Montenegro is a small country that will enchant you with its natural beauty. This beautiful country has five national parks which cover approximately 10 percent of the country’s territory: Lovćen, Durmitor, Biogradska gora, Lake Skadar and Prokletije.
The national parks have a lot to offer and they’re very accessible, even if you’re staying on the coast. You can visit them either in a day trip or choose to stay in a town close by.
Lake of Scadar
Skadar Lake is one of the largest lakes in Europe and creates the border between Montenegro and Albania. Lake is located in Zeta – Scadar valley and is surrounded by mountains and 7 km far from Adriatic Sea. Two Thirds of Lake of Scadar is in Montenegro and rest one third is in Albania. Skadar Lake is located in Zeta Skadar Valley and is 7 km away from the Adriatic Sea.
Skadarsko Jezero National Park covers 40.000 ha, of which 391km2 is the Skadar Lake itself. In 1996, by Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Skadarsko jezero – Skadar Lake was included in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. Low valley of north part of Lake is often flooded.
Skadar Lake is decorated by Goricas, small islands covered with wild pomegranate laurel and ivy. The Montenegrin part of the Skadar lake and its surrounding area were declared the National Park in 1983. Skadar Lake is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 bird species, among which are some of the last pelicans in Europe, and thus popular with birders. The rare specimen of Dalmatian Pelican has become the trademark of the Skadar Lake National Park. The Skadar Lake also contains habitats of seagulls and herons and is abundant in fish, especially in carp, bleak and eel. The Skadar Lake contains a number of towers and platforms build specifically for bird watching and they have been placed in the areas of the 5 largest ornithological reserves: Manastirska tapija, Grmozur, Omerova gorica, Crni zar and Pancevo oko. Grmozur island, besides being called the Alcatraz of Montenegro, since was built by King Nikola to serve as dungeon for political opponents, is also known as the island of birds.
National park Lovćen
Lovćen is a mountain and national park in southwestern Montenegro. The Mount Lovćen rises from the borders of the Adriatic basin closing the long and twisting bays of Boka Kotorska and making the hinterland to the coastal town of Kotor. The mountain has two imposing peaks, Štirovnik (1,749 m) and Jezerski vrh(1,657 m). The mountain slopes are rocky, with numerous fissures, pits and deep depressions giving its scenery a specific look. Standing on the border between two completely different natural wholes, the sea and the mainland, Lovćen is under the influence of both climates. There are 1158 plant species on Lovćen, out of which four are endemic. The biggest and most important monument of Lovćen national park is Njegoš’s Mausoleum. The location for his burial place and the mausoleum at the summit of Jezerski vrh was chosen by Njegoš himself as his last wish. However, Njegoš’s express wish was to be buried in a small chapel which he had built in his lifetime. This was done, but the original chapel was destroyed when the Austro-Hungarian army invaded Montenegro in First World War (1916).
Njegoš’s remains were then transferred into Cetinje Monastery and buried in the chapel rebuilt by King Alexander in 1920s. During the communist period the chapel was disassembled and the monumental mausoleum in “Vienese Secession style” was built.
Biogradska Gora National Park – Bjelasica Mountain
Biogradska Gora National Park is situated in the northeastern area of Montenegro between the Tara and Lim rivers and the central part of gorgeous Bjelasica Mountain. The Biogradska Gora National Park is the first national park of Montenegro, established in 1952 and covers an area of 5650 hectares. Protection of this glorious region dates back to 1878, when Prince Nikola Petrovic played a role in establishing the region as a protected area for the enjoyment for future generations. The entrance to the Biogradska Gora National Park is less than 20 km away between Mojkovac and Kolasin. The peaks of several mountains define the edges of the Biogradska Gora forests, with Crna Glava /2139 meters/, Zekova Glava /2117 meters/, and Troglava /2072 meters/. Bjelasica Mountain is the greenest mountain in Montenegro, also very rich with water sources.
The Biogradska Gora National park is home to a multitude of bird species, including grouse, lark, Crested Titmouse, Yellow and Blue Titmouse, hawks, kestrels and buzzards, and the Imperial Eagle. The Biogradska Gora National Park also has an ancient cultural and historical heritage of sacred monuments, traditional architecture, and archaeological sites. Numerous villages and “katuns”, houses, cottages, towers, water-mills are scattered along the borders of the primeval reserve of Bjelasica Mountain. “Katuns” on the territories of Pesica rupe, Vranjak, Sisak and Vragodo are most picturesque and attractive. During the summer seasons the slopes come alive, katuns are filled with people and glades resound with the bells of “chaktars” (lead rams). There are 6 well marked trekking trails in Biogradska Gora National Park and Bjelasica Mountain. Hikers can hike the vast area of the Biogradska Gora National Park and stunning Bjelasica Mountain in 3 days.
Uniquely beautiful are glacial lakes of Biogradska Gora National Park. They are Biogradsko Lake, Pesica Lake, two of Ursulovacko lakes and Sisko Lake. Amongst all lakes of Biogradska Gora National Park the largest one is gorgeous Biograd Lake, at the altitude of 1094 meters.
Bjelasica Mountain is surely one of the most beautiful mountain ranges of Montenegro. It belongs to the central continental region of Montenegro. The massif of Mt Bjelasica Mountain is 30 km wide and equally long and has 10 peaks above 2000 meters. Geological features of Bjelasica Mountain are of volcanic origins, with smooth round shapes, and vast spaciousness of it’s mildly rolling landscapes which is amazing.
Durmitor National Park
Durmitor National Park is the largest national park in Montenegro. It encompasses the mountain massif of Durmitor, the Tara river canyon, Drage, Susice and highest part canyons Komarnica, from which rise numerous mountain peaks. Of these, 48 with more than 2,000 meters above sea level, the highest peak is Bobotov hip, with 2,525 meters above sea level. Its magnificent nature habitat of numerous plant and animal species.
There are 17 gorgeous glacial lakes called “mountain eyes” in the area of Durmitor National Park. The most famous is the Black Lake covered with ice and crystals of frozen snowflakes in the winter. You can however swim in Black Lake in the middle of the summer. Between the steep hillsides hidden in the green thick foliage there are the magic beauties of Zmijinje, Barno, Riblje, Vrazje, Modro and the other Durmitor lakes. “Bobotov kuk” the highest peak of Durmitor Mountain, 2523 meters high, which dominates over all of Montenegro. There are 748 springs of pure mountain water within Durmitor National Park and forests in which trees are over 100 years old. Along the 200 km of Durmitor Mountain well-marked climbing and hiking trails you can find many caves such as Ledena Pecina /Ice Cave/ which is below Obla Glava peak. On the slopes of Durmitor Mountain there is the wild Nevidio Canyon that has been unknown to humans for thousands of years. Nevidio Canyon was first discovered in 1965 when human leg stepped on the ground of the Canyon for the first time. The first to conquer the Nevidio Canyon was a group of mountaineers from Niksic. As examples of the ethnological heritage of Durmitor Mountain, it is worth mentioning thel types of rural houses, so called “savardaks” and mills scattered all over “katuni” – villages and Durmitor’s brooks.
National Park Prokletje
National Park Prokletje , fifth national park in Montenegro was proclaimed 2009th year. It covers an area 16,630 hectares and includes two nature reserves: Volušnicu and Hridsko lake. Protection zones around the park is 6,252 hectares. To the north is limited Gusinjsko-plavska valley, in the south of the high ridges of the mountains and the Albanian border, to the west of the river and on the east Grnčar mountains Bogićević.
The main features of Prokletija which influenced the designation of sites of national importance are typical limestone relief and natural beauty. The rocks, which were formed in Oligo-Miocene, the limestone and dolomite. Relief abundant high peaks and karst forms (pits, caves, bays, etc). Sharp and extremely steep slopes make this area inaccessible. The highest point of the Evil Kolata (2,534 m), Maja Kolata (2528 m) and Maja e Rosita (2524 m). The highest peak is Prokletija Jezerski peak (2,692 m) and is the highest peak of Dinara mountain. Between the mountains and Visitor Prokletija is Plav Lake, in the municipality of Plav. It is a glacial lake at the height of 906 m above sea level. It extends north-south direction over a length 2160 m, a width of 920 m with a maximum depth of 9 m From the lake stands the river Lim. Peak Evil Kolata, 2534 m high, is located in Montenegro, near the border with Albania, and is the highest peak in Montenegro.
Hridsko lake is “hidden” at an altitude of 1970 meters, there is a “lake of happiness” in part Prokletija below steep karst Hridskig between the great and small rocks, from which it takes its name. Clearness of the water of the lake was an inspiration to many legends. According to one of them, created by the gods to be in it, away from human eyes, bathed villas. According to belief, bathing in his water brings health and happiness in marriage and throwing valuable jewelry – rings, Burma, bracelets, chains, will supposedly bring good luck in what at what he thought when placing jewelry in the water.