Backpacking through Montenegro assuming that we would always find a campsite to put up our tent was risky business. Our Bradt guide (which is the only decent travel guide on Montenegro) was hardly giving any information on campsites. So we boarded the plane to Tivat (the Bay of Kotor) without much preparation as to our itinerary. Luckily for us, this turned out to be a good move. In this blog, I will give you practical information about backpacking in Montenegro, campsites, itinerary and public transport. If I any of your questions would be left unanswered after reading this post: feel free to ask!
Bay of Kotor: Autocamp Verige
We decided to spend a couple of days in the Bay of Kotor before turning landward. We knew that there should be a campsite in ‘Lepetane’, a small town somewhere between Tivat and Kotor. There’s only one road, so you really cannot miss Autocamp Verige. We could put our tent under a rood of vines, which was lovely! It was a nice compensation for the cold water in the shower and the open air concert next door during the night ☺ We paid 10 euros for 1 night, which was quite a lot for just one small tent! The ferry between Lepetane – Kamenari is a useful short cut across the Bay of Kotor. This ferry is situated right next to the campsite and runs about every 5 minutes. Crossing over is completely free for cyclist and pedestrians.
Next day, we drove to Kotor by bus. We unsuccessfully looked for a timetable of these busses. Public transport is not as neatly organized as you would expect. The only thing you can do is ask locals about it and wait. In some cases, the busses have a trunk for backpacks, but most of the time you have to squeeze into the crowded bus with your backpack. It requires a bit of pushing, but we always managed to get in and out of the bus alive. This is probably not the most convenient way of travelling, but it sure is the cheapest way! One ride is approx. 2 – 8 euros depending on the distance. This ride to Kotor costed us only 2 euros!
Lovćen National Park: Wildcamping
After a short visit to the Old Town of Kotor, we did a hike called “Ladder of Cattaro” which is a steep hike on a road with many hairpin bends. Our heavy backpacks and the scorching heat were not exactly making our hike easier. But the beautiful view we had on the Bay of Kotor made it all worth it. At the end of the hike, you’ll see a beautiful picturesque little church. At this point, most tourists return and descend back to the Old Town of Kotor, but we had to move on to the town of ‘Krstac’. We reached this town after a tough climb. Maybe the word ‘town’ is a bit of an exaggeration for 1 bar and 8 houses, but still… ☺ Exhaustion and dehydration made us decide to wild camp. A field covered with hay seemed almost like a fata morgana to us! We slept like a daisy ☺ The temperatures dropped sharply that night, because of the altitude of Krstac. We were not exactly prepared for this, so I would recommend everyone to take a warm sleeping bag with you, even in summertime!
Biogradska Gora: Camp Site Biogradska Jezero
The next day we descended to the town of Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro. In Cetinje, we took a bus (for the price of 3,5 euros) to Podgorica which is the current capital of Montenegro. We waited for 2 hours in Podgorica before taking the train to Mojkovac (close to Biogradska Gora National Park). The train journey between Bar and Belgrade (whereof the route from Podgorica to Mojkovac is a part of) is believed to be one of the most beautiful train rides in Europe. I can absolutely confirm this! The train was crossing the most impressive valleys with a breathtaking view on the Balkan Mountains. I can absolutely recommend this beautiful train ride! The good thing about it is the ridiculously low price for this ride: only 2 euros! Can you believe it? So little money and so much beauty, unbelievable! If I would have the time for it, I would spend entire days travelling with this train and watch the scenery outside 😉
Upon our arrival in Mojkovac, our fear became reality: there was no public transport from Mojkovac to Biogradska Gora National Park. We had to take a taxi and we paid 8 euros for this 10 km drive. Bummer! There are few campsites in Montenegro, but there always is one next to the entrance of a National Park. Campsite ‘Biogradsko Jezero’ was located right next to a lake (Jezero = lake), with a stunning view on the mountains. We paid 7 euros per night and the accommodation was fine… unless you are afraid of encounters with scorpions in the sanitary building. We were allowed to make a camp fire, so that was exactly what we did!
Durmitor National Park: Campsite Razvrsje
Two days later we took a taxi back to Mojkovac for 10 euros. From there on, we planned to go to Žabljak, a town 70 km away next to Durmitor National Park. We tested our hitchhiking skills, but unfortunately without any success. A wicked cab driver persuaded us to let him drive us all the way to Žabljak for 20 euros… not a bad deal because the road was very hilly. However, we had to accept him smoking in the car. People in Montenegro smoke in all public spaces including trains, cinemas etc. Still, the unspoiled beauty of Montenegro overcompensates for this inconvenience!
Right after arriving at campsite Razvrsje, we were offered Bosnian Coffee (very very strong!) and Rakjia, a drink with more alcohol than anything else ☺ We paid 6 euros per night and we could use hot showers à volonté… that’s how I love it! I needed this very bad, because temperatures can drop extremely due to the altitude of Žabljak. Once again: don’t forget to take a warm sleeping bag, you will not regret it!
Hiking in Montenegro is adventurous, but it is absolutely possible! You can find well-equipped campsites right next to every National Park. But also along the way you’ll find them (those are not often mentioned by travel guides). Driving by public transport is absolutely recommended because it will save you lots of money (compared to a rental car for example) and you can reach most places. Only during our visit to Mojkovac we had to take a taxi, but we already anticipated this. You can reach every part of Montenegro from the capital Podgorica, so you can easily skip the visit to Biogradska Gora National Park. As for us, it was well worth the extra 38 euros! Lastly but most importantly: be prepared for cold temperatures in the mountains, even in the summertime! A rain jacket and a raincover for your backpack are essential to survive the occasional thunderstorms. And don’t forget to enjoy the stunning beauty of Montenegro!
Links to the camp sites we visited:
- Autocamp Verige (Lepetane)
- Campsite Biogradska Gora (Mojkovac)
- Campsite Razvrsje (Žabljak):