On backpacking and hitchhiking to Durmitor National Park in Montenegro
After Russia, Montenegro was probably the country I was most looking forward to visiting on this trip. I think I had dreamed of going to Montenegro since I was 17.
My sister and I were both living in Germany at the time and were planning a trip somewhere, but when I suggested Montenegro she told me it was too dangerous and we would have to go to Dublin instead. So we did, because older sisters.
One decade later and I finally made it to Montenegro! And wow did it not disappoint.
First stop: the mountains!
Dan and I hitchhiked from our campsite on the Drina River in Bosnia into Montenegro, during which I spent a good 30 minutes with my face pressed against the window, mouth open in awe (thanks for the ride, sorry for drooling on your window!).
Forget Norway, I think Montenegro might just be the most beautiful country in the world. (Do I say that about every country? Well I swear this time it’s true!)
Getting to Durmitor National Park
Another superlative Montenegro can proudly claim is easiest country to hitchhike in. I thought I had found rides ridiculously quickly in Hungary and Macedonia, but in Montenegro we consistently got rides with the very first car that saw us. Not that I would have minded waiting around longer in the gorgeous places we hitched from.
In the end, however, it turned out hitchhiking in Montenegro might be too easy.
When our driver kept saying something about sneg I assumed he was telling us that the Durmitor mountains were really pretty now and still had snow on them. But after a long (and beautiful) drive high up into the mountains he pulled over in Trsa and found someone to explain to us in English that we couldn’t actually take this road to our intended campsite in Zabljak because the road had been closed after the recent snowstorm.
After some more hitchhiking, a long hike, and some confusing directions we realized that we would have to walk back down the mountain to where we started to hopefully catch a ride around the mountain on a bigger road that wasn’t closed off.
At least the drive up had been worth it. I mean, how pretty is Trsa?
In any other country this probably would have meant we’d have to camp by the side of the road, but since we were in Montengro we found rides into Durmitor in no time!
Camping in Durmitor National Park
There are lots of cute inns and mountain lodges around Durmitor, but if you’re visiting the park in the summer you can also camp! Camping in Durmitor National Park was a bucket list item for me, so it was exciting to actually get there and set up my tent.
We camped at a campsite on the outskirts of Durmitor National Park’s entrance, though when I one day (hopefully!) return to the Balkans with a car I would want to stay farther away in Savnic, which is a beautiful small town much more charming than Zabljak, which is a ski resort town that felt strange to stay in out of season.
Not that I’m complaining, because staying in Zabljak meant being within easy walking distance to Durmitor. And these beautiful Durmitor views:
No more camping outside a national park we couldn’t actually make it to!
And thank goodness for that, because Durmitor definitely shouldn’t be missed. It might be a bit off the usual tourist track in Montenegro – as in, it’s not the Bay of Kotor – but the landscape is beautiful and so unique! I loved being high up in the mountains again, and then it was quite easy to get from Durmitor down to the Bay of Kotor.
Have you been to Montenegro yet?