Montenegro and Albania
July 6-15th 2020
Natural beauty of the Dinaric Alps features dramatic contrast between ancient forests, grassy highland plains, and alpine type cliffs. On this highland route we’ll be crossing the world famous Tara canyon, visiting the Durmitor and Bjelasica national parks, Sinjajevina, the biggest highland plateau in the Balkans (avarage altitude 1700 m), and visit several lakes of breathtaking beauty, which will be a real feast for your camera lenses. We’ll camp in places of holy silence and unspoiled nature, and see and taste the old ways of making cheese by Montenegrian mountain folk. It will be an immersive, overwhelming experience for all senses!
What? How long? How hard? How much?
Duration – 10 days
Wild camping (your own camping gear)
Approximate length – 1200 km
Technical difficulty – easy to moderate
AT tyres recommended, MT optional
1090 € per vehicle
Expedition starts in the northern Montenegrian town of Pljevlja, where we will fill up and get our first food supplies, before we head off around Ljubišnja mountain (2238 m) towards some breathtaking scenic views above the Tara canyon. Day one ends in the official camp near the famous Đurđevića Tara bridge.
Day two starts with an optional 3 hour rafting trip on the Tara river (not included in expedition price). If you don’t want to go rafting, you can enjoy the countryside around the camp and do some photo shooting of the very attractive bridge, or try a zipline ride accross the canyon (three different ziplines are available). After lunch we depart towards the Durmitor national park, visiting the most famous scenic viewpoint there before settling at a campsite near Žabljak, the headquarters of the national park. Optionally, if there is time left, we can take the 80 km long roundtrip of Durmitor – many fascinating views and two mountain passes almost 2000 m high.
On day three we finally leave all traces of civilization behind and head off to a three day, pure wilderness experience in the central part of the Montenegro highlands. Therefore, before leaving Žabljak we must fill up and resupply for the next three days, as there will be no chance to do so until we reach Podgorica, the capitol of Montenegro, on the fifth day in the afternoon. During a ride spanning more than 200 km we will never drop below the altitude of 1300 m (average driving altitude will be in the range 1500-1800 m), and our campsites will reach altitudes up to 1760 m (so it can be quite cold at night towards the end of September, with occasional below freezing temperatures). But it will be well worth the effort, since passing these mountain ranges will probably be the highlight of the tour, both in terms of beauty of the landscape and driving pleasure.
The end of day five, after resupplying and refueling in Podgorica, we’ll meet at a wonderful lakeside wild campsite at Rikavac lake, right next to the Albanian border. The last 15 km of access trail to the lake is really extraordinary, very similar to the most attractive trails of western Alps. Day six takes us further towards the south side of Komovi mountains, ending on Bjelasica, probably the best mountain for exploring on wheels in Montenegro. In several places on the grassy ridges of Bjelasica it’s possible to reach above 2000 m on wheels, which is normally not possible in the rocky landscape elsewhere in Montenegro.
Day seven is completely devoted to exploring the trails and views of Bjelasica, ending in the vicinity of another extraordinarily beautiful lake, at the altitude of almost 1800 m. Then on day 8 we take the ridge connection to the northern side of Komovi mountain, before shortly descending to the small town of Andrijevica for resupplying and refueling. Our trail takes us further towards Mokra mountain, a place where nature has been generous with vegetation, raising the treeline well above 1900 m! We camp by a local shepperd’s nomadic settlement at 1750 m, having a chance to experience some Montenegrian real mountain life with the animals, and taste fresh milk, cheese and other local food prepared by the shepperds.
On day nine we descend from Mokra mountain and enter Albania, where we move along the newly built tarmac road along the Vermosh valley, towards the famous Theth valley. It is a long daily drive (about 200 km), but a lot of tarmac makes it easily managable. The day ends camping in the Theth valley, where we can visit the famous tower of Theth, or hike to a truly beautiful waterfall before the day has ended.
Day ten brings the final offroad adventure – the 50 km long, extremely rocky southern Theth dirt road. Exhausting, but beautiful. Because of rough terrain cannot be driven fast, so we’ll probably reach tarmac not before late afternoon hours. We’ll use the opportunity to make a joyfull break for a swim in the river, as well as lunchbreak in the same place. The final night of the tour, and place where we’ll say our farewells over a delicious dinner at the lakeside restaurant, will be in a very nice campsite on the Shkodra lake (the biggest lake in the Balkans). If you’re not in a hurry to get back home, you could plan a few more days there, just to sunbathe, relax and swim (or row in boats) in the lake.
During the tour we’ll mostly be sleeping on nice natural campsites in total wilderness, often near lakes, at altitudes between 1300 and 1800 m, so prepare warm clothing – even at mid summer at those altitudes nights can be cold. On three nights we will be in official camps. Our average time of arrival to campsite is between 17:00 and 18:00, and morning departure time is usually between 8:30 and 9:30. Montenegro is a country rich with wildlife (including wolves and bears), but no attacks on campers have been recorded, so you can be relaxed. To make camping more comfortable, you should have folding tables and chairs, as well as cooking equipment for food (although you can also use campfire), mobile refrigerator (12 V), etc. In Žabljak there will be a possible bungalow or hotel alternative to camping – we’ll consult the participants of the tour and, if you want to break the camping routine for a day, it is possible (not included in the expedition price).
Equipment of your vehicle for Montenegro Highlands tour should include
- AT tyres (MT is also ok)
- a shovel
- a compact axe, and a saw
- 1 or more dynamic ropes for recovery
- complete personal camping equipment
- 12 V fridge and additonal equipment for preparing food
- CB radio
You should also consider
- Winch (always a handy peace of 4×4 equipment)
- A moderate lift – at least 2″
Tour price coverage
Tour price covers
- our guide in his own vehicle
- all fuel and other expenses for the guide vehicle
- personal counceling before and during the tour
- appropriate GPS maps and data, that can be made available to the participants, if they have compatible hardware
Tour price does not cover
- individual fuel and toll costs
- individual food and drink expenses
- servicing expenses by third parties
- national park entrance tickets (2-3 Euros per day/person)
- other individual expenses
What else you should know about the tour?
You with timely be supplied with a GPS track how to reach the starting point (Pljevlja) from your hometown, as well as the phone number of your guide (which is also available from our contacts page). Please secure that you have your travel insurance before starting the tour. We expect you to arrive with a vehicle in good technical conditon, which can endure ten days of moderate offroading. This tour does not require a high level of offroad experience and skills. There will be parts of the tour when we won’t have a chance to refuel for several days so you should have a fuel tank (optionally with additional fuel cans) that can guarantee covering 250 km without visiting a petrol station. All major credit cards (Visa, Master, Maestro, etc.) work in Montenegro (either on ATM machines or for paying goods), and the official currency in Montenegro is Euro. You’re advised to have at least a small amount of cash for small expenses in the mountainous areas.
Average tour difficulty is easy to intermediate. In practice, that means that we will be travelling on decent quality dirt roads most of the time, with only occasional chances of encountering mud. There will be parts of rocky terrain, where care should be taken not to damage vital parts of the underbody (especially where we take shortcuts completely offroad, it’s necessary to watch out for concealed rocks in high grass). We will not have any deep water crossings on our route (so no snorkel is necessary). Our operational communication during the tour will be on CB radios (we mostly use channels 5 or 16 FM). Please ensure that you have a EU standard frequency range AM/FM CB radio, and not the special frequency shifted ones that are used in some countries (mainly in eastern Europe).
Image gallery from the tour area
Extra galleries from our Serbianoutdoor 4×4 blog
Tour booking form
If you have any more questions,
ask your guide!
Invoice and payment instructions will be e-mailed to you upon filling out and sending this registration form