Durmitor National Park draws thrill-seekers from all around the world. However, not only thrill-seekers but also those who just like to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains. It has it all!
From swimming, or driving boat on the Black Lake, easy hikes, and chasing viewpoints to exposed rock scrambling and exhilarating hikes, cycling, zipline, and rafting through the deepest canyon in Europe.
Here you can find everything you need to know about Durmitor National Park. This is an in-depth guide for the biggest protected area in Montenegro.
How to get to the national park with or without the car, when is the best time to visit it, what to do and see, where to stay and where to eat. We have covered it all!
If you have any questions write them in the comments or send us a message through our contact form.
Where is Durmitor National Park
Durmitor National Park is located in Northwestern Montenegro, next to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Out of 5 national parks in the country, this is Montenegro’s largest protected area.
Durmitor is part of the big mountain chain of the Dinaric Alps. The name Durmitor comes from Celtic words ‘dru mi tore’ which means ‘a mountain full of water’. And yes, its stunning landscape is shaped by rivers, numerous underground springs, and lakes. There are 18 glacier lakes at the altitude above 1500 meters, among which Black Lake is the biggest. The Black Lake is situated next to Zabljak, a small mountain town, and a ski resort.
Besides lakes, the rivers Tara, Draga, Sucica and Komarnica and its canyons are the reason why you cannot miss visiting Durmitor National Park. They are hidden gems of Durmitor, and masterpiece of mother nature!
This national park is heaven for hikers as there are around 50 peaks over 2 000 peaks to climb to, and numerous well-marked hiking trails to explore.
How to get to Durmitor National Park
The nearest airport to Durmitor National Park is in Podgorica (143 km), the capital of Montenegro. The second nearest is in Sarajevo (161 km), the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides these two, there is also an airport in Tivat (171 km, Montenegro), Dubrovnik (190 km, Croatia) and Mostar (225 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina) that are fairly close to the national park.
The best way to get to Durmitor is by car. Traveling by car will allow you to make as many stops for photographs, or just to enjoy in the landscape, as you wish. And believe me, you will want that!
If you want to explore all the canyons, lakes, and numerous hiking trails, you would need a car.
Also, think about doing Durmitor Ring, the panoramic road around the mountain (83 km). If you’re coming from Sarajevo you can do one part of the ring on your way to Zabljak and the rest on your return.
In short, get by car or rent it at the airport.
But, if you’re without a car, some busses lines will take you to Zabljak, a small town on Durmitor Mountain.
How to get to Durmitor National Park without a car
Few direct bus lines will take you straight to Zabljak. Or try some private transfers.
There are daily buses from places in Montenegro, like Podgorica, Niksic, Pljevlja, Mojkovac, Kotor and Herceg Novi. Some of them are more and others less frequent. Make sure to check sites Rome2Rio and BusTicket4me to see the schedule. Please note that some local buses don’t have an updated online schedule. Therefore, you might have more time options when you check it at the bus station.
Are you wondering how to get to Durmitor National Park from Dubrovnik? You should take a bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor or Herceg Novi and then to Zabljak.
And how to get to Durmitor National Park from Sarajevo? Take a bus from Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to Niksic (Montenegro), and then change the bus to get to Zabljak.
The ticket prices go from EUR 6 – EUR 20.
Podgorica – Zabljak
Time: around 3h
Ticket price: around EUR 10
Niksic – Zabljak
Time: around 2 h
Ticket price: EUR 6
Kotor – Zabljak
Time: 4h, operates from around mid-June
Ticket price: around EUR 15
The bus station is in the center of town. Don’t worry, Zabljak is a small mountain town, and it is very easy to navigate around.
How to travel around Durmitor National Park without a car
Even though you don’t have a car, it doesn’t mean you will miss out on attractions in the national park. It’s possible to explore Durmitor without a car.
For example, in Zabljak you can hire a local taxi to the Tara Canyon viewpoint (around EUR 10 return trip), to Sedlo (EUR 15), and Todorov Do (EUR 25). Or anywhere else you wish to go around Durmitor. Taxi drivers have their stop at the bus station or in front of the Zabljak Hotel.
Getting to the famous Tara Bridge, where you can see Tara River and try a zipline, is possible by a local bus heading in the direction of Pljevlja / Belgrade. The bus goes several times a day, and the price of the ticket is approx. EUR 2. Make sure to ask for the return time!
Finally, you can rent a bike in town for EUR 1.5 – EUR 3 per hour. You can cycle into the national park to the Black Lake, and along the lake. However, have in mind if you decide to cycle around the lake, that you will have to carry a bike across some sections.
Also, take a bike ride through surrounding villages, and inside and outside the national park. You can get to great viewpoints!
When to go to the Durmitor National Park
The best time to visit Durmitor National Park is from mid-June to October. This is the time that is most suitable for hiking, and many other activities, such as swimming, rafting, kayaking, cycling, etc.
It is the summer season, but also the best time to explore it. It’s is less rain and more sunny days. Also, the days are longer, which is perfect for long hikes. The season in the national park is officially open from June.
Summer months are quite busy but don’t worry you can still find trails where you will meet just a few hikers.
Durmitor National Park is also very special in winter months. It’s great to experience it in summer & winter. Just 5 km from Zabljak there is a ski resort Savin Kuk. Two ski lifts will bring you to an altitude of 2,213 meters. Of course, the second lift is only for well-experienced skiers. In summer the lift is used for panoramic drive.
On the other hand, in winter hiking trails are officially closed, from around mid-November until June. You can only go if you have all the necessary winter gear (ice axe, crampons,etc.). And, if you book an experienced guide, or you’re going on an organized excursion by a mountain club in winter conditions.
Winter on Durmitor, and at its many high peaks, can be very rough. Especially, because trails don’t have winter markation, so you can easily get lost if you’re not familiar with this area.
Things to do and see in Durmitor National Park
Below you will see a list, and then we will go into details with each activity and attraction that should be on your bucket list. Combining things from this list you can make your itinerary.
- Durmitor National Park Best Hiking Routes (day hikes)
- Durmitor National Park Wildlife
- Durmitor National Park Cycling
- Tara Canyon & Tara Bridge
- Durmitor National Park zipline
- Durmitor National Park white river rafting
- Durmitor National Park swimming
- Ice Cave in Durmitor National Park
- Durmitor National Park Lakes
- Boat drive and kayaking at the lake
Durmitor National Park Tickets Important Information
The entrance fee per person is EUR 3 per day. There are also options to buy a 3-day (EUR 6), 7-day (EUR 12), and 15-day (EUR 20) ticket.
Where to buy a ticket for Durmitor National Park?
The main entrance to the national park is a 20-minute walk from the center of Zabljak, towards the Black Lake. Another option is to buy it from rangers that are standing at the trailheads or endings. For example, there is always a ranger at Sedlo, (trailhead for Bobotov Peak).
On the other hand, it’s not possible to buy a multiday ticket from a ranger, you need to buy if at the main entrance.
Please have in mind that even when you stop to take a photo in the national park while driving on the road Trsa-Zabljak, a ranger can ask for a ticket, and demand you to buy it.
Hiking in Durmitor National Park
There are some easy hikes but also hikes with chain-assisted rock scrambling sections and vertigo-inducing heights. Equally stunning in some way, all hikes offer amazing views either of either glacial lakes, lush-green alpine meadows, thick pine, and fir forest, or 2,000 meters + barren rocky peaks, and 360-degree views.
With around 50 peaks over 2,000 meters, Durmitor Mountain draws adventure seekers and mountain lovers from all around the world to explore it. The highest peak and the most popular hike is Bobotov Kuk, situated at 2,523 meters (8,277 ft.).
You can choose from a loop or point-to-point hikes. All trails are well-marked. That being said, invest EUR 5 in a very useful foldable map of all hiking trails in Durmitor National Park. You can buy it in the tourist info center next to Zabljak Hotel in the center.
Even if the weather looks clear in the morning, be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. This is especially important for the hikes that are majority or whole going across a barren, rocky landscape. You don’t want to be on the top, or scrambling up/down the exposed parts during thunder and lightning.
Therefore, make sure to go on these hikes early in the morning, so you will finish the hike before the weather changes. Best of all, the trails will not be busy.
We recommend you to follow the weather for a few days to see when the clouds start accumulating. Best applications are yr.no and vrijeme & radar (very accurate and you can even see movements of clouds).
Below you will see a few recommendations of Durmitor National Park hiking routes we have walked. But still, there is more to explore.
Easy hikes in Durmitor National Park
- Black Lake Loop Hike
Distance: 4 km
Length of time: 2h
- Zminje Lake
Distance: 4 km (one way)
Length of time: 1h and 30 min
Trailhead: Black Lake (go on the right side and you will see the turn for the trail toward Zminje Lake)
- Savin Kuk Peak
Distance: around 5 km (one way)
Length of time: 2h and 30 min
Trailhead: ski lift
It’s possible to take a ski lift very close to the top (EUR 8). You will come to an altitude of 2,213 meters. In around 20-minute walk you can be at the top, at 2,313 meters (7588 ft).
Moderately difficult to challenging hikes
- Bobotov Kuk (2.522 m) – Durmitor National Park highest peak
From less (1 and 2) to a more difficult trail (3).
1. Sedlo – Zeleni Vir – Bobotov Kuk (moderately difficult)
Distance: 5.6 km (one way)
Time: around 4 h (one way), 7h (two ways)
2. Dobri Do – Urdeni Do – Zeleni Vir – Bobotov Kuk (moderately difficult)
Distance: 5 km (one way)
Time: 3h and 30 minutes (one way)
Combine 1 & 2
Sedlo – Zeleni Vir – Bobotov Kuk – Zeleni Vir- Urdeni Do – Dobri Do
Distance: 9 km
3. Black Lake – Stari Mlin – Lokvice – Ice Cave – Valoviti Do – Bobotov Kuk (very challenging)
Distance: 9 km (one way)
Time: 6h (one way)
For 1 and 2 need to have a car or hire a taxi in Zabljak. It is around a 30-minute drive to Sedlo and a 35-minute drive to Urdeni Do. The taxi will cost around EUR 15 to Sedlo.
- Prutas Peak (2.393 m)
1. Sarban – Skrcko Zdrijelo – Prutas (moderately difficult)
Distance: 8.30 km
Time: 6h and 30 min (totally)
2. Todorov Do – Prutas (challenging)
Distance: 4.5 km
Time: 5 h (totally)
If you get a taxi in Zabljak, you will pay around EUR 25 to get to Todorov Do.
- Prutas Peak & Bobotov Kuk
Sarban – Skrcko Zdrijelo – Samar – Zeleni Vir – Bobotov Kuk – Zeleni Vir- Mlijecni Do – Urdeni Do (challenging)
Around 9 km, 6 hours. Leave the car at Sarban (you will see a wooden cover).
- Terzin Bogaz & Medjed
Black Lake – Velika Kali – Velika Previja – Terzin Bogaz – Velika Previja – Veliki Medjed Peak (South and North Peak) – Velika Previja – Lokvice – Black Lake
Distance: around 15 km
Time: 9 h
In Velika Kali valley there is a beautiful red bivouac, that you can use as your overnight. The bivouac is well equipped and comfortable.
- Susica Canyon & Skrka Lakes
Susicko Lake – Susica Canyon – Skrka (moderately difficult)
Distance: around 7 km
Time: 4 hours (one way)
This trail is part of the Via Dinarica White Trail section across Durmitor Mountain.
Durmitor has an incredibly rich wildlife. Even on the very popular trails, such as the trail to Bobotov Kuk, you can see some wild animals. If you’re lucky, in the early morning or late afternoon it’s possible to spot a chamois (wild, mountain goat). Beautiful and agile animals on very rough terrain. Incredible!
Besides wild goats, this mountain is home for many other animals, such as brown bear, grey wolf, deer, rabbit, wild boar, fox, otter, and around 170 different birds.
Therefore, don’t forget to pack a binocular!
From easy to moderate and challenging cycling trails, mountain biking is a great way to explore Durmitor.
Also, you can rent a bike at several places in Zabljak and explore the surrounding of this beautiful mountain town. The price for renting a bike is around EUR 1.5 – 3 per hour.
We would recommend buying a map of Durmitor in the tourist info center in Zabljak (EUR 5).
See some of the cycling tours in and around Durmitor National Park below.
1. Zabljak (1436 m) – Virak (1462m) – Pasina Voda (1547 m) – Sedlo (1907 m) – Dobri Do (1722 m) – Prijespa (1884 m) – Pisce – Trsa – Nedajno (1439 m) – Susicko Lake (1164 m) – Ograde kolibe (1595) – Crna Gora (1533 m) – viewpoint V. Stuoc (1962) – Poljane (1472) – footbal field, Hotel Zabljak (1436 m).
There are a few difficult ascents, and parts with a narrow gravel path.
Distance: 86 km
Time: 8-9 h
2. Zabljak (1436 m) – Podgora (1407) – Majcina Glavica (1517) – Uskoci (1514 m) – Zabljak
Distance: 15 km
Time: 1-2 h
3. Zabljak (1436 m) – Bosaca (1561 m) – Barno Lake (1486 m) – Pitomine (1538 m) – Zabljak
Distance: 12 km
Possible to connect 2 and 3 and get a moderate tour of 25 km, that can be done in 3h.
4. Zabljak (1436 m) – Razvrsje (1525 m) – Moticki Gaj – Virak (1462 m) – Poscenski Kraj (1543 m) – Javorje (1450 m) – Zabljak
Distance: 18 km
5. Zabljak (1436 m) – Njegovudja – Bare Zugica (1420 m) – Riblje Lake – Vrazje Lake – Banske Kuce (1432 m) – Javorje (1450 m) – Hotel Zabljak
Distance: 38 km (only asphalt)
Rafting & Zipline at Tara River
Tara River is flowing through the deepest canyon in Europe. It is around 1,300 – 1,600 meters deep canyon where some endemic species live, such as European otter.
The Tara River Basin gain international recognition in 1976 when it became a biosphere reserve under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme. And a few years later it became part of Durmitor National Park.
In between all that hiking and cycling take a day or two to explore the national park in another way. Try white river rafting on Tara River and through its pristine canyon.
This could be a one-day or two-day adventure. The two-day adventure starts 3 km upstream from Tara Bridge at Sljivansko. It takes you through 90 km of stunning Tara Canyon with an overnight in the camp at Radovan Luka.
Experience around 40 rapids that are the biggest from March to mid-June. But, don’t worry even when the water level is lower there are still many rapids. The rafting on Tara is always full of adventure, even during the mid and end of summer.
You will see many falls tumbling down into the Tara River, and parts where the canyon is the deepest and most narrow.
There are several tour operators in Zabljak selling rafting on Tara. One-day rafting starts at Sljivansko and finishes at Radovan Luka.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to visit Bosnia afterward, book a rafting tour in some of many camps situated in Bastasi, after the border in Scepan Polje.
The last 20 or so kilometers of Tara Canyon follows the border between Montenegro and Bosnia. Therefore, rafting camps in both countries are selling tours on the Tara River.
One-day rafting from Bosnia starts in Brstanovica and takes you through around 25 km of the Canyon to the border with Bosnia in Scepan Polje, where Tara meets with Piva River and together make Drina River. The camps are situated at the banks of Drina River. Of course, there are also options for two-day rafting through the whole canyon.
One of the best rafting camps in Bosnia we have tried several times is Highlander. Read more about Tara, rafting, and Highlander camp here.
Tara Bridge & Zipline
Tara Bridge is a beautiful bridge from the time of Yugoslavia standing almost 200 meters above the Tara River.
To get here take a 30-minute scenic drive from Zabljak. You can also grab a cab or a local bus that goes toward Pljevlje or Belgrade (Serbia). The bus ticket costs EUR 2.
Close to the bridge, there is a restaurant with a big terrace and a nice view of the bridge. If you come by car I would suggest having a drink or meal in this restaurant, because then you can use their parking lot for free.
The same owner has one more restaurant on the other bank of Tara, also with a great view of the bridge.
Around the bridge, there are several companies offering zipline across the Tara River. I would recommend trying the yellow (700m, EUR 20) or a green one (1,05 km, the longest, EUR 25).
Swimming, kayaking, and boat drive at Black Lake
The Black Lake is fed by underground springs, and in Spring by snow that is melting from Medjed (Bear) Peak rising above the lake.
In Spring it’s possible to see two or three falls, next to each other, tumbling down the slopes of Medjed. Therefore, if there is too much water you can’t cross falls and finish your loop around the lake.
In Summer, the temperature of the lake is comfortable for swimming. Besides swimming the national park offers visitors to rent a boat (EUR 8, 1h) and kayak (EUR 4, 1h for one person, EUR 6, 1 h for two).
Which lakes to visit?
Durmitor mountain has 18 mountain eyes. Some of them you can see while driving on the panoramic road Zabljak- Trsa, but to get to others you need to walk.
Here is a list of our favorite lakes.
- Black Lake
Black Lake is the biggest lake in the national park. It is situated at the altitude of 1416 m, just 2 km away from the center of Zabljak.
Close to the lake is the main entrance in the park, and several hiking trails start from the lake.
- Zminje lake
Zminje or Snake Lake, translated on English, is also like Black Lake situated in the dense fir and pine forest.
It is located close to the Black Lake, just one hour of walk from it. Zminje Lake is much smaller but worth visiting.
From the lake, it’s possible to see Crvena Greda, one of many Durmitor’s peaks.
- Jablan Lake
Jablan Lake is situated in the foothills of Crvena Greda Peak, at the altitude of 1791 m.
From Black Lake, it will take you 2h of easy walk to get to this lake. Or get with your car to Momcilov grad, and from there walk to Jablan Lake, and hike to Crvena Greda.
The view from Crvena Greda is amazing. It gives you a bird’s eye perspective of Jablan Lake, Black Lake, and Zminje Lake.
- Zeleni Vir
Zeleni Vir is a small lake situated in the foothills of Bobotov Kuk at 2028 m.
Summer 2019 was very warm and dry so the lake dried out. I’m not sure does that happens often, but two years ago it was there even in the warmest months.
Sometimes, hikers go for a swim in Zeleni Vir to refresh themselves.
- Malo & Veliko Skrcko Lake
In the natural amphitheater made by Prutas, Sareni Pasovi, Samar, Soa, Bobotov Kuk, Bezimeni Vrh, and Planinica two lakes are hiding. They are known as Skrcko lakes (Big and Small).
Few trails are leading to Skrka, from less to more demanding. The easiest one is from Sarban via Skrcko Zdrijelo.
Between the lakes, there is Skrka Mountain Hut (overnight is EUR 5). It is also possible to camp, but you’re paying EUR 3 because you’re camping inside the national park.
- Susicko Lake
Susicko Lake is situated close to Nedajno Village, and the closest way to approach it from Zabljak is via Bosaca and Crna Gora villages.
It is one of the bigger lakes at Durmitor, but it’s periodical. You can see it probably until mid or end of June.
From the lake starts impressive canyon of Susica River, which is tributary of Tara and goes underground in some sections.
At the lake is a trailhead of the hike to Skrka and Skrcka Lakes (4h). The trail takes you through the canyon of Susica River.
When there is no lake you can see a big, rich green valley and towering ridges of Susica Canyon in front of you. Next to it, there is a nice mountain hut overlooking this stunning landscape.
Visit Ice Cave
The Ice Cave is a cave situated at the altitude of 2160 m, very close to the top of Obla Glava Peak (2303 m). The cave is full of ice stalagmites and stalactites, as its name says. The entrance path is always covered with remains of snow.
Very interesting to see during very warm summer days. It’s truly great refreshment!
You need to be careful, and have boots with a good grip to descent into the cave. Hiking poles are also a big help.
The Ice Cave can be found on the path Black Lake – Bobotov Kuk. The hike to the cave is a moderate 6-hour long loop walk from the Black Lake.
Where to stay in Durmitor National Park
For your accommodation in Durrmitor National Park, you can choose from hotels, private apartments, bungalows, mountain huts, camps, and wild camping.
There are few hotels in the center of Zabljak, such as Hotel Soa, Hotel Zabljak, and Javorovaca. If you decide to accommodate yourself in a hotel, then these are our recommendations. Especially, Hotel Soa which is, in my opinion, the best hotel here.
Away from the center, there are hotels like Hotel Enigma, Hotel Pavlovic, etc. From these hotels, you need around a 20-minute walk to get to the center of Zabljak.
On the other hand, there are very good private apartments you can rent in the center of Zabljak. We would recommend Apartments Jovana situated on the first floor of the building, a minute away from the bus station. Everything is new in the apartment and owners are very polite and helpful.
If you love camping, then we would recommend Auto-Camp Mlinski Potok. If you want to wake up with a great view of Savin Kuk and Medjed, and to be very close to the Black Lake and center of Zabljak, then choose this camp.
If you’re interested in wild camping in Durmitor National Park you need to pay EUR 3 per night at the main entrance of the park or to the ranger.
There is also plenty of bungalows to rent in the surrounding of Zabljak. Our recommendation is Eco Village Durmitor in Trsa Village. This place is run by the Jokanovic family, who became our friends because we would stop here every time on our way to Zabljak. We have met the whole family. The food is delicious and you will feel like at home. Also, they are selling excellent honey and brandy (rakia).
This place is great if you want to be away from civilization, and you have a car. The Trsa Village is around 40 km away from Zabljak. It’s close to Susica Canyon, where starts a hike to Skrka and two Skrcko Lakes.
As for lodging, in Durmitor National park has two mountain huts: Skrka and Susica.
Mountain Hut Skrka is situated between two Skrcko Lakes and it’s a very peaceful place. You will wake up with a stunning view of Sareni Pasovi and Planinica, which are part of the natural amphitheater in Skrka. Besides the hut is a small Skcrko Lake, which is great for swimming.
But, the hut is very modest and old, so have that in mind. The price per night is EUR 5 per person. And it’s not possible to buy any food. I would call it more like a shelter, not a mountain hut.
The second hut is the Mountain Hut Susica, situated at Susica Lake. The hut is much better than the hut at Skrka. But, make sure to announce yourself as the hut is not always open. You will pay EUR 10 for one night.
Where to eat in Zabljak
Even though Zabljak is a small mountain town, there are many restaurants to visit.
While you’re in Durmitor National Park we would recommend eating local food. Some of the traditional dishes you can order in Zabljak are different types of mushrooms, veal and lamb meat, and trout from mountain rivers and lakes.
According to the law passed in the summer of 2019 in Montenegro, smoking is forbidden in all restaurants, places where the food is served.
Our favorite restaurants in Zabljak are:
- Restaurant Oro
Restaurant Oro is located in the center of Zabljak, at the main crossroad, overlooking Hotel Zabljak.
The whole restaurant looks very glamorous and it fits perfectly into the landscape. It’s all done in wood and big windows.
The staff is very helpful and funny. And the food is delicious!
Recommended dishes: chicken in a sauce of mushroom, trout, veal, and lamb meat. And also a very good chocolate cake!
- Zlatni Papagaj
Zlatni Papagaj is situated on the road toward the Black Lake, just a little bit further down the street from Restaurant Oro.
I fell in love with this place because of the veal meat in the sauce of mushrooms. Oh, it was so delicious!
- Hotel Soa
Hotel Soa is also located on the road toward the Black Lake, and maybe it’s the last building before the visitor center at the entrance into the national park.
It is a 10-15 minute walk from the main junction in Zabljak.
The restaurant in Hotel Soa is situated on the ground floor, with big windows overlooking the forest and green meadow. It’s not that much big restaurant but has delicious food and friendly staff.
There is a big variety of dishes you can order, from traditional to popular dishes like pizza, etc.
Recommended dishes: lamb meat, pizza.
- B&B Javorovaca Hotel
The whole hotel is made out of wood and fits well into the landscape. It is situated very close to the bus station, on the road toward Savnik.
The restaurant is on the ground floor and it’s pretty big. It would be nice to have a little bit more light. The food is delicious, and a little bit cheaper than in Restaurant Oro or Hotel Soa.
Recommended dish: veal meat.