most impressive natural attractions in all Europe, let alone Durmitor National Park.

The glorious Black Lake in Durmitor National Park © Mario Micklisch / Flickr

Evening: Food, food, food

Rather than split the afternoon and evening into two distinct periods, we suggest spending a little more time enjoying the striking lakes of the park. When you’ve had your fill of gazing at gorgeous water, head back to Žabljak for a filling evening meal at one of the park’s best restaurants. Don’t skimp on the courses either — you will need your fuel for the action coming on day two.

Lupo D'Argento is the most stylish restaurant in the area © Lupo D'Argento

Night: Relax! You’ll need it…

With adrenaline-pumping activities planned for the second day, we recommend getting plenty of rest on your first night. Find a nice spot to watch the sun go down over the mountains, revelling in the sheer romance of the place with a sumptuous glass of wine or bottle of rakija. Be sure not to overindulge, as there can’t be many things worse than adventure spots with a hangover.

Day two: Time to get that adrenaline pumping

Morning: The magnificence of Tara Canyon (from the safety of a zip line)

Day two will be full of excitement and adventure, all of which takes place in the surroundings of Europe’s deepest canyon. The Tara River Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring destinations on the planet, a dramatic explosion of nature that pummels you with verdant cliffs and soothes with glimmering emerald water.

There are many ways to enjoy the canyon, the simplest of which is driving across the civil engineering miracle that is the Đurđevića Bridge. That is exciting enough, but we recommend taking a deep breath and making your way across via zip line. The views are enough to calm the nerves and the spike of excitement is extremely difficult to replicate. You won’t regret it.

Durdevica Tara arc bridge in the mountains, Montenegro. © Tetiana Vitsenko / Alamy Stock Photo

Afternoon: A spot of rafting on the Tara

What better way to enjoy the spectacular waters of the Tara River than right in its heart? You don’t need to be a white water expert to enjoy a spot of rafting on this famous waterway. It has been said that rafting on the Tara is the most popular activity in the country. Why wouldn’t it be? It is equal parts exhilarating and easing, as serene as it is stimulating.

If you are more into culture than capers, eschew the adrenaline-pumping in favour of a little grave spotting. No ordinary graves however, as Durmitor is home to some extremely unusual cemeteries that date back to the 12th century. Known as stećci, these intricately marked tombs are some of the most important sites of their kind.

River Tara in Montenegro, Europe. © Vladyslav Starozhylov / Alamy Stock Photo

Evening: Watch the sun go down from Žabljak

With more than enough adventure packed into the day, the time has come to head back to Žabljak and reminisce in idyllic surroundings. There are few better places from which to watch the sun go down than the mountains around here. It’ll likely be halfway through the sunset by which point you mull over whether or not to book an extra night. Be sure to check out a different restaurant on night two, making the most of Montenegro’s varied fare.

Night: Crack open the rakija and party

With no adrenaline activities scheduled for whatever day three holds, this is the perfect time to bust out the bottle of rakija and sample the region’s most important liquid. The fruit brandy is the lifeblood of the Balkans and a mandatory ingredient in celebrations of all kinds. You don’t really need to be celebrating to indulge — you can use a successful trip to Durmitor National Park as reason enough to drink a glass or four. Good luck with the head the next morning!